Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Our Deepest Fear

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.” 
~ Nelson Mandela, Marianne Williamson
Years ago, someone shared with me this now timeless prose, “Our Deepest Fear.” To this day, I’m still not sure if it was originally penned by Nelson Mandela or Marianne Williamson, so I’ll credit them both here. This particular excerpt (above) struck me as absolutely profound. Why? Because playing small had become the name of the game for me. I figured that if I stayed in the background, supported other people, did my best and learned all I could, people would like me, someone would eventually notice my work and I would be thanked, praised and cherished by all who knew me. You can imagine how far that got me!
The lightbulb came on for me after years of struggling in my business, The Write Image, to attract well-paying clients who recognized my value. After devoting valuable time journaling through my disappointments, dreams and desires I realized that if I didn’t stand up and speak up about my expertise and my worth, no one would ever know my value. Getting to that point took a lot of self examination and self reflection. Unfortunately, many women don’t allow themselves the time to do so. Instead, they lean on their fears as excuses.

There is no such thing as a “healthy fear.” Fears can be debilitating, whether it is the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of outshining someone else, or one of my old crutches, the fear of how I would top my best. But those fears can also be the fuel that pushes you towards success. 
“Getting over a painful experience 
is much like crossing monkey bars. 
You have to let go at some point 
in order to move forward.” 
~ Unknown

Learn to use your fears to build yourself up. We all have them, but fear need not be the road block to stop you from achieving success. Journal your fears to help realize what they are. Past negative experiences can impact your present and your future. You have brought into your present things that have happened to you or things that have never happened, but you’ve feared could happen. As life goes on, memories of these fears can reemerge into your consciousness. Not only are you dealing with your past fears, but you have developed new fears. Do you want to bring those fears into your future? 
Try this journaling exercise. Describe one of your fears -- either from your past or your present. How does it make you feel to think about it? How did you feel to experience it (if you actually did)? What first step can you take to leave that fear in the past (confront someone, forgive someone, ask forgiveness or apologize, increase your knowledge, learn how, seek help from a professional, tell someone, determine why you believe what you believe)?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Therapeutic Writing: A Secret Revealed

Writing is one of my passions, and journaling is a direct offshoot of my desire to write consistently. I teach others the pleasure, power and process of journaling to create their ideal life. So imagine my surprise when I learned of a conference that was coming to my area that is designed to explore the connections between writing and wellness. I jumped at the chance.
Yesterday, I attended the Wellness and Writing Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Presenters shared amazing research, theories and techniques that connect the act of writing to a number of benefits related to wellness. From the relationship between stress and how keeping a feeling journal could help cure disease or decrease symptoms, to how discovering one’s innate gifts through meditation and writing exercises can lead to a more fulfilled, productive and enlightened life. 
Healing the past in the present, one study revealed, decreased doctor visits by 35 percent and emergency room visits by 11 percent. Why is that? The speaker cited “The Writing Cure: How Expressive Writing Promotes Health and Emotional Well-Being.” The book explores the effect writing has on disease. Although writing has been a popular therapeutic technique for years, only recently have researchers subjected it to rigorous scientific scrutiny and applied it to persons suffering from physical illnesses such as cancer and hypertension. So, if therapeutic writing can have positive effects on these types of medical conditions, why wouldn’t it have a similar effect on our mental and emotional state. That’s what Write Your Life is all about -- healing from the past, exploring and enjoying the present and creating an ideal future. 
It’s amazing to connect with so many others who recognize and are studying the benefits that writing has in our lives. Even more so, it is promising to know that so many people are opening up to the potential of their lives and exploring possibilities through the process of journaling. If you haven’t begun the journey, there’s no time like the present. I invite you to join me on a revealing and information-packed teleseminar this Tuesday, October 26th at 9:00 p.m. Eastern to learn how to Write Your Life. You can register by clicking here
This investment in yourself is certain to reap amazing results as you discover the pleasure, power and process of journaling to create your ideal life. Participating in this teleseminar is a must if you’re ready to explore more of you and make more conscious decisions about your future. I look forward to having you on the call.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Write With Your Readers in Mind

Writers often write for themselves first -- to share a life lesson or some words of wisdom or a touching story from their past or the knowledge they’ve acquired on a particular subject. Once they get it all out, they think about their readers. How great would it be if, while you’re writing your book, you consider your readers. If you want people to purchase, read and enjoy your book, take them into consideration when you develop and write it. 

Two of the most common reasons people read are: for education and for inspiration. Readers want to learn something or be inspired by your story. They want to know what you know. So, as you share your life with your readers, consider this: when the reader reads the last sentence of your book and closes it for the final time, she’ll stare into the ceiling of her bedroom and ... what? What do you want her to think, feel and do? 

Think: You want your readers to think something about all of the stuff they just read in your book. What do you want them to think?
Feel: Books evoke feelings. A good book, as described by any reader, will cause a feeling. What do you want your readers to feel when they finish reading your book?
Do: Oftentimes, at the close of a good book, I’m inspired to do something, to try something new, to change the way I react or relate to something or someone. That’s pretty powerful. What do you want your readers to do after they’ve digested all of the nuggets in your book?
Whether you’ve just started, are midway through or have already completed your great book, take these things into consideration. If you need to go back to clarify the “think, feel, do” aspects for your readers, do so. Don’t spell it out for them like a school lesson. Instead, show them through the words on the pages of your book; through the stories that explain your journey; through the tips and tactics you've gained through your years of wisdom and knowledge. You’ll be amazed at how much richer your writing is and how much your readers will enjoy the gift you’ve shared with them.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Talking Yourself Out of Writing Your Book?

Recently, I met a woman who had traced her ancestry several generations back to her great-grandfather. What she found was remarkable. He was born into slavery in 1855 and after the Emancipation Proclamation amazingly achieved a significant accomplishment ... he got his 40 acres. Actually, he had purchased 80 acres of land through the Homestead Act. On that land, he built a modest home, raised crops and reared 13 children along with his wife. What a fantastic and inspiring story.
“Are you writing a book about it?” I asked her. “Oh no,” she said. “This story isn’t that unique. There are a lot of other people who have done remarkable things like this throughout history.” And thus, one of the roadblocks to success for most aspiring writers. 
As I’ve said many times ... we all have a book inside of us. This woman knew that her ancestor’s story was interesting, but she didn’t realize that it could also be inspiring to others. Many would-be authors talk themselves out of writing the book that is in their heart because they’re hung up on thinking that their story isn’t unique enough or that millions and billions of people wouldn’t buy it, or that it won’t make Oprah’s Book List, or won’t top the New York Times Bestsellers List or some other amazing feat. Well, for writers who use the unlikely-ness of fame and fortune as an excuse not to write their book, I say, “Hogwash!” 

When you identify the ideal reader for your book, the person whom you want to read it ... and you determine what you want the reader to glean from your words and your story, you will realize that there are hundreds, thousands and even tens of thousands (if not more) people who could be inspired by your story. Why keep them in the dark about the life lessons you’ve learned? Why not share with them the “how-tos” of what you know? Why not inspire them with a touching story from your past?
Don’t cheat your potential readers out of being blessed by your story simply because you think it isn’t the most unique story ever told or that it won’t be a mega-bestseller. What really matters is that you tell your story and you inspire someone else to be greater because of it.
What else is holding you back from writing your life?