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!”
Photo by Chris Knight on Unsplash
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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.
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.
Original article appeared at Entrepreneur.
By the year 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects 157 million peoplewill live with a chronic illness. Forecasts concerning the chronically ill, both in terms of the numbers affected and the severity of symptoms, are staggering.
This suggests one hell of an overlap quite a few of us entrepreneurs will fall into.
A peek into the state of sick self-starters, reveals a slew of us do indeed battle relentless physical and mental disorders. That we are entrepreneurs, who live and work with chronic afflictions as ever-present as unwelcome coworkers.
Which leads me to my point.
Yesterday, I stumbled across a meme stating in stark type that in order to run a business, you must first possess perfect physical health.
Many entrepreneurs aren’t blessed with flawless vitality. I’d contend that there are far more of us who are actually striving to survive myriad illnesses, evident or invisible than might be apparent through observation or statistics. Disabilities and challenges run the gamut from physical to emotional to learning disorders to those ailments still undiagnosed. These hurdles are real and restraining, even if they aren’t understood. Diabetes, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, Epstein-Barr, depression, or the disease I contend with: transverse myelitis.
So many handed a life sentence, yet scores of entrepreneurs continue to conquer in the midst of misery.
It might be more accurate to assert that ill self-made men and women actually count on the rewards given when they plow through impasses. That we may even require such “distractions” to take our minds off sustained suffering.
Medications prescribed to halt tremors, to strengthen balance and still vertigo are not 100 percent effective. Chemo drugs may tarnish a patient’s longing to work for themselves, but they don’t erase it. How well a person succeeds has everything to do with their mindset over their (perceived) sense of physical control. Which is not to acknowledge that certain diseases aren’t more challenging to manage and that sometimes, even the most glorious optimism may not quiet physical agony.
Your health doesn’t need to be impeccable before you launch your business, neither does it need to be spotless in order to successfully grow and sustain it.
While struggling mightily with mine—some days I would lie down and type because I didn’t have the energy to sit up—I refused to be held back as I used the transformative power of positive thought to embark on a journey of reinvention even when my body called in sick. After I lost my job due to my illness, I launched into entrepreneurship out of necessity. Networked, self-taught, offered, asked and bartered. My bar was low: achieve one goal per day. No less laudable than landing a six-figure signed contract.
When I obtained my personal definition of victory, it was fuel to climb onto the next step.
Because the power of the mind improves the state of our life. Especially if you are an entrepreneur.
But none of us will ever reach perfection in anything we do. Even if our physique qualifies us as the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Isn’t that why entrepreneurs keep reaching anyway? Because that’s what we are programmed to do? To slam a cap on our excitement and potential, on our very DNA, is devastating. So many of us are propelled to forge ahead, we may not have any control over stopping. The drive that resides in any one person to overcome, innovate and create is no less intense when housed in a physically-challenged body.
Recently, I partnered with several, ingenious fertile minds and I did it in less-than-ideal health. Because chronically-ill entrepreneurs are the poster children for: “Work smarter, not harder.” I needed capable and strong team members to help me be my best in business. I needed to identify workarounds that would permit me to thrive.
To keep moving forward even as we grapple with contentious illness, we have to carefully assess the sources from which we draw advice.
It may serve us better to consider epiphanies from a person who has been in similar shoes, instead of one insisting we must achieve the impossible before we can even get started! It is dangerous to paint with the broad-brush notion that you must first accomplish pristine physical health instead of embarking on what makes your heart sing. Plying your passions heals you! As your pulse beats bolder, as you receive reinforcements for progress made, you will believe it is possible to surmount the seemingly insurmountable.
Precisely the fuel you need to scale your next mountain…or business!
And an excellent reason to tap into your purpose of service.
Everyone is fighting a battle. Some are better at hiding it due to the nature of their illness. Others do not have a choice but must wear their condition like a kind of twisted badge.
You are not your disease. You have a disease. This is the singular most important truth you will read as a wounded member of working society.
It may require untapped innovation to keep producing. But as legions before us have proven, it is possible. And when our unique brand of victory is attained, it’s breathtakingly rewarding.
