This has never happened to me before.
I wrote a story, and as I typed it, I found myself crying through the process. It was one of those powerful events one will never ever forget. It’s not a sad outcome either.
Crying as you write is the next level of writing.
Here’s the Story That Did It
In a few weeks’ time I head back to hospital for cancer motivation.
In 2015 I was surprised with a cancer scare.
Ever since then I have to go back to the hospital every year, take an anesthetic, and hope I wake up and my life continues.
It’s the best career motivation one can have.
It puts everything into perspective.
Cancer motivation helped me understand life.
I don’t waste time.
I try to find the goodness in everybody I meet.
I try to do something small for others through writing.
Yes, people tell me I’m a strange dude.
When you wake up to reality and realize you’re not here for long, everything changes.
Cancer motivation gave me the I-Don’t-Give-Damn approach to my career. It scares some people.
The only goal is to meet as many people as you can and show them unconditional humanity. Or maybe I’m going crazy.
Love people. That’s the truth.
See you on the other side.
It Means You’ve Finally Let Go
I hid for years in a shiny metal BMW bubble of perfection. I was deathly afraid for people to see the weakness that was overtaking my mind.
The scariest thought was this: “What if people find out I have an eating disorder and can’t eat in public?”
See, I couldn’t eat in public. Something was broken. It was an incredibly frustrating problem that no doctor could understand or solve for.
The problem would only happen in public. I’d have to take the doctor to lunch to show them my eating disorder. No doctor had time to do that. And even if they did rise to the challenge there was no guarantee my eating disorder was going to show up for lunch and be seen.
So, I lived with it. I avoided public situations. I took unnecessary sick days when there were team dinners for work. I hid behind perfection. I wore a suit with a red power tie and pretended to be okay.
On the inside, I was fucked.
The story I wrote above made me cry because I realized that scared inner child was no longer scared anymore. If I could write, and share, a deeply personal story about a near-miss with cancer, then clearly something had changed. I had changed.
I had finally let go of my own self-image.
You too can have a moment exactly like this and let go of your avatar that you play the life game with.
Life-changing insight: Everybody is broken. Why not you?
It Means It’s Not About You Anymore
Why was I sharing this deeply personal story?
It wasn’t about the personal brand nonsense. It wasn’t about social media and meaningless follower counts. I shared this story because after six years I realized it’s the one thing I can competently do to be helpful.
A story like this makes your internet inboxes light up like a college bonfire on the beach with your best mates.
One of my closest friends sat with me yesterday at a cafe, post-2020-apocalypse, and said “I haven’t found my calling in life yet. I’m still searching.”
I said back to him, “I had that problem too. Not anymore. Writing stories like this is my calling. I am never going to stop until my last breath.”
That level of certainty changes how you live your life. You basically ignore all the noise. You talk with confidence and conviction. Your shoulders are back. Your posture is dead straight. You stand tall. You have something to say and you’re not afraid to say it.
A story you write, that makes you cry, acts like a giant arrow pointing to what you must pay attention to.
Many of the secrets of your life lie in that moment. Tremendous emotion like this is a sign. It’s a gift you’ve been waiting your entire life to get, that you didn’t think you needed. Pay attention to overwhelming emotion.
Write Something That Makes You Cry
It won’t be an easy story to write. It won’t be like all your other stories. You’ll probably have to write about the very thing you’ve avoided writing up until now. How do you do it?
Don’t focus on what others will think. Focus on what others can gain from a story like this.
Tim Ferriss shared his story of childhood sexual abuse. There was nothing to gain by doing so. If anything, it ruined his perfect productivity entrepreneurship brand, fuelled by the 4-Hour Workweek. He did it anyway. He had everything to lose and nothing to gain.
What got him over the line to share the story was the number of other victims who could heal because they heard his story.
Your story inspires people to take action. It might be silent action nobody ever sees. That’s okay.
Dare yourself to write something you’ll cry the whole way through writing. You will learn a lot about the tremendous power you hold as a writer to inspire everyday people to battle their demons.