CAUTION! I’m about to get naked with you.
No, not the take-your-clothes off kind of naked. The harder kind. The bare-your-soul kind that shows you the truth about who I really am and where my life really is, not for the purpose of showing off but for the purpose of letting you be okay with your mess by me letting you see mine.
It’s Been a Hard Week
This has been one of the hardest weeks for me in a long time. It’s been punctuated by incredibly awesome things happening followed by gut wrenching events that twist your innards and have made me wonder why I’m doing this at all. The roller coaster of emotion is draining and I just didn’t have anything left in me.
–>A radio interview at Guadalupe Radio Network on Thursday for my book, The Secret of the Lantern. The interview went very well, and I was able to suggest a possible future event for Catholic writers where I explain what to expect when you’re self-publishing as a Catholic author versus what to expect when you go through a traditional publisher.
–>A lead I hadn’t heard from in about a week followed up with me and we’ve made progress in our discussion about the possibility of working together on her book.
–>A coaching call by Ann Strout turned into a potential partnership for the future. I help her write her story and she helps me grow my business.
–>We were able to pay our internet bill at the last minute before it got turned off, closing off the ability for my son, my husband, and I to all draw income.
–>A lady from Elko, Yong Pratt reached out to me and wanted to link to my site. We ended up working out a guest blogging opportunity and the interview went live today.
–>I found out that Master Chef auditions were coming to Dallas today, got an audition slot, and was able to put together a plan that might allow me to win despite our incredibly lean pantry.
–>My online friend, Kathy Downs, was travelling to Houston from Michigan and went out of her way just to meet me in Dallas.
Here are the things that didn’t go at all according to plan.
–>My CreateSpace package containing copies of The Secret of the Lantern that I am planning to give to the station for giveaways got returned. You can read the whole story of that in another blog post.
–>We were only able to pay the bill by borrowing money from my mother and I don’t know how I’m going to pay her back.
–>I have no clients right now. None. I have about 4-5 leads, but nothing putting money into the coffers. My husband is out of work and hasn’t had a lot of luck finding clients himself. The people I know are all struggling financially and nobody is able to help.
–>I couldn’t afford the gas money to get to my Master Chef audition despite having worked three days to put together a plan for it and shaking down every pocket, pillow, couch and car seat crack in our possession.
–>My husband and I got into the worst fight we’ve had in YEARS over the Master Chef competition which left us both crying and me a total mess when Kathy finally did call.
–>I spend the better part of three days fighting to find enough hope to overcome my own depression and convince myself that living is preferable to killing myself and being done with it all.
–>The fight with my husband leads me to a place where I actually ask just how many of those little asprins I’ll need to take before I die from the overdose because I just can’t see the point of continuing to fight a losing battle anymore. I couldn’t see that what I was doing was doing any good, that it was changing anything, and if there was no good coming of it all I could think was that there was no point to the whole thing. Why go through all the grief and all the pain and all the struggle if it isn’t going to change anything?
Here’s Why I’m Sharing This With You
As I lay there in my bed asking God to help me get through this and help me understand what the point of everything was, there was one word that came through loud and clear – “Love.” Love is the point of the fight. It’s the point of the battle. It’s the point of the business. It’s the reason I do what I do. And yes, no matter how much pain and struggle and grief there is, love is always worth it.
I had this image of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, tears streaming out of his eyes, pleading with God to let the cup pass from him if it was possible but ultimately surrendering to God’s will. I think those tears were spilled precisely because he saw all the ways that human beings hurt each other and he wanted reassurance that what he was about to do was going to make a difference. He needed to know that the things he was about to undergo would be worth it. Would it change things? Would people love one another better because of his sacrifice?
I’m not Christ. But that question is one we all have to ask ourselves as authors, artists, and entrepreneurs. Is it worth going through everything we have to go through in order to do what we do? Are we making a difference? Will what we do change anything? Will it help other people love one another better? Will it make a difference? Because, as Ann reminded me during our call on Wednesday, the honest truth about building a business or writing a book or investing yourself in your artwork only to have people pass it by without a second glance is this: It NEVER gets any easier. The rejections you face don’t sting less. The criticisms you receive don’t hurt less. Yes, you get better at handling them, but that doesn’t make them easier.
The Why Matters
If your why isn’t something that’s real and worth holding on to, you’ll end up going through with the temptation to end the struggle for good. Robin Williams did, and so have countless other artists and musicians and writers and business people. If your why isn’t something that is big enough to talk you back from the edge when you’re hurting and hopeless and you are tired from the never ending fight and all you can see is your failures, you won’t make it. You won’t be there to make the difference or change those lives.
The Wrong Reasons
What went wrong for me this week isn’t the leads or the books or the other things. It’s the fact that I lost focus of my why. I forgot why I got involved in writing, why I made a commitment to this business and to following this plan. I got so caught up in my day-to-day struggle for survival that I was forgetting that there is a bigger mission at stake.
And that mission, that mission of bringing more love into the world through my gift of telling stories and of helping people to see their worth and their value, that mission of changing lives by changing hearts and minds. I forgot that and I got caught up in the pursuit of making life easier. But that’s a mission that’s always guaranteed to fail. Because the truth is that nothing worth having ever came easy. And love is the one thing in the world that’s worth giving everything to receive. It’s worth every ache and every pain and every tear shed.
You’re Worth the Risk
This kind of full disclosure is risky. I know that. I spent three days crafting a landing page telling you that I can help you build a business from your book. And I can. Everything I said about what I did is true. But I want you to know that nothing about building your business is going to be easy. Nothing about writing your book is going to be easy. There are things you can do to make it easier, but easy doesn’t happen. Because if it were easy, if any of this were easy, we’d all do it. The greater the impact you can have on the world, the harder the battle is going to be and the more that you’re going to struggle. If it’s worth having, it’s worth fighting to get. And that’s the truth.