Find Your Niche and Do You
“I believe there’s a calling for all of us. I know that every human being has value and purpose. The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call.” — Oprah Winfrey
When I turned on my computer on the morning of January 4th, I wasn’t expecting to see the news that Ev Williams hit us with in his post entitled, Renewing Medium’s focus. For one thing, it was a shock. More importantly, it was disappointing to see 50 people lose their jobs. If your profession is writing, journalism or content creation, you’re in it for “the love of the game.”
Plain and simple.
This isn’t a money sport or calling rooted in greed. Great writing, no matter the genre, should come from the heart and be pure. As writers, we are shaped by our experiences and we view it as our duty to blend these experiences, along with our imagination, into creating prose that you, the reader, can appreciate.
I cannot speak as well to the business aspects of this decision, as I’m simply too far removed to understand the basic details and nuances. But I will say that I was inspired by Ev Williams’ vision of going against the grain and creating an unconventional platform that is beloved by all. Will he succeed? Time will tell. Since I call Medium home for my writing, I sure hope so.
What I sensed from his post was the belief that he had begun to see the writing on the wall. His decision, while simultaneously a business one, was also quite strategic. With his foray into an online blogging publication, he entered into a world dominated by an ad-driven publishing model and realized that he wanted to change the game. He’s looking to find his niche.
Essentially, what I gleaned from his post is that he wants to do it his way, while ensuring the best writing lives on, regardless of page-clicks and ad-fueled bottom lines.
I’ll admit, it was eye-opening to learn just how much the writing and content game works. Not all that he wrote was new to me. But some of it was. And it’s perspective — always — that matters. Advertising and page-clicks fuel revenue, which is often driven by clickbait headlines, which occasionally dilutes the quality of content.
But I don’t care about ad-fueled content creation. Neither should you. And apparently, neither does Ev Williams. Life is about finding your niche, finding your unique way to share yourself — your voice — with the world. Through love. Through enthusiasm and passion. And with purpose. Find your thing and then crush it.
“It’s our time to make a move. It’s our time to make amends. It’s our time to break the rules. Let’s begin.” — lyrics from “Renegades” by X Ambassadors
My “Why”, which is part of my larger mission statement, lays things out in crystal clear clarity: I want to help others and make a tangible difference in their lives through my writing, speaking and coaching.
So in that context, I gave more thought to online writing. I thought more about the ways that we create, read and distribute content. Frankly, I simply enjoy writing and perfecting my craft. I want to continue to become the best writer I can, while growing and learning more about myself, learning about your journey and seeing how we can help each other along the way.
The cynics may scoff, but I can tell you this: I simply want to deliver valuable information, inspiration and encouragement through my writing. I hope this leads you to accomplishing your goals, defining your values and living a richer, rewarding life with all the beauty of love, happiness and fulfillment that come with it.
There you go, that’s maybe a mawkish Hallmark card to a cynic, but it’s the honest truth from my heart to your smartphone or laptop screen. There’s no other reason for me to want to do what I do other than for a desire to help people. What about you? What’s your desire? What’s your “Why” and how are you trying to get there?
A Story Interlude
When I was in college, I served as the sports director of my school’s NPR-member radio station for three years. It was the defining experience of my college years. This meant that I supervised staff, hosted a sport-talk radio show and best of all, I announced all the big sports games on the radio like football and lacrosse.
My boss in college, Mike, proved to be an incredible mentor and friend. Mike taught me everything I needed to know about radio broadcasting. He showed me the “back-end” of the broadcasting world from the studio. This meant the soundboard, audio mixing and how the games were transmitted over radio and the Internet.
On the broadcasting side, he coached me on how to best provide lead-ins for games, how to let the broadcast breathe, how to keep the listeners engaged to the broadcasts and most importantly, reminded me to always give the “time and score!” While it may seem obvious, to someone only listening and not watching, that individual is relying on the broadcaster for that information.
And then, what did Mike do next? Once the game began, he let me be myself. He enabled me to find myself on the broadcast and be the best broadcaster I could be. This wasn’t just about broadcasting a sports game. It was an education. I was far better suited to learn and find my niche with plenty of latitude and comfort to figure things out and just do it.
He let me sink or swim based on the structure, preparation and training he provided me. No interrupting, no meddling or trying to correct me. Just be me. It was one of the best lessons in confidence and personal discovery I’ve ever learned. Mike taught me how to find my unique way and deliver the best broadcast that I could, in a way that only I would know how — my way.
Up to You
So I leave it up to you to decide how you want to read content on the Internet, how you want to craft your style and do what you love. It’s your choice on how you want to find your call and discover the niche that helps you become an authentic voice and agent for positive change. You always have a choice.
Medium has managed to learn the rules of the game and has done a great job of breaking them by forging a new frontier in online writing. They’ve captured our creative imagination and given us a platform to get to know one another better. We’ve learned more about ourselves and in the process, I hope we’ve been able to decipher, with greater clarity, which direction we want to go with our passions and love.
They’re still looking to find their niche, just as we the writers are, and perhaps, in your own lives, you the reader. I encourage you to find your thing, know your space and get it done. You won’t always have all the answers but that’s OK. It’s more fun that way.
Please be so kind as to share with others and recommend my piece if you enjoyed reading. Also, please consider following me here on Medium! I encourage you to reach out to me and share your thoughts, if you wish. Subscribe to my newsletter via my website and Like my Facebook writer’s page! My book, A Values-Based Approach to Living will be out in Spring 2017. I’m so grateful for all of your support as I live out my journey. I fully support yours. Keep Going!