Provide Real-Life Value

I have a confession to make…

Photo credit: Cat Liu — https://unsplash.com/maundytime

Earlier this week, I wrote about providing value for others. It’s something I truly believe to be important, and I stand by what I wrote.

But I have a confession to make…

…I didn’t really “get it” until yesterday morning.

You see, lately, I’ve started a new habit. I get up around 6 am every day and write before I start getting ready for my workday. It’s been amazing! I love writing, and I’ve realized that I like mornings more than I thought.

I started doing this for a few reasons: 1) I like to write. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t. More than just liking it, writing is my passion. I believe that writing every day will help me grow as a writer by honing my craft. 2) I want to impact people. I don’t say this in a stuck-up way like I’m an expert and everyone else needs what I have. No, of course not! I’m 23 years old. There are lot of people out there who have more expertise than I do. But I’ve heard from friends who have read my writing here, and they have told me that it impacted them. People have said they needed to hear encouragement, or they really valued my perspective.

That’s why I write on Medium. If I just wanted to write every day, I could keep a journal. But this is a special community and platform to share ideas and discuss interesting topics. I love that!

Obviously the value provided to someone who is impacted by my writing is real. I’m not downplaying the significance there at all. I love to hear from people who said that something I wrote impacted them. That’s real!

But, even though it’s real, there’s still a separation there because I’m impacting people through a keyboard and a screen. I’m not there. There are physical interactions all around me each day where I have the opportunity to provide value.

So, back to my confession…

All of that is great, and things have been going well. But I forgot one thing: I need to provide real-life value too. Let me tell you a story about how I came to this realization…

Doing the Dishes

First of all, let me just say that there is one person on this planet who I want to provide value for more than anyone else — my wife, Sarah.

When I got up to write yesterday morning, I noticed more dirty dishes around the sink than normal. I thought, “Huh, there’s a lot of dishes.” Then, I went back to writing. Thankfully, though, that moment of selfishness was followed by a moment of clarity.

I thought, “I could do the dishes.”

So I unloaded the clean dishes from the dishwasher and filled it back up with dirty ones. I cleaned up in the kitchen a bit, and then I went on with my morning routine. My wife didn’t know I had done it. She was still sleeping.

It didn’t take much time out of my schedule. I wasn’t able to write as much, but, instead, I was able to provide real-life value for the person who is most important to me.

I want to make sure I’m always providing value for her.

You all provide so much value to me. I cherish this community on Medium. I hope I’ve been able to provide a small amount of value to you as well. Like I said, I’ve already heard from people who have told me that my writing impacted them. That’s great! That’s why I do it.

Keep doing that yourselves. Don’t stop sharing ideas and inspiration here or on other social media platforms. Tell people about that book you’re reading. Share that podcast you love with someone.

All I’m saying is this: don’t forget to do the dishes for your spouse.

We can’t impact everyone. But we should have a close circle of people that we pour into regularly. My circle begins with my wife, and I don’t want my other pursuits to take away from adding value to her life.

Thanks for listening to my confession, and I hope you’ll continue to provide value for the people in your life.


Aaron Charles is a writer and marketing account executive from Indiana. You can connect with him on Twitter, Medium or Instagram. Aaron and his wife Sarah run a Medium publication called Cooking With Sarah that documents their weekly cooking adventures. If you’d like, you can also leave him a tip to contribute to future writing.

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