I’ve been struggling with something really selfish lately. At least it feels selfish, especially given we’re dealing with a pandemic and so many other significant problems right now. I don’t think a lot of people read these posts, my subscribers list is almost non-existent, and the stats for the podcast I launched a couple of months ago are pathetic, especially considering the level of guests I’ve been able to sit and talk with me for roughly 30 minutes per episode. That’s what’s bothering me. Selfish, right?
That’s what I thought, but then I read something that made me think deeper about it. One of the books I’m currently reading is Simon Sinek’s latest The Infinite Game. He’s talking about businesses, but I’ve found that much of what he says applies to individuals as well, at least for me it does. In this case, I was reading about what he refers to as “a Just Cause”.
A Just Cause is a specific vision of a future state that does not yet exist. And in order for a Just Cause to provide direction for our work, to inspire us to sacrifice, and to endure not just in the present, but for lifetimes beyond our own, it must meet five standards.
– For something – affirmative and optimistic
– Inclusive – open to all those who would like to contribute
– Service oriented. – for the primary benefit of others
– Resilient – able to endure political, technological and cultural change
– Idealistic – big, bold and ultimately unachievable”– Simon Sinek, The Infinite Game, page 37
I didn’t start Better Me with the intention of making a lot of money off of it, and that’s still not the aim. That must be the case, given that I continue to write two blog posts, a newsletter, and put out a podcast every week, despite the lack of people reading / listening to any of it and nobody paying me to do any of it (I do this on top of my full-time job and not completely ignoring my family).
And yes, it’s kind of cathartic to do this, and sometimes, writing the blog posts, helps me to work through some things kicking around in my head, but I could probably get the same benefit if I just wrote this stuff in a journal.
So, why do I do this, and why does it bother me so much that so few people read or listen to the product of this work?
While reading what Sinek has to say about a Just Cause, I realized that I have a Just Cause for this work, but I’d never clearly articulated that to anyone, including myself. I think that the Just Cause for Better Me is why it’s so difficult for me that others don’t have greater interest in it (I haven’t finished the book yet, but I hope Sinek address what do to when you can’t get build a following for your cause).
So I sat down and made notes until I thought I’d captured the true essence of why I do this. I do what I do with Better Me to share my own story and the stories of others (with their full permission) to:
1. Remove the stigma of mental illness
2. Encourage people to find their own route to mental and physical health
3. Share what’s worked for me to give ideas, and show hope to others
Why wouldn’t I want to reach a lot of people with this?
But, given the lack of interest by others, should I shut this all down? No, through Better Me I share things that I think would’ve helped me through rough times and I’m hopeful that it’s helping my small audience in some way. So, no, I’m not going to stop, in fact, I will continue to not only write the posts and the weekly newsletter, and seek out guests and record podcasts, but also to do what I can to grow the audience.
This is too important to stop.
Featured image courtesy of Phil Roeder under a CC-BY license.