Small Minded and Petty

When I came out of Harvard, I had visions of becoming the next literary superstar. That’s what we all talked about in grad school. I wanted to sit along the Grand Canal like Hemmingway and work on my writing all day. (You know, wine, seagulls, and interesting friends who respected my need for shoulder massages and quiet.)

Fast forward a couple of years.

I pitched the book I’d been working on to some big New York agents at a prestigious writing conference but I got zero interest because I was a complete unknown without a following or a list. I was just another writer in a pool of thousands, no, millions. I was a veritable no one. A ghost, for all intents and purposes. No one had mentioned this reality in school.

Home I went to start a blog with the sole intent of building an audience, creating a platform, becoming a person of interest. Because tell me what to do and I’ll do it. (Most of the time. OK, some of the time. )To keep me company, Walt started to blog as well.  We each wrote about topics of interest, musings you might call them, and slowly built up a body of work. A following, meaning a few more people than just our mothers. (Although come to think of it, I’m pretty sure my mother unsubscribed early on.)

So happens, while I was away at an artists’ retreat polishing off yet another draft of my aforementioned, snubbed book–I’d spent five years on it already, so what was another eight weeks?–Walt decided, in all his ignorance, to write his own book.

And get himself a publishing deal. (Oh, so much more on that LATER!)

After nine months, he had himself a polished product.

And that’s when the opportunities started rolling in for him. That’s when he got invited to speak on stage, and on the radio, and on TV. That’s when he began to build a serious coaching business around the content of his book; when he started to lead associated workshops, events, and seminars. The money came rolling in as well.  (That’s the only part I liked.)

Was there no justice in heaven? I asked.

I grew envious. Petty even. I’m the writer in the family, not Walt. The accolades should be mine, all mine.

Maybe you’ve experienced the very same immature feelings when someone with far less experience suddenly skyrockets past you because of his or her book. (Please tell me that you have!)

But, after I licked my wounds, I got curious. I started asking some deep questions.

What was I doing?

What did I actually want to come of my book?

What was my purpose for sinking all that time and energy into it?

What was in it for me?

This is where I segue. No neat and easy way to do it. Mostly because I still haven’t answered these questions for myself when it comes to this particular book. (That’s a show-stopper, people.)

Over the last decade, I’ve helped hundreds of people write books, including several of Tony Robbins’ clients. These books have won awards, launched new iterations of their businesses, magnetized high-paying clients, and won them career-catalyzing attention.

Because the right book can do these things.

The trained writer in me helped them create killer stories, while the business coach in me helped them define the target market they were writing to and the big result those particular people would get by reading the book.

In an expert-positioning book, by the way, those two elements are key. Forget one of them, the story or the defined audience and result, and the book goes nowhere.

But I haven’t just helped my clients; I’ve helped myself.

By writing and publishing my own expert-positioning book, I drew to me the very opportunities my husband enjoyed all those years before. This book put me on the stage, on the radio, at events. This book had strangers begging to work with me because they resonated with me and my simple system.

Those strangers wanted to write something powerful that would build their business and support their brand, and they didn’t want to spend years doing so. And that’s precisely what I helped them achieve.

I share this because I want you to know what’s possible. I want you to know that it’s possible to write an expert-positioning book–even when you’re crazy busy, even if you have enough knowledge to fill 50 volumes, which only serves to overwhelm you. Even if you haven’t the faintest clue where to start, or stop for that matter– so you can have the spotlight that comes with it, as well as the respect. So you can become known as the leading authority in your field. So you, too, can stop being so damn immature. 🙂

That’s why I do what I do. Why this stuff matters.