You’ve Done It Before. You Will Do It Again
A Case Study: Susie’s Story:
“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” Longfellow
Susie had self-published her first book. It was a collection of simple life stories that she hoped readers would find insightful in a way that would help them appreciate the importance of simple everyday things at times when life might seem overwhelming.
Now she needed to market and sell the book. But Susie was feeling stuck. She had never done anything like this before, and she didn’t know how to do it. She didn’t believe she had the skills needed.
The mere thought of self-promotion gave her a sick feeling in her stomach. That wasn’t who she was. Susie was unassuming and never liked to talk about herself. She hated networking situations. She found them disingenuous. But if she wanted to sell her book, she would need to do all of the things that so weren’t her. She was feeling like a fake, and she hadn’t even started yet.
Susie shared how she was feeling and thinking with her mum, Debra. Her mum had a different take on things. She believed Susie did have the skills needed to promote her book. She also believed she could do this in a way that wasn’t fake but was authentic to who she was.
Debra needed to help Susie see in herself what she saw in her.
Knowing Susie had moments when she was feeling stuck when writing her book because she had never done anything like that before, Debra asked how she had moved beyond her place of feeling stuck then.
Susie laughed and said, I followed your wisdom mum, I asked myself: What is one thing I can do today that will make tomorrow easier?
When I was writing the book, the moments I felt stuck were because I needed to do more research. I needed to learn more. So, I’d read a little more. This always helped me to be more informed, and from there, I was able to move the chapters forward because I knew what I wanted to say.
Debra: Can you apply any of that to what you need to do to market and sell your book?
Susie: I definitely need to learn more about what I need to do, so reading about that would help for sure. There are a lot of helpful websites that I can tap into for that. I’ve been holding off because I feel they will tell me what I already know — I need to put myself out there. The mere thought of doing that makes me feel sick.
Debra: Does your writing not require you to put yourself out there? — your blog, and now your book.
Susie: I guess so. It just feels different. The next steps feel scary.
Debra: What’s different about what you need to do next with marketing and selling from writing your book? What are the scary steps?
Susie: I need to find ways to connect with people.
Debra: Did you need to connect with people when writing your book?
Susie: Just when I needed help with proofreading and layout, I needed to find an editor to work with. That was easy. I just asked around. This feels different. I think I need more in-person connections as opposed to connecting remotely.
Debra: Is that true?
Susie gave her mum a puzzled look.
Debra: I ask because I know you’ve always connected with people through your writing — you interact with the people who follow your blog. I just wondered if continuing to connect as you have been doing could be away, not necessarily instead of in-person connection, but as well as.
Susie: I have a lot of people who sign up to my weekly blog, but that’s free. If I were to talk about my book, then I start becoming ‘salesy’. I share my blog for free because I like to help people. It feels disingenuous to then shift to trying to sell them something.
Debra: But the purpose of your book is to help people. You say: “ I hope readers find the stories insightful in a way that will help them appreciate the importance of simple everyday things at times when life might seem overwhelming.” Is there a way you could share something about your book that’s helpful and not “salesy”?
Susie: I guess I could share some extracts from the chapters for free. Enough that could be helpful to people, so they get something valuable from the post. I could then perhaps mention my book and share the inside view. That way, if people enjoyed what they read and found it helpful, if they chose to buy the book, it would be because of that. I don’t think that would be “salesy”, and I’d feel OK doing it that way.
Debra: I agree. That would allow you to do what you need to do in a way that isn’t in any way fake but is authentic to who you are.
Susie: You’re right, mum. That would allow me to remain true to who I am. Who I am is what I do, and that’s to help people.
Debra: Sounds like you’ve found a way to push through your feeling of being stuck.
Susie: Yeah, I think I’ve found a way forward. A direction to follow. I’m not sure how it will work out, but hopefully, it will help me to map out different paths I can take to achieve what I want and need to do.
Debra finished by sharing these:
Words of Wisdom
Remember, it’s not about tackling the whole problem. It’s about taking small, consistent steps.
Develop a Practice of Insightful Questions in Knowing Your Truth in Finding Your Way Assignment
When you’re at a place of feeling stuck, to move forward, ask yourself these questions:
- How did I move beyond a place of being stuck before?
- What one thing can I do today that will make tomorrow easier?
- Can I apply any of this to my current situation?
- What’s different about what I want to do next to what I did before?
- What are the scary steps?
- Have I taken those steps before?
- Is there a way I could take that step in a way that’s (whatever your version of Susie’s) ’helpful not salesy’?
If you get to a place of feeling stuck in any of your answers to these questions, challenge yourself by asking:
- Is that true?
As a WorkLife Learning Practitioner and Writer, I create learning programmes and resources to help people manage, develop and transition their WorkLives in good, challenging and bad times.
The focus of my work begins by helping people identify a WorkLife path that’s true to their core values, purpose, and motivation. This is followed through by creating meaningful short and long-term WorkLife plans while enabling self-coaching, self-directing, and self-leadership to drive these plans.
I bring you stories created from questions and answers drawn from WorkLife lessons. What I’m trying to do is to highlight different solutions, to provide you with a pathway so that even if a particular story doesn’t apply to you, you understand there is a path to follow.
Whatever you want to do, there is a clear path to it, and once you understand those steps, it becomes much more intuitive, and hopefully, it motivates you to get started. Because that’s what you need most, the motivation to get started. The motivation to follow your vision.
My book, Your WorkLife Your Way, focuses on helping you live your best WorkLife by managing your learning, development and growth, through effective self-feedback, insightful questions and the ability to shape and tell your unique story. Click on the title to see a preview of what’s inside the book.