A goal worthy of thanks


I am thankful for many things in my life, but in the context of this blog, one thing stands out.

I get to do work I love every day and get paid for it.

What I love is writing, editing, coaching writers, and helping people in companies to write better.

This year I worked with ten authors, eight of which had never written a book before. Their books were published in 2020, or will be published in 2021 or 2022. Nothing gives me more pleasure than helping an author to spread their ideas in a book and through that, to be successful.

I also gave nine workshops on clear writing — one in person, and all the rest by videoconference. These were also highly rewarding, because I know I’m making an impact on how people communicate, which allows them to get more done, more effectively, with less pain. I made an impact on 150 people this way.

I am extremely thankful for those clients and the people who referred me to them.

And of course, I published 240 blog posts this year (so far).

Every workday, I wake up and recognize how lucky I am to do satisfying work like this and make a living at it.

I’m also lucky that neither the coronavirus crisis nor the weakness in the economy has affected my business. I can do it from anywhere, and “anywhere” is increasingly my desk in my home office.

Work towards this for yourself

You spend more time working than anything else (except maybe sleeping). If that work is not as fulfilling as it might be, then you have something to strive for.

Money, possessions, fame, power . . . none of it is as valuable as getting paid to do satisfying work. The new TV set is cool, so is the boat you might want to buy, but the ability to earn a living at work you enjoy is worth more than all of it.

If this sounds appealing to you, then consider these things:

  • Do you know what work you find most fulfilling? That’s something to be aware of as you work on different things. I started as a mathematician and became a technical writer, software product developer, startup executive, publisher, analyst, speaker, and then author. Through it all, the writing and editing is what I enjoyed most, but it took some introspection to recognize that.
  • Are you good enough to get paid to do it? I love playing the piano, too, but I suck at it. If you want to get paid to do what you love, you need to get so good at it that people will pay a decent price for your work. That means constantly developing that skill and everything associated with it.
  • How are you positioning yourself to do what you love? We are all trained to attempt to rise higher in the corporate hierarchy. This is only worthwhile if what you love is being in charge of a lot of people. If that sounds more like hassle than joy to you, think about what it will take to get into a position and a company that allows you to do more of what you actually like. Then work your network and keep your eyes open to find that opportunity.

Things are tough

I recognize that some of you are not in a position to be pursuing what you love — in this economy, you may be doing well to just survive.

Reach out to your network. We’re here to help you. (I’ll help you myself if I can.)

The other thing I love is helping people succeed. A lot of us enjoy that. Ask for help. And if someone asks you for help — recognize that helping them is not just a good deed. It will feel rewarding to you, too.

Things are going to get better. In the meantime, we need to help each other.

And thanks for being my readers — I appreciate it.

5 responses to “A goal worthy of thanks

  1. Josh,
    I was attracted to your site by the catchy title. I have been educated, and entertained by the blog posts.
    Thank you so much for your ongoing information and support along the way.

    Happy Thanksgiving,
    Karen Trapp

  2. Thank you for being so insightful and rational nearly every damn day. Your tips and missives have helped to make me a better writer and definitely made me a more critical thinker. When you marked your fifth anniversary earlier this year, I realized you started this blog right around the same time my job as an editor came to an end. I’ve done a lot in that time, but I clearly don’t have the same discipline you do to create something new every single day. Something to aspire to, I suppose. So for that, I thank you.

  3. What’s great about today’s nice & positive blog is that on this day last year, you described a Thanksgiving you weren’t expecting, and detailed the negative events that led to it. Hopefully since that time, your father’s health problems have stabilized and he is content, with many more days to look forward to. I wish the same for you and the rest of the family.

  4. I enjoy reading your blogs every day (I’m in the UK), you are a beacon of rationality and common sense in a world full of hysteria and time-wasters. I learned more from you about the US voting system that I ever would have believed I wanted or needed to know, so thank YOU (I think!).

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