2016 was a year of simplifying. As a result, it gave me more room to breathe, create, and enjoy more of life. It was also the year I started a podcast (in March) and launched this website (in October).
Although people around me wished me well for my future with these undertakings, they were also skeptical about one thing: what would I get out of it?
What they meant to ask was:
- How would doing so make me rich?
- How would it help me attain fame and recognition?
Beneath their questioning lies their love and concern for my well being so I don’t want to take them negatively. But the fact of the matter is I cared for neither of those two apparent measures of ‘success’ when I opted to start.
With the podcast, it’s essentially an audio thing on a video platform. The idea, therefore, is fundamentally flawed (at least on account of those two parameters of ‘success’). Again, with the website, it’s just me talking about my life experiences to probably a tiny crowd of 20 people (100 if it’s really good and gets shared multiple times). So, there’s no way of ‘making it’ (becoming rich and popular) with these undertakings.
But the beauty amidst all of this is that I knew it all along; it was an intentional choice. I ventured into these not because I’d make money or attain fame, but because they would bring me joy, meaning, and offer ways to grow and contribute. And as 2017 beckons, I feel like creating has made me come alive again. Why can’t that be the sole reason to continue following my heart?
It is not to say that money isn’t important, or wanting to be appreciated for our efforts. Of course, they are! But should they be the primary drivers for our undertakings? This is where I probably have a different outlook on life. Ever since mid-2016, I have started asking myself one simple question before committing to anything. “Is there something in it for me beyond monetary gain or a chance at fame?” Whenever the answer is a resounding yes, that’s when I know something truly meaningful awaits me.
I started the podcast because I wanted to improve my speaking. I initiated this website so that I could grow as a writer by writing week-in-week-out. And although neither undertakings have yielded me money or fame directly, they have certainly helped me make in-roads. Only last week, I got my first paycheck as a voice over artist- a first of its kind experience. Now new offers await. On the writing front, I now have two clients who benefit from my weekly blogs. And then there are people who occasionally talk about the podcast and sometimes mention how my essays have made them cry.
The subsequent money (modest, yet more than enough for me right now) and a little bit of ‘fame’ that has followed-they are all well and good. But at the end of the day, I know why I started. And that’s more than enough to keep me going.