The New Story of You should have a purpose beyond just money.

Story of you with beer

We all have to make money to pay the bills.

But when you work just for the money, and no other reason, your life can become a little thin and unsatisfying.

To illustrate this point, let me share a story from my own life.

About 20 years ago I was a decade into my career as a copywriter and doing very well. But I wasn’t that happy about my work.

One evening I was having a few beers with a friend of mine, Mike. He was a friend first and foremost, but he was also a client. He was a small business owner and I had done a copywriting job for him a few month before.

After a few beers I told him I was feeling kind of crappy about my work.

More or less, here’s what I said…

“Mike, sometimes it feels like I’m just a BS artist. As a copywriter it feels like I’m just spouting nonsense to make people buy stuff they don’t really want. When I get to my deathbed and look back at my life, it’s going to be, like, “Yah, I spent my life as a champion BS writer!””

Yes, I was staring into my beer, feeling sorry for myself and being one of those people who get more and more miserable after each new drink.

Mike saw things a little differently. Largely because the job I had done for him a few months earlier had made a huge difference to his fledgling business.

Here, more or less, is how he replied.

“Nick, don’t be ridiculous. And stop whining into your beer. That copywriting work you did for me? It turned my business around. You know that. And I had to hire three more people to meet the demand. So at the very least you created three new jobs for people who wanted and needed them.”

Interesting, right?

Two totally different interpretations of the same thing.

I thought I was just making money by writing BS.

Mike pointed out that I was actually supporting small business and creating new jobs.

That was a huge moment for me. By reframing the impact of my work, Mike provided me with the fuel to jump back into my career with a renewed sense of purpose.

This is what I mean when I talk about “The New Story of You”.

It’s about finding and letting go the negative stories – like me feeling I was a BS writer.

It’s about finding a new and more positive narrative – like me becoming a supporter of young companies and the creator of new jobs.

When you can rewrite your story like that, it changes everything. It gives renewed purpose to your work. It makes you feel good about what you do.

And yes, the money follows. Because when you’re driven by a meaningful purpose, you end up doing better work for which companies will pay you higher fees.

The amazing thing is, anyone can do the same.

Sometimes you can achieve this own your own, with a little deep introspection.

More often, you need the help of an outsider, like I got from my friend.

Or you can work with a coach to find this new story of yourself and your future.

One way or another, give this some serious thought. It could make a huge difference to your life.

NOTE: If you’d like some help or guidance in writing a better story for yourself, check out my new one-on-one coaching program for freelancers… “The New Story of You”


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4 thoughts on “The New Story of You should have a purpose beyond just money.”

  1. Last month I attended a Women’s Leadership Conference. One of the speakers said, “Don’t be afraid to try. You never know who you will help.”

  2. Interesting! I guess we have a habit of just seeing our side of it and never realizing the impact on others. Writing for my Lions club and yet I feel I have created a fantastic website for them, but I had wondered if it was all in vain. Last Saturday my husband and I were awarded Lion of the year for our club. I am sure most of it was for the time we have been building them a website. When I finally can launch my websites with purpose I will remember this post to justify who I am and why others can benefit. We never know how much difference we make in others lives. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Mary… Exactly. It’s so easy to overlook the impact we have on others. But when we pay attention, that impact can become a huge motivator!

  3. Thank you so much, Nick! And thank you for such amazing insight. I have been interested in copywriting for the past few years. I am finally ready to make a go of it. But the whole prospect of “selling” turned me off and held me back from getting started. Deep down, I kept thinking of copywriting as selling stuff to people and persuading them to buy things they might not necessarily need. After reading this post, my whole perspective has changed. Now just knowing that I would be helping businesses grow AND creating new new jobs is so exciting. As a nurse for the past 25 years, I am a natural at helping people. So in focusing on the helping aspect of copywriting, rather than selling, I feel like I can move forward with confidence, and I must say, a clear conscience.


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