A letter to myself — a reminder of why I write.

I've been writing for quite a while now, since grade school one might say, because my mother claims I wrote my first poem at 6. She kept copies of the poem apparently and showed it off to the neighborhood.

I vaguely recall the details; but the thought of having other people read my work, and by extension, take a look into my soul was a very uncomfortable feeling.

Though I continued to write many things over the years, I have been very selective about what I choose to put out there for people to see.

Last year I decided to work consciously toward building my own personal brand as I was also afflicted with what can only be described as a “desire to leave a legacy and change the world” and “make an impact” and “insert similar vague goal here”

I figured I'd use this excuse to be brave and put my writing out there.

So I started to write on LinkedIn - an article every month, religious, like clockwork. The initial apprehensions of being seen as a nut job who writes about strange things and has a wacky world view all dissipated very quickly. From writing articles once a month, I graduated to posting something every single day. Something short and cool. Maybe just a quote I like or a 5 liner around my current favourite self improvement topic.

It was all in good fun and it still is. I continue to write and enjoy the process of it.

When I started out, I feared these 3 things

  • Not being able to withstand harsh criticism on my work
  • Having to risk my public image and looking 'vulnerable’
  • Alienating my friends who had never seen this side of me.

To my surprise and delight, none of these things really manifested in the way I thought they would.

In fact, after a while, I was more peeved about these things:

  • Not getting enough likes on the posts or articles
  • Not having a rock solid image or strong personal brand on LinkedIn. I wasn’t ‘leveraging’ fast enough (whatever that means)
  • Worrying about how far along my competition is and how much catching up I’d have to do.

In the short span of a year, I'd gone from awkward writer to someone who I didn't really like a whole lot.

Tying your self esteem to your personal influence or professional success is a terrible way to live.

I'm starting to see what Simon Sinek meant in his hugely popular talk on millennials.

When I first heard Simon speak of this, I shrugged it off saying it didn't apply to me.

I said I wasn't writing for fame or likes. I'd said I was writing because it made me feel alive and I was sharing it because no one else had said what I was feeling in so many words.

Everything begins benignly and moves toward corruption? Is this what I've become?

The best part is I didn't even know I had changed so much. It took a reading of Ryan Holiday's, 'The Ego is the Enemy’ to help me see this in myself.

Today I write this note, simply to remind myself of what my true intentions are when I write. Sure it may not get a million likes or shares but that's not really the goal now is it.

The goal is this:

  • I write to say things that haven’t been said
  • I write to make complex things simple
  • I write to sort out my own thoughts.

I will continue to put my work out there not to earn praise or become popular, but to shine a light on perspectives that haven't been spelt out by mainstream writers.

To learn and get better at creative expression and mostly to just have fun writing.

Author of 'How to be a Lighthouse'. I write for those pursuing excellence and meaning.

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