Building to Astonishing Levels

Building to Astonishing Levels

I spent many years feeling alone while in the company of so many. Family, friends, partners. The only people I trusted were my kids, who truly taught me the first definition of unconditional love. I had become used to so much drama that when life was good, I was addicted to the ripple in the water. I couldn’t just enjoy my life. I had to always solve problems. When things were going well at work, I had to stir up trouble. When my relationships hit a smooth patch, I needed to conjure turmoil because I knew how to survive and I was the most comfortable in that mode.

Where to live? I’ll figure it out.

How to get by without a phone or electricity? I’m a tough mofo and can do it.

Teased mercilessly by people who claimed to be my friends? Excluded parties? I had my writing. I had my make-believe world and the pebble belief inside I was stronger than any social acceptance.

Told I was bad at math and a terrible mother who should move away from my children. I stayed every day, fought for my kids, parented (sometimes terrified) and never stopped fighting and loved my kids.

Drowning in debt? Bankrupt? I knew how to work, endure and climb.

It doesn’t matter where you came from. What matters is…YOU MATTER.

It doesn’t matter what circumstances you are facing, you can start again. You can take one small step to improve your situation every single day.

You can come back from anything.

You can build to astonishing levels if you simply never stop.

You can become an expert at shutting out what doesn’t serve you…including people.

And when you panic because you are making a change…well, that is when you hold on. And it is all you need to do. Do nothing. Sit there and feel the change and do nothing.

Resist the urge to panic and screw it all up because chaos is familiarity. You don’t need to destroy everything you make because you have deemed your life to be a problem to solve.

It’s not and living this way is exhausting.

When you see a person addicted to drama, take a moment to not judge but to imagine why anyone would choose to live with such tumult. Then take another moment and send them a ray of love to destroy their destructive compulsion.

And when someone in earnest is changing or trying to, stand with them; root for them; be a source of continual motivation and let them know you BELIEVE they can change. That is your only job. It is not to jokingly remind them (not funny) of how they have failed. It is not to affect a passive-aggressive “support” of this new idea, to laugh at them, or make light of the fact they see an area of improvement and care to change it about themselves, to better themselves.

People think they know you, don’t they? “I know you better than you know yourself,” they might say. Implying that you will always be the person they see through the lens they have held up to their eye. But you know what? Even if they do this, if they think it is their job to remind you of who you have been, you keep going.

Some days, you might be the only one who believes in you. That you can do it. And you can. When that voice is dim and drowned out by the doubters and the people who claim they are experts in you, magnify it in your life. Dull the din in the background and focus on the hunger that won’t go away, the urge to help and heal and support and love and cheer that never leaves.

You know it is in you and it is never okay for anyone else to limit you. But you know what? It’s not okay to limit yourself either.

That’s not serving your purpose. That’s not your contribution the chain of giving where you find your mission and calling.

If you need belief today, borrow mine.

Then turn it into your new voice, the one that can lead you to an unrecognizable life, a life you have long dreamed about.

Believing in ourselves is unfathomably powerful. When you tap into your true potential, it just keeps going. It’s the oddest event…like discovering a dammed ; you simply need to clear the debris to let it run freely.

Never stop believing that you can conquer and be the person you dream of so often.

Yesterday, I spoke to potential first-time book authors who are deviating from their careers and writing on fresh passions gripping their heart. The tiny whispers of calling that never relent. They are capitalizing on the nudge to do more and provide help and reassurance and healing where they see a need.

That is leveraging YOU to leave a permanent mark.

It’s a beautiful phenomenon to hold faith in yourself.

To get your own back.

It just takes one small step every day to lead you to new, uncharted terrain.

This is where YOU begin. I love you. As I told my kids when they graduated, “Go get your life!”

It’s waiting.

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Photo by Chris Knight on Unsplash

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10 Steps to Self-Publish Your Book Like a Bestseller

10 Steps to Self-Publish Your Book Like a Bestseller

Self-published books are springing up all over the place. If you are an entrepreneur, having a book under your belt can boost your income exponentially. Books are to business in the millennium what business cards were to professionals 20 years ago.

In 2015, 727,000 self-published ISBN numbers were registered, meaning you run the risk of fading into the statistics unless your book is a clear masterpiece. Authoring a book reinforces your brand and position as an expert in your field. It is another element of publicity, a piece of your marketing collateral you can leverage to gain followers, readers and clients.

