I could be writing this blog post because it is supposed to be good for me.
I’ve seen countless posts by other writers about how writing every day (or as often as you can) is good for you. It’s good for improving your writing skills. Good for your career. Good for establishing thought leadership.
And those potential benefits are difficult to not have come to mind when I contemplate sitting down to write.
But there’s another part of that thought process, a part that we can often lose when we are too overwhelmed by focusing on the evidence outside of ourselves that something is good for us:
What about what happens inside of us?
When I write, I feel better. I get clarity. I gain confidence. After not writing for awhile, I can feel kind of meh. And sometimes what I write has the benefit of being helpful to others.
The challenge when we get too focused on the external, “good for your career” type benefits, is that doing the activity can become more about checking a box on the to do list of standard success than it is about living your life in a more fulfilling way.
And when anything becomes about checking a box, it usually brings with it a little friend called guilt. All of a sudden a thing that you could be doing because it makes you feel better, you are doing because you want it to advance your career, and when you don’t do it, your internal dialogue isn’t “Oh, that’s too bad – I’m sad I didn’t get to do something that makes me feel awesome today.” Instead you think “Wow. I can’t seem to do any of the 10 things I’m supposed to do to advance my career. I need to add writing 20 blog posts to my to do list so I can get ahead. This is what all the successful people do.”
There is often a double bottom-line of doing things that are good for you: they make you feel better and they help you accomplish what you want in life. But that double benefit is quickly lost when you don’t connect what you are doing to the benefit of how it actually makes you feel.