How to Reinvent Your Failing Message (and Still Teach What You Love)

On a workshop I hosted with the Literati writers two weeks ago, I revealed a secret about my writers’ group that I haven’t shared with you here:

The Literati is a physical manifestation of my Lead Without Followers alternative leadership philosophy: itself, a literal reinvention of my own failing brand, message and business that now provides writers with practical, directly applicable and actionable skills while empowering them to become leaders of change in their lives.

The means” I had been using to communicate a message that I believed in.

The outcome is the Literati, a premium-membership digital community of writers that helps writers learn

As I’ve shared here in the last few weeks, by last summer I began to feel like the message I had been sharing for the prior three years was starting to stagnate: not only was business drying up, but I was also tired of feeling like I was preaching into the wind.

After three years, a message about self-activation, choice and creating change — with, or without followers — was now sounding like a blogger-evangelist trying convince people that of something that was worth listening to.

Of course, the Lead Without Followers philosophy was never about convincing anyone of anything.

To lead without followers was always about living what you believe every day, and allowing the wake of goodness that ripples from your path to do all of the talking for you.

But it’s really tough to live your message if all you’re doing is talking about it.

It became clearer and clearer that I needed to morph my failing message and package it into a practical, applicable, skillset that creates change through some form of creation, itself — creation like writing.

And, viola!

Months later, the Literati now represents the message and ideas of the Lead Without Followers alternative leadership philosophy, in theory and in practice.

But to understand why I’d reinvent that leadership message in such a way, you’d have to first understand something about me.

Writing saved me from depression.

I just didn’t realize it at the time.

When I quit my job in 2009, I was depressed, confused and pretty beat up. I had just abandoned my young career. But I was also only 23 years old. And I was hellbent on turning things around, starting now.

So I took that self-belief and I channeled it into the only thing I knew at the time — writing.

I literally sat down and wrote for days on end.

I wrote sprawling essays and observations, poems and manifestos.

I dug deep through writing to understand the culture and characteristics of Generation-Y. I shifted through confusion to understand what leadership meant to me — and where it was going wrong in this day and age.

What I didn’t understand at the time was that writing, was helping me to redefine everything I saw around me — from who I was to what I believed.

On both a practical and spiritual level, writing came to represent the means for me to completely rewrite my life by literally rewriting how I thought, perceived, felt, understood, believed and dreamed.

That’s the quiet power of writing: it represents the continual choice to “choose yourself” — when you write, you’re believing in your innate ability to sift, sort, organize, delve, explore and understand. When you do that enough, you innately reinforce your own self-belief, and your belief in your purpose, and your belief in your dreams.

In writing as in thinking, what you choose to believe becomes your reality.

Every paragraph, like every thought, represents a choice you make.

And day after day, those choices become indistinguishable from who you are: how you see life, how you see yourself within it and how you live, every single day.

Writing saved me from depression because the simple ability to put pen to paper helped me literally redefine every thought of doubt, sadness and hopelessness into confidence, faith and daring.

In writing, I redefined my thoughts, beliefs about who I was, what the world was all about and the meaning of life, itself. You can do the same too. You can literally reshape your thoughts through writing. And whether or not you’re stuck, feeling depressed or out of options like I was, writing can become a tool for you to facilitate the change you desire in your life.

Writing is the ultimate art of a leader without followers.

Writing literally embodies is the very style of leadership that Lead Without Followers espouses: it is a quiet tool and facilitator of change that is invitational, not oppressive or boistrous, by its very nature; a beautifully unique art form that is less about fanfare. acclaim, followers and wealth than it is about reshaping your beliefs, choices and life — and then living it.

That’s why I believe in writing.

Writing is not just an art form or a method of communication, but itself a tool of giving, a means of deep self-exploration and a facilitator of change on personal, communal and global levels.

As for my old message behind Lead Without Followers, writing has come to be the perfect representation of a tangible, practical, accessible and learnable tool that you can use to embody your inner calling of a leader in your life, every day.

And perhaps best of all, the skill of writing makes us more efficient communicators who can utilize the power of story and emotion to teach what we love: for pleasure, in business, or a beautiful combination of the two.

That’s why I believe in bringing writers together who share these values — and the simple belief that how we live is how we give.

If you’re interested in becoming a part of the Literati, come on and join us today.

Together, we’ll lead the change that you desire in your life.

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P.S. – The Literati’s January membership window closes in 9 days. 21 new writers have joined us in 2013!

P.P.S. – I have a new interview up with the amazingly talented and kind Carolyn Rubenstein is up on her blog, The Ripple Effect.

P.P.S. – I had another interview go live on Hannah Marcotti’s blog last week and she’s generously giving away one three-month membership to the Literati to one reader. Comment on her blog with your favorite quote and why you love it to enter to win!

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