It’s nigh impossible to grow without trying new things, and as a self-started author entrepreneur, I’ve spent some serious time learning and trying new things. It doesn’t matter how old you are – you can learn. Learning isn’t dependent on age or having a teacher. It’s dependent upon having an attitude of learning, continuing to pursue growth in the face of adversity, and seeking help when you need it.
1st – NO MATTER WHAT – DON’T QUIT. The attitude of learning is simple. You will fail. You will hit bumps, and you will get bruised. Think of a baby trying to walk. They re-adjust. You can always try something different, back up, find a new perspective, get advice, or phone a friend. However, learning is in those moments when you are most at a loss and feel like you have no idea what you are doing. Reality check: you don’t know what you are doing. That’s why it is called learning! To be successful at it, no matter what, keep on trying until you succeed.
For me this weekend, I tried a new-to-me event called an Author Takeover.
I was super nervous! What if no one showed when it was my hour? What if all the thousands of people that follow me are suddenly busy? What if my content doesn’t stand up to other author content? Oh man! Learning in front of people can be TERRIFYING! And I’ve got a busy mind. The kind that turns molehills into Mt. Everest!
The first fifteen minutes in I posted twice and crickets. It was my worst fear come true! I texted my sister in a tizzy. As the best sister in the world, she of course jumped on and cheered me through my next two posts. I also asked the person in charge for some post love, and she was kind enough to oblige. Those first thirty minutes made me wish I’d never tried this. I was embarrassed and felt like all the other author’s could see right through me. A giant red sign above me flashed IMPOSTER RIGHT HERE!
I shake my head and chuckle now. I was so wrong!
Good news! I didn’t give up. I didn’t even change anything. I snubbed those feelings, refusing to back down. I’d committed. I’d said I would post and by God’s grace, I was going to finish the hour out! Only problem, I booked two back-to-back.
Okay hindsight is 20-20. I know now, when trying something new.
2nd – Don’t try too much at first. Go slowly!
So, I finished the hour with minimal engagement, and terrible perspective on what happened. It “felt” like I was alone the whole hour. It “seemed” like it was a flop. I’ll explain the quoted words in a minute. However, I believe in commitment. I believe that when you say you do something you do it. So, I dove into the next hour with both feet.
This group was different. My Mom jumped in after a quick message to her, and she liked and commented on my posts! Thanks mom! You’re the best!
3rd – Reach out and ask for help! If you are alone – change it. Unless you want to be alone.
These posts flew by. Engagement was almost so much that I was overwhelmed and wondering what I’d gotten myself into. I finished the two hour event not sure where I’d landed. Was it good? A success? Did it work? What did it mean if it did work?
It’s hard to measure something when you don’t know what tool to use – right?
I “felt” downright depressed the next day. After many years of trying to push through, I recognized the signs of exhaustion, and I chose to rest. Doing something new, whether you “fail” or “succeed” can be thoroughly exhausting for mind, body, and soul. Give yourself rest afterwards. So I rested. I did things that recharged me. I planted a Gardinia (best smell ever!) I sat on my new patio and rocked in my rocking chairs. I cleaned my office and purged clutter. I made my world better.
I woke up Monday morning with some surprising perspective.
- I sold six books. I’ve been having the driest sales period of my FIRST book year. Yes! This is my first year as a published author. And it is my first “dry spell.” Selling those six books was EVERYTHING! It was “SUCCESS.”
- I sold a second pre-sale of book three. I’ve been trying to move that book for months. AND THIS EVENT MOVED NOT ONE BUT TWO of the book three in the series! EPIC “SUCCESS.”
- After reaching out to each person that commented, after going over each communication and really evaluating with rested eyes the success of the experience, I found I had eight new newsletter subscribers. (*Hey there! Hope you are reading this! I’m talking about you!), I had a handful new Facebook group friends, and a bunch of new Author Page followers. That’s not counting the Twitter, Insta, and other follows and likes I received.
I realized. I was wrong. Those “FEELINGS” were not accurate. I was never alone! God was with me, and He sent His people to join me the entire time. My fear and being new had blinded me. It may have seemed on face value that I’d failed at the author takeover, but in fact, I’d say it was an incredible success!
Learning takes a long time. I know. I’m a teacher. I like that I’m also a learner because I can identify with my students when they get frustrated and struggle. I can assure you of this fact. If you are struggling then good for you! You are in the learning zone. Everything you are good at, what makes you “feel” good, what “seems” successful to you – well, these are all skills you already have learned and honed. Not bad to use them, but if it’s growth you seek, you’ll probably need to jump out of your safety net and “feel” and “seem” a bit icky.
Blessings as you try new things!
J. L. Burrows