This may seem a bit conceited, narcissistic, or narrow: When I write, I write for me. When I teach, I teach for me. I started a sword fighting school because I was passionate about swordplay. I began this blog because I wanted to challenge myself to write and share myself. I dance because I love creating dynamic art. I coach to learn about myself and because I love the feeling of helping others.
I find I do my best work and get the most energy from my work when my market is me. What’s the product I’m interested in? What do I want to read or write? What do I want to share or create?
From a marketing perspective this works because, no matter how specific my tastes may be, there are others out there like me. In fact its far easier to break into a niche market than it is into a broad one. And I understand this particular niche intimately.
From an energy and fulfilment perspective, there is no more direct way to create satisfaction than to go direct from the source to the target (me and me). In this way I am not the slave to the opinions and impressions of others. At its heart the work is for me and it makes it much easier to weather the failures and even to benefit from outside feedback. I can more readily accept feedback when I recognize it for my own growth and benefit.
From a collaboration and connection perspective, it is actually far easier to connect with others around your true and authentic desires than it is around some external or abstract market or need. Collaboration, whether it is between team members or customer and provider is about finding the intersection of personal desires. My teams are made of absolutely self-serving individuals, who have found that by being connected and helping others they are able to more readily and more powerfully fulfill their personal wants and passions.
Those who we often term as being “selfish” are actually those who are simply not mature enough yet to realize that they would be far more successful by being part of a mutually supportive and collaborative arrangement. I don’t dislike “takers” for moral reasons, I simply think their strategy is ineffective or counter to their aims. Givers gain. There’s no more successful or sustainable strategy.
There are few deep and fulfilling desires that, either through the process of realization or once realized, would not benefit a great many beyond simply the person who disclosed the desire.
If you truly love to teach, those who love to learn will gain by your desire.
If you have always wanted a better widget, and you make it, widget-lovers everywhere will thank you.
The key to your personal happiness and the happiness of others, is to truly get down to the heart of what you want. Don’t get caught at the surface. Money is only as fulfilling as what you buy with it.