Books open up pipelines and partnerships and are another passive income source. But, if you do it wrong, without the guidance of experts, without impressive execution, you can wind up doing more harm than good.

I’ve assembled a list of tips to use whether you self-publish or use a publisher. One of the recommendations is to contract professional services where necessary. Tom Morkes, founder of Insurgent Publishing asserts, “Even if you are self-publishing, it’s worth your time and money to use a good editor. Books that have an editor read better.”

Follow these 10 tips to create a book that is a source of pride and opportunity.

1. Transcription

Using a transcription service like Rev allows you to complete your rough draft in a flash. But, transcribing only begins the process of writing down the bones — thanks, Natalie Goldberg. You may speak effectively about events in your life — a fine, yet incomplete first step — but your book will be far more engaging when you add dialogue, internal thoughts and set the scenes.

Related: 5 Things This Self-Published Author Did to Sell Over 20,000 Books With Almost No Money

2. Use an editor

Once your transcription is complete, find a content and line editor, because no transcription service will accurately translate proper punctuation, illegible recordings, or possess the capability to flesh out your story.

3. Follow industry formatting

Don’t forget to include the essentials: Introduction, Foreword (written by an industry influencer), Acknowledgments, a copyright page with your ISBN number and a disclaimer, which prohibits others from repurposing, reusing, or reprinting your content. Make sure your book length fits within your category expectation. A reader will be intimidated by a tome. But, an easy-to-digest book containing comprehensive chunks of valuable information will FLY off the (virtual) shelf.

4. Never skimp on a cover

Set aside a budget between $500 and $1,500 for your cover. Your designer should present two to three designs that you will narrow down until the final iteration. People do judge a book by its cover — which influences your sales.

5. Format your ebook

Nothing is worse than a compelling paperback cover accompanied by a subpar eBook improperly formatted. Your spacing needs to be correct, the margins and gutter on-point. If you are self-publishing, you simply can’t skip this step. Readers are most attracted to eBooks due to their lower prices and immediate availability.

6. Research your self-publishing company thoroughly

You need to understand every step of the process and the order in which they are taken to confirm a knowledgeable team is at your disposable. Understanding = Agreement of the System.

7. Proof your book with an eagle eye

Ensure you take part in the proofing process as much as your editor does. My editors and authors share books back and forth until the edits are done, and then both editor and author proof the final version.

8. Remember your book hook

The book hook is written as close to the first sentence of the book as possible and explains why are you writing the book. It’s crafted to snare the reader. Non-fiction writers, consider your positioning. Are you a rags-to-riches story, a hardscrabble triumph? Are you an innovator? What is the number-one reason you wrote the book?

9. Remember chapter hooks

At the end of every chapter, keep your reader hanging on. It is a twist, an anticipation the reader can’t wait to dive into. Chapter hooks allude to coming trouble, wins, joy, surprise, devastation, or solutions. Hint at imminent events to create intrigue.

10. Read your book aloud.

Odds are, you will record your book for Audible or another audio platform. If you aren’t hiring a reader (which can be expensive), you can practice getting the words out. Reading aloud fine-tunes cadence and readability, so you’ll feel more confident in your final delivery.

When you follow these steps, your readers won’t have a clue whether you used a publisher or not to fulfill your creative aspirations. All they’ll know is your presentation is polished — and that you deserve the sale.

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Original article appeared at Entrepreneur.

Change Your Circle, Change Your Life

Change Your Circle, Change Your Life

TODAY is a big one! So, naturally, I stayed up late and read A Child Called It. I devoured it because it was a triumph of the human spirit. I guess I am addicted to that sort of missive.

Maybe it is why I surround myself with the people who believe they can do anything.

With people who know that they are no different from anyone else, who know the rules are the same for them or the Queen of England. This is the key, isn’t it? When we acknowledge there is no difference in what we can achieve, then our reality and our potential changes exponentially.

The Winning Mindset. Ryan Stewman talks about this a lot. He has discovered it and applied it to his own life. He is an example of the kind of person whose company I crave. The entire Tribe of people that his mastermind contains are all ball busters and they ALL, every last one, follow through with what they say they are going to do.

I don’t encounter one negative mind in this group. No, it is steeped in the power of collaboration, compounding growth and brilliance and when you are in such company your own life and potential positively EXPLODE. You NEVER cave to the baser and toxic disbeliefs that you CAN’T. It’s simply not a word and the proof of what you can construct in synergy will blow your mind.

