My message vs. My medium

I have on and off over several months been reading “Personal development for smart people” by Steve Pavlina. It’s a great book, and it contains some profound insights, so if you haven’t read it yet, I recommend you do.

I wanted to share with you something he writes about in the book, and also on his blog, which is about your message vs. your medium. Your message is essentially your life’s purpose where as your medium is the way you (currently) express this message.


What many of us do mistakenly, according to Steve, is that we identify ourselves with our medium rather than our message. We identify ourselves as “programmers”, “doctors” or “sales people”. However, such an identification means that we limit ourselves in the opportunities we seek and the solutions we find – we only look within the limited domain set by our message. Rather, if we’re clear about our message we can be open to find new, better, more enjoyable, effective ways of expressing it.


For me, I had an aha moment regarding my purpose at an AIESEC conference about two years ago. I realized that I wanted to work with stimulating sustainable entrepreneurship to support economic development in the places that needed it most. When I think about this I fill with passion and energy.

However, when I was reading about Pavlina’s discussion of message vs. medium I realized that entrepreneurship, starting businesses, for me was just one medium, albeit one medium that seems to suit me very well. The core of my message (as far as I have discovered it so far) is really that want to create is sustainable prosperity – sustainable not only environmentally but in every aspect – meaning inclusive, adaptable to change, dynamic and growing.

Blogging, starting businesses, stimulating investments, running NGOs, hosting conversation, attending conferences, and so on are all mediums through which I can express this message. This is something that I need to be aware of and choose my mediums differently at different points in time.

What is your medium & message right now?

Read more at Steve Pavlina’s blog, or order his book.

Photos by Martin Le Roy and Sebastiano Pitruzzello (aka gorillaradio).

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