You must tell your story. For that cause to which you have made a commitment, your perspective is unique; if you do not share it, the world will not have it. You alone employ the life experiences that guide your skills, making your contribution literally priceless to the rest of us.
Your voice is also yours alone. You can and should emulate heroes, learn from masters, and borrow insights to carry them forward into applications. But no one else can mix, fuse, integrate, refine, polish, and present the story the way you will. That makes it your sacred duty.
Jan Phillips, author of The Art of Original Thinking, captures the urgency succinctly, saying, “These are times to bring the inner outward, to engage our souls in every endeavor and express our meaning in the teeming marketplace.”
Bring it out with shock-and-awe evidence and soul-stirring passion. You do not have to be a world-class orator or literary master. Rather, just be clear, concise, organized. You must keep your audience in mind in every paragraph. Do not inflate flimsy material. Make sure your strongest stuff frames your central message. In short, attend to it like a successful business presentation. You are in the business of making your strategic and significant contribution.
But relax about it. This book you will write in 2010 is not your only story. It does not have to (you should not try to) say everything you want to tell everybody. Better that it say one thing honestly and well, with simple truth and open heart. Other angles on your story—fresh perspective on your experience, new voices, breathtaking world changes, personal epiphanies—will enliven your writing along the way. I promise. That’s how it works.
The urgency is real. Your days and resources are numbered. The opportunities are bubbling over right now from the heat of needed change. Use the energy of that urgency (or the energy of your fear or your anger) to get the job done and the story written. “Because everything we do and everything we are is in jeopardy, and because the peril is immediate and unremitting, every person is the right person to act and every moment is the right moment to begin,” said Jonathan Schell.
Phillips adds, “Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, there is always the chance to reveal the inner, to shed that light, to share our warmth with a shivering soul.”
Make your plans for 2010, and make them ambitious. First priority: tell your story.