The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become. – Jim Rohn
Do you play the comparison game sometimes?
You know, when you compare your house to your neighbor’s house or when you compare how much you earn, the style of your clothes or the car you drive with what others have.
I understand because I play the comparison game, too.
The Simple Things
Wanting to avoid the middle-age spread, which I see other men my age wear, motivates me to exercise, watch what I eat (sometimes) and do my best to stay healthy.
Since turning 50 almost four years ago, I’ve learned that it’s not doing 100 things right to stay fit, it’s really just doing one or two things right. Having less to do makes my game of winning the battle of the budge easier.
It’s the same way at work.
I’ve been doing what I’m doing for almost 30 years. Even though each day is filled with new tasks, problems and opportunities, I’ve learned the most important ingredients to achieving career success is to stay calm, communicate effectively, and support others.
When I remember to do the simple things helps me feel successful when I compare my career success to the careers of other men.
The last comparison game I play, and the one that has baffled me for the last nine years until now, is the popularity of this blog.
I started blogging in 2007. There are some blogs that started when I did, and some after, that are much more successful with growing a large audience.
Over the years, when I compared the quality of my writing to the writing of the larger blogs, I felt like it was on par. Then I would look at the topics I was writing about because I thought my choice in topics was the thing holding The BridgeMaker back.
Many of the big blogs focus on life hack-style topics. Things like, 25 Ways to Stop Wasting Time, 50 Ways to Improve Your Life in 50 Days or 20 Ways to Overcome Shyness.
I’ve tried to keep pace by writing on similar topics, but not with the same level of success. A sign from above, perhaps? In any event, not achieving what I thought was success has frustrated me to the point that I’ve put the blog on hold several times.
But then I had an “a-ha moment.”
Last Thursday was my brother’s birthday. To mark the day, I posted Making Peace with Death to my Facebook page. It was encouraging to see the Likes and comments from family and friends.
Later that evening, I met Mary Beth and Emily at a Mexican restaurant for a quick dinner. Tired after a long day and wanting to get home, my wife and daughter left after they eat as I waited for the check.
Sipping my second Corona Light, I pulled out my phone and read the post again. With tears filling my eyes, I got it.
While I felt sadness over missing Eric, I also felt sadness over missing a part of me.
Writing gives me purpose and the opportunity to express what lives in me and around me. Yes, I’ve written life hack-style posts in the past as a way to get noticed, but what feels more natural is when I share a properly-sized window into my life.
People are welcome to look through this window so they can see they aren’t alone with similar experiences, thoughts or beliefs. Posts like Confessions from a Recovering Father, Why Does the Thunder Hide the Rain? and A Simple Path to Knowing Love open the windows I’ve been called to write.
My brother has inspired me one more time. His presence in a Mexican restaurant on a Thursday night lifted my head to see what I’m meant to do.
So, once again, I’m back.
No more comparisons or life hacks are needed for me.
This time I will remember it is doing the simple things that matter most. It’s that way with trying to avoid the middle-age spread or maintaining a successful career. And it’s that way with my writing, too.
I know what this blog is about now.
It’s not about audience growth; it’s about audience connection – it’s about opening windows between what I write, and what you read, to my heart and to yours.