Stories found. Doors opened.
So, I wrote a book. I know… you might say big deal, lots of us have written books. But this one has taken others to places they’d never visited. It also opened a wide door for me. The subject? A very big, tough-to-grapple-with subject: Legacy. And it’s not about giving away a bunch of money or being dead. It’s more than that.
After five years of research and talking to lots of people, I wanted to take the heavy patina of death and money OFF the idea of Legacy. I wanted to make Legacy-creation fun, enjoyable and about Now!
So, I wrote Legacies Aren’t Just for Dead People. It came out pretty well, with nice reviews from folks like AARP, Rotary International, Readers Digest, Make-A-Wish International, and others on Amazon.
The book shows how to write Legacy stories, yours and ‘theirs’. It also lays out how to create hundreds of new Legacies, tiny (a neighbourhood garden) to large (an international charity), by using your values, talents, skills and resources. The benefits? You’ll be more connected to other people; life will have more meaning and purpose; and, say all the positive psychologists – you’ll be happier!
As you may know, you’ve got to work pretty hard to sell a self-published book, even when it gets great reviews. I don’t have a heavy-hitter New York publicist ringing the bell. Instead I’ve been working the media and doing speaking gigs and presentations to hospital and community foundations, corporations, service clubs etc.
And then something odd happened. A professor who had read the book called from a large university and said ‘Let’s turn this into a ten week workshop!’
Yowza – never thought of that.
Well, it happened. And the other day we just finished the ten week workshop, which, btw, sold out immediately. Yes, there’s a hunger out there to tell ‘my’ story. In this class I helped my ‘students’ (55 yrs. +) find, craft, write and produce their own Legacy stories. Each story-teller turned their tale into a five to eight minute video. We learned of grandparents and parents. Of suicide attempts and eventual happiness. Of building airplanes to take to war. Of learning and performing the dances of each country we lived in. Of mountain climbing with grandpa. Of growing up with a camera always close by.
We called them ‘Legacy stories’ for these reasons: the family alive today will learn stories they never knew; ancestors a hundred years from now will learn the same stories, thanks to digital technology; families will be more connected because… well, that blood flows in me too.
I was brought to tears too when they cried after showing their story to the class. They learned they had a story to tell. Well, no, not one story. They now know they have hundreds of stories to tell. And when we said goodbye, they all had begun story #2 to tell in print or video or audio.
The university wants me to make all these ideas and skills available in a self-directed, online webinar. This means more people telling more of their own stories, or of the Legacies they will, or have, built.
The smiles (and tear stains) on the faces of my ‘students’ were heartwarming. They discovered they DO have stories to tell. They DO have the ability to create Legacies that will make life much more… fun!
They walked out of class wearing something new. Let’s call it a Legacy Smile.
Read the first chapter of ‘Legacies aren’t just for dead people!’ HERE
Robb Lucy was a journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation before forming his media production company. He spent 25 years with the Make-A-Wish Foundation on local, national and international boards, and continues to help develop non-profits in literacy, sports history and cancer awareness. You can contact Robb at: rlucy at yourlegacysmile dawt cawm.