How do you live, love and leave your legacy?
Now that’s a great question, isn’t it? A clear question, too. I find the answer isn’t so clear at times and I particularly felt this recently. What happened, you might wonder? Well, another great question. What happened, indeed? Let me take you 20 years back in time…:
I heard the news from my brother in law, Wanda’s husband. He had received a call from the hospital about how the surgery had been ended, and how it had not been successful, as the cancer had returned and nothing could be done for her. A meeting with her surgeon followed. My parents, Wanda’s husband, her parents-in-law and I came to the hospital for this meeting. I was completely and utterly in shock that I wasn’t allowed to see Wanda, at first. Seeing her was reserved for her husband and her parents. That was so hard for me. This was my little sister, at the end of the day, and I wanted to be allowed to instil courage into her, to support her, to let her know I was there for her, no matter what. Later, we had that family meeting with the surgeon, without Wanda. Her prospects were outlined in the vaguest of words. I then posed the question “What are we talking about, here? How much longer has she got? Years? Months? Weeks?” The devastating answer fell… “weeks rather than months.” It was the 22nd of December. The entire hospital was in Christmas spirits, with carols, decorations, Christmas trees, mince pies and all. And my sister would be dying, most likely before the birth of our second child. My parents appeared devastated, my brother in law defeated. And I? I was angry.
This is a passage from my book Ik mis Wanda. It’s currently only available in Dutch, and I published and presented it on the 14th of December 2018, just over a week ago, on the very day my sister would have celebrated her 50th birthday. Why am I sharing this with you? Well, this is where one of my most profound routes of my life’s journey has led me on the path of living, loving and leaving my legacy. And I never clearly saw how this book, which I started writing in 2011, linked to living, loving and leaving my legacy. I felt it was linked. Totally. Yet, I couldn’t connect the dots in a way that I could describe it to others… until 2 months ago.
So, what is the link between a personal book and business content?
The link, oddly enough, is me. I am the connective tissue between all that I do. All that I say, write, publish, believe and think. It is about leaving my legacy. It is about what I wish to express, to share and to offer. It is about who I wish to serve, to support, and to inspire.
It is all about expressing in writing what it is that makes me me, and therefore what implicitly makes you you. All of your journeys, life’s lessons, struggles, victories, frustrations, losses and achievements make up your unique you. This is so very much part of my essence, this very realisation of utter uniqueness. As far as this book goes, it is definitely not a business book, it’s a highly personal book with a personal vision of mine to help adults like me to walk the route from sadness to freedom after the loss of a sibling. However, for me it embodies completely and unreservedly my tagline: Live, Love and Leave your Legacy.
So, how does your personal journey connect to writing business blogs?
What became crystal clear to me in the past two months, is that apart from leaving your legacy, it is equally important to always be writing what you stand for. Whether that’s in business or in personal content. I am no different person in my private life, as a mother, a daughter or a friend to the person I am professionally, as joint-venture partner, or a board member of a foundation, or an expert in the field of content creation. I do have different roles, absolutely, but I always have the same qualities, I have the same flaws and I have the same values, so that’s one part of it.
The other part is the actual writing. Writing in the way that you access the type of writing that is really you. So the way I have written this book is by using the exact same strategies, systems, ideas and by tapping into all of me just as I am using all of that for business and work related online content writing.
It didn’t feel that way at the start, though. I thought this book was so much more challenging for me to write. But was it? In the end, I realised it wasn’t. You know… I thought all the time it was a lot more challenging. I started writing in the beginning of 2011. And I wrote bits consistently in a systemised way for about 3 years, and then a load of sh*t happened in my private life, and I did touch the book for 3 to 4 years. Which is in the book, a timed explanation about the gap. That’s all fine. So, for a long time, until like 3, 4 years ago, I thought it was a very different process. But it wasn’t. None whatsoever. In no way, shape or form at all.
So, what made it look like a different process?
At the time, I thought, because one of my issues was procrastination, which is something I have turned into an art form, I thought that I procrastinated with this book because a. it wasn’t a business book, and b. it was never a priority, and c. it was a sad and emotional topic, and d. whatever… I told myself a zillion reasons why I couldn’t carry on with the book or why I put it aside, and left it, and was procrastinating all the time. In retrospect over the past few years I came to realise that this had nothing to do with it. That procrastination was my gift or survival strategy, and something I have to deal with, and I have been dealing with (still am). So, I now know that the whole thing has been just like it would have been with a business book. It doesn’t matter – it still requires the very same of me, as it would of you, and that is to put it on paper, use the same systems, the same topics. It is closely linked to the fear about showing vulnerability in business. If you want to be vulnerable, you don’t need a sob story to touch on your own vulnerability, that could be very business-like issues that brush on the same things. So, it wasn’t any different, I realised two months ago.
What has been the most painful lesson in writing this book?
Well, the long and short of it is this: it took my sister to die for me to finally feel the need, the urge and the courage to kick my procrastination and put pen to paper, so to speak. That insight cut really deep, I can tell you. And it was a major kick in the backside for me. It has since fuelled my passion to always be prepared to weave my personal lessons into the fabric of writing any content. It is by far the most powerful, authentic and honest way to serve your clients. The very reason I am sharing this here with you, for the world to see, is that it is absolutely necessary to do so, for you, too: you don’t want to leave writing your authentic business content until someone is on the brink of death, or chronically ill, or actually passing away.
So, how do you live, love and leave your legacy?
Do what I do. Weave your personal stories, lessons and insights into any content you are serving your clients. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t doubt. Just write. Your clients deserve it.
I would love to read your comment about how this post resonates with something personal in your life.
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