The Intersection of Lifestyle and Meaning

Last week I sent out a brief survey, to make sure I’m doing a good job with the newsletter. Your responses were really helpful, and I learned a few interesting things.

First, you rated the newsletter 4 1/2 stars out of 5 overall. Most of your comments were along the lines of “keep doing what you’re doing!” I feel like we have a solid foundation here and I don’t feel a need to dramatically change things.

One of the suggestions for improvement that came up a handful of times was a request for me to include more editorial voice, more “me” in each newsletter. You’ll notice in this week’s links that I included more of my take on each item than usual.

Lots of you also asked me to get back to making more podcast episodes, which I plan to do soon.

But the biggest opportunity that came out of your responses to the survey lies around clarifying who the newsletter is for, and what it’s about.

I asked what you think about the “lifestyle business” name. Most of you responded that you like it and identify with it. Some even called it perfect or ideal. But a decent number of people also expressed concerns about the term, saying that it’s ambiguous, overused, cheesy, jargoney or hard to explain.

The feedback that concerns me most is the idea that “lifestyle business” as a term is one-sided, that it’s only about the lifestyle, and that it says nothing about the meaning we derive from our work.

I hear you. In fact, in the intro to the podcast I say: “Money isn’t the point. A business should be about lifestyle, impact and meaning. And you can still earn a ridiculous amount of money without sacrificing any of that, but you have to set your priorities, and that, to me, is what a lifestyle business is all about.”

It’s really the intersection of lifestyle and meaning that I’m after.

Traditional business and entrepreneurship is all about the bottom line, the shareholder return, at the expense of both lifestyle and meaning. There’s nothing wrong with money, and I intend to earn a healthy amount of it in my career, but I also know that money alone doesn’t lead to a fulfilling life.

The lifestyle part is very important to me. I love the freedom, flexibility and autonomy I enjoy because of the way I built my business Fizzle. Living in Mexico for three months a year, traveling for weeks or months throughout Europe, spending a workday afternoon on my new boat, these are all amazing privileges, but lifestyle on it’s own falls short just like money does.

The meaning part of this equation is just as important. We need our work to have meaning, to know our work matters, that it’s based on a strong “reason why.”

I’m lucky to have both the lifestyle and meaning parts in my work and life. I absolutely love what I do for a living because I know it’s serving people. I know my work matters, and that feels incredible.

I want the same for you.

So here’s the bottom line: this newsletter is for people who want to support themselves doing something they care about, in a way that lets them live a great life now.The links I share are aimed at helping you do the work it takes to earn a living at the intersection of lifestyle and meaning.

Maybe “lifestyle business” doesn’t describe all of that perfectly. Maybe there isn’t a perfect phrase to explain this point of view. I’ll keep searching for one that does, but until then just know that when I say lifestyle business, this is what I mean.

Earn a living at the intersection of lifestyle and meaning.

That’s my goal for you. Tell me if you agree, just hit reply on the newsletter and let me know what you think.

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Until next time,


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Hi, I’m Corbett Barr. I’ve been writing here since 2009. Join my email list for new articles about supporting yourself doing something you love: