Updated: Feb 7, 2020
“There are so many people better and more talented than me.”
I had heard it a hundred times, and I knew I would hear it again. We were moments from going on stage, and my beautiful fourteen-year-old daughter was having the Mt. Everest of all self-doubting, confidence-imploding meltdowns. Tears flowed easily, her face set in a determined scowl, eyes cast down and arms crossed. “I just can’t do this.”
Panic rose slightly in me, knowing that I needed her to be confident for our set, and the words came pouring out: “I know you can do this. Now only that, but you are going to kill it. I’m right here with you, and you have what it takes. You just need to decide to start.”
My words hung in the air for several beats, as people filed into the coffeehouse, quiet conversations building to louder greetings and raucous laughter. With faith that she would choose to sing with me, I took my place at the keyboard and began playing the intro chords, waiting and hoping beyond all hope that she would join me and start singing.
We all feel that at times, don’t we?
We see others out there writing books, nabbing speaking gigs, holding conferences, growing their platforms, and we wonder if what we have to offer is even valuable. We wonder if anyone will even pay for what we’re creating.
There are so many other people better and more talented than me.
As a ghostwriter and book editor, I have worked closely with hundreds of authors through the writing and publishing process. I’ve had a front-row seat to those moments of self-doubt, where they hit a wall in the writing and editing process, unsure of their calling. I can hear it in their voices: They are fatigued and questioning their mission. What had started out with an easy flow of content and enthusiasm around a revolutionary idea—something that was actionable, applicable, something that can change people’s lives—started to get bogged down with full-time demands of work, family, rewriting, mixed feedback from beta readers, and, yes, those pesky feelings of self-doubt.
Even though we’ve climbed to the upper levels of our professions, helped hundreds of people with our coaching, products, or services, we somehow don’t feel qualified to be a so-called expert in our field. We convince ourselves that someone else will say it better, write it better, do it better.
Well, I’m here to tell you what I’ve told those authors: You have a message to share. You have a story to tell. Yes, other people may have said what you are saying, but they are not YOU.
There are no unique messages. Only unique messengers.
That book idea that has been simmering in the back of your mind for years, or maybe even jotted down on paper or tapped excitedly into your Notes app, it is begging to be written. There is a reason it won’t leave you alone, hounding you on your morning run, in the shower, or in those moments when you are waking to the day.
You want to make a difference. You want to inspire transformation. You want to be a change-maker. You want to be a leader.
Why are you writing?
It’s so important not only to have this why in mind but also to have the right mindset as you’re writing. Why? Because even with the best thought-out writing plan, the most thorough outline, the best research, supporting points, and anecdotes, you will eventually come to a place where you question yourself. The writing will feel hard. The editing never-ending.
It’s at that critical point in the writing process that you need to understand one simple truth:
It’s not about you. Not in the way you think. Yes, your story is about you, your message is what you’ve learned, but it was never meant to be just for you. Your message, your story, was meant to be shared, and your unique training, gifting, education, and experience are exactly the combination someone needs in order to change something about their life.
Your message may already be out there, but it hasn’t be spoken by you. In the words of David Viscott, “The purpose of life is to discover your gift; the work of life is to develop it; and the meaning of life is to give your gift away.”
I had to run through the introductory chords a few times, but eventually I heard her sing the first tentative lines and breathed a sigh of relief. By the end of the song, she was in her full power, belting strong and confident. It was beautiful, and I had to stem the tide of emotion that hit me as I imagined what she was feeling at that very moment. She finally got what I’d told her. She chose to believe it and take a leap.
Now it’s your turn.
I know you can do this. Now only that, but you are going to kill it. I’m right here with you, and you have what it takes.
You just need to decide to start.
Need help or just want some writing encouragement? Schedule some one-on-one time with me here: https://calendly.com/inspirebooks/connection-call