I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard the question, “who am I to write a book?” Most people don’t put much thought into writing a memoir because they don’t think they have an interesting story to tell. The problem is that most of us are so accustomed to living our lives that we can’t see how interesting and inspirational our struggles, accomplishments, and experiences might be to others.

Let me tell you about a remarkable man who had never considered writing a memoir

We were sitting at the tiny round table eating our $10 ice creams that had been blended with the candies of our choice. I had recently started dating Tom (now my husband), and Bill was his friend. They had worked together several years earlier, which was all I knew about Bill, except for the fact that he was blind.

I had never known a blind person, so I didn’t know what to expect. Although he got around remarkably well on his own, in certain situations like in shops and stores, he needed a guiding hand to help him go to the counter, place his order, and get to his seat. Once he sat down, you couldn’t really tell he was blind. He didn’t wear the dark glasses that some blind people do, and I was fascinated that he actually made eye contact and that his eyes tracked to whomever was speaking. If you hadn’t seen him come in and be seated, you’d never know he was blind.

I asked Bill about his time working with Tom.

“Yeah,” Bill said, “we worked together but we worked in different business units. I was a consultant, and he was a tax guy.”

“Consulting can be rough on the home life,” I said. “You probably traveled a lot. Out Monday mornings and home on Thursday nights, right?”

“I lived that way for years,” he said. “That is, until I got shot.”

“You what?” I asked.

Tom jumped in. “That’s why Bill is blind. He was in Atlanta, and when he came out of the MARTA station with his boss andwho-am-i-to-write-a-book their customer, some deranged guy jumped out and shot all three of them. Bill’s bullet entered and exited through his temples, and it severed his optic nerve. He’s been blind ever since. The other two guys died.

“It was weird.” Tom continued, “I was watching the news and a story came on about two St. Louis people who had been shot in Atlanta. Then they mentioned Bill Johnson and Tony Lake. I couldn’t believe it. I’d just seen Bill the day before he left.”

“Wow,” I said. “That’s terrible. I didn’t realize there were public shootings in 1991. I thought that was a recent thing. So, what happened next? Obviously you went back to work at some point.” Bill had recently retired, so I knew he had finished his career.

“It was an adjustment,” he said. “But it wasn’t really that big of a deal. I thought, ‘This is the way my life is now, so I may as well get on with it.’ And I did.”

“Wasn’t that big of a deal! How can you say that?” I asked.

“It just wasn’t. I made up my mind to get back to doing the things I loved as soon as I could. It didn’t make any sense to sit around feeling sorry for myself,” he said.

“Get this,” Tom interjected. “He really did get back to the things he loved. Six months later he was snow skiing.”

“What??” I asked. “How?”

“It wasn’t that complicated,” Bill said. “I just hired a guide and he talked me down the slopes. We communicated through a microphone, and it was really fun. I love to ski and didn’t want to give it up.”

“That’s amazing, Bill. Really inspirational. Have you ever thought about writing a book?” I asked.

“A book?” he snorted. “What would I write about? I wouldn’t have anything to say. I just took things one day at a time and got back to being me. That’s not very interesting. I can’t imagine that anybody would want to read about that.” He shook his head, rejecting the idea.

Who other than a blind skier should be writing a memoir?

I don’t know about you, but I think that Bill’s story is incredibly interesting. Amazing and inspiring and unusual. I wanted to learn how Bill was able to simply accept the fact that he was now blind. I wanted to know what he did to reenter life as a fully functional man, and I wanted to know what allowed him to even think that he could snow ski again. Surely he’d been faced with all the “can’ts”: You can’t drive, you can’t go out by yourself, you can’t travel, you can’t work, you can’t date, you can’t ever be a whole human being again. And you certainly can’t ever snow ski. That part of your life is over. You will be in the dark forever.

But Bill didn’t think those things. Instead, he put one foot in front of the other and lived what he thought was an unremarkable life. Which I think is remarkable — that he truly thought his life was unremarkable.

The point is, I was full of questions and hungry for more of his story. He already had me hooked. If I were to read a synopsis of his story, I would definitely buy that book.

Bill isn’t unusual. I’ve met hundreds of people who have been through things, have learned things, have discovered things, and have developed things that can truly change the world, if only the world knew about them. But there’s a nagging voice in their head that tells them they’re average, that they don’t have anything to say, that nobody cares about their story, that it’s not that big of a deal,  and that they have no business writing a memoir, when, in fact, the opposite is actually true. Fortunately Bill is writing his book, and it will be released in June of 2017.

So if you ever find yourself saying “Who am I to write a book?” remember that you, too, have a remarkable story. You don’t have to be a victim of a shooting or to be blind. You just have to be you, and there’s nothing average about that.