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Money, Passion and the Power of Great Tools

By Tiffany Monhollon

I need a new laptop. Desperately. I don’t even remember how long it’s been since I got this one, I only know it warms up slowly, crashes easily, and has a keyboard that makes me cringe to consider using it for a considerable amount of time.

The Problem with Bad Tools

My husband has an amazing Mac for his design work. It was spendy, but worth it, because it’s pretty much his favorite toy. How cool is that, that his favorite toy is something he uses for his work? I drip with jealousy, and it’s visible. Can’t you hear it?

I walk into his office sometimes and see him sitting there at his purposefully strewn desk; it’s like I walked in on him chatting with a best friend, with him penciling away on a page while connected to Kevin Rose smiling his way through this week’s Diggnation, or taking a break to play Age of Conan and chat live with his best friend who lives in North Carolina. He’d spend all day, every day there, if he got paid to. Actually, if we could afford it, he’d do it for free.

Then sometimes I walk into my “office” to see it strewn with still unsorted boxes, detritus from the wedding, piles of cards all waiting to be responded to with a thank-you-note that’s still unordered, and I feel miserable. Unmomtivated, unmoved, silly. Trapped.

I grab my laptop, go to my bedroom, hop up on my bed, and sit it on my lap while it crawls through the heating up process – this equally describes how slowly it turns on and how hot it gets while running. Very hot. I worry about my reproductive system, hope I’m not frying my future children away with it sitting there on my lap, and stare at the small screen, thinking, write something, anything, quickly, before another week passes. It’s worth it, really, just force yourself through this.

Passion Can’t Always Overcome Bad Tools

My problem’s not with the writing. It’s that I have a love-hate relationship with the machine. All the first steps to start both my beloved blogs began on this laptop. Looking back now, I don’t know how I did it – well, I do, but I’m embarrassed to say it, because the passion was so raw, I didn’t care that the technology I was using made my foraging through the unknown process of building a blog the physical equivalent to chopping my way through unchartered rainforest with a butterknife.

When it was new, the passion got me past the hurdles, past the technological challenges I face as soon as I leave my office for the day to take on the unpaid job this blog in reality is.

Seeing Forward, Looking Back

A year later, the passion is not gone, just different. My priorities shifted, my outlook matured. This blog is not my everything, my only hope at making meaning in the world; I’m not sure if saying this means that it ever was my everything, my only hope, but maybe just that I thought it could be.

Don’t get me wrong: it has changed my life. I am passionate about that. And even more passionate about the relationship-building power that it unfolds now that I’ve experienced its raw power. So now this blog is not merely a thing unto itself, but it’s a conduit to experiences that are opening up my world, and what is Personal PR if not that?

For example, this week, I had coffee with Penelope Trunk when she was here to speak at a banker’s convention. We talked easily, with no agenda, about things like our thoughts on Twitter and her farmer friend and how much our brains seem to work alike. Crazy, huh? Part of me thinks so, but in many ways, it feels no crazier than when she posted her first comment on my blog a year ago. Where I was at, I felt my world open up, a new relationship begin. It was interesting, appealing, and surreal, in a way, but also comfortable, memorable, good.

This makes me think about other opportunities blogging has given me, or at least, helped me find for myself – to be a columnist for a quickly-growing magazine; to have been quoted in the NY Times and U.S. News and World Report; to know people like Penelope and Anita and J.T. and Rebecca and Sam and so many more on a real, first-name basis; to be the youngest woman awarded the Achiever’s Under 40 in my state this year; to write, and have people participate in, conversations I’m passionate about.

Good Tools are Worth the Investment

Thinking about all this, it becomes so clear to me, - that my blogging journey is the definition of the subject I’m dedicated to writing and speaking about, and how cool is that? It’s exactly why I’m passionate about about blogging and about Personal PR, because I can talk myself blue in the face about them both and write 1,000-word blog posts about them, any day of the week. So now I feel silly that I don’t want to invest the money in a new tool that will help me harness that passion better.

So, here’s what I am thinking now. Money is a funny thing: It doesn’t get us things that make us happy, because really, things don’t make us happy. But maybe, what it does, sometimes, when we use it right, is gets us things that we can use to get us experiences and relationships that can help make us happy.

Sort of like blogging, actually. Sometimes, it’s worth it to invest whatever it takes – money, time, thought, effort.

Because when you use it right, it can take you to a place where you wake up one day and realize you’re exactly where you want to be, or on your way to places you’d never expected before.

By Tiffany Monhollon | June 6, 2008

Topics: Blogging, Communicating, Personal PR, Productivity, Relationships |

8 Responses to “Money, Passion and the Power of Great Tools”

  1. Robert Wilson Says:
    June 7th, 2008 at 2:25 am

    I couldn’t agree more.

  2. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    June 7th, 2008 at 2:31 am

    Thanks, babe. Time to go shopping, eh?

  3. Anita Bruzzese Says:
    June 7th, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    I am going to have to buy a new computer because my current one won’t support the voice recognition system that I must now use, under doctor’s orders. (Who knew using a computer was so bad for elbow tendons??) But, even though I dread spending the money, I know it will pay off because I will be able to work better, smarter…and oh, yeah…pain free. And, all those things will make me a much happier girl…and that’s always a good thing! Money can’t always buy happiness, but it sure helps smooth the rode sometimes.
    And, by the way, it’s been a great pleasure getting to know you through the blogosphere as well!

  4. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    June 8th, 2008 at 8:55 am

    @ Anita - It is amazing what a happy mindset can do for your work, isn’t it? Sorry about the elbow tendons… I fear a similar fate myself one day, if my work won’t invest in better chairs and desk systems particularly!

  5. Rachel Says:
    June 8th, 2008 at 9:12 am

    I feel exactly the same about my laptop. It’s old and very hot and takes forever to start. My husband got a new one this year and I’m so jealous. I’m planning to buy one next year and until then this one is driving me nuts. Thanks for this post! It was really enjoyable to read.

  6. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    June 8th, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    @ Rachel, Glad to know I’m not alone! I’m lucky that my husband is actually the one who brought this idea up to me. Then, we he read this post, he was like, well I guess we’re going shopping this weekend!

  7. Kate Torrens Says:
    June 12th, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    The post is great indeed. I agree with all your statements and happy to read this post. Thank you so much

  8. Cat Says:
    July 1st, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Thank you so much.