I’m writing a book. You may well know that by now. It’s the most creative and stimulating project I have worked on for several years, and at the same time the most exhausting. This partly explains why you haven’t heard from me on the Blog since before Christmas; it is sucking up so much of my energy. I hadn’t forgotten you, honest.
You might think writing it is the tiring bit, but you’d be wrong. I actually found that to be stimulating, and when I had worked out the structure in advance it pretty much flowed out of my head and onto the page in about two weeks. No, it’s all the other stuff you have to do, like work out where and how to launch it, commission the illustrations, and see whether you can get anyone to endorse it for you.
Ah, asking people to endorse it. To a self effacing Brit like me, this does not come easily. It’s a little too close to self promotion for my liking, and I found myself resisting it somewhat. Until, that is, I spoke to someone with a different set of mental limits to mine. Greg Giuliano and I first worked together on a leadership programme for Cisco over 10 years ago. Greg runs his own consultancy company, and published his book Ultra Leadership in 2015. We’ve kept in touch since, and a couple of weeks ago had a Skype in which I wanted to pick his brains on how to get Best Seller status on Amazon.
During the conversation Greg mentioned that he’d been able to get his book endorsed by an extremely well known global best selling author of business books. I won’t mention his name for reasons which will become clear in a moment. This particular author was, coincidentally, an inspiration for my book, in more ways than one. My ears pricked up of course when Greg mentioned this, and I asked him how on earth he managed to pull that off. “I just wrote to him, and he emailed me back within ten minutes”, he said.
This all sounds so obvious now, but at the time I would not have dreamt of doing what Greg did. Something in my head was telling me there is no way that could work, and it would be a slightly inappropriate thing to do anyway. Fortunately Greg is an excellent coach, and he soon had me realise that I was holding myself back, and that there really was nothing to lose in trying anyway.
So I did, and guess what. It worked! He wrote back the same day asking for a copy of the first draft, and I wait with baited breath to hear what he has to say about it. He may, of course, come back saying it is a pile of drivel and no one in their right mind should ever read it. Hence not naming him at this point, although I am itching to.
My point, in this the first Blog of the year, is to remind you of the danger of mental limits. They are self imposed, and often based on assumptions, exaggeration and poor logic. The best way to remove them is to talk to someone, because they will often carry a very different set of limits to yours. Holding yourself back is often a missed opportunity, and the only person responsible for it is you.
No holding me back now, though. Oh no. I’ve made a list of other people I’d love to have endorse it, and am about to knock on their doors. My publisher Alison Jones tells me I should be going for Prince William and Bono next . We’ll see. Watch this space.