Ten year ago, I published my book, Six Simple Rules for a Better Life. It’s been an eventful decade for me in many ways, and the book has been a very nice part of it.
While the book didn’t become a bestseller (and I didn’t expect it would), it sold quite a few copies, and the reviews on Amazon are stellar.
When I published the book, my friend (who designed my web site and helped me put the book together) told me I needed to start blogging. I had heard of blogging, but I didn’t really know what it was. (In case you don’t know, the word “blog” is short for web log, as in the World Wide Web – and log).
Having just published a book – in particular a book where I shared all my best personal development ideas, mixed with memoir-like examples – I didn’t think I had anything left to write.
Apparently, I did.
I posted weekly for over seven years, and every two weeks since then. That adds up to over 400 blog posts.
Before I published the book, I told very few people I was working on it. When the book was about to come out, I remember sitting at lunch with a client. I told him about the book and he asked if I was planning on speaking engagements. I said I was hoping to, but hadn’t figured out how I was going to go about it.
“As you know,” he said, “we regularly have lunch-and-learn sessions for our team. When you’re ready to speak, let me know. Based on what you said about your book, it will be a nice change of pace from our usual, technical subjects.”
I told him I would.
Later that afternoon, back in my office, I read an email from him. “Here are some dates for you to speak for our lunch-and-learn program. Let me know what will work for you.”
Nothing like a deadline to help you get focused! I committed to one of the dates and began to prepare to speak. Over the following weeks, I wrote an outline, created slides, and presented the speech to my work colleagues two times – each time receiving valuable constructive criticism.
Since that start, I’ve spoken over 75 times, to thousands of people. Many were lunch-and-learns for clients, quite a few were for a non-profit program for inner city young adults, a bunch were as the featured speaker at a wellness-focused hotel, and a handful were as the keynote speaker at conferences.
Every speech was a rewarding experience. When you write a book and don’t expect to make a fortune from it, you need another reason for doing so. In my case, I thought I had some ideas that could help other people, and for the same reason my speaking engagements have been extremely gratifying.
On a personal note, when I published my book, I had been married for 23 years. It’s now 33. My kids were 19, 17, 17 and are now 29, 27, 27, all having graduated college, obtained Master’s degrees, and moved out of our house as soon as they could afford to.
Looking at the book today, I continue to believe in nearly everything I wrote. The only significant exceptions are a couple of suggestions in the chapter about my sixth rule, “Be Healthy,” specifically in the section about eating well. For example, I wrote “Drink skim milk” as opposed to full fat milk. I no longer drink any kind of dairy milk, but I do eat yogurt most mornings and a year or two ago I moved to full fat, plain Greek yogurt, because I learned that kind of fat is not the enemy of good health I had understood it to be. In fact, it’s important for the brain to have good fat in one’s diet. I had similar recommendations regarding cheese, which is another food I rarely eat. When I do, I now eat the regular version, not low fat.
I made those changes in how I eat because I continue to be an avid believer in my fifth rule, “Be a Lifelong Learner.” As I say whenever I give a speech, “Eating well is not easy for several reasons. One of those is because there are so many rules, and they keep changing.” That said, I was surprised when I recently looked at the book and found so few suggestions I would change today.
In addition to eating changes, I have continued to make all kinds of changes – new habits to be happier, healthier, more organized, and more. I hope you have as well.
It’s been a great 10 years and I thank you, dear reader, for being along for the ride.
My warmest regards,