Ryan Stewman will be on the Sick Biz Buzz podcast today.

Because he is a person who sees all people as having the same capabilities. He works with people who are chronically ill (and let’s face it, don’t we all have something?!) but he will never treat you like it. He is the epitome of a person who does not see an illness or disability, but who values a person based on their work. He was selected because he can teach people, employers, leaders, his special vision. He doesn’t see differences. He sees potential in every single person willing to work for it. THIS is why I am up early and preparing to have a memorable and moving conversation with him. It is no surprise he wants to grab that sledgehammer and smash the stigma surrounding invisible diseases and disabilities because he smashes the stigmas on so many subjects people are terrified to talk about.

I am also appearing on Satori Prime today and am so excited to talk more about Sick Biz’s exciting developments as we grow as a nonprofit and continue to spread awareness of what we can do to help chronically ill and disabled entrepreneurs. These are big weeks coming up. Tomorrow is my cover shoot for the book. My publisher and I are weeding through cover mocks and I need to do what I advise all my clients to do: Keep Writing.

Reach for the content, the books, the people that move you, that shove you from one reality into the next. Shed your self-doubts and defenses at working with others and tightly embrace your gifts. They are yours and they are unique. What will you bring to the world that is your purpose? What are you living out each day, an ascension into clearer light and bliss, or are you anchoring yourself with self-recriminations?

Do not feel threatened by the brilliance of others, but help them to shine brighter as you polish your own star.

Maybe you need to change your circle to people who will lift you every day.

I know the decision to align with unstoppable people has forever altered my life. I will never be the same. I don’t want to be. I don’t know that old, sick, fearful woman cringing at memories, judgment, and pain, who sought approval from outside forces every day. I only know this new force who can do anything because I say I can. Because the source of my belief resides inside me. It can’t be touched and I am in control of it.

Change your circle. Change your life.

Sick Biz Buzz’s episodes will be available to soak up soon. After today, we will have four shows in the bag. Then one a week following that.

Plenty more coming down the pike, right Erin Schultz, media miracle worker? Get up and get after it.

What if You Could Be Addicted to What’s Good for You?

What if You Could Be Addicted to What’s Good for You?

Your hyperfocus will propel you…farther than you ever imagined.

I don’t gamble…and there was a time when I wouldn’t allow myself to even step foot in a casino. Once, when I was in my 20’s I went to the casino and I lost $600. In retrospect, $600 is and is not a lot of money. Veteran gamblers have certainly won and lost more, but it is not the money that scared me. I changed when I gambled, morphing into this person who justified the money I pulled out of the ATM because I knew I would win it all back and then some. The prospect of any other scenario was sickening. I couldn’t have possibly lost that much. If I’d had the deed to my house with me, I would have kept going. I could feel the hunger creeping to conquer me, this bargaining pleading I normalized in my head and on my lips. Luckily, the person I was with, hauled me out and broke the spell.

Alcohol is not a huge draw to me, mostly because my grandfather and all his brothers were alcoholics. I worry the gene is buried inside and that I would awaken it after so many sips. And man, did I love cigarettes when I smoked. Never before was there a stinkier chainsmoker. Back in the days when you could light up at your desk, I sat with a butt jumping up and down in my mouth as a jabbered on the phone and added up vending checks. What a lovely image that conjures.

Many times, I have fixated on people, food, habits and releases that were not good for me. I have craved the high of more of whatever it was I needed. It was a long-winded quest to gain something…and now, I’m pretty tame. I drink coffee (that I will never give up!), stubbed out the butts and I stay the hell away from the casino.

My personality has latched onto a different target. Business.

Deep inside me, a passion lives and lurks every day. It is a good and taxing force, although most days it astounds me, the levels we will go together. My insistent roommate wakes me, fills me up, drives me on and compels me to reach, network, resolve and BELIEVE in myself. The further into the belly of the beast I descend, the more I realize what I am capable of accomplishing.

Isn’t that the way it goes?

You think, what the hell? Then give the new venture a shot. What’s the worst that can happenI’ll fail and then it’s back to my regular life? Not such a bad prospect.

But you don’t fail and when that happens a part of you flies free. You tap into the fact you’ve succeeded. This success causes you to think about taking a stab at the next new aim, until it becomes a dizzying game of King of the Mountain, between you and a mountain of goals.

