A few years ago when the calendar flipped from 2010 to 2011, I thought I was doing my best, and trying my hardest, and fully living my truth. I thought that I was free and that I was on the verge of making some real change in the world.
I had been blogging for nearly two years and building a platform for myself. I was getting attention and encouragement from peers and even some talented authors and entrepreneurs.
Everything was looking up. Like the sky was the limit.
I was ready, I told myself, to ignite, to launch, to fly, and to never look back. To say goodbye forever to my lingering battle with depression. To bid adieu to years of quiet inner crisis and my struggle to “find my direction” once and for all. To kick the addiction to suffering and “woe-is-me” and putting the weight of the whole world on my shoulders.
So I did what I needed to do, next.
I decided to face what I THOUGHT I was avoiding the most…
So I sat down for 84 straight days and I wrote it.
I published it less than a month later in September 2011.
It was the book I thought I was meant to write — destiny, dharma, purpose, passion, all rolled into one. I did all the marketing right — the press kit, author headshots, interviews, promos, giveaways to book clubs. I enlisted everyone I knew to help me get the word out. I hand-packed and distributed copies for a guerrilla marketing plan I had hatched, too.
By the time 2011 was becoming 2012, I was in the same place as I was the year before. Only worse.
Because writing my first book didn’t transform my career or revolutionize my whole life.
There was no takeoff, just stasis.
No ignition, just a feeling of stalling out.
And no sense of “no looking back.”
Instead, I was looking nowhere BUT backward, and with dread and regret, worry and anxiety.
I had staked the biggest risks of my life on this one project idea — and finally took that chance. My lifelong dream to become an author, which had motivated me to quit my job and kept me going despite depression for what felt like forever, seemed to fail me.
(Or, maybe I had failed it.)
When 2011 became 2012, a whole year had come and gone and while I had done what I THOUGHT needed doing, my first book’s shortcomings — my feelings of failure and the vacuum of “What The Hell Do I Do Next?” that followed in its wake — left me in a total crisis of identity, all over again.
But this is not a story about me writing my first book, my friend.
I’ve told that story before: how my first book’s expectations were set unattainably high, and how my priorities were askew and I unconsciously staked all my hopes for healing on an external project like a book.
This is a story about what you risk when you THINK you’re finally facing down what you’ve long been avoiding for years… only to discover that it was a “straw man” project.
A surface-level illusion.
A veil, draped atop something more significant.
A haze, obscuring the true goal beneath.
My book was a false goal, a lie of a priority, that was hiding something deeper and more meaningful that I was REALLY in pursuit of.
When I pursued the writing of my first book, I thought “writing my book” was what I was avoiding. It wasn’t.
It was a misstep; my own misunderstanding of my priorities.
Because I pursued this “straw man” project, I ended up taking the wrong “next steps” on my path. It slowed my overall growth and progress in my career, and throughout my life, for years to come.
There was nothing wrong with writing a book in and of itself, of course, but where I failed was that writing a book was NOT what I was avoiding the most. In other words, it’s not where I needed to go or what I had to do in order to truly learn the most, heal the deepest, or expand the widest.
There was something else obscuring the true, self-actualizing discovery that I needed to make, and learn from, and follow, to reach my real “next level” in life and in career.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was avoiding facing my quiet inner shame and insecurity, my lack of self-confidence, my deficit of self-esteem, and my ongoing imposter syndrome.
These are what held me back from writing a better first book.
They held me back from finding good, strong partnerships in my romantic life.
They stopped me from connecting deeply and authentically with people, and instead, retreating away from them.
My first book was a “straw man” project because I was trying to hurdle over the uncomfortable learning and growth that would necessarily come from unpacking and decoding all these complex internal feelings and emotions.
I wanted to “skip ahead” and, on an unconscious level, thought that if I just managed to write a book and “prove myself” that all the quiet torment of my own lacking self-love and self-acceptance would magically disappear.
