Reflections V - Evolution

How has publishing a book changed your life?

When I started writing my book, I expected that there would be learning about writing a book. I didn’t expect that I would be learning about myself. I certainly didn’t expect that the process would help me evolve as a person.

Writing personal stories was tough. I wasn’t used to sharing embarrassing moments or mistakes with the world. Some of the stories I had never shared with anyone. It was a profound exercise in vulnerability. I was nervous – what would people think about my “messes”? Would it detract from my professional reputation in some way?

As a result of sharing these messy stories, I have gotten much more comfortable with being vulnerable. When I had to edit the book, I knew that it would never be perfect. I knew that I would look at it ten years from now and some of it would make me cringe. Being able to embrace the mess was a personal shift.

I also evolved in the way I think about community. I was part of a writing community. I formed an Author Community. Having community means being more open sharing your mess and asking for help. I have never been very good at asking for help, but I find it is getting easier.

Another shift for me has been going with the flow. I had zero idea of what it meant to write and publish a book. I had no idea what the flow would be like, where there would be ups and downs, what would be difficult or easy. I had no idea of how the emotional states would flow and change. I decided early on in the process that I would just go with the flow, and that would be OK.

A lifelong planner, going with the flow has been a new experience. It is leaking over into other parts of my life and I feel more present and less in my head. I always thought that planning helped mitigate anxiety around the future. I am seeing that sometimes the planning gets in the way of the present.

Finally, publishing the book has given me permission to lean into creativity in a big way. One of the chapters of the book is about Creativity and Flow, and I try to practice what I preach. Carving out time and space for creativity and play is difficult, but so rewarding and helpful for my work.

You might expect that publishing a book caused external changes to my life – like more speaking events, more connections, more opportunities. These things have happened, but they have turned out to be less important.

I value the internal evolution more: embracing the mess, asking for help from my community, going with the flow, and leaning into creativity.

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