So, I’ve had the dream of self-publishing my books for years now. As a teenager, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I also had a strong desire to be an entrepreneur so the traditional path to publishing never interested me. When the internet blossomed into what it is today and self-publishing became an actual thing you could make money from, my dream of combining my passion for writing and entrepreneurship became possible.
However, even though the world caught up with my dreams, my courage took a few more years to develop.
Fear and self-doubt around my work have plagued me for the better part of a decade. Even though I’ve always been fiercely ambitious and harbored an unwavering belief that I would achieve my biggest goals, I sabotaged myself on a regular basis when it came time to actually take the necessary steps to reach them. Even the small, daily ones (which are the most important).
The Stupid, Limiting Beliefs That Held Me Back
I never felt “ready.” Every story I wrote wasn’t “there yet.” I never had the time or the resources or whatever other B.S. excuses I could come up to justify my inaction, when really it was just fear looking for a reason to wait.
Every New Year’s Eve, for the last few years, I’ve made the same resolution: this will be the year I publish something. Then, every year, I’d ─ guess what ─ not publish something. I had all my justifiable reasons, of course. But deep down, I knew the truth.
I was the only one to blame. I wasn’t doing all that I could, not really. I was holding back because once I took the leap, I knew I’d have to face the strong possibility of failing at the thing I’ve been dreaming about doing since I was a kid, despite telling myself all the motivational truths like: most people fail several times before they ever succeed, that the only true failures are the ones who never try, that it’s none of my business what people think of my work because art is subjective and my only responsibility is to create things that inspire me, etc etc…
Even though all of these things are true, it took a while for them to actually sink in on a deep, molecular level. For those truths to actually become a part of me. It’s easy to hear them, it’s easy to believe them, but it’s hard to know them. There is a difference between believing and knowing.
Getting Real with Myself
In November 2017, around my birthday, I got fed up. I had made some strides, but I still was wasting so much time (time I would never get back) and I wasn’t feeling the way I wanted to feel. I wasn’t living the life I wanted to live, that I knew I could live if only I’d be brave enough to step up to fully show up for it. I had been aware of my role in things for a while and had taken some steps toward breaking my bad habits and shifting my mindset, but I hadn’t done as much as I could. I got really real with myself and accepted that I was still doing the bare minimum.
I made the decision that I was going to challenge every habit I had, do everything that scared me, and be ruthlessly honest with myself about my choices when it came to my time, attitude, mindset, priorities, language, and creative endeavors. I began auditing myself and my time constantly.
Do one thing every day that scares you. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Since January, I’ve launched my blog, stayed consistent on Instagram, begun a new business venture, seen a huge shift in my mindset, read four books, and wrote and published a short story.
I was able to do all of this because I stopped making excuses, started prioritizing what mattered to me, and adopted a powerful mantra: done is better than perfect. I’ve already learned and grown so much simply by pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and trying shit. And it’s only been a few months.
If It Both Excites and Terrifies You, It’s Probably Worth Doing
My short story is the prime example. I started writing it in January and promised myself I’d publish it by March 1st. I hadn’t written a short story in several years and always told myself I couldn’t write a good one because my mind only worked well in long-term storytelling. (Another ridiculous, self-limiting story I was telling myself.) I gave myself the challenge and the whole way, whenever I felt fear and self-doubt creeping in, I’d tell myself, “You can do this. Figure it out. It’s not impossible. Keep going.”
Come March 1st, I kept to my word and published it, even though there were still sections of it I knew could use improvement. It will never be perfect and this was an exercise in LIVING that truth, rather than just telling myself that but then actually never letting the story see the light of day because it just needed “a few more tweaks.”
I won’t lie, I was as exhilarated as I was ill as I clicked the publish button. I even considered publishing it but not announcing or promoting it anywhere because technically, I’d still be meeting my goal. But I didn’t do that; I published it and have been actively promoting it, and I feel so damn accomplished. Yeah, it bugs me that there are some things I know could be better, and I may return to this story somewhere down the road to make those tweaks, but I’m glad I stuck to my commitment and put it out there. I genuinely love the story, flaws and all. I’m so happy it exists in the world and not just in my head anymore.
The Soul Broker: A Short Story
It’s less than 6,000 words, so about a ten-minute read if you’re interested in some magical realism. Right now, you can read it for free either on WattPad or by having the PDF sent straight to your inbox (click here to grab your copy!).
If you read it, I’d love to know your thoughts on it! Please leave me a comment on WattPad or feel free to contact me.
And I hope that, if there’s something you’ve been wanting desperately to do but have been too scared to do it, this inspires you to take the plunge. Give it your best effort, but don’t wait for perfection because then you’ll be wasting your life waiting for something that doesn’t exist, and missing out on some amazing experiences that you could’ve had if you’d just said yes and went for it. Learn from doing rather than thinking/analyzing. Embrace the discomfort because that’s where real, delicious growth happens. And honestly, where all the real living takes place.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Amy Poehler, who summed it up beautifully:
Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that- that’s what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself. – Amy Poehler
Is there anything you’ve felt a calling to do but have been too scared to do it? Share it with me in the comments. xx