The Impact of Writing Shattered
Putting your blood, sweat, and tears into any project is scary. Especially the ones that are near and dear to our hearts. We can't measure the difference it's going to make, how it will impact others, or even how it will benefit ourselves. We have to just trust the process, do the work and have faith that everything will work out exactly as it's supposed to. But that scary, isn’t it? Living in a world of instant analytics (and same day shipping) makes it even more difficult to let go and wait.
I've already shared with you the story behind why I wrote Shattered, why this project was so important to me, and why it took me 11 years to finally put the book on the shelf. What I haven't shared yet is the impact completing that project has made.
When I first sat down to start writing Shattered, I was terrified. I’m certain this wasn’t unique to me and others experience this when they’re in the process of writing a book, publishing a blog post, or even sharing something on social media. When we put our heart into something and share our deepest feelings with the world, it's scary.
We lay awake at night wondering, “How will others receive this? Will my tone get lost in the text? Will they understand what I meant? Will anyone even read it? Will they care? Will it make a difference?” We won’t find answers to those questions until we do the work and put it out into the world. So what do we do? Do we just sit around wondering “what if” or do we jump into action hoping like heck it's going to work?
It’s time to jump into action, friend!
There were two specific people I wanted this book to impact. One was the individual who had been through a difficult time. Someone who had been down a rough path and wasn't sure what their next step should be (or if they even had a next step). They desired to pick up the pieces but didn’t know where to start. I also wanted this book to be for the people who had loved ones in their life who are going through difficult times. Those who are supporting the people on that struggle. The parents, the brothers, the sisters, the neighbors, the friends, the colleagues, wondering “What can I do to help? What can I say to them?” I wanted the book to help them better understand what their loved ones were thinking as they walked through those difficult times.
That's who I intended to impact with the book.
But I was terrified my story would be too polarizing. I was afraid no one would relate with my story. “Would this book be able to serve them with the messages, teaching points, lessons, and theories? Would it still be able to impact people on a universal level?” That part I didn't know. There was no way for me to know until I took action.
Now that the book is out in the world... now that it’s hit Amazon’s hot new release and Best-Seller lists... Now that I’ve signed more copies than I can count... I am incredibly humbled to say: it's working. Shattered is impacting more lives than I ever expected. When I started speaking and sharing my story almost 12 years ago, all I wanted was to prevent others from repeating my mistake and keep Laura’s memory alive. That was it. That was the mission I was on.
When we set out a mission to achieve a goal or two… there are so many other things that happen while we’re on that journey. We create a ripple effect of impact from our efforts. Our good deeds and hard work impact more lives than we can ever calculate, and it impacts us in ways we never imagined.
I was a 19 year old college freshman and I knew teenagers and college students would be the audience that I could best impact. So that's where I started. But when other places started reaching out asking me to speak, it opened my eyes to the idea that maybe my story was more universal than I realized. Maybe there were other messages within it. Maybe there were other themes and lessons that I could pull out. When I sat down to write Shattered, that's what I focused on.
I asked myself, “What were the key pillars that (regardless of the mistake, the situation or the hardship) each of us experienced when faced with adversity?” Those were the pieces of the puzzle that shaped the book. Now that it’s out and we've received feedback, it is overwhelming to see how it has impacted lives I never thought I would be able to touch.
Regardless of who we are or the great work that we've done, I think we each have a little voice inside that says, “Who am I to do this? What difference can I make?” I don't know about you, friend… but I still hear that voice, today. Granted, that voice has been quieted quite a bit. I've learned to turn down the volume on that voice by adding a second voice to the conversation. That voice says, “Who are you NOT to serve these people? Who are you not to show up and pour into this audience? What if you don't?” To me, that's more important. It's more important for me not to let others down and be there to guide them along the way.
But I can't be there for everyone who is struggling.
I can't show up on strangers doorsteps. I can't answer every phone call or email. But I was able to put something into the world that others can pick up on a difficult day. Shattered is a way for me to be there in the dark times. It’s a way for me to support, encourage, and push those I may never meet to just keep going.
Friends going through divorce, loss of a loved one, fertility struggles, job loss, financial struggles, health problems, and more...This book has been able to leave a positive impact on lives I never imagined we would touch. I never imagined we would receive feedback on how this book served as a light for them, showed them ways to rewrite their hardships, or introduced steps they can take to pick up the pieces.
That feedback has helped me to heal in new ways. Because every person who has picked up that book now knows about Laura. Twelve years ago when I gave that first presentation, all I wanted to do was keep her memory alive and prevent others from repeating my mistake. Laura’s memory is still being kept alive today and she’s helping people pick up the pieces and rebuild.
Her legacy is helping more people than I can ever measure.
We’ve received messages from people who have siblings that made a similar mistake to the one I made. They shared how they gifted the book to their brother or sister when they didn't know what to say or how to help prepare them for incarceration. We’ve received messages from attorneys and bail bondsmen purchasing copies of the book to give to their clients when they didn't know what to say or how to support them. We’ve received messages from teachers using it as a tool in their classrooms to show their students that when life happens, it's not the end of the world. We can do something. We have to do something to keep going. If not for ourselves, for those in our lives.
And that my friend, has made all the difference.
So if you're questioning your message or impact…
If you feel like you're making social media posts, writing blogs, creating videos, sending emails, and you can't measure that impact… Have faith that it’s making a difference. Keep going and know that your ripple effect is so much bigger than you ever imagined.
I want you to focus on the one person you want to impact, the one message that you want to get through to them and just keep sharing it. Share it with one person every day because they're going to turn around and share it with someone else. Twelve years from now, when you look back (like I am right now) you're going to be in awe of the impact that you've made when you drew a line in the sand and decided to keep going.