How to leave a literary legacy, a professional and personal legacy, by writing a book and thus being of service for generations to come.
August 2014, eWomen International Business Conference, Dallas, TX
There were three of us behind the sales table, standing ready with book pre-order forms and credit card swipers – myself, my client’s daughter (and CEO of the $50 million company my client had founded decades before), and an enthusiastic conference volunteer assisting us. We had no idea what to expect when the many sets of doors to the grand ballroom swung open, but none of us expected what happened next.
June 2022, Zoom
That client, Laura Herring and her daughter, IMPACT Group CEO Lauren Herring and I reconvened on camera, recording an interview for my podcast. We reminisced about the book Laura was pre launching that day back in 2014, No Fear Allowed: A Story of Guts, Perseverance, and Making An Impact. We also talked about Lauren’s two books, Take Control of Your Job Search: 10 Emotions You Must Master to Land the Job and This Side Up: Simple Guide To Your Successful Relocation, as well as both women’s’ experience making a positive impact as authors and business leaders.
(Information & buy links available for all 3 Herring books here!)
Here are some highlights of our conversation to inspire you – from behind the scenes of a family business to the benefits of being a published author and more:
“My book is about the lessons I learned in growing a company with no business experience at all, other than having a private [psychology] practice. But we grew into a company of over 400 employees and Lauren has grown it to 52 countries in over 70 locations worldwide. I am Lauren’s mother and I’m most proud of that achievement in my life.” ~Laura Herring
“I am first and foremost the daughter of Laura Herring and I’m also the CEO of IMPACT Group, a career and leadership development company, where we help people maximize their potential and achieve their career dreams through coaching based on the idea that a happy employee is going to be a productive employee and one that is retained for the long term.” ~Lauren Herring
“My personal mission statement has always been to make a positive difference in the lives I touch.” ~Laura Herring
“I wrote this book because no one helped me, no one sat me down and said, ‘Laura you need to know this, you need to be prepared to handle this, and if a client does this, here are some options you need to look at. My sweet spot for this book became excited, exuberant entrepreneurs trying to grow their companies. My book resonated with them and as a result – it became the number on best seller in ‘women in business’ book the first day it came out!’” ~Laura Herring on the writing of her bestselling book No Fear Allowed.
“We’ve done eight years in a row of women in leadership programs . As a second generation woman owned business, we have found one of our sweet spots in supporting women in leadership initiatives. I’m very passionate about it!” ~Lauren Herring
“My goal in writing my books was more focused on how do I build our brand in the areas where we want to drive growth. We’ve used my books for business development purposes, connecting with executives on these topics, and getting our foot in the door with clients. I use the books as a sales tool to help differentiate our company and showcase the amazing work of our team and the unique value we provide.” ~Lauren Herring
“[Lauren’s book Take Control of Your Job Search] has become a fabulous graduation gift for college graduates! It has made a huge difference in people’s job searches.” ~ (Proud Mama) Laura Herring
A big reason Laura’s keynote event at that women’s business conference was so exciting for those in attendance (as you’ll read about in the conclusion of the 2014 story at the end of this post), was the abundance of stories that she shared. She shared generously, stories from her book as well as bonus stories that did not make the cut. That last part, by the way, is why I advise my authors to save their “cutting room floor” material as they edit.
Book vs. Speech
The stories in Laura’s conference speech acted as irresistible magnets to her book (which would not even be released for 6 months after the conference) for a few reasons:
-The complete book offers context about how the individual stories connect to one another.
-A book reveals specific lessons and takeaways from those stories.
-A book creates a complete, immersive experience – something even the best speech will never fully capture.
Laura said it best herself in our interview: “My point is to underscore the importance of books. You can only speak so frequently as a keynote speaker. A book will send your message out to the world forever. That’s what I love about it.”
Why Write a Book?
What motivates leaders like Laura Herring to write a book and leave a literary legacy?
>To share their triumphs, roadblocks, and missteps so that those who follow behind, know which footsteps to follow in, which ones to avoid, and which ones to reshape based on their own experiences and lessons.
>To reveal and find clarity on the threads of story, purpose, and wisdom that make up one’s life.
>To capture their contributions in a permanent record that will impact lives and careers for generations to come.
>To create a legacy that will outlast them.
Laura isn’t the only one of my authors looking forward to the legacy making chapters of their career, who make the decision to write a book. My client Russell Redenbaugh wrote his memoir Shift the Narrative (currently being turned into a documentary film) to show through his extraordinary life story, that we do not need to live at the mercy of the narratives handed to us. We have the power to shift those narratives and design a life that excites us.
Lauren Herring is joined by many of my authors who are still helming their career ships, writing books to build their brands, careers, and businesses. Lauren and authors like her, leaders in their respective industries, write books to create active legacies for themselves and their businesses, even as those businesses are evolving from day to day.