The knowledge of what you are capable of creating is still staggering, but somehow more believable this go-round, and this is the invisible shove that keeps you going.

Your goals, now loftier seem as possible to reach as that very first one you ever identified and went after. The fascination at your own power is dazzling and you talk about it with people (who are a little sick of how surprised you are at your own gratitude and joy.) You begin to realize you are no different than the people you admire, than any person at all. The rules of what you can accomplish are the same for you, whether you’re pitted against Tony Robbins or Gladys down the street.

This equalization levels the mental game field. When there is nothing holding you back or negatively defining you, simply, you will keep going. It is one less obstacle in your own head.

I don’t write about flipping addiction on its head to make light of the very real epidemic we face. But to say, if you have these tendencies, if you glom onto objects, or chemicals, or even just like that evening beer a little too much, then you can pop that switch to your advantage. You can lower yourself into the sea of possibility and compulsion and learn about living limitless, too.

Too many times, we identify compulsory characteristics as traits that must be controlled or they will cause ruin, as a negative ache that leads to no good and is destructive, but what if the opposite is also true?

Instead of honing an unhealthy fascination, what if you could turn your appetite toward your own success?

Toward learning, not what do I need to make to survive the month, but how much can I make? What are MY personal limits? How far can I go? This is an addiction you can give yourself over to completely.

Can you start your own company? Of course, you can.

Can you close a high percentage of deals? Absolutely.

Can you help other people with the work you plainly don’t have time for? One-hundred percent.

What else can you do?

Leverage media exposure? Yep.

Write a book about your experiences containing an angle unique to you? No reason why not.

Work in your purpose, whether it’s creating a nonprofit, identifying a niche in the market, establishing a mentorship? All the yeses.

The key is that you can do anything. And you get that from your first, what the hell moment.

Try this.

The next time a whim strikes. Whatever it is…go for it!

I don’t care what it is, just do it.

You will learn that you can do anything. And then…this is the first building block of your fire that you certainly can feed into an inferno.

That first slam dunk is followed by wondering what else you can do. Slam another one in, then another. The fire is starting to roar a little, isn’t it? Use it as momentum, as proof of what you can do.

THIS is how we get there…whenever our journey takes us. We achieve and then BELIEVE.

The discernible difference between a person who is perceived as an expert in their field and a proven expert comes down to one simple fact. The expert performs. Time and time again. The expert takes action no matter the size or noise of the crowd. They do it for the ceaseless pull to outwit themselves at every turn. It is a game of chicken they use to challenge their boundaries.

This hyperfocus will propel you if you let it. It will replace the sexiest, swankiest siren song out there with the intoxicating instances of your success. You will devour it as if you have been denied sustenance for a thousand years.

Here’s a little disclaimer. You may get carried away. Sometimes, that is alright. It is the missing component of what is needed, what has been needed. But as with any sword, respect the edge. In the moment, when you are floating on accomplishments, it will be harder to identify when you must set limits. So, write some rules for yourself to ensure your family and friends don’t wind up a casualty of your fire.

A few of my rules are:

1) No cell phones during dinner

2) No calls or work during dinner

3) A severe reduction of work on the weekends when my family is home.

I also had to stop working in bed at night. It was selfish and encroached upon the goals of my marriage. In short, family and relationships come first. You will want to safeguard your priorities, but when it is play time in the winner’s circle, get ready to go all in. Get ready to astound yourself with how much you can win just through the indelible truth that you can hit every goal, then develop more and hit those, too… You can even become obsessed to a degree and put your mindset to work for you so your to-dos are less of a chore and more of a game.

Every game you have ever played contains rules that alert you to the inevitably of winning. Entrepreneurship is no different. Apply your tendencies to fixate on the unsavory to get ahead. Unleash your compulsions in an entirely different and healthy manner and witness the effect on your life.

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Original article appeared at The Good Men ProjectReprinted with permission.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Commit to the No-Leniency Rule When It Comes to Your Livelihood

Commit to the No-Leniency Rule When It Comes to Your Livelihood

When personal and professional brands meet…follow these guidelines for more authentic engagement and clear boundaries to protect your rep.

When we are running a business we have to stay woke! (Thank you to my children for keeping me up-to-date with the slang…or is “woke” out now?) Woke means you must be aware of how your personal and professional brands intersect. When you are an entrepreneur, you simply can’t take the chance that you will damage your business with ill-applied behavior.

Ask yourself these questions?

