Things Worth Being

There’s a lot swirling through my head this week. After an amazing reaction to my Launch Center Pro post, insightful gut punches at the World Domination Summit, and several intense and inspiring conversations with amazing people like Mike Vardy, Yuvi Zalkow, Jason Rehmus, Jean MacDonald, Daniel Agee and more, I find my head swimming. There’s a lot to work through, but I keep finding myself obsessing on three specific areas of focus:

  • Be Good
  • Be Bold
  • Be Useful

It seems that everything I do has the potential to achieve them all, but that the balance always sways in one or two directions. When trying to make or do anything, I find myself looking more and more at how my actions relate to these three ideals and find myself struggling to determine which matters most.

So what do I mean by each?

Be Bold

The Desire: To make sure that what I’m saying and what I’m doing is powerful enough to be worth both our time and that it’s expressed in a way that captures your attention. To be willing to take the kind of chances that I so very much enjoy pressuring others to take.

The Fear: That I’ll start saying things strictly to drive attention rather than meaning. That a desire for success will overpower how I want to become successful.

Be Useful

The Desire: To take what I know and continue to learn and share it to best help those who connect with the weirdness that I continue to create. To offer thoughts and create things that help myself and others improve. To get beyond “being clever” and offering thoughts, tips and tactics that actually help others “be better”.

The Fear: That I get obsessed over the details and miss out on what really matters. It’s easy to pigeon hole “useful” as tactical, but if I don’t question the “why” as much as I discuss the “how”, I worry I’ll get lost in the details and lose sight of what matters. For example, based on its popularity alone, I’m tempted to lean into more geeky posts like the Launch Center Pro one, but if I don’t balance it with why I actually think that matters and what it can help you accomplish, I’m not writing about what I truly believe to be important (but don’t worry, there will still be plenty of geeky posts just like it).

Be Good

The Desire: I’m still a work in progress and will be for some time (if not eternally), but I want to work toward offering consistent quality in the things I say I care about. I also want to strive to do more than just care for my own. I want my actions to have a positive impact on others. I don’t want to find that all I ever did was talk about getting better, I want to be better.

The Fear: I’m terrified that my impatience will continually get the worst of me, that I won’t do the work needed to get where I want to go. I’m also worried that self-interest (or the interest of my family) will overpower making and doing things that are mutually beneficial to others. Good doesn’t happen quickly and it doesn’t come easily. It takes time, it takes work, it takes dedication and it takes sacrifice. It’s far too easy to fall short.

Which Matters Most?

I started writing this post with the intent of figure out which of the three I wanted to be. Do I want to be good, bold or useful? I wanted to uncover which mattered more. Turns out, I can’t choose and more I think about it, I wonder if choosing is the wrong approach to take. I want to be successful. The desire to give my kids, my wife and myself a comfortable life is palpable. I want to be popular. I’m tempted to lie about this but at their core, who doesn’t want their work to be liked and appreciated. I want to be helpful. Much as I worry that it is, I don’t want what I do here on this site (and in my life) to be self indulgent. I want to help others as I help myself.

What I Really Want To Be

There’s a lot that I can accomplish, even if I don’t find the right mixture of the three. I could find success, I may get popular, I might even be helpful, but if I don’t strike the right balance between good, bold and useful, I’ll never be the truly terrifying thing that matters to me most, being valuable.

When you take away the details of what you want to do, when you move past what you hope to accomplish, what do you want to be?

9 Responses to Things Worth Being

  1. This perspective is great. Thanks for breaking it down.

    (I personally think you should also post the photograph of the restaurant receipt where you first scribbled this diagram… Or maybe that is best saved for a post on how we conceive/process/refine our great ideas…)

  2. Michael, What an inspiring and valuable post.  This Venn diagram will be imprinted in my brain for a long time! I see myself in the “Helpful” part and being “Bold” is probably the hardest part (for us all) and one that I will keep working on so that I move myself towards the centre.

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