Where Logic Meets Love

Why I Do... Everything (Including Blogging)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

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Why I Do... Everything (Including Blogging) | Faith Permeating Life

Thanks to everyone who posted suggestions for reclaiming my life from my to-do lists. Talking through it helped me figure out what I was already doing that was working and what else I can focus on.

That post was one piece of a larger existential crisis I've been having the past few days. Several factors have recently caused me to ask, "What am I doing with my life?" more times than I would care to in the past few days:
  • Spending a few weeks looking at my vision board has brought contrasts between life-as-it-is and my-ideal-life into sharp focus. I see comfort, fun, and relaxation in front of me, and I find myself working, working, working all the time. This sparked my last post.
  • I've recently gotten very into Ramit Sethi's site, just in time for him to start a new focus on finding your dream job. Perfect, since I'm launching this new side business in job search coaching, right? But then he asks hard questions, like what the key takeaway someone would have from my resume is. How do I want people to describe me with only 10 seconds of information?
  • I'm doing the SITS girls' 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge, which has been awesome so far but has necessarily raised some identity issues. I'm comfortable saying, "I don't have a niche" but those of us who are niche-less were challenged to ask ourselves, "Why do you blog? What is your purpose? What are your goals?"

After some reflection about why I create the goals I do, I've determined that this blog is a microcosm of my life. In other words, the reasons I write here are the same reasons I do anything that's important to me.

With that in mind, I want to share the three big things that I think drive me -- Challenge, Confidence, and Connection -- and how they relate to both this blog and my life as a whole. Then I'll ask for your thoughts on whether I'm meeting these goals here.

  • In my life: In the sense of learning, I have always loved being challenged. I took programming classes the past year and stuck with it even when it kicked my butt. It's important to me to be in what Gretchen Rubin calls "an atmosphere of growth," one of her keys to happiness. And in another sense of the word challenge, the more that I get to know myself and identify my beliefs and what I'm passionate about, the more I feel comfortable challenging other people on things they say that are ignorant or rude.
  • On this blog: A lot of what I write is putting my opinions out there on various topics (religion, sex education, gay marriage), and that's for two reasons. One, I know that my experience is limited, and I want other people to challenge me when I make assumptions or haven't considered every angle in forming my views. Two, I want to challenge other people to think through these issues, either to reflect on something they may not have thought about before, or to consider another perspective on an issue.

  • In my life: I realized that a big motivator for much of the work that I do is to instill confidence in other people. In my editing work, I decided not to seek freelance work from publishing houses and instead to stick to working one-on-one with aspiring authors, because I love helping them feel more confident in their manuscripts and in their ability to get published. And the reason I'm starting job search coaching for new grads is because of how much I loved giving my college students confidence in their own skills and ability to land a job. Instilling confidence in others is definitely a driver for me.
  • On this blog: My "tips and advice" category is similar to the feedback I give my authors and students, about what works and what doesn't, except it's based on my own experience with life in general. Whether it's how to network at conferences or how to argue with your spouse, I'm motivated to alleviate anxiety and help people feel more confident in a variety of situations. I also think people feel confident when they feel less alone, whether it's that someone else shares their opinions or just that someone has the same struggles. I know I do.

  • In my life: Several of my happiness resolutions last year stemmed from a desire for greater connection with the people in my life, whether it was sending an e-mail every day, saying yes to social events, or having one lunch date a month. The interviews I did with my family members last year, and my goal to get back into genealogy this year, come from a desire to connect to my roots, to feel more linked to my ancestors. And I am continually trying to find ways to stay connected to God and to Mike, which is why praying with Mike every night is something I will continue to resurrect no matter how many times we let it fall to the wayside.
  • On this blog: You, my readers, are the main reason I'm still doing this! It's not just about being challenged on my political views or giving people advice, it's about sharing my life with others and having them share theirs with me in return. I feel blessed to have readers who are supportive of me, who give me advice when I ask for, and who give me a kick in the butt when I need it. So many of you I consider my friends. And that motivates me to keep writing!

Thinking through these motivators in my life has given me clarity in terms of defining my priorities and feeling confident (ha) in the projects I'm pursuing this year. These probably don't cover everything, but they've given me a better structure within which to ask, "What am I doing with my life? And what do I want to be doing?"

And because I feel most people are motivated by challenge and connection, it's the confidence one that's stuck with me as perhaps being a particular calling of mine.

So to you, dear reader, I ask these questions, and I hope you'll take some time to really think about them and respond. (The second one may be its own post!)

How has Faith Permeating Life succeeded in the areas of Challenge, Confidence, and Connection, and how could it be better?

What motivates you in your life?


  1. You are so good at this sort of thing! I can't tell you how many times people ask me why I do certain things, or what I am doing with my life, what my blog is for, etc. But I never have an answer. I feel as though in my heart and mind I know... but I can't express it in words. Does that make sense? So I always admire people who can lay it out and know what's going on and then make goals. I love it.

  2. @Emily Hornburg
    I think if you feel like you know in your heart, that's great! The only reason I had to sit down and figure this out was because I was kind of freaking out and felt a bit lost. So it forced me to get some clarity. But I don't think it's necessary to put everything into words if it's working for you already! Thanks for the kind words, though :)

  3. You're good at challenging people to consider their own views on difficult topics, and this challenges me to be more honest in what I put on my own blog (not that I'm dishonest, but I tend to keep things fairly shallow so as to not offend).

    You show a lot of confidence in how you put your opinions out there, but always in a respectful way that allows people to disagree - and that gives me confidence that I could do the same (one day!).

    Also you do fairly well at trying to connect with your readers, by asking questions at the end of each post. I think it's also important to connect with people who read your blog by seeking out theirs and contributing there too (if you have stuff to say of course). Obviously you will connect more with some bloggers than others, but it's a good way to get to know your regular commenters better! I'm not sure how much you already do/don't do this, but just thought I'd mention what helps me connect more with others! :)

  4. @Lozzz123
    Thanks so much! I'm glad to hear I'm meeting a lot of the goals I have for this blog. I do read most of the blogs of my regular commenters (yours included!) but not all, and I could be better about regularly commenting. Probably one of the things I need to work on most is following up with first-time commenters. I think my regular readers know that I respond to almost every comment and to come back and check for responses, but new readers don't. One of the downsides to Blogger is definitely the commenting system, but I don't want to switch to something that's going to remove all my past comments. Anyway... thanks again for sharing your thoughts, and I will keep pondering how to best connect with my readers :)

  5. @Jessica I guess it's hard because some people read blogs for different reasons, so some people might be connected more than others. I guess one thing you could do in your little note when people go to comment is to say 'check back here as I often reply' ??
    And you're very welcome. I really do enjoy your blog (one of the few that I make sure to read each new post instead of skipping when I can't be bothered!) :)

  6. @Lozzz123
    Ack! Another reason my readers are awesome: For pointing out the obvious to me. Yes, I will add that to my comment box intro now!


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