Original Article from: “The Good Men Project”
It was 2002, and I was in Hollywood at Paramount Pictures, ready to read for a new sitcom on NBC.
My marriage was on the rocks. I had been flown out by my agents on their dime and set up in a hotel on Sunset Boulevard. I lived with my great aunt for six weeks shortly after, drove the 2.5 hours to LA as often as I needed, committed to landing this role and any other acting jobs I could snap up that summer. I took the infamous improv Groundlings class and was shuttled into the remedial comedy sector, which I find highly amusing now. I snagged a Hollywood agent and things were blossoming for me.
Then I bombed the audition. I played it too Midwestern and even writing that makes me cringe. LOL. But instead of tucking my tail between my legs, I learned about myself.
I liked being a mom more than I liked pursuing fame.
I loved writing more than acting in ridiculous scenarios.
I forgave myself for my nerves and the subsequent rejection of the producer.
No, I’m not famous, but that experience put to rest a quest to want to be more, to be loved for reasons I didn’t understand. I wanted adoration from anywhere, since I sure as shit didn’t subscribe to any form of self-love and I didn’t believe anyone else could love me either.
I wanted validation, attention, to feel like I had found my purpose. I endured finding out the opposite and it has shaped me into who I am now.
I can take rejection. I can turn it around and pluck out the lessons I am supposed to use. Turn here. Follow this path. Unpack this suitcase.
That rejection helped me to succeed in my purpose.
I do what I love to do every single day. Write. Help people share their messages and their missions and I am constantly in the company of the most inspiring and resilient people on the planet.
That rejection was my reboot and it has brought me tremendous fulfillment. I had no idea what would come; I just tried to remain open to incoming knowledge.
So, is failure worse than rejection, in that situation, in any situation?
I realize this is a layered question because failure can come as a result of rejection.
You don’t fail unless you accept failure. Failure means stopping progress; it doesn’t mean changing your plans to achieve the same sought-after, original goal. It means reassessing if the original goal is best for you after all. Sitting in the moment when what you had dreamed about shucks instead of jives. And after all that, deciding to bag it.
Failure is a moment in time when it all comes crashing around you; it is a milestone of ceasing. Rejection is the return serve of your brainstorming, of your pitch, your proposal, your efforts. It is the sound answer that this is not the path for you and the invitation to try again. Think of rejection like a detour sign, that there is a smoother path awaiting you. And when you experience that event, then you receive invaluable information. Even if that information only winds up being the fact of what not to do. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE a little insider information.
But rejection hurts because it means you are not heard or taken seriously. As you are letting the “bad” news wash over you it feels like you have been shunned. You might feel foolish and gun shy all at the same time; this is not fertile ground for new ideas to prosper. You must accept the rejection, but in a way that doesn’t cripple you. In a way that benefits you in the future, and even in the present. How can you let the new information change you for the better? My Hollywood rejection answered the questions I had about my career.
I used it to get clear. You can use your rejections, too.
We must remember rejection originates from external forces.
Failure’s roots take hold on the inside.
Failure thrives from the messages we tell ourselves. That we can’t do it. That we are silly, untalented, wasting time. Failure is the brakes applied as you careen through a stop sign. It is the screeching sound of momentum grinding to an immediate halt. And the the aftermath of hopelessness.
Failure occurs because we let it. Because we believe in the nonsensical bullying we dream up in our heads. Because abandoning the dream is safer. Hurts less. Nothing is wagered and so nothing can be lost. Whew! That was close. Right?
Failure is easier to embrace than trying again.
Because we can pepper all sorts of validation over failure. We can bury it in platitudes and excuses not to give it another shot…using different tactics…that might just work.
The road to self-sustained businesses is littered with potholes. And this is a fact you need to absorb and learn to live with like any eventuality. You will not advance down that rutted street if you stay frozen to the pavement, if you listen to your self-limiting voice. If you want to grow, stretch and scale, prepare for your blueprints to be rewritten a few times. Armor up emotionally to get past the vulnerable patches and forge ahead primed to defend the blows.
