I always like to write a little post for the general public, writers and readers alike that might inspire you or perhaps change your perception in a positive way.
So please make a tea or coffee, find a quiet place and read this through to the end. Or save it until you have a spare five minutes. I hope it will be worth your time.
For those who have read my work, my characters always go through transformations. In order for me to get the character from the condition they are in at the start of the book to the new condition they are in at the ending, I actually have to experience that transformation myself. I have to reach the same mountain top or have the same epiphanies. Otherwise, how else could I descriptively write about the process?
So, for some books, that has required time. Time I have had to spend increasing my knowledge base, putting what I’ve discovered into action and growing as a human being. That’s why I read so many psychology, philosophy and self-help books.
For example, with Pieces of Me, a sub-plot within that novel followed the path of Hannah’s grandmother, Josie. Josie, in the end, contracts lung cancer and has a limited amount of time left on earth. I required Josie to give her granddaughter, Hannah, a really profound message that she can carry around with her that would improve Hannah’s quality of life.
For months, I couldn’t finish that story. I didn’t have the perspective of a dying woman. I couldn’t come up with anything profound. And then (and I never wish this upon myself or anyone again) I was told by my doctor that I had a melanoma on my right wrist.
I immediately had it cut out. For the two weeks that I had to wait for my results, which would tell me how advanced the cancer was, I went through hell. I have never experienced such emotional stress. Nor do I wish to again. I didn’t know if the results would mean my life was over or if I still had an opportunity to live.
During that time waiting, my perspective changed. I had recently cut my hair and I looked at myself in the mirror and thought how I may never get to grow my hair again. I may never get the chance to do many many things again—many opportunities and experiences I took for granted. I worried about my children’s future. My husband.
Thankfully, when I received my results, they were the best results possible. I had my life again. And I had to turn that experience into something positive. I couldn’t waste the perspective I had gained.
I also figured out the ending to my story. In fact, it flowed from me like a fountain.
So, recently, I was reading a book by Grant Cardone called Sell or be Sold. It was the last place I expected to receive profound insight. But, as it turns out, I did. And that’s my rule of thumb—read everything because you never know what you’ll gain from it.
I want to share this insight with you in the hopes that it might be profound for you as well.
In a chapter of the book, Cardone talks about what he states as the ‘ninety-day phenomenon’. Now keep in mind, he’s focusing on sales, but I believe it’s relevant to everyone. We are all required to sell ourselves daily, whether that be to our boss, to potential boyfriends/girlfriends, friends, etc.
Cardone believes when a salesperson is no longer capable of selling any, or selling as many, products after ninety days, that she has gathered some unhelpful information or come to an incorrect conclusion about the product she is trying to sell.
Basically, the salesperson is no longer, herself, sold on the product she’s trying to sell and therefore can no longer sell it to anyone else. In fact, she starts ‘not-selling’ the product, which Cardone describes as ‘selling in reverse’.
Stay with me here, you may not think this is relevant, but I assure you it can be.
Cardone’s advice for a salesperson whose production has dropped is to rehabilitate the salesperson’s faith in the product she’s selling.
This might be ringing bells for you in regards to a part of your life.
Do you not feel worthy enough to ask for a promotion (i.e. lost faith in yourself as an employee worth selling)? Or perhaps you’re an artist and was really enthusiastic about a project in the beginning, but are too scared to show your work to anyone else (i.e. no faith in the work)?
It certainly set alarm bells ringing for myself. As an author, I continually improve at my craft. The more I improve, the more I dislike my previous novels. Novels that I was, originally, incredibly proud of and willing to share with the world. I had seen that I had started un-selling my stories.
I needed some rehab. I needed to sell myself again on my own books.
Do you need to sell yourself again on how valuable you are as an employee? An artist? A business owner? A wife? A friend? A product you’ve developed?
Cardone’s advice, for starters, is to ‘find out if there’s some counter-intention, disagreement, or false information about the product, service or company that’s in conflict with the salesperson’s beliefs’.
So, I got a pen and notepad and wrote all the words that were floating in my mind as to why my books were no longer good enough.
Please do that right now! Write down the reasons why you don’t believe in your product anymore?
When I did it, I came to a startling realisation. And I hope you came to that realization too.
I had discovered that every single negative word or phrase or reason was offered up by other people who had read my books--whether that be family members who didn’t appreciate the amount of sex, or reviewers who had to suspend disbelief, or persons who balked at swearing.
Not one of the negative beliefs I had about my work was my own. I had taken it upon myself to believe these negative statements, when, in fact, the statements were another's subjective opinion. And I took it upon myself to start believing these statements and stop believing in my own books.
That brings us to the next and final step, which Cardone says is to ‘ask him [the salesperson] about how he felt about the product or service when he was doing well selling it’.
So, with my pen and notepad, I wrote down all the reasons why I love my books. And I was coming up with phrases like:
How much more brilliant are those phrases? And they are my beliefs. And that is all that matters.
Have faith in yourself and whatever you are doing/being.
Don’t be so ready to take on others’ beliefs because those beliefs may not be valid. It is your faith that matters most.
I hope this will help you as much as it did me.
And, please, let me know how you go!