Want to know part of the secret of success? Put it in writing
by Jeffrey Gitomer
Published: November 28,2005
I’m a writer, not an author. I write my own material. Every word. Many “authors” don’t. It would disappoint you to know who doesn’t write their own stuff.
To me, it’s a matter of pride. Personal pride. Interestingly it’s called, “pride of authorship.” Funny how the word-world works.
Many of you, at some point in your lives, would like to write something of significance. I ask my audiences, “How many of you have said to yourselves, ‘I’d like to write a book.’ Or, ‘Someday I’m going to write a book.’” Tons of hands go up. Eagerly.
I follow that question up with, “Keep your hand up if you have the first chapter written.” Almost all hands go down.
For most, there doesn’t seem to be much will beyond the “want.” Too bad, because writing unleashes a whole new set of awarenesses within you. Here are a few of them:
• Writing provides personal insight.
• Writing clarifies thought.
• Writing fleshes out existing ideas, and generates new ones.
• Writing creates characters and character.
• Writing is a discipline. A self-discipline of the mind.
• Writing forces you to think from the back of your brain. The creative section.
• Writing enhances your creativity.
For the last 14 years I have challenged myself to create new ideas and new thoughts for salespeople and entrepreneurs all over the world. But get a clue. I didn’t do it for you. I did it for me. Pride. Personal pride. Pride of authorship. Get it?
What are you doing for your “self?” What ideas are you developing? What stories or books are you writing that you “have always wanted to,” but somehow television got in the way?
Well, if you have read this far, I have an answer. An answer about how to begin now, create ideas, advance your writing skills, have a sense of pride everyday, and at the end — leave a legacy.
Start a personal journal. Not just a “what happened today” journal. A “what’s happened in life” journal. A collection of your thoughts and experiences. A collection of your ideas and philosophies. A collection of lessons. A “where you are today, based on what happened, or what you learned yesterday.”
Take a look at my body of work. You can view the titles of more than 750 articles on www.gitomer.com. For the past 14 years, I have been writing my personal sales journal in the form of a weekly column.
Wanna know a secret? I don’t just sit down and write a column. I collect ideas. And those ideas turn into columns.
Here’s how to begin your personal journal (and your personal journey):
1. Pick a topic. Title it. And start writing until you have nothing more to say. Don’t think about it, don’t worry about where to start, or what to say — just write. And write as fast as you can.
2. Wanna know the secret of writing? Write like you talk. Write as if you were speaking to someone else, and the story or the idea will just flow.
3. Wanna know the secret of editing? Edit later. Let it sit for a day or two. Re-read it. Wanna know the biggest secret of editing? Read it aloud. If you read it aloud, all edits will be evident.
3.5 Be consistent. Set an imaginary weekly deadline. Never miss it.
NOTE WELL: You’re doing this for yourself. Others may benefit, but you are the one that benefits the most.
And now with the Internet, you have a new choice. Is it a personal journal or a public personal journal?
Many people have taken their personal journal public in the form of an online Weblog, or “blog.” I will be beginning my blog in January 2006. It’s a way for me to communicate to other salespeople about how I conduct my own sales life. It will be a combination of present sales situations and past sales experiences. In effect, it will be a public personal journal.
Here’s the challenge, if you’re interested: Writing leads to self understanding. Writing leads to personal awareness. Writing creates mental clarity. And if you do it right, writing leads to wealth.
“Jeffrey, where do I start?” you ask.
The answer to that question is the best part: Anywhere you want.
“Jeffrey, give me some specifics.”
OK. I’ll give you a few ideas about where to start your personal journal:
• Who are you?
• What do you want to become?
• How are you doing that right now?
• Best thing that ever happened to you.
• First date.
• Family memory.
• What kind of a parent are you?
Your job is to pick one or two and start writing.
In essence, pick a topic, and write a brief essay, just a paragraph or three about your thoughts or remembrances. Try it. I promise you’ll be inspired to continue.
If you doubt the writing process works, keep in mind that you’re reading my thoughts, and I’m not reading yours. You do have me beat in one area, though. You know what’s on TV tonight, and I have no idea.
GitBit: Want more topics to write about? I’ve compiled a list of subjects to get you going. Go to www.gitomer.com — register if you’re a first time visitor — and enter PERSONAL JOURNAL in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail
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