Maybe we should rehearse receiving rejection.
Maybe we should vow to never fail whenever we can. Because to fail or not is in our control.
If we adopted these mindsets, we could look back on our accelerated progress in awe of our own power and our abilities to evolve to reach our loftiest goals.
I see it happen every day. There’s no reason it can’t happen for you, too.
Original Article From: “The Good Men Project”
In writing, a particular saying is passed around, “Don’t read the comments.”
It refers to the remarks written by people who have read your work usually online. Comments can range from feedback that fills you up to input expressly designed to tear you down (it would seem.) And so the phrase was born to shun the comments in favor of preserving your sanity and the shreds of your self-esteem both about yourself and your creative strength.
But lately it seems the trolls are everywhere. Not just on media sites.
They are in your social media feed masquerading as your friends. They email you, assuming you asked for their opinion. And HOLY GOD, they are stacked 12 high in politics.
Maybe we should use that statement to blanket other areas of our lives where we don’t want insight (thinly veiled as critique or otherwise.) As a friend of mine reminded me today, “Sometimes it’s better to smile than to shout,” and we do have options other than engaging with the icky sticky trolls hellbent on stealing your soul and motivation. And as I am fond of spouting, “Doing nothing is a choice, too.”
It really is.
Not sure how to respond in a tête-à-tête? Do nothing while you noodle it over. Not getting your point across or are being shouted down in the middle of relationship sparring? Disengage and check your tongue. Tired of drama cropping up like an enthusiastic spring weed? Tamp it down and zip your lip.
Sit and allow yourself to be in the moment. And as I wrote about on my FB page a couple of weeks ago, realize when you are in the midst of conflict or unsavory energy that robs more than it builds, you are safe. Conflict will never kill you. Even if your heart races, or your stomach sinks, the likelihood of you dying from distress is pretty nil.
Try to take your emotions out of responding, out of determining how you feel about something. If you do decide to read the “trolls’ comments” compartmentalize them.
This negative suck emanating from their words is not for you anyway. It is not about you. It has nothing to do with you.
We think what people have to say targets us because of ego. We have to look out for signs that might affect us when outside forces help to make up inside resilience. In other words, when you don’t believe you are all that. When we seek validation, even in the form of negativity, it reminds us that we are still important for another person to consider, even poisonously. But we don’t really need that level of engagement. We need self love and to know, no matter what anyone else has to say about us, unless it is delivered in a helpful fashion, it is not for us. Your ego should be pliant enough to resist contradictory thinking levied on your true intentions.
Snarky posts are about the poster.
When you are the recipient of such a trash mouth, go ahead and refuse to interact with them. As another popular saying goes, “How other people think about you is none of your business.”
Taking yourself out of the line of fire is difficult. It is easy to react, to get angry, to feel affronted. But this is our ego. How dare anyone feel this way about me? Well, why shouldn’t they? Are you untouchable? A deity? You, too, have feet of clay. So recognize where the response comes from and be still with it for a minute. Realize that people are going to disagree with you and even insult you throughout your life. Control your emotions when and if you respond, and when you err on the side of reacting conservatively you will be surprised at how the trash talker takes itself out.
The peace that follows is lovely and leads to unshakeable self-awareness and pride. Exactly where you want to be.
The transformation in your life is also nothing short of magical. When you hold onto your boundaries in every capacity, people quickly learn you will not tolerate anything less. You will not be verbally brutalized. You will not be taken down a notch for someone who hasn’t received your permission to steal your energy. You are the guardian of YOU. As long as you set out in the world to be the best person you can, accept how awesome you are. Because you are. And the trolls?
They will never take that away from you.
Stand firm. Ignore the haters and the players and everyone else who is searching and scrambling for their own self-worth (hence, the bullseye on your head) and you will come striding out of the fire without a singe mark in sight.
One last thing, as a good person…stand in your truth. It will always be revealed anyway, and when you own you and everything you represent, say and do, you will never have a worry in the world. But don’t you dare take on the responsibility of another. That’s not your lane.
Be present with that thought for a moment.
Original Article from: “The Good Men Project”