Personal coach Rich Litvin says “Bragging is a lost art.” Not the type of bragging that involves pointing your thumbs at yourself and saying “I’m better than you! Look at how awesome I am!” but the kind where you let your light so shine and don’t hide your candle under a bushel.
Some would-be authors are uncomfortable writing because they don’t want to be seen as bragging. Others are afraid to reveal what they feel are their trade secrets.
For example, William Chamberlen was a surgeon from France who moved to England in 1569, fleeing religious persecution in his homeland. He had two sons, both named Peter (who does that?!), who also became surgeons. The family specialty was delivering babies in difficult cases.
It’s not clear who was responsible, or the exact timing, but sometime between the late 1500s or early 1600s, one Peter or the other invented the forceps, a tool used to deliver babies.
The tool was revolutionary, but it was kept a secret. As explained on MentalFloss:
When either of the Chamberlens was summoned to a difficult delivery, they were accompanied by a large, ornately carved, gilded box carried by two men. Everyone else was ordered out of the room and the laboring woman was blindfolded before the box was opened and the forceps (18 to 20 inches long or so) were taken out. Often, those outside the room reported hearing mysterious noises and bells accompanying the moans of the woman in labor. The whole process usually ended with either the cry of a newborn or the news that although the baby had been stillborn, the mother still lived.
Both Peters used forceps throughout their careers. Peter the younger had a son named Peter, who also used the secret device. This Peter Chamberlen had a son named Hugh, who kept the family tradition alive.
It’s impossible to calculate the number of lives, of both mothers and babies, that were saved by the use of forceps during the roughly 250 years they were in common use. It is likewise impossible to calculate the number of lives lost during the 100 or so years they were kept secret, which otherwise could have been saved. Given how common it is for babies to be born, the mortality rate between 1600 and 1700, and how quickly an idea like the forceps would have spread, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to speculate that hundreds of thousands and perhaps even millions of lives were lost.
The true tragedy in this story is the lives lost, but it’s compounded by the fact that the Chamberlen’s probably would have become richer had they freely shared their invention. They could have gone into design and manufacturing and built a much larger business than they were ever able to create as doctors.
Perhaps your book isn’t going to save millions of lives, but could it help one person? Is there someone out there who needs the knowledge you have locked in your head? Are you the only person in the world who can communicate in the right way to reach that individual?
Because here’s the thing…if there’s one person out there who needs your book, there are probably 50,000 others who have the same need. Maybe you can’t find all 50,000 of them, but what if you could reach 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000? If you could help thousands of people, simply by sharing what you know in a book, don’t you have an obligation to write it?
Let people say you’re bragging. Let them accuse of you of vanity. Let them claim you’re just promoting yourself.
Then ignore them and get to work.
Don’t let they fear of what others might think hold you back from serving others and making a positive impact on the world.
WEEKLY BOOK COACHING
Got book writing and publishing questions?
I’m a WSJ and USA Today bestselling author and I launched the Published Author Masterclass Community to help entrepreneurs like you become authors and leverage a book to grow your business.
If you’re ready to learn:
- What book you should write
- How to write and publish it in as little as 90 days
- And how to leverage your book to grow your business
What you’ll get:
- Your own copy of the Published Author Workbook
- Weekly live group coaching calls and Q&A
- Membership in our private online community of 300+ entrepreneur/authors