  • Are you posting personal drama on your page?
  • Are you high-handedly discussing politics?
  • Are you sharing crude videos with your friends?
  • Are you needlessly spamming people?

 

Let me explain. Before you jump to a defense, there is a reason I am asking you these pointed questions. Don’t answer yet because I am going to ask you one last question.

  • Are you trying to grow your business or become an influencer?

 

If the answer to that question is “yes,” the answers to the prior four questions should be nos.

As entrepreneurs, our relationships between our personal and professional brands are inextricably muddy. Several years ago, the goal was to ensure that your professional Facebook page (or all your social media pages for that matter), used differing marketing strategies. You had a haven for your friends, where you could cut up if you wanted, but your brand page would tell a different story.

Now, the majority of entrepreneurs (at least, the ones I know), have welcomed in all sorts of people onto their personal page to build their networks. The personal page has become an offshoot of the professional page.

This does not mean constant advertising is the goal here, but allowing people into your privileged circle invites them to see another side of you…a deeper authenticity. In getting to know you, you not only gain a friend, but you will also pique interest in your company.

So let’s define what you are lenient about on your page.

Some best practices in this overwhelming social media age:

1. Your Face. You are presenting a face of your brand, if you are intending on being a leader, understand why people gravitate to leaders. They want the reassurance of following someone who has been there, done that and survived. Who has emerged from their hardships with hope.

2. Politics. Yes, it is hard to keep a lid on it when it comes to politics. I used to engage in what I deemed thoughtful discussion, but have since realized…I changed no one’s mind and in business, it is not about offending another person who may have a different belief. It is about presenting the fact that you are a political person. There is nothing wrong with that. Our world needs help. But you will lose business if people perceive you to be a person who will draw them into an uncomfortable discussion.

3. No Drama. A hard fast rule would be to never post about the bickering you get into with your partner, for example. The bigger picture is that it paints you as a petty person, incapable of controlling their emotions. Worse, you may be perceived as a person who likes to inflict pain, or who doesn’t care about the pain you cause. People expect you to conduct a relationship privately. But this rule also applies to engaging in comments with trolls, whether they attack you personally or professionally. You are modeling grace and taking the high road as a leader. This is one of a good leader’s best qualities.

4. Sales Strategy…or Not. There is still a marked line between your personal page and your company page. You can run sales and other promos on your pro page all day long (not the greatest strategy, but acceptable as far as etiquette goes), but do not do the same thing on your personal page. It is about delivering the expectations to your friends. They anticipate that you will let down your guard and interact with people without bringing business into it at every turn. So yes, operate your business. Let your friends know what you do, but remember to let your hair down, too, to show your human side. In the same vein, if you want to get close to someone and even consider working with them in the future, treat them like you give a damn. Don’t just go in for the kill. You know what? You might as well say, “Nice to meet you, whatever your name is that I didn’t bother to remember. I am only talking to you regarding business because I don’t think you merit any use of my valuable time but to quickly pitch you. P.S. Buy my (insert fabulous, life-changing thing here).”

I am not advocating that you become a plastic Facebook user or Tweeter either. Far from it. You don’t always have to be up. Yes, you can have a bad day, but resist insulting people, throwing people under the bus, and showing everyone your circus and your monkeys. I don’t happen to believe in fake either. But I DO believe in positive. I do believe in sharing lessons in the name of prosperity and growth. I do believe that we can push ourselves to be more respectful of our audiences. I do believe in setting a healthy example.

Have a tip to add to this article? I’d love to read it! Please leave it in the comments below.

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Original article appeared at The Good Men ProjectReprinted with permission.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Announcing Our Sister Company, the Non-Profit Sick Biz!

Announcing Our Sister Company, the Non-Profit Sick Biz!

“Sick Biz is an organization dedicated to providing support, resources, hacks, and hope to entrepreneurs affected by chronic illness, pain, disability, and sickness.”

I recently started a new company, which I hope will help many other entrepreneurs like me. After I got sick, I had to reinvent myself and there were few resources to help.

Sick Biz is trying to change that.

Our podcast is booked for six month’s straight, and we have 20+ guest bloggers lined up. Our branding and the logo mocks should be done today.

We will be featured in a major business magazine.

The development of this business gives my pain purpose.

If you are someone, or if you know someone who could benefit and needs support, please send refer them to this article.

Here is the link to the Sick Biz Facebook group. Please spread the word to help other entrepreneurs.