Are You Willing to Accept the “T” for Tough in Transformation?

blog 2016 03 21In working to be great at something in business and life, we often push away or push past the “tough” stuff in order to focus and concentrate on what we’re really looking at. In storytelling, when figuring out our “signature” stories, I encourage my authors and speakers all the time to share more than just their accolades and awards. Audiences are intrigued by those, but the journey is made so much sweeter when we understand the juice it took to get past the tough stuff to be able to achieve.

When I ask them to share the biggest obstacles they’ve overcome, and how they overcame them, at first it doesn’t seem to make sense. Then the light comes on in their eyes, and a smile plays about their lips, and with hands shaking – in fear and trepidation – they often write the most powerful pages they’ve ever written. Lisa Nichols from The Secret, and others, have coined the phrase, “Your Mess is Your Message.” It doesn’t mean you have to air your dirty laundry, but it does mean this: getting raw about the human struggle makes the triumph that much sweeter.

So what about you? Are you willing to accept the T for Tough in your transformation? What are you working on now that frustrates you, pains you, and keeps you up at night – but you know is your biggest, most beautiful battle yet? As in, you know you’re overcoming this, baby! And you know, somewhere deep down…you could use this to light the way for another so their struggle wouldn’t be quite as intense and painful.

That’s when you know you’ve probably hit an emotional highpoint for your signature story. Be Raw. Be Real. Be Transformational.

Writing for Impact – Why It Matters

writing for impact logoWhen I was a child, I was pretty happy; an optimist, accused of being a Pollyanna, even. But by the time I was in my early 20s, I looked at the world in only one way – as a test, and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I thought I had already “screwed the pooch.” I thought I had messed up life so badly, failed so miserably, yet something kept me going, and hoping for a brighter tomorrow.

That brighter tomorrow was promised to me by some of the most amazing minds who ever held a pen to paper. I never dug Edgar Allan Poe or other authors with gloomy mindsets, even if they were famous. I was intrigued by authors that could describe darkness, but always bring me to the light: Maya Angelou, Dale Carnegie, Og Mandino, Marianne Williamson, and many, many spiritual authors from different walks of life that sparked hope in me.

That great juxtaposition gave me what I always have seemed to need, which was a light at the end of the tunnel. They helped fulfill that desire to know there was not just a way out of darkness, but also a reason for it in the first place, and not to be so afraid. I personally received that light when I had a near-death experience. It changed my life, and got me back to looking for every happy ending I could find. Now as an author who tackles some of the darkest subjects on the planet, I’m delighted to say that I find light in the darkest of tunnels…and it matters.

We live in a world surrounded by issues, crimes, shame, darkness, poverty, bankruptcy, continuing war, and political upheaval. And yet, I have personally witnessed that there are more personal miracles happening today than ever – or, that i get to be around the people who write about them. People are still inspired by hope-filled stories. It feeds the hungry soul and makes it possible to make it through another day…and quite possibly, even, find our reason to change our world, so that we may change the world.

Writing for impact really does matter. It’s not just about business sense; it’s about human sense, end evolution.

I’m so excited to team up with one of my favorite professionals in the publishing industry in a new day workshop for beginning authors entitled Writing for Impact. Angela Eschler with Eschler Editing is a gifted professional with a heart. She understands the power of great storytelling to stir the human soul. With like minds, we decided to create something for beginning writers that not only extracts the power of their personal and creative stories, but how they choose to share them with the rest of us so that we can find them, read them, and continue to be inspired by them.

Your life matters. Your message matters. The way you write it matters. Be one of those who leads others out of the cold shade and into the warmth of your sunlight. Time to set the world ablaze, my friends.

Come join us!

The Year of Elephants: 2016

riding an elephantHave you ever longed for something with your whole heart, but as much as you wanted it, you knew you couldn’t have it? Maybe money got in your way, or maybe it was time itself. Or maybe, just maybe… that dream seemed a little too out of reach.

Sound familiar at all?

When I was younger, my head was full of dreams, but they were mostly distant wishes. I had not really been taught how to set goals and keep them. In tackling college, I had to learn and stick to a regimen of strict goal-setting and goal-keeping. I started to dream bigger. But there were times I self-sabotaged with underlying fears that I simply couldn’t achieve “the BIG stuff.” Sure, I was positive, upbeat, and could conquer the world—as long as that world fit within my limited paradigms!

Believe it or not, writing is responsible for me being able to complete a large goal or project. When I completed, edited, pitched, and successfully published my first book, I learned that I really could tackle a big dream! You’re heard it: you can eat an elephant one bite at a time. And I did! That completed task spurred many completions of gigantic dreams in many areas of my life. It was truly life-changing.

Still, late last year I found I was facing another big fear for 2016: taking my Inspired Writers Retreat to India. I had to look my fear directly in the eyes and challenge what was getting in my way. I was afraid of eating that elephant, and some latent fears from my early adulthood showed up. I got to write all of those down, and took a good look at where those fears and underlying beliefs were coming from. Then I got to decide if I was going to continue carrying them forward.

Interestingly enough, on our India Retreat, we get to go on safari… and guess what? We’re going to ride elephants! No wonder when I faced my fears, I had a visions of riding into 2016 on an elephant.

So take a minute to reflect on these questions just like I did: In what areas of your life do YOU get to ride in on an elephant?

Is it writing a book?

Becoming a speaker?

Finding a loving relationship?

Getting dynamically fit and healthy?

You can do it. Write it down. Take a bite! Then another one, and another… and then… INDIA! (Or whatever your big dream is!)

Can you hear the elephant trumpeting? Welcome, 2016. Bring it on.

DARING to Write

Dare to LIVEDARING to Write

Many people are so afraid to write! They want to write, they desire to write, they crave to write, they hunger and thirst to write, they’re even dying inside to write! And yet… they don’t write. They put writing off for any number of reasons – time, energy, vulnerability, procrastination, hurt, pain, guilt, sorrow; whatever it is that comes up for them whenever they try to give themselves permission.

This is what I would like to share with you. There is a difference between wanting to write, and having to write. If you are not writing because it’s a “should” thing – then stop “shoulding” on yourself and let it go. Erase it from your list of guilty-making processes we burden ourselves with in this society.

But if you MUST write because there is a longing, a burning inside of you, then write. First, just simply write for yourself. For “write now” forget about anyone even taking a peek at your writing. Just write for you. Write for your soul. Feed it, nourish it, love it and tell your soul it is cherished because you care enough to write the story of your soul. Fiction or nonfiction, it doesn’t matter. Stories are stories and they stir our souls and move our blood and our imaginations.

It does takes guts to write. It does take guts to put your fingers on the keys, or the pen to paper and pour your soul out in words. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to write? What makes me think I have something to say?”

The answer? You DO. You have a voice. You were born. You have lived a life uniquely yours. I don’t care if you are an identical twin—you have had experiences and created an outlook on life like no other single person on the planet. And others can learn from you. But most importantly… you can learn from you first. Writing is healing. It gives us perspective, purpose and power. It lets us see our lessons in black and white, and back up from the emotions to see portent patterns unfold before us, like petals of a particularly gorgeous flower. It brings clarity and insight that is rarely found in any other activity we can ever do.

Dare to write. Dare to dream. Dare to live. Most importantly, begin it. Goethe says, “Whatever you can dream do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” I believe that more strongly than I can even write it – and that is saying something! Begin it. Begin it now. I dare you. Even more critical, you dare you!