How to Pull Lessons from Your Experiences to Share with Others

You have a boat load of experiences that you can share with others to help them live a better life and build a better career. Do you know how to pull the best lessons from those experiences and lay them out for others to learn?

If you’re anything like me, the lessons—along with the gratitude I feel for all that freshly earned wisdom—doesn’t come until I’ve gotten some distance from the actual experience. Often we have to process our feelings to get useful perspective on our choices.

After a little time, lessons usually begin to naturally show themselves. We think to ourselves, “You know, I believe all of that happened so that I could…” or “I couldn’t see it at the time, but looking back, that experience gave me exactly what I needed to…” or “Well, now I know not to trust THAT guy!”

I want to help you get the most out of your story—for both you and the people you might help. Think of one...

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What to Do with Your Moment of Clarity

That moment you know everything is different. That instant when you realize the truth and can’t go back to the time before you knew it. That second when a flash of insight hits you—profound and shocking and sometimes delightful.

But what if it’s not delightful? What if it’s horrible. What if the Truth—not the regular truth you tell to other people but the Truth you tell to yourself—is that you’ll never be okay going along in the same way you’ve been living or working or relating or loving? What if the Truth is a total shift in who you are?

Then what?

The Burst

You feel overwhelmed, scared, tempted to stick your head back in the sand of denial, distraction, or ignorance.

But once you know a thing, you can’t unknow it. Once you look at a Truth within, you can’t unsee it. Once you admit a scene into the vault of memory, it remains to permanently alter your perception on the present as well as the past.

If you admit to yourself...

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4 Questions to Ask Before You Write a Book About Your Experience

In 2017, a very personal story of mine appeared in SUCCESS magazine. This wasn't a story covering the life of a celebrity or an entrepreneur. It wasn't a piece on how to acquire a vital business skill or a psychological trait that could make or break your success in life.

This article was about me and some brutal truths about my life.

I’ve had countless pieces published, but the fact that this one was going to be on newsstands was terrifying to think about in the days leading up to publication.

Writing about someone else’s struggles is enlightening. Writing about my own was empowering ... but scary.

Know what I mean? I learned a lot from that experience, and I continue to learn as I share my own story. 

If you’re someone who is working toward building a business or writing a book based on what you’ve learned from your story or experiences, you’ll need to ask four big questions to tell your story in the right way.

What's the Point?

Do you want...

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You Haven't Lost Your Mission

Most of us have a mission somewhere inside us our entire lives.

That thing you know you’re supposed to do in this life—even if you’re not making a living at it yet—that’s your mission. But you’ve changed. So why shouldn’t your mission evolve as you do?

This week, I want to help you wrap your arms around your mission and give it a clear, solid statement that fits where you are and who you are so you’ll have some direction as you aim for the fulfilling, bright life you deserve. First, let me explain what I mean when I say that your mission evolves.

Your Starter Mission

When I was a kid, we moved around a lot. By the time I was in seventh grade, I’d lived in eight different houses and gone to seven different schools. But there was a period in elementary school where we lived in the same apartment for three years straight. I loved the bedroom I had there. One day my mother walked in to find that I had dragged my two bookcases...

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The 3 Types of People You Need in Your Life

Do your personal relationships affect your potential for professional success? Does your home life impact your ability to be a good leader?

“Let’s say this. I’m not sure that a good home is an asset, but I’m sure that a bad home is a liability,” Bishop T.D. Jakes says with a chuckle.

Jakes, pastor of The Potter’s House Church in Dallas and founder of TDJ Enterprises, says a stable personal and home life become more and more important as you grow professionally.

“Lambs give birth in calm places,” he says. “And if you’re going to birth great ideas, you need calmness, the serenity of having something stable to balance having everything not stable.” 

“At the end of the day, I’m not necessarily smarter at work because things are going good at home, but when things are going bad at home, I’m a lot more distracted. I’m a lot more disheveled. I’m not present in the...

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From Suffering to Success [Interview with Bishop T.D. Jakes]

 

The preacher, entrepreneur and author found his blessings in brokenness, and success amid failure.