But thankfully, my mistakes showed me a new way forward… but, the hard way. And, the slow way.
I committed to finally facing what I was REALLY avoiding. I developed processes for examining myself — and, wherever I sensed I was avoiding the most, I went there.
But, most importantly — and this is where you come back in, my friend — I stopped trying to everything “all on my own.”
For years, I had tried to figure everything out by myself. It wasn’t an ego thing or an arrogance thing. It was because I was too embarrassed by NOT knowing. I was ashamed to ask for help.
That was a big part of my inner insecurities.
So, I began to reach out and ask for help.
Over the following months, I received support from incredibly supportive and understanding friends who inspired me to take big actions that would save my business, inspire my next books, and create services that deeply served people.
I began to receive powerful guidance from mentors and coaches for the first time, ever, and developed new business partnerships, launched new service offerings, and developed ideas that actually worked in serving others — things that I would try to do “all on my own” and that consistently failed, because I tried to create them a vacuum chamber of my own mind.
Most importantly, I began to realize that I didn’t have to teach myself everything from scratch.
By asking for help and willfully receiving it, I would save myself thousands of hours of time, countless weeks of frustration, and the steep and painful learning curve that I had experienced when writing my first book.
Over the last few years, it’s probably no surprise that I’ve become a coach, guide, teacher and support system to fellow creatives, professionals, self-employed people, change-agents and conscientious journeyers along their paths of life.
As you may know, I routinely host writers and content creators in one-on-one coaching partnerships that I call a Writer’s Group of Two to help them transform themselves alongside their writing and creative expressions.
While that’s still available to clients in 2020, I want to introduce you to a new offering that takes the best elements of Writer’s Group of Two but shifts the focus off of writing as an outcome — which, like my book-writing story shares, can sometimes mask our true goals and soul priorities.
In 2020, I’m inviting 10 clients to journey with me over 12 months of deep learning, personal growth, spiritual expansion and accountability to True Goals (not “straw man” projects and other distracting ends).
I call this great exploration, The Unavoidable Life.
The Unavoidable Life is a one-year, one-on-one coaching experience that holistically examines all aspects and interplays of your life, from work and creativity to business, income, relationships and love, service and sense of purpose.
We will explore, define, and refine what it means for you to live a full and “unavoidable” life, inside and out.
All along the way, you’ll use my favorite medium for self-reflection, personal journaling and reflective writing, as a tool and vessel for ongoing inner communion as you rewrite self-limiting beliefs, examine your stories.
You’ll reprogram your self-limiting beliefs. You’ll witness your stories unfurl onto the page, and I’ll help you decode them to show you where your avoidance is manifesting.
Together, we’ll pair supportive conversations with meaningful practices and personalized disciplines to transform your daily outlook and weekly behaviors into what will categorically lift your experience as a human, a partner, a worker, a creative (we’re ALL creative), and a soul.
The ultimate goal of The Unavoidable Life?
It mirrors my personal definition of “success”:
Experience the equivalent of two years’ worth of growth, life experience, and spiritual expansion in just one year’s time.
What would it feel like if, in one year’s time, you looked back on your 2020 and felt like you did TWO years’ worth of seeking, sharing, creating, exploring, healing, growing, and experiencing your life in its fullest expression?
That’s The Unavoidable Life.
When I write to you next, I’ll tell you the stories of my recent clients who have transformed their businesses, teachings, relationships, offerings, and lives by embracing The Unavoidable Life. They’ve experienced what feels like two years’ worth of growth in one.
It happens through a combination of facing what you’ve been avoiding the most, and getting the right support you need along the way.
If you see yourself in these stories, then The Unavoidable Life may be for you.
Before then, if you’re curious to learn more or explore if this year-long coaching and mentorship experience could help you feel like you’ve lived two years’ worth of life in one, click here for more.
Submit an application, too, and you and I can talk about the possibility, your goals, and more, as soon as the next few weeks.
Until next time,