What am I worth?
I frequently find myself asking what value I bring to the table. I analyze how I spend my time in terms of value. Even this newsletter was created to "provide value" to my friends.
But, how do we measure value? It's one of those fuzzy words that has no standalone meaning. Like effective, happiness, or success.
@reddy2go makes a powerful claim for focusing less on value and more on authenticity:
A focus on value leads to a transactional mindset. We identify ourselves and others by what each has to offer. Those offerings become our measure of worth.
Can't I just be me? And, why do I need to expect something from someone else instead of just appreciating them for being them?
I'm not saying we all should be suckers or carefree hippies, but our world could use a smidge less judgment and a pinch more unearned grace.
If you're like me, the person I most need to allow more grace is myself.
Instead of focusing on value, I need to emphasize authenticity. Less fear, more honesty. Vulnerability is a struggle for me.
I struggle with constant anxiety, especially measuring what I have to offer and interacting with others. My mind creates scenarios of every interaction before it happens. I had to schedule a small Christmas event for my military guys -- it took days and a looming deadline before I could finally make the necessary calls. That meant days of a churning stomach and a fixation for something other than where I needed to be in the moment. And the task took 30 minutes.
This newsletter is my low-risk, high-reward method to be authentic and put myself out there. I'm not sure exactly what authentic looks like week-to-week, but it's better than sticking to a mold that encourages the opposite.
With that said, there are a few questions I've arrived at to be more specific in how I measure whether this newsletter is adding "value" (providing meaning to that fuzzy word):
Am I enjoying publishing this newsletter? When it's authentic, it's fun, passionate, and a positive to my life.
Am I motivated to learn more? I'm excited to learn when I can discuss and share it with others, especially when they're similarly excited. It's a positive feedback loop.
Is it generating quality conversations?
Is the number of readers consistent or increasing?
I want to caveat that last one -- while my goal is authenticity, I want an objective metric to ensure I'm communicating effectively (that word, again!). Authenticity is not an excuse for poor or unclear communication.
What does value mean to you?
h/t @matttillotson for bringing up the idea of value in his phenomenal and highly authentic newsletter.
Speaking to authenticity, Sasha Chapin says, if you have writer's block, maybe you should stop lying.
I find that people often believe they have a writing technique problem, when, actually, what they have is a sincerity problem. They think that writing is onerous, when, actually, they mean that writing as if they’re someone else is onerous. If you’re not the kind of person who actually cares much about writing an epic fantasy novel, then no matter how much you think you ought to write an epic fantasy novel, it won’t feel good…
The remedy is simple, although it does involve a short, sharp shock of frankness with oneself. Stop lying about who you are, and write the things that are actually inside you
Inevitably, if you’re honest, you find out that you’re not exactly who you aspire to be. There is some distance between you and your exemplars.. . .If you can’t even be frank about who you are in a room alone, I find it hard to believe that you can do it with the people in your life.
Writing honestly provides a mirror into our own lives -- and will benefit our relationships with others.
h/t to Florian Maganza for sharing this gem.
David Perell provides a primer on Business Writing 101. If you're not using writing on the job, you should be.
These are a few points that I found most interesting:
Take notes in meetings. In most companies, note-taking is a low-status job. But note-takers have tons of influence. They define the narrative, set the agenda, and influence the next action items.
Writing is the antidote to distortion. The spoken word has no copy & paste function. But writing does
Write up your decisions. Don't just summarize your decisions. Summarize your thought process too. Doing so will help new hires understand how your company thinks. Explicitly stating your principles reduces politics, increases alignment, and creates a culture of speed.
FAQs: If you get asked the same question three times, write your answer.
Is there a place for increased clarity and consistency in your team, organization, or family? Write it out.