“I can still see his cracked, parched lips, fever blisters and all that.”

Bishop T.D. Jakes is silent for a moment, struck by the memory. “It hurt me a lot. I even got to a point of wanting-to-die painful.

“But if you took that away from me, I wouldn’t be sitting here.”

When Thomas Dexter Jakes was 10 years old, his father got sick with kidney disease. He was the youngest of three kids, living in South Charleston, West Virginia. Until this point, Jakes’ life had looked much like the lives of other kids in the neighborhood. His mother was a home economics teacher, and his father owned a janitorial business. He went to school. He sold vegetables from his mother’s garden to earn extra money.

But when Jakes’ father got sick, the world tilted on its axis, and childhood all but disappeared. The family traveled back and forth to...

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Behind the scenes of my tell-all SUCCESS essay

Here’s the truth:

Sharing some of my most painful, shameful, and depressing moments with the world felt great. For about twenty seconds.

And then it felt horrible. Then great again. Then terrifying. Then freeing. Then crazy. Then gratifying.

It’s been a roller coaster of emotion over here at the Anderson house. (You ever have those days?)

So why in the world did I share this kind of deeply personal story in SUCCESS magazine? [Read it here]

Because over fifteen years ago, I walked into a room where one person was honestly, openly, brazenly sharing his own personal story. He talked about his fears, his selfish choices, his scars. And in his story, I heard echoes of my own.

Do you remember the moment you knew you weren’t the only one? The only outcast or the only failure or the only one who was different? It’s life-changing to realize that you’re none of those things—that you’re just human. Spectacularly, painfully, marvelously human.

I went up...

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Why Your Writing Is Falling Flat

Have you been writing but keep getting a weird twinge in your gut that something is “off?” Or a deflated feeling that what you wrote doesn’t communicate the image in your head and heart? Or maybe you like what you write but you’re not getting the kind of response that you expected?

Turns out, there might be one big reason for all these writing hurdles. Let me tell you a quick story about how I discovered this massive obstacle in my own writing.

In 2004, I had graduated college with a degree in English and applied to eight writing programs, including two “safety” schools that I thought were no-brainer admissions. During my wait for responses, I got a job at the ABC-TV station in Dallas. I produced my first TV spot. I learned to write copy for station promos and news teases.

And the school rejections started rolling in.

One after another, thin, sad envelopes appeared in my mailbox. My hope became thinner and more desperate with each one. Finally,...

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When It Comes to Pleasing Difficult Clients, Sometimes It’s Better to Be Fired

When I first started my business, I was terrified of disappointing my customers.

I would hit “send” on a completed project and slowly sink from that exhilarating high of having met a deadline into a swamp of self-doubt.

Would the client like what I produced? Or would they wonder why they even hired me in the first place?

My mind filled with dire images of my clients rolling their eyes and shaking their heads as they looked at the finished product I had labored over with love.

Now, you may not suffer that extent of self-doubt at this point in your career—I’m glad to say I’ve grown out of that stage myself—but the idea still persists among most entrepreneurs I talk with that losing a client due to customer dissatisfaction is one of the worst things that can happen to a business owner.

I’m here to go against this pervasive belief and tell you a different story.

The Challenge of Customer Satisfaction

I was once fired by a client we’ll call...

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The Instinct to Succeed [Interview with T.D. Jakes]

The pastor and author shares how to harness the power within you.

Every night before he falls asleep, Bishop T.D. Jakes watches a comedy. “I don’t know that I’ve ever told anybody that,” he says, laughing a little self-consciously. No matter what happened during his day, a comedy keeps worry or negativity from affecting his sleep. “I learned to do that so I could detox my mind. And I like going to sleep laughing.”

Jakes has a lot to be joyful about. He’s the bishop of The Potter’s House, a Dallas-based church that’s home to 30,000 members, with services broadcast across the U.S. and Canada. He’s a husband, a father to five children and a grandfather to three. In 2013 he began hosting the BET show Mind, Body and Soul . He’s the founder of TDJ Enterprises, a media and entertainment company where Jakes turns his talents for writing and making music and films into a sizable profit. His gospel albums have scored multiple...

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