This is the second of a three-part article I wrote to share my personal lessons on how I overcame self-doubt and procrastination in my journey of realising my dream of publishing my first book. In Part 1, we spoke about the strategies of “going furthest together” and “unfolding your own myth”. In this article, I’ll present the case for “flying with your why” and “standing on the shoulders of giants”.
Flying with your WHY
This principle has two parts. Firstly, internalising why you’re doing what you do and for whom your efforts will benefit. And secondly, staying true to it.
Writing a book is like a marathon. It takes consistency and a fair degree of resolve. What can push you through the self-doubt, fatigue and inevitable bumps on the road is your WHY. Why write? For whom? How will they benefit? What if you don’t write? What will you miss out on?
“The bigger the why, the easier the how”
– Soren Kierkegaard
One of the best things I’ve put together is a personal mission statement. “To shine brightly, love deeply and make each and everyday an extraordinary adventure”. Writing a book was one of the goals I set to bring this to life.
Whilst my mission in life is to empower everyone I have the privilege of crossing paths with, I know that I will fail more often than I succeed. And if there’s only a handful of folks I want to most succeed for, it’s my children, and some day, should they choose to have them, their kids! Whenever I feel too exhausted after a long day’s workshop to write, I imagine how I might feel if something happened tomorrow that would incapacitate me in some way and quash my dream of passing on my life experiences to those I loved most. The need to avoid feeling that deep sense of regret and disappointment was a powerful source of fuel I often tapped into whenever I felt the cloud of procrastination threaten to take over.
And frankly, this is not simply an altruistic exercise. Ultimately, the biggest beneficiary is me. Or specifically, the positive impact this will have on improving my sense of self-esteem. The huge dopamine hit I get when I’m able to look myself in the mirror and say “You ROCK because you walk the talk” exhilarates me!
In summary, having a dream is a great start. It gives you a clear vision of the finishing line before you even get started. But don’t stop there. The bigger your goal, the larger the hurdles you can expect to encounter in your journey. Make time to reflect on and internalise your WHY through questions like:
- Why do this? What if you do? What if you don’t?
- Who are you doing this for? How would they benefit?
- Imagine 5 years from now and your dream has not materialised. How would that make you feel? What if it were too late?
- Imagine it has come true? How would that be?
Check out the video below where I share another story on the Power of Purpose that I learned from a wonderful cabbie!
Stand on the shoulders of giants
Making that first decision and then writing those first few paragraphs are always the two hardest steps. And I learnt over time that tapping into the wisdom of others would significantly accelerate my progress. Know that your most valuable asset is time. Imagine you only had moments to live – how much would you pay to have another few minutes to let those you most cared about know how much they meant to you? Whatever it is you wish to achieve, chances are, someone else has already been there and done that. We are living in the digital knowledge economy. More than ever in the history of mankind, the wisdom we need is literally available through a few mouse-clicks and often, inexpensively so or even for free! My parents certainly couldn’t simply Google “how to write a best seller in 30 days” three decades ago and have within a few taps a swag of invaluable resources. We can today and we certainly should.
After I made that bold decision to write my book, it took me a good two years before things started to take off. Prior to that, I had had a few false starts. Not feeling certain about my answers to seemingly simple questions like “what should I write about? What should the title be? How big should the book be? What is the process? What is the difference between an editor and a proof-reader?” really held up my progress. I had at least five different topics I was passionate about and having a fear of failure, couldn’t choose which to start off with. And so I’d write a few chapters, get into a rut, start another topic, decide that I might leave that for later, and on and on it went for two years. It was discouraging to say the least and I felt I was making little headway.
My breakthrough came when I received a text message, quite out of the blue from a friend who said “Dom, ever thought of writing a book? Am signing up for a Facebook Live group coaching program to write my best seller in 30 days. It’ll be run by this awesome coach who’s authored numerous Amazon best-sellers and coached even more people to do the same. Like to join me?”
Joining that program gave me the huge kickstart I needed. Having access to someone who had done all the hard yards of taking multiple wrong turns only to finally get it right and piggy-backing on their step-by-step success recipe was absolutely the best investment I made. I wrote more than 80% of my content in those 30 days!
So some questions for you to reflect on:
- Who do you look up to that already has the results you want?
- What if you could accelerate your success by modelling the thoughts, emotions and strategies of this individual(s)?
- What could you do with the time that you free up?
- How could you tap into the knowledge that’s already available?
The third and final part of this article is about the power of mining your mastermind!