Writing my own legacy, one word at a time. Yours?
What do you do when you get up every day? Anything to do with your legacy? I doubt it.
Here’s a short version of your morning: Shower. Drink coffee. Watch TV. Get dressed. Check your calendar. Check your email. Check your social media. Maybe even make a follow-up call (or two), or read a few pages. No legacy there. More like “routine.”
Me? I write something. And while I confess I do not do it every day, over the past 22 years I have written more than 1,100 columns, 12 books, 10 e-books, 4,000 tweets, and recorded more that 300 videos on my YouTube channel.
Numbers? I have more that 3.4 million views and more than 19,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel; my weekly email magazine goes out to more than 350,000 people a week; my Twitter followers number more than 70,000; and I have more than 18,000 LinkedIn connections — all from writing.
Yes, I have enjoyed “reader acceptance” and “reader response” — and that combination has more than helped my legacy grow. But …
Reality: I didn’t start out with 12 books. I started with consistency, and 20 years later, boom!
I started with one idea, one column, one tweet, and went from there.
It’s not a book, it’s a writing project. It’s not my column, it’s a captured idea and my weekly self-discipline. It’s not my tweet, it’s my documented, posted thought that hopefully will get a positive measurement by being re-tweeted more than 50 times.
Over the past eight years, I have grown my social network to a substantial presence — one follower, one reader, one subscriber, one re-tweeter at a time. And I basically did it while you were watching TV. And for the record, that’s not a brag of mine — it’s a wake-up call of yours.
What will your legacy be? Watching news? Watching reruns? Getting drunk on the weekends? Going to parties? Watching SportsCenter?
Insight: Legacy is something you have to be socially aware of and intellectually on top of. It requires both self-discipline and self-sacrifice — without regret. If you wanna be remembered for it, you gotta love it and give it everything you’ve got. And you have to become known for it. And in my case — you gotta write about it.
In today’s world, writing and being published are no longer a mystery. Blog something, tweet something, post on your LinkedIn page, Facebook something, post a video on YouTube, create your own email magazine, post a quote on Instagram and — boom, you are published. Create followers and — boom, you have acceptance and a reputation. Do that for 20 years, and — boom, you have a legacy.
No longer do you have to “submit” your writing and wait for acceptance to be published. You can do it yourself. And in fact, if you do it yourself and submit, the discerning editor will Google you and find everything. Cool, eh?
Start here: Ask yourself these legacy-based questions:
- What do you love to do?
- What are you passionate about?
- Where do you excel?
- Do you have a philosophy about how you live your life?
- What do you want to be remembered for?
- What do you want said at your eulogy?
- What do you want written on your tombstone?
The answers to these questions will uncover legacy potential and create a starting point. Keep in mind, this may be the first time you have ever contemplated your legacy: Explore a little.
Here are a few things you can do to get started:
- Decide “what” you want to be remembered for.
- Write to clarify your thoughts and affirm your intentions.
- Dedicate 15 minutes a day — an apple a day.
- Include some kind of journal or scrapbook to document your progress.
- Talk about your intentions with those closest to you.
- Begin writing and posting.
- Ask people on your list to follow you and contribute their ideas.
- Start now!
Affirm it: I am a writer and a speaker. I am a dad, granddad and friend. I love what I do, and I love life.
Reality: Legacy takes years to create, but achieving it is not a matter of patience. It’s a matter of self-discipline and dedication to your passion, and building your expertise to legacy level. Legacy is not created in a day. It’s created day-by-day.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 books. His “21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling” is available as a book and an online course at gitomerVT.com. For information about training and seminars, visit gitomer.com or email Jeffrey personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.