Accept that your work is bigger than yourself

Accept that your work is bigger than yourself

I had a realisation the other day.

What I write has no impact on people. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it, but it doesn’t have a positive impact on anyone. The commercial work I do might help businesses make more money and the Medium articles I write may be a small source of education for some, but in terms of making a difference.

Well… I don’t.

And that’s okay. This isn’t a sob story about the fact I’m not writing for good, it’s just a realisation.

I don’t work for money

I couldn’t care less about how much I’m paid. So long as I have a roof over my head and food to eat, at this stage in my life, that’s enough for me to get by. Too much money too early makes us cautious, and we’re afraid to take pay cuts and switch careers at 24/25 years-old because we ‘depend’ on the money we make.

Elon Musk always claims he’s a volunteer. Easy to say when you have money, for sure, but the principle stands. Money is a side product of pursuing your passion, not the other way around.

But the truth is, most people my age don’t take the risks necessary which will enable them to work a job they love. I don’t have children or a mortgage. I don’t have a car or family dependants. I have myself to look out for, and at 23, that means I can focus on doing the work I want to do, and not the work I feel pays me the most.

So, what is my motivation?

I’ve been asking myself this question for a while now. If I don’t work to make money, why do I work?

Purpose, value, self-worth… sure, these terms are all valid. I work to be a part of a community, too.

But my biggest driver to work (and by work, I mean write), is to make a difference.

When I was 18, I wanted to be a Police Officer. I like the idea of serving a community and making the world a better place. I think that’s important for everyone to strive for. No matter what the impact, so long as there is one, you’ve done something right.

But Policing seemed like a lost cause for me. It didn’t feel like the right way to make a difference.

So I turned to writing...

Writing gave me the opportunity to create a voice that was bigger than just myself. It offered me a sense of purpose beyond self-gain. The thought that I could one day write something that offered a new perspective or helped someone in a tricky situation seemed appealing to me.

It isn’t easy.

Nothing is easy.

The point is, if you’re writing just for yourself, if you’re writing because you want more followers on social media or because you want more money, ask yourself whether this is for you. Because the truth of it is, you’ll only be successful at what you do when you’re willing to keep doing it for free, regardless of self-gain.

You’ll only write something meaningful when you realise that what you have to say isn’t about you. It’s not about the writer, it’s about the themes laid out on paper.

It’s about helping others find their way.