Today I want to discuss another insight I gleamed from the leadership development program I attended a couple weeks ago. One morning we had a speaker talk to us about the concept of leaving a legacy, and although what he had to say was relevant for a good many aspects of my life, it spoke to me most when I thought about my writing.
He told us that each of us has no control over the beginning point of our lives, and limited control of the end, but it’s that period in between…the dash that represents what happens during your lifetime…that ultimately determines how you will be remembered. I was asked that morning what I wanted to be most remembered for. I thought for a moment, then chuckled before answering, “Honestly, I’d be thrilled to be remembered at all.”
My playful, but honest reply aside, I started seriously considering the question more and more until I became aware of something. But first I need to share a quote I’m fond of so you might understand my realization better.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Maya Angelou
There’s not a single author, playwright or poet who hasn’t been asked at one time or another…why did you become a writer? What I had suddenly grasped was that I started writing again in order to leave a mark. That through my words, my stories and the feelings they elicited, I could do what my introverted personality would never allow me to do, affect people. I would bet my bottom dollar that a great many of you feel the same way. It’s not about the money, or the notoriety, or even scratching an itch. I write and put my thoughts out there, whether it be via this blog or ultimately a published book, because I’ve learned they can touch emotions. Evoking smiles or drawing out a tear, all the while telling an engaging story, is my goal and what I’d like to be remembered for.
For certain, this isn’t the only legacy I hope to leave behind. A family with sound roots and a promising future, friends with nothing but positive memories of me, and maybe even an empty Netflix queue, are just a few. But the possibility that long after I’m dust a book (or two…or three…or…) might be pulled down off a shelf, or downloaded into a e-reader, just waiting to suck that person into my world for a short time, is a powerful motivator.
So, with this post and everything else I’m doing with my writing, I’m living part of my dash. And guess what…now you’re part of that.
Are you living your dash?