By Jill Hendrickson
I spoke to a woman who said she wanted to write a book. She’s a speaker and she knows that it’s published authors who more often get booked to speak. But she’s procrastinating on doing it. Why?
Ironically, even for these people who are willing to get up on stage and speak, writing a book takes courage.
Most of the people I work with are entrepreneurs. Someone who has already taken a risk that most people can’t imagine doing. They want to write a book because they know it’s a powerful tool to further their business.
These confident business owners and speakers assume that the biggest challenge will be getting their words down on paper.
But they soon discover that’s not the biggest challenge.
The biggest challenge is really the level of confidence and commitment it takes to step up to the plate and become an author.
What I’ve noticed over time is that for many people it means facing down decades — or maybe even lifetimes — of insecurity, fear of failure, lack of validation, and the possibility of being a exposed as a fraud.
It feels safer to keep your head tucked and not attract attention.
When I lived in Japan there was a famous saying, “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.”
We have tamer versions of it in the United State — sayings such as, “Don’t think so much of yourself,” and “Pride goes before a fall.”
Not very encouraging, are they?
So it takes a lot of courage to buck the system, stand up for yourself and proclaim that, yes, you do have something worth saying and sharing in written form.
The beauty of doing that isn’t just that you get to express yourself. It’s that once you break through the invisible barriers holding you back, the next steps of the journey seem less formidable as you take them on one by one.
You may even come to enjoy the challenges, even if you complain at first. The bumps in the road start to be seen merely as threshold guardians placed there to test your mettle so that someday you can lead others past them.
And that’s the real joy in making the journey — being able to show others the way and make their “wasteland” flourish.
Writing a book is a major milestone on that journey and for many people, the next big step.
You’re at the bottom of the mountain, and it may seem impossible to climb it.
But you start, and at some point you notice that you’re starting to pass others. You probably don’t acknowledge your progress and may just pass them off as the slow pokes. But after a while you notice that you’re starting to keep pace with others — even the people you used to look up to.
You used to wonder how they got where they did and now you’re there yourself. You may even wonder, “How did I get here?” Or you may be too busy just staying on the path to even ask that question.
So you keep going, and at some point, through the clouds, you see the top of the mountain. You’re getting nearer and nearer. You’re not there yet, but you know you’re going to make it. And just that knowledge makes you realize that if you could make it this far, anything is possible.
In a healing school I went to, one of my teachers called this process “transgradient,” as in “transgradient healing.” It’s like starting at the bottom of a mountain in a desert where it’s hot. You climb and climb until at some point you notice it’s starting to get cold and you have to put on a sweater.
You don’t even realize how far you’ve come, except that the cold tells you you’ve climbed pretty high. And you can’t even pinpoint the place where the shift took place. You just know things are different.
It’s that way in life, in healing, and in business. Nothing seems to be happening. You might even think you’re going backwards and get discouraged until suddenly something pops.
And it’s like that when you write a book. You probably won’t be an overnight sensation (although it’s pretty exciting to get published anyway).
Life goes on and you keep working. But at some point you look back and see how far you’ve come, and you know how important it was that you became an author.
It’s not just the increased media opportunities and stage invites, either.
Something has happened to you as a person.
I have a confession to make: I didn’t take myself seriously until I had a book under my belt. And I didn’t think other people took me seriously, either. And I didn’t even know I felt that way until I had the book.
Your belief about yourself is what matters. And half the time (or more like 99.9% of the time) we don’t even know what our beliefs are. We just think that’s the way it is and don’t realize we’ve been living in a trance state — one that was handed to us at birth and perpetuated by our families, schools, religions, societies and chosen television channels. And they don’t know they’re living in a trance, either.
One of the best ways to begin breaking the trance and your own glass ceiling is to write that book you’ve had on the back burner.
I know so many people who are waiting to start theirs. It’s like they’re waiting for permission or for everything to be in place.
Things will never all be in place. There never will a “perfect” time when you’ve got it all together and you don’t have to work, deal with family obligations, health issues, money, or your own insecurities. You just have to take the plunge.
You have to have courage to start. When you finish, you’ll have courage to begin something new.
About the Author
Best-selling author and transformational coach Jill Hendrickson, MFA in writing, Columbia University, helps speakers, coaches,business owners and others find their writing voice and their most compelling message so they can share it with the world. Jill’s first story in Washington, D.C., made front page news. Another early story ended up on “Good Morning, America.” Now, instead of helping big news organizations, Jill teaches people like you to write your book in record time. Find out about her weekend book-writing program and her exciting spiritual writing retreat on the island of the gods and goddesses, Bali at www.jillhendrickson.com