Dr. Amy Serin wanted to share the results of her extensive research on the real causes of stress.
Black Hawk Pilot and leading Professional Keynote Speaker Elizabeth McCormick penned a book of leadership strategies based on her elite military experience.
And the list goes on.
(Check out this nearly complete list of my client books!)
PS: It’s Fun
Leaving a literary legacy is an honorable and personally fulfilling motivation to write a book, especially a memoir. But if you asked my authors, they would probably give you another reason why they did it too – because being an author is fun! Sure, first you have to develop, write, edit, and publish your book (let me know if you need help with any of that), but once you’ve made it past those stages – you get to be a published author.
You get to jump to the front of the line for speaking engagements, because a book proves you have a complete, in depth message to share with audiences. You get to have book signings where you are the author and people line up for your autograph. You literally have a bank of content to draw from, to draw attention to your brand, business, or career (whichever is applicable to you) – for the rest of your life. How many of your peers, constantly agonizing over their content marketing strategies, would love to be in this position?
Speaking of forever – have I mentioned the long term impact of your book, that often extends well beyond when an author “thinks” people will notice?
“When I showed up at a women in business networking event just last week, about 10 women came running up to me from their tables saying, ‘I read your book, I love your book Laura!!!’” ~Laura Herring, regarding her book that was published 7 years ago.
Why Leave a Legacy?
The big question is, why would someone like you want to write a book, and in doing so, leave a literary legacy?
>You’re like Laura Herring – ready to move onto the next chapter of your life, asking “now what?” How about a new career as a published author, speaker, and literary entrepreneur, creating courses, programs, and other offers around your books?
>You’re like Lauren Herring, still in the thick of your career, actively building your legacy, business, and/or brand, and a powerful way to stand out among your competitors would be by writing a book that stands out – in quality, depth, longevity, and value.
>What is your unique reason for writing a legacy book? What lessons and stories have you gained in your career that would help new arrivals in your industry space? What stamp could you leave on your industry to create future change?
>How could you use your words and insights gained on the job, to help others? And how is this vault of knowledge you’ve built, far too broad and potentially far reaching to be captured in speech after speech, blog after blog, article after article, and media interview after media interview?
About That Day At eWomen Conference in 2014…
Here’s what happened next that day at Laura’s book pre-sales table in Dallas. First we all heard an unmistakable, tremendous swell of applause and cheering from the standing ovation at the end of Laura’s speech.
Laura had fired up the audience so much, with her stories and lessons learned, her IMPACT Group legacy, that everyone wanted to preorder her book No Fear Allowed. Now Lauren and I were laughing giddily, swiping credit cards, cramming cash in the strongbox, and filling out presale forms as fast as we could. Then Laura emerged from the ballroom, and the energy around the table hit a whole new fever pitch. Now, in addition to pre-ordering her book, a line formed to snap a photo with her in front of her giant book banner.
As much as the experience is talked about online, in social media posts, and in blogs like this one, the true breadth of experience of being a published author, and all the opportunities and excitement that come with it, is hard to fully put into words.
Take a moment to put yourself in Laura’s shoes that day, let the feelings of excitement, joy and the pride of helping others wash over you. Ask a published author and they will tell you – it truly is a special experience.
Okay let’s get to it – how can you make this happen?
How To Leave a Literary Legacy
5 steps to prepping your legacy book project:
Step 1: Identify the traits you already possess that translate into being a legacy author. These are characteristics like perseverance in the face of obstacles, long term vision, mentoring and coaching others, persistence over time, a marathon vs. sprint approach, an entrepreneurial spirit, strong work habits, and more. (Like-client-like-coach, incidentally, as my clients and I tend to share these same qualities!)
Step 2: Know your “why” – or for many clients – your whys, plural. Get clear on the reasons you have decided to leave a literary legacy for generations to come. Write down your “whys” in as much detail as possible.
Step 3: Determine what you know and don’t know about the process of writing a book, and not just any book, a legacy book, a book strong enough and high quality enough to stand the test of time. What resources do you need, knowledge, habits, outside professionals, and technology to pull this off?
Step 4: Gather, sort, and label your source material, journal entries, notes, interviews with peers, colleagues and others from over the years, and research.
Step 5: Establish a daily writing habit! I could write a book on this subject but in the meantime, catch my daily podcast for authors focusing on this very topic, Your Daily Writing Habit.
Moving forward from here, will depend on your plan of action. Will you be self publishing, traditional publishing, will you be writing your book without help, or perhaps blueprinting/coaching help only, or maybe with the help of a ghostwriter? If this mere sentence made your eyes roll back in your head, that’s a sign we should set up a chat so I can help you sort out your book writing action plan.
Ready to leave a literary legacy?