You may have quit potentially rewarding projects because of what other people might think or because you fear that the outcome might not be what you intended. I once wrote a fiction book based on a story my kids and I created in an oral storytelling game I call, “Let’s build a story.”
Writing the book was an enlightening experience. I wrote it and then did nothing with it. Over the year it took me to write it, I never had one thought about publishing or even letting anyone else read it. The reason is that I was too concerned about what it would look like. I labeled it as something that would damage my reputation. I felt fear and potential embarrassment when I thought about making it public. I mean, how would it look for an investment professional who managed a large fund to publish a fiction story about a teenage kid battling monsters? My clients would think I wasn’t putting in the effort to ensure their returns were safe. Right?
So, I just let it sit. But it didn’t just sit. It was a project that was near completion. It constantly etched its title across my brain. This wasn’t that long ago, by the way. Everything I’m writing here, I use each day to achieve anything I put my mind to.
I oftentimes re-read books that have had an impact my life. One day I skimmed the notes of one of these books and came across a section that inspired the next thought — and said it out loud, which gave it transformational power:
I must be unattached to the outcome when faced with a decision to act.
I said it out loud again and then put it in my phone as a recurring note.
I was proud that I wrote the fiction book and just let go of the thoughts of what it would look like to others. It was a fun exercise, and my kids were a major factor in its completion. But that’s just it: It wasn’t complete, and that bothered me. I used all the knowledge and creativity I had available to write the book and was left with the next step in the process: I had to find others to help me achieve this goal.
The next steps after writing a satisfactory draft of any book go in this order: After close friends and/or family read the book at an alpha reader level, send the manuscript to a group of trusted beta readers who are interested in your genre. There are many websites, social groups, and critique sites for this part. Just get to know your beta readers, and you’ll quickly develop a level of trust and security that they will provide you with quality work. Oftentimes, they will expect you to return the favor. This group will hopefully give you honest feedback that you can use to create following drafts.
My beta readers’ critiques empowered me to transform my fiction book, which I thought was pretty good at the time, into two books that I have a hard time putting down. I was so happy I didn’t stop the process. It would have been embarrassing to release the original draft. In fact, one of my beta readers was so blunt that I was ashamed of writing it. I felt like I had no business writing. She was the best of them all. With her comments, I was on the edge of scrapping the work. But you know? Without her blunt honesty, I would have seriously regretted letting anyone I cared about read it.
On that note, a different beta reader made me have the same thoughts of scrapping the Achieve book. She used these words and phrases: misdirected, disconnected, didn’t speak to me, I wasn’t able to connect the dots, confusing, and unclear, among others. I could have said, “This book is shit” and forgotten about it. Instead, I felt strongly that someone needs to hear what I have to say in the unique way I say it. I took her valuable comments and transformed the book into a version that has received great reviews.
I’m thankful I continued with both projects and will forever reach out to these two for advice, feedback, and consulting on future projects related to their field of expertise. That’s because once you find precious people who can help you reach your goal, you always want them close to you.
I reveled in the success of the project that I effectively scrapped after I was nearly finished with it. The point of all of this was to explain that with an attitude to finish, any past project, no matter how old or unrelated to your area of expertise, can be revised into a current version and completed with the help of others who are experts in the area where you lack knowledge.
Ultimately, any success you have in achieving anything lies in your motivations. If your why is strong enough, then you will be successful in achieving anything. My why for the fiction books were my children. They inspired me to put in the effort, and I was driven to achieve an entertaining story they would enjoy, regardless of my fear of what people would say.