122: The Most Important Decision You’ll Make as a Writer

Life is full of choices. Between the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and the words we speak, we make hundreds—if not thousands—of choices every day. But out of all of the choices we make, there’s one important thing you have to decide when it comes to your work.

The Most Important Decision You'll Make as a Writer “The number one most important thing is knowing why you are doing what you are doing.” This statement was made by Derek Sivers at the 2015 World Domination Summit. It cut me right to my heart.

At the time, I was fairly new to working full time as a writer and running a small, yet growing business. I was just starting to see success and make good money, but I was really struggling with the lack of freedom I had.

When it comes to our work, Derek pointed out that we really have to decide is whether we want to pursue money, fame, or freedom. We can end up with one or two of these, and some of us may end up having all three. But here’s the truth: We can’t pursue them all at once.

What you want out of life will determine how you pursue your work. It will help you set goals, define boundaries, and pick priorities that move you in the direction you want to go.

This week on The Portfolio Life, Andy Traub and I share a clip from Derek Sivers' talk at World Domination Summit, and discuss how it helped me to think through my work, and how you can decide what matters most to you.

Every writer and creative person will wrestle with this decision. Listen in as Andy and I share our personal experiences with the choice we made to better understand what path to pursue.

Listen to the podcast

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Show highlights

In this episode, Andy and I discuss:

  • Optimizing your life for what you—not others—want to accomplish.
  • My struggle with identifying the most important thing to me.
  • Why you can’t pursue money, fame, and freedom simultaneously.
  • Being aware of what’s most important to you.
  • Understanding the pros and cons behind our pursuits.

Quotes and takeaways

  • You can have anything you want. But you can’t have everything.
  • More and more money won’t make you happier.
  • Don’t build a company if you don’t want to run a company.


What are you optimizing your life for? What steps do you need to take today? Share in the comments