I finished writing the first draft of my book: Sacred Selling and submitted it to my publisher for feedback.
I thought the structure was ok and there were parts that were really good but I thought it needed a LOT of work to get it into shape for publishing. So I was rather surprised – and delighted – by the feedback I got back:
“I’ve SO enjoyed reading through your first draft over the past couple of weeks! I honestly found the book so insightful and helpful personally – so much of what you were sharing deeply resonated. I know you feel this is a messy first go, but really I feel you’re very close to bringing this together in the way it needs to be.
I really feel that with some relatively minor changes and additions you have a really powerful book here! I’m excited for it to make its way into the world.”
There was I, thinking it was ok but needed a lot of work – yet my first reader – my publisher no less – thinks it’s a powerful book that just needs some tweaks to be ready for editing.
This experience has taught me a LOT so I thought I’d share some of my insights as they may support you on your own journey:
1. Being our own worst critic.
If we have any kind of “not good enough” story – then it doesn’t matter how great our work is – it will never match up to our own expectations. We will always seek ways to improve it. We will look at it and pick up on the things we deem “wrong” or “bad” rather than the things we think are amazing.
I’ve released so much of my not good enough story over the years (by applying the practices I write about in the book). And yet it still it managed to hook me gifting me another opportunity to practice what I preach.
2. Stepping into Trust
As the first chapter begins, I open with trust. Trust is something that we are born with, but as we grow up and are disappointed by life and others, trust gets eroded. What I share in the book is that trust is something we can cultivate and grow. In the same way we work out and build up our physical strength – we work out our trust muscles.
My intention with my book was always to self-publish. I never believed a traditional publisher would even take a look – let alone want it – and self-publishing seemed the easier route. Plus by choosing to self-publish I wouldn’t be subjected to the pain of rejection when traditional publishers turned me down – and I’d get to keep all the royalties.
Then I spoke to a friend who had signed up to have her second book published with The Unbound Press. I really resonated with their energy having had them on my radar for several years for “when I wrote a book”. I scheduled a call to explore my options. Everything about our conversation flowed and publishing with them felt totally right.
There was an investment to cover the cost of editing, design, mentoring and support – money I didn’t yet have. However I took a deep breath – and said I’d like to go ahead. I had plans to pre-sell the book thereby generating the funds to cover publishing costs.
Then began a dance between doubt and trust.
Could I generate the revenue I needed? Was it cheating investing in having my book published in this way? Maybe I could do it on my own – and simply hire someone to do the editing and book design. It shouldn’t be that difficult.
At each moment of doubt – I had to take a deep breath and trust. Trust that my decision was the one that was right for me. It didn’t matter what anyone thought.
Each time we feel fear and doubt, the solution is to breathe, and step into trust.
I did that over and over – from the moment I set a date for publication until I handed over the first draft.
3. Letting go of “survival”
We often look for help and support when life gets challenging. When things are going well we feel invincible and can handle everything that comes our way. When we come to the end of a coaching or mentoring programme, we’ll often stop because we’ve had our breakthrough. Yet I believe being supported when things are going well is the key to truly thriving. It takes us from survival into abundance. We don’t make our cleaner redundant once our house is tidy – because we know it will need cleaning again next week.
Yet we do it when it comes to coaching or mentoring – at least I always did and I’d notice it with clients and peers too. Through writing my book and being supported through the whole process, I know I want even more support – not less. I can see just how much “survival” has been a part of my life for so long, and through receiving support I am letting it go.
4. Taking one tiny step after another
As I was writing the first draft – thinking it wasn’t good enough – that it was too basic – that my reader already knew all this – I had to keep reminding myself to simply keep typing. Writing one word after another – in the same way I’d climb a mountain – by simply taking one step at a time. It didn’t have to be great writing – it just had to be done. All I was doing was writing a messy first draft. On a transformational and spiritual journey we tend to get excited by the big breakthroughs. Yet often, lasting growth comes by simply plodding on – taking one step at a time – doing the mundane work over and over.
There were days I got bored writing – but I kept at it until I’d finished a section, then a chapter. I took regular breaks to walk in nature because that always inspired me. When it got challenging I reminded myself – it’s just a messy first draft – it doesn’t have to be perfect – it just has to be done. Transformation isn’t always sexy – and it’s good to be aware of that when it feels like we’re walking through treacle – that’s part of the process too.
5. Being curious and playful
I had a deadline of March 21st to complete the first draft. A week before I didn’t think I would complete it in time. Indeed I was talking to my coach and telling her there was no way I was going to hit that goal – which was ok because I had some wiggle room.
Then towards the end of the call I found myself wondering whether it might be possible after all. What if I could? So I decided to play the possibility game and play full out to finish it on time. Because it wasn’t a goal – that I had to achieve no matter what – which I find stressful and overwhelming, the process felt joyful and playful. I was exploring, treating it like a game. Something that motivates me far more than having goal. It worked – for me. All too often we try to fit someone else’s way of working – and get frustrated it doesn’t work. But when we find what inspires and motivates us – and follow that – then we can move mountains.
So there we are – my 5 key learnings from completing the first draft of Sacred Selling. I never expected this post to be so long – it seems there were more learnings than I originally thought.
Pre-order a copy of the book (and receive a Sacred Selling Strategy Session worth £197) here