Let me pose a hypothetical job description:
Looking for someone good with words. Work involves writing about topics that interest you and that enable you to ponder your experience and wisdom. Your ability to connect to other people with varied backgrounds and experiences in order to build a community of feedback that will help you and them grow.
Requirement: You must be willing to learn to market your work.
Darn, it was so looking so good before that last requirement, wasn’t it? Why is it so hard to promote ourselves and our writing?
In fact, it is so much easier that I know a great deal of bloggers, including myself, would prefer to write and give it away for free. And there’s nothing wrong with that – except that when we don’t promote our work, perhaps the person out there who needs to read it most will never read it.
It reminds me of my dear father. My dad had a defining belief that he had to be humble. But as a pastor, he was so effective at rallying people to do God’s work. Somehow the distance between promoting himself and promoting God served him.
So I’m coming to see the key to being willing to promote my work is understanding my why – what is it beneath all that I do that aligns and motivates me. Or as Simon Sinek says, “Each of us has only one WHY. It’s not a statement of who we aspire to be; it expresses who we are when we are at our natural best.”
There are different schools of thought of how to find your why. Social scientist and Harvard professor, Arthur Brooks (From Strength to Strength) suggests that we finding it by cultivating moments of stillness and meditating on it. Author Simon Sinek (Find Your Why) recommends a structured approach where we tell the formative stories of our youth (because he says our why is formed by our late teens) in order to form a statement that looks like:
To _<insert the contribution you make the lives of others>_ so that _<impact of your contribution>_.
Working through a combination of those approaches, I’ve distilled this why statement for myself:
To encourage and cheer for others so that they feel supported and emboldened in the pursuit of life in the fullest on their individual paths.
When we know our why, it helps to propel us to do what needs to be done, learned and even promoted to support it. As Nietzsche said, “He who has a why can endure any how.”
Because it aligns with my WHY, I’m going to spend the rest of this post promoting fellow bloggers that have written books that are well worth reading:
K E Garland is a powerful writer and story-telling wizard. She not only tells her own stories but promotes others in the telling of theirs. Stealing from her bio where it says it the best, “Her writing focuses on creative non-fiction that is intended to inspire.” Most recently, she published Daddy: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships an anthology of 14 memoirs that tell the stories of father-daughter relationships.
Julia Preston, an author with such a generous spirit, let’s us peak inside the workings of her head as she goes about finding her own inner peace. This journey is funny, wise and insightful and inspires me to a bigger perspective. Voices: Who’s in Charge of the Committee of My Head?
Tamara Kulish has found her why as a healer – specifically a healer of trauma and self-worth. After finding her own way through healing the physical and mental abuse she suffered in her childhood, she is a passionate coach to helping others do the same. She has many books and guided journals found at tamarakulish.com
Rosaliene Bacchus once was a Catholic nun teaching in Guyana, her country of origin. Her fascinating perspective of that country, political climate and church politics are captured in her novel: The Twisted Circle. Filled with rich descriptions, complex characters and poignant moments, it’s a lovely window into 1979 Guyana and the Catholic church.
Betsy Kerekes is a delightfully funny and adventurous mom, blogger and martial arts student. As a mother of 3 teenage daughters and a young son, she knows the difficult balance necessary to keep your sanity and sense of humor. In her book, Be a Happier Parent or Laugh Trying she provides invaluable perspective to help us laugh and play through the tough times and fun times.
Ashley Peterson is a blogger and author who writes with great understanding and compassion about mental illness. Both from her experience as a mental health nurse and as a patient with depression, Ashley tackles the stigma we attach to mental illness in her recent book: A Brief History of Stigma: Looking for Ways to Move Beyond Mental Illness Stigma.
Raffaelo Palandri is a holistic coach and consultant specializing in unifying the vision of our lives with our body, mind and soul. As an Italian living in Germany, he helps people through his work and writing to find the mindset and focus to achieve their purpose and fulfillment. He published 365 (plus 1) Seeds For Thought: A year’s worth of thoughts to improve your life in 2021.
Wynne Leon spent years finding a meaningful personal expression of faith without broaching the subject with her beloved father who was a successful Presbyterian pastor. In the end, she found the courage to talk with him and in those conversations discovered that there was more common ground than differences between her meditation practice and her father’s traditionally religious faith and writes about it in her memoir: Finding My Father’s Faith.
See what I did there at the end? Practiced a little of my own self-promotion. 😊 Maybe we can all try it.
Please come visit my personal blog at https://wynneleon.wordpress.com .
Follow me on Instagram at @wynneleon
(featured photo from Pexels)