When I was a kid, I wanted to become an entrepreneur, engineer, and an inventor. And I have been passionately pursuing that dream since my teenage days. What I did not realize then is how much personal gratification I would get from writing.
I regularly write articles, blogs, and papers on Sunday mornings. I also write work status updates every couple of days and try to outline a new book idea every summer.
For me, writing is one of those happy discoveries that has helped me to connect better with my purpose, my world, and myself.
A decade ago, when I started writing, I was motivated by my businesses to build thought leadership brands. But over the years, as I got deeper and deeper into writing, the greatest satisfaction came from writing for myself, from my heart. Anne Frank once said, "I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn."
I am no Anne Frank, but I can certainly relate to her sentiments. Writing is a way to find inspiration for yourself and others. Just like you don't have to be a chef to cook for yourself, you don't have to be a professional writer to get the benefits of writing.
Allow me to share some of the things writing has done for me:
1. It cultivates your authentic self.
To be authentic you have to understand who you are, what you want to be, and how you want to fit in the world.
When you write for yourself, it can propel you to explore your inner self -- your journey, your struggles, your inspirations, and your purpose.
As you let your words flow out of your head and heart (unedited), it can take you to those places where you can boldly ask:
- Why you are on the path that you are on?
- Is this what you want?
- Do you like where you are going?
Unhappiness often comes from not being mindful of your true calling. Through writing it's easier to explore who you are and where you want to take your journey next. It's a way to revisit the past, connect with the present, and draw a map for the future.
2. It reaffirms your intentions.
Destiny results from "intention" -- our spiritual will; something that drives us to do what seems impossible. Intention nurtures us with hope in our darkest moments, enables us to dream of better days, and resides in a place where we are destined to find our fulfillment. We need to intend to "go somewhere" and make a difference.
Thinking positively and using affirmations are certainly helpful in our quest to manifest our desires. Writing allows us to consciously put these positive reaffirmations on paper to visualize our destiny. The ability to visualize our dreams creates a mindset that makes our ambitions possible. Understanding exactly what we want is the foundation for our success.
3. It inspires and influences others.
Successful people are able to inspire and influence others. Inspiration cannot happen without clear communication. Others have to see you as an authentic person.
The best and brightest will be toppled if they can't inspire others. It takes a dynamic person with a positive, honest, forward-looking attitude to inspire and influence the people involved in building and growing enterprises and communities.
When you regularly write from your heart, it not only enhances your communication skills, it allows you to connect with your audience on an emotional level. This is useful in daily communications such as email and social media and can ultimately improve your verbal communications with honesty, humility, and clarity. After all, our message is our personal brand.
4. It reduces your stress.
Life by definition, sooner or later invokes pain, suffering, and disappointments. Accepting and growing through our pain is part of our personal growth. This is anything but easy. Like any other skill, learning to suffer well requires conscious practice and learning.
I have found writing is therapeutic for coping with my adversities. It allows me to turn my anger, fear, and disappointments into inspiration for myself and my readers. It serves as stress relief when you try to turn negative into positive by finally expressing what you feel down deep inside. It helps me to:
- Live in the moment
- Learn from the bad times
- Keep an eye on the bigger picture
It has made me calm, collective, and resilient.
5. It creates discipline.
Mastering an authentic craft comes from uncompromising daily practice. Developing the discipline to practice the same thing over and over again requires ritualistic hard work. Observe a musician, athlete, or better yet a Japanese Zen monk who recreates his sand garden every morning. Rituals teach us to be disciplined, deliberate, and meditative. Create rituals for daily life that provide a path to practice mastery with positive energy.
In order to write each week, I am forced to read a great deal. Learn, unlearn, and relearn. This forces me to:
- Turn off the noise
- Exercise both my analytical and creative side
- Constantly have a beginner's mind
Writing has allowed me to find myself when I found myself looking for answers. But most importantly, like Anne Frank, it allows me to build courage consistently to pursue my dream. I hope you will take the time to find your voice using your writing as your guide post.
Serial entrepreneur and author Faisal Hoque is the founder of SHADOKA and other companies. Shadoka Enables Entrepreneurship, Growth, and Social Impact. His newest book is "Everything Connects: How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation and Sustainability" (McGraw Hill, Spring 2014). Copyright (c) 2014 by Faisal Hoque. All rights reserved. Follow him on Twitter @faisal_hoque.