When Your Heart Says to Leave a Legacy
Updated: Nov 7
I believe we are all given an extraordinary life. We all have stories - some are amazing, and some are unfolding into amazing. What are you doing with yours? How are you going to fulfill the measure of your creation?
A great question to ask is, “what legacy am I leaving behind?” Are you sharing the story your heart is telling you to share?
Finding your North Star
We all have beautiful stories that represent our rises and falls. The struggles and the triumphs often help us find our North Star to stay on point. It helps us achieve higher levels of success - whatever that looks like to you - and can inspire others.
What I have discovered through the years is that people are too often being led astray by their own negative stories - and you can see the results. But when you recognize that you can create a beautiful and incredible life within your economic situation, politics, body, or self, you start telling yourself a different story, psychologically and energetically. Things really start to shift.
Writing is a dynamically beautiful, healing, and empowering process, even when you struggle to find your North Star. My advice is to start writing, right now, to start healing your soul.
Books and Stories Have the Power to Change the World
There are 3 steps to change the world with your story:
You’ve got to believe in it.
You’ve got to write as though you believe it.
It’s about telling the truth but also about telling an epic story in all its glorious truth in a raw, real, vulnerable, and transformational way.
I was always an avid reader. I was always interested in stories. I started reading at age 3; by the time I was in 3rd grade, I’d read everything in our home library, the BookMobile, and the school library. I was intrigued by amazing stories and social causes. They had an indelible impression on me as a kid.
Then, when I had the opportunity to start writing stories, this created an incredible foundation. I worked with gang kids in Denver during what was called “the Summer of Violence”. Teachers and innocent neighborhood kids were being murdered. Gang kids had a “blood-in, blood-out” mentality. They were taught to spill blood to get in and didn’t get out unless they died. For the kids choosing to make change, I had an incredible opportunity to explore their stories and help them see what their own stories were telling them. Some of those kids became extraordinary leaders, got out of gangs, refused to do the dirty work, and became influential to their adult family members in gangs. It was incredibly inspiring!
When we moved to another state, I wanted to bring some of that openness that I felt in Denver. I started working on a fictional novel. Even though I dreamed about it and wrote it like a fiction novel, the hero of my story was real: former skinhead TJ Leyden, who had been a huge recruiter for one of the biggest white supremacy gangs in the nation but had changed his stripes after becoming a dad. His cold heart melted.
TJ realized he wasn’t a racist–far from. He’d gotten involved in gangs because of the stories foisted upon him from his father, his culture, and his own lack of confidence. Now he was telling a different story – one of hope and healing, one that helped kids get out of gangs. TJ and I joined forces and co-authored a book that is still changing and saving lives.
That book started me on my path. While I wrote more extreme stories, they were incredibly transformative: Shattered Silence with Melissa Moore, The Witness Wore Red with Rebecca Musser, and Divine Turbulence with Gary Lee Price.
Every year, I select a couple of really influential projects that I know have the power to turn the status quo on its head–in really positive ways: exposing corruption, and highlighting unorthodox solutions to solve big problems.
Books and stories can change the world because I’ve seen it happen! I get to work with extraordinary authors every day. They come from various backgrounds and walks of life. I see again and again their journey being put on paper and really changing people’s lives. They each have an extraordinary story…and now they know it. Now that they’ve found their North Star, they’re willing to share.
And they are changing the world with their courage.
You Have the Ability To Write
What stops most people from writing is simply not knowing how. They want to write a bestselling book that will truly touch the hearts and minds of readers, but they don’t know how to put all of that living passion on the page!
This is why I host Inspired Writer’s Retreats, always in the mountains or somewhere beautiful in nature. We go through a deep dive process, asking questions and working on solutions that even people who have been writing for ten years didn’t know to ask. We have experiential exercises that add robust, juicy richness to your writing that you’ll never forget–because it’s not something you can learn in a classroom.
If you remain stuck, you’ll never reach people. Therefore we help folks overcome the 3 greatest fears that keep too many writers stuck:
Fear of raw and real visibility
Confusion as to how much or how little to include and how to effectively organize it
Believing that your story doesn’t matter: Imposter Syndrome
You never know how long you have on this planet. Don't allow fear to dictate your output.
I love to coach and mentor authors and speakers to recognize, “Wow, I DO have a story that’s worth telling and worth telling well!” If you’re going to filet yourself like a fish out on paper, you might as well make it a legacy. It might as well be something that is still transforming lives 50 years from now! GMA