Book Review:How to Make Life Work and Build a Legacy by Dirk Stroda.

“What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”  This question by Robert Schuller, an American Christian televangelist, pastor and author, marked a turning point in  Dirk Stroda’s life.  Dirk is a sports psychologist, motivational speaker, and  life coach who works with high achievers in the corporate world, public figures, performing artists, professional athletes and Olympians.  He contacted his associates, clients, students and friends and asked them the question. He got answers from Europe, North America, South America, Australia and Africa.  What amazed him the most was that in these hundreds of responses there were identical elements; finding a cure for cancer, building stronger relationships, learning something new, overcoming anxiety, improving health, and achieving financial freedom. On examining the responses he found that humans all connect to seven foundations. 1) physical health. 2)spiritual well-being 3)emotional well-being 4) relationships 5) intellect 6) finances 7) work and career.

Dirk Stroda has based this book on those seven foundations and how we can examine them for ourselves to build a legacy.

What is a legacy?

For me the term “legacy” was something I heard at funerals, read in the obituary pages, or saw in fundraising pamphlets for charities or hospitals. But it is not that legacy that Dirk is talking about. He is talking about the legacy we are creating every day.  It is never too early to start to think about your legacy. You can start at 15 or at 50 or at 70. It is never too early and  never too late.

How to create a legacy.

This book starts with exploring some of the successful patterns of thought and action that have been employed by successful athletes and business people and then it transforms into a workbook where Dirk encourages, no let me correct that, where he insists that we write down  the inspirational quotes we find, and that we write down our thoughts about  our seven legacy statements.  Here is a passage from the book.

“Begin writing with an open heart and a mind that is not attached to the  past. If you hear a voice between your ears saying, “You are not educated enough to set a benchmark or write about legacies….you have no means…..there are far more important things to do….this is some of the self-help crap that doesn’t work….there is no hope for you—-why would you waste your time writing in this book?” just realize that is your ego speaking. Some call it that damned five-inch person who sits on your shoulder and talks to you. Tell yourself: “Shut up ego. SHUT UP!” Crank up the energy to the feel-good level and begin to write. “

The workbook has each of the seven elements to consider when building a legacy with an introduction and blank pages to fill in.


In an Addendum the book also has tips and tools from Dirk to use for assisting in the process of making your life work.

What this book is NOT

This book is not about setting goals. Even long term goals can be reached and if we do not know what legacy we are creating we hit a “what now?” wall when the goals have been reached and we have no greater plan. It is also not about what to eat or how many hours a week you need to do cardio exercise. It is not about quick fixes, mental or physical. It is not about being talented and relying on talent alone to propel you to success in life.

What this book is.

This book is about your  whole life, all aspects of it, and the long haul of it. It is about how to work, how to be honest with yourself, how to be emotionally strong, how to know who you are, and find out where you want to go.

Will it work? Is it worth reading and doing the work?

I would say yes it is. Two years ago I worked with Dirk Stroda to help me enjoy my competition season in Florida more and to be able to ride my horse better and achieve better results. He gave me a very practical toolbox to work with and I have been using it ever since.

I also attended a one day workshop on the  topic of Building a Legacy. All the people around the table were equestrians;  a few amateurs like myself and several professionals including some who had been successful in the 2016 Rio Olympics. I was in a high octane group! These professionals and Olympians have found that this legacy concept works. I know it works too.

The book is full of good quotes as well. Here are a few of my favourites:

“It’s not the mountain that we conquer but ourselves.” Sir Edmund Hillary

“To be in the 1% you have to do what the 99% won’t”. Noah Kagan

Excellence is a habit.” Aristotle

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”  Steve Jobs.

And yes…..I have written down those quotes in my workbook.

So there you have it! If you are prepared to put in the work to ‘work’ this book you will reap the rewards. If you skim it over, give it a pat and pop it onto the bookshelf with the promise to work on it another time….well….nothing lost, nothing gained. 😊





9 responses to “Book Review:How to Make Life Work and Build a Legacy by Dirk Stroda.”

  1. Emma Cownie Avatar

    I love – “What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?” It makes me realise how much I hold myself from attempting things because of the fear of failure. That voice in your head, your critic, can be deadly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Dirk Stroda wrote that onto a post it note and stuck it onto the steering wheel of my coach,Belinda Trussell’s car when she was heading to competition at the World Equestrian Games in 2014. She went out and got a personal best score. We all hold ourselves back a bit I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Emma Cownie Avatar

        That’s quite a thought. Thanks Anne.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Gbolabo Adetunji Avatar

    Wow!!! Must read this👍🏽

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      It’s an intense book and Dirk Stroda does not mince his words. But I definitely think it is worth a read. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Juli Hoffman Avatar

    Sounds like an interesting read! I think I’m often my own worst enemy. My friends and family are so supportive. They’re NOT the problem. I’m afraid of failure, or simply of doing things “wrong,” so I often give up before I’ve had a chance at failing. Perhaps I’ll stick this book on my wish list. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Do! It is definitely worth giving it a serious read.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. dprastka Avatar

    Very inspirational! I will have to check this book out for sure, thank you for sharing! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      It is a very interesting concept.

      Liked by 1 person

I’d love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: