One Tool to Teach and Inspire the Next Four Generations…or More
When we started interviewing guests on Uncommon Legacy, we set out to find certain aspects of people’s lives that had the most influence on those around them. Whether it was people who had influenced our guests, or the people they influence, we wanted to see if there was a pattern, a single tool perhaps that was the most effective in reaching the most people.
And we found it. I’ll have to admit, it was a little surprising to me at first, but it really shouldn’t have been. It’s simple, really.
What is it, you ask? What is the one thing we found that had the most influence?
Well, it all stems around one action: writing.
I told you, it seems so simple. So, let me explain.
When asked about someone in their lives that was a mentor to them, many of the influencers we talked with mentioned two groups:
- People who they spent time with, like fathers and teachers, or close friends.
- Authors – books, more specifically
It was an interesting phenomenon because the people we were talking with had never met these authors. In fact, several of the books mentioned were written by authors who had passed away a long time ago. Like C. S. Lewis, Dale Carnegie, and Carrie Judd Montgomery, to name a few. The influencers we spoke with had read their books, and were impacted greatly by them. In fact, many of the people we spoke with have written books of their own. Even though a lot of them speak to crowds regularly as a means to communicate their message, they still write numerous books. They found the power of writing. Just as they were influenced and mentored by the writings of authors, they are now mentoring others the same way.
Here are just a few reasons why writing is such an amazing tool of influence:
- What you write will outlive you…by a lot. Think about the Bible, for instance. Regardless of what you believe about the Bible and its validity, there’s no denying that it has had a profound influence on people. Literally, nearly the entire world has been influenced in some way by the Bible. It’s a book written by authors thousands of years ago, and yet is still just as influential as ever.
- Your writing will reach more people than you ever will without it. Like I mentioned earlier, many of the people we talked with on the podcast have never met the authors of the books that shaped their lives – that mentored The same goes for the books they are writing. They know that those books will reach people that they never could. They understand this: If you want access to more people without trading your time for it, write a book. A book can go just about anywhere in the world, can be read digitally now, and can reach people who may never come anywhere close to you.
- Writing will help you define your own voice and message. Writing forces you to put into words what’s going on in your head. If you’re just starting out writing, you’ll find that this can be difficult. Most of the messages in our brain are subconscious – below the surface. Tapping in to that takes time, and putting that into words takes even more time. Great writers know how to write what we are all thinking but can’t articulate.
- Writing will give validity and authority to the message that you carry. Leaving a legacy that is remembered long after you are gone is not easy. We live in a noisy world, and it’s getting noisier all the time. People are fighting for attention on the noisiest channels (social media, for one). One of the most powerful tools to get your message above the crowd is to write a book. There’s just something that happens when what you have to say is found on pages between bindings. For a long time, we’ve deferred authority and expertise to the person who “wrote the book on it.” We’ve seen it time and again with the guests we talked with. They put their core message on paper, and it has exponentially grown their influence.
Now, you may have a couple of objections to this. Two of the most common are these: “I’m too young to write a book. No one will take it seriously.” In this case I would suggest you check out Creation & Redemption, a powerful book written by 20-year-old (at the time of writing) author, Jared Stump.
Or you might be saying: “I can’t write. I’m just not good at it.” If that’s the case, then go check out Kris Vallotton. If anyone wasn’t qualified to write a book, it was him. But he has several best sellers under his belt and is still writing. In fact, when he first published a book, it inspired many others around him to do the same. At Bethel Church, where he is on staff, there are 26 published authors, including a janitor. You can write a book.
Lastly, you might say, “No one wants to read what I have to write.” This is a common objection that’s usually rooted in something much deeper. I’ll encourage you to start by writing to reach just one person. Yes, write for one person at first. If inspires that one person, it will inspire many. Also remember that J.K. Rowling (whose books have sold over 450 million copies) was rejected by 12 publishers in a row before an eight-year-old helped her book get noticed. There are many, many more stories just like this.
Writing is powerful. It’s a tool that can be used to reach generations to come, even long after you’re gone. Your message is worth sharing with the world. It’s inspiration waiting to happen. Write it down, practice it, share it.
Who knows, you could be the mentor for someone you’ll never meet. That alone is worth it.
P.S. If you have a book inside you, waiting to get out, but need help getting it out there, I encourage you to check out Battle Ground Creative. They are an independent publishing company who can help make your book a reality.