A few days ago I was on a flight from Midland, TX to Denver, CO. I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep. A woman sat down next to me and started to talk. I SO did not feel like a conversation. However, I began to talk to her anyway. After a couple of minutes she said, “Do I know you? You look so familiar.” I’ve been getting this a lot lately and really didn’t feel like playing the let’s see what we have in common game. Yet, I did it anyway. She asked a few questions and then asked what I do for work. I told her I save lives. I was feeling tired, kind of edgy, and I just blurted that out. Her eyes got very wide, started to tear, and after a few moments she said, “you saved my son’s life.” I was floored and quite taken aback. “No way,” I thought. She then said, “You wrote a book about your struggles with suicide didn’t you?” Again, I so could not believe this. “Yes, I did!” I said, now much more awake. “My son is an Afghanistan and came close to suicide last year. A friend of mine gave me your book and after I read it I sent it to my son. It changed so much for him. For the first time he felt someone understood him and he wasn’t alone. I’ve thought about you more than you will ever know and it’s such an honor it is to be sitting next to you. I was sure I knew you,” she said. WOW! WOW!
There were so many days I didn’t feel like writing that book. So many mornings I sat there staring at the blank screen thinking, what’s the point? I second-guessed myself more times than I want to admit. I thought, “Who is ever going to read this? How could my story ever help anyone? Who am I to write a book? Who am I kidding with this?” So many times I just wanted to delete the whole thing. But I did it anyway.
Once the book was actually written there were even more days I didn’t feel like sharing it with the world. I can remember sitting in a bookstore in Glenwood Springs, CO on a Saturday afternoon with a pile of my books on the table in front of me for a book signing. I think maybe three people stopped at the table. It was humiliating and SO embarrassing. I had so many “I suck” stories going on in my head. I wanted to bolt out of there and never do it again. Yet, I stayed that afternoon and I did do many more book signings. I didn’t always feel like it, but I did it anyway.
There have been a lot of people who haven’t liked my book. Some have called it inappropriate. Many felt I went too far in being honest. One reviewer said I wasted paper. Being honest I took it personal some times. I put my heart and soul on these pages and for someone to tell me it was inappropriate felt more like them telling me directly I was inappropriate. In those times I wanted to crawl under something and hide. I second-guessed myself, again, and beat myself up for being so stupid. I didn’t want to keep sharing because I didn’t want any more rejection, but I did it anyway.
There are still days I don’t feel like putting myself out there. There are many times I don’t feel like having a conversation. It’s not hard to say for all of it, I’m so glad I did. I’m glad I wrote the book. I’m glad I showed up time and time again. I’m glad I stuck it out. I’m glad I shared it anyway. Who knows, maybe it was one of those three people that day in Glenwood who shared my book with a friend who then gave it to her son, who it changed so much for… maybe even saving his life. Who knows?
What I do know is that it made a big difference for this one person. In my view, that’s enough. All the not feeling like it and doing it anyway would be worth it for that one soldier in Afghanistan. I may have never even known the impact for him if I had let not feeling like it get in the way of the conversation with his mom. Who knows how many stories are out there that I won’t ever know about? Who knows?
What has not feeling like it stopped you from doing? How often do self-doubt, fear of rejection, and/or fear of embarrassment take you out of the game? What have you given up on? What if you just did it anyway?
What you have to say does make a difference and the gifts and talents you offer are so needed in the world. You probably will never know the extent of the difference you make. How many times has a book, movie, or song rocked your world? How many times have you shared the impact with the author? How many times has someone touched your life? How many times have you let that person know? See what I mean?
If you are not feeling like writing your book, creating your master piece, getting out and walking, eating healthy, having a conversation, or getting out there and sharing your gifts- on behalf of the world I’m asking, please do it anyway. The world needs you and your message. Even if you don’t feel like it, just do it anyway.