Have you have done what others thought unlikely, improbable or even impossible. Have you surprised people by doing what they never thought you could do? Have you even done things that surprised yourself?
If you have, you need to write your book. Why? Because you can continue to do the impossible for generations to come. Why limit your influence?
If you want to help others do what no one thought they could do, writing a book is a great way to expand your influence and make the world better on a much bigger scale than you thought possible. But don’t just write any book, write a great book.
Great leaders write their own book. It is no ordinary book but rather one that rises above the fray and does what many would not expect.
It is no self-important book that expands their ego, touts their triumphs or embellishes their efforts. Nope. Instead, it is a humble book that generously gives credit to those who collaborated, challenged and created. They tell their story and put it in writing for others to read. It is a book about someone who did the impossible and believes the message is more important than the messenger.
Does that sound crazy? It does go against the grain of a world filled with celebrities. To do the impossible, we first transform our thinking about the story we live and tell.
Let’s start at the beginning. What have you done that others didn’t expect? What have you done that others did not think could have been done? What have you done that has changed the world around you?
Whatever you have done is worth talking about. In fact, that is the story people want to hear.
The accomplishment is great but the reality is that your incredible accomplishments will be forgotten within 20 years of your retirement or death. ‘sorry, that is simply the truth. Think back, how many stories do you remember from people in your community that died before you were born? Not many, right? But how many stories do you remember from books you have read? They might have been sports stars or celebrities, local heroes or national figures. They might even have been family members who left a diary or even a single newspaper article. The point is that if your story is in writing there is a far great chance that others will learn from it. Failing to write your book is begging to forget your story. Isn’t that a waste? Wouldn’t you like to continue doing the impossible long after you have finished living?
We learn and remember much from stories we read. Oral histories are great but too often important aspects are confused or lost to antiquity. Consider writing a book that captures your story of doing what many thought could never be done. Share the message that motivated you.
Writing the humble legacy does what is otherwise impossible – it lengthens our influence.
- Where once our voice was trapped within our tiny community – now it amplified across the country.
- Where once our voice was limited to the present – now it is a landmark for the future.
- Where once our ideas and accomplishments inspired a few – now they can influence many.
But to write this type of book, we much solve three significant problems.
Problem #1: Be humble in doing the impossible. That humbleness can be a real problem. Why? Those brash enough to defy convention are often the ones who do what others thought impossible. Zigging when others zagging takes breaking out of the ordinary and when we do that, we often get a bit prideful and even arrogant. While that action does take some brazenness, we again do what many think impossible when we go further, mixing effectiveness with a strong dose of humility.
Followers resist even hate arrogant leaders while they love humble leaders who foster a spirit of collaboration, gracious compliments and generous gratitude. They (actually we) know you did not do it yourself but with the team so give credit where credit is due. Failing to share the glory is a great way to tell a lousy story – in life and in a book.
Unfortunately, it is the egotistical who too quickly rush to write their books. They brag of their accomplishments and even squelch the influence of those who help them. They think by expanding their ego they erect their statue for all to see. However, those are not the books of lasting legacy, the ones who foster what is best in our communities, culture or country. No, we don’t benefit most from the inflated tales of the self-important.
That is why the egotistical are not great leaders – and why we don’t need to read about them. They may have done great things, but they are not great people. We are turned off by arrogance and refrain from listening to stories of how someone thinks they are better than us.
Solve the first problem by being a humble leader who does the impossible and graciously shares the credit.
Problem #2: The humble shy away from writing their story, fearing they will be considered brash, conceited or inconsiderate. That is not how they want to be remembered so they don’t write their story – and they limit their influence.
You might be one of those who don’t think your story is important enough to write. It isn’t worth the time because you don’t think you have done anything incredible and, even if you did, few would read it. You might even think that writing the story will expose hidden human flaws that you would rather keep hidden. Or you might even think it is not worth writing your story unless it will make a million dollars. If this is what you are thinking, I invite you to see it another way.
By writing your book you are sharing your message, the focus of your life that is much larger than who you are. You don’t have to write and should not write a personality driven book. Instead, you are wise to write about your message – that driving force behind your accomplishments. The book really isn’t about you but about that all important message and how it has made the difference in the community or industry.
Change your focus and you will see the benefits. Writing the book solves the problem of sharing your message beyond where and when you have lived. Isn’t that what you really want? To share your message longer and further than you ever thought possible?
Solve the second problem by shifting the focus to your message and away from you as the messenger.
Problem #3: By not writing their book, readers are limited to the stories of the self-important. They are written to promote their own brand or to make a million dollars. They are written to shade the truth or deprive others of their dollars. They are also written for instant gratification with no concern for the lasting implications. The world needs and deserve more. We need to read stories of meaning not methods of marketing to make millions.
Instead, followers, observers seek and readers demand good books about great leaders. If great leaders do not write these books, no one else can. The self-important are incapable of writing these books. So what are good readers going to read? Sure there are a few good books but we need more. We need more books about those whose message is bigger than their personality. We need more books about those great people doing great things. We need to read your book.
Whenever we read about those doing the impossible, we are inspired to do it ourselves. But if we rarely hear those stories, we rarely say, “I wonder what would happen if I . . .?” We need more stories of those who have done the impossible with the right spirit. We need to read more about their lives and how they approached life. We want more of their spirit so we too can take the next big and bold step to do what others thought impossible. In writing your book, you are helping to not only fill this void but to build leaders of tomorrow that have that same spirit. By writing your book, you are sharing your message without cluttering it with ego.
Imagine a world inspired by that message. Imagine your community with even one or two more who live by that message. Imagine the youth of tomorrow becoming the great leaders who continue seizing seemingly impossible opportunities.
So don’t hoard your thoughts because you think they are not important. Don’t deprive the reader for your sense of modesty. Write your book.
We can solve the third problem by sharing our story to make the world better. It is the message that counts – not our personality.
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Do the Impossible
When will you start writing your book?
What questions do you have about writing your humble legacy?
I am Dr. Loren Murfield, “the Opportunity Professor” and proud author of Humble Homesteaders that chronicled my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who left a legacy of integrity. I am a professional speaker who has authored 10 other books and enjoy helping a very small number of clients write their books that will make the world better.
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