Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It All Comes Back To Here

I know this place. I've been here before. Right before I am about to embark on something new this fire starts within me that screams STOP! Danger Zone! Get out while you can! And it is all I can do to keep it at bay.

The weirdest thing about it is you would think it would make me want to run. Move to some less expensive city where no one knows me and get a job at Starbucks. (I hear Starbucks gives their employees  health insurance, a lure if ever there was to aspiring to become a barrister. But I digress)

Instead of the urge to flee I become frozen. My brain locks. And I come up with 101 things to do that are not on the task at hand. Like writing this blog.

Yes, I am right on schedule for my next book, part guide, part manifesto on creating more time for your life. Which means if the demons trying to get in the way of my time line don't win, somewhere around May 15 you will be able to buy a copy.

The irony is that I wrote this book to help others with exactly these kinds of hurdles and here I am avoiding writing the book blurb and checking the last set of edits. I am not listening to my own wisdom. I hate when that happens. But I know why.

I am afraid. I am always afraid when I am here. I am afraid of failure. I am afraid of success.

And even though I know this is the good kind of fear, the kind that pushes my boundaries and propels me forward, I still tremble.

I know where to start. With the timer. My secret sauce. The source of inspiration for this new book. You'll learn more about the timer soon. But for now let's just say I'm test driving the content.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

No Where To Hide

I've been here before. At that point in a project where I want to run from it. Burn every last page I have written to assure that any trace it ever existed vanishes. Fire I find, is more satisfying that simply hitting the move to trash prompt. Fire does not allow me the leeway to reconsider and drag it back out of the trash and onto my desktop.

That is where I have been this week as I struggle for satisfaction with the last few pages of this part guide, part manifesto on how to create more time for your life. I've tried to trick myself by pretending that rather than a full length book, this is like writing a very long blog. My hope being that I would  see less pressure to getting it perfect. I found myself filled with all those demons that when I started this I had forgotten existed. Who am I to write about this subject? Why do I think anyone will care?

As I said, I've been here before so I know better than to listen to those little fiends. Instead I kept taking the steps to assure I keep moving forward. I spoke to my cover designer. I emailed my interior designer. I reached out to the copyeditors. I set deadlines for myself. And then when I knew I needed outside inspiration, I literally took a page from my own book and stopped. I set the timer for sixty minutes and opened