The other day I was watching a webchat with the lovely Joanna Penn from thecreativepenn.com (The self-publishing go-to site) and she said something which set off waves of AHA moments for me. They were two simple sentences:
~ You have to decide what you like.
You have to consider what you want to do.
Now these may seem like a very obvious statements – and they are – but it got me thinking. What if I concentrated on what I want to do instead of what I feel I should be doing for my business?
You see, I’ve been kicking myself mentally for months for ‘not doing more’, for ‘not doing what I could be doing’. Let me explain: I’ve worked as an engineer for more than 10 years. I’m good at tech. I have been feeling so very, very guilty and have been sending myself crazy by telling myself ‘I’m technical, I SHOULD be doing X, Y, Z’ over and over in my head.
But here’s the thing.
I have these skills but I don’t HAVE to use them just because I have them. At this moment in time I want to write stories; I want to connect with readers; I want to connect with others going through creative adventures; I want to learn from others and teach what I know; I want to help people.
I’m not helping people by coding my website instead of using other people’s code. I’m not connecting with readers by configuring plugins on WordPress. Yes, I can DIY a lot of thing but SHOULD I?
At this moment in time – NO!
Like you, I only have finite time and resources and I want to choose what I do with them not through the GUILT of what I SHOULD do but through furthering my DREAMS and bringing JOY to myself and others. My current dreams do not involve programming or anything particularly technical at all so I have stopped feeling guilty about not using my tech skills for everything that crosses my path. It’s incredibly freeing.
I struggled in the back of my head with this for so long because I think I listened to some advice without really thinking about it. The advice was one you hear over and over again if you are trying to run your own business or stand out online in some way. It goes along the lines of this – “If you have a strength or skill in an area then you should show it to help make you stand out from the crowd.” The advice makes sense when you first hear it but after a bit of thinking, I don’t think using a skill you have is the only way you can stand out. All of you have many skills and it’s the combination of them that makes you unique. Not actively using a skill if it doesn’t further what you’re trying to do doesn’t make that skill disappear. It still helps to make up who you are and it’s you who people connect with and remember, not your skill.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I’m going to stop doing everything that I don’t enjoy. There are things that do need to be done which do further my dreams or ultimately bring joy but that in themselves aren’t that much fun (like cleaning your house isn’t necessarily fun but if you don’t do it then you live in garbage and probably will get sick). Things like that still need to be done. What I have stopped doing is Shoulding myself to death over inconsequential things.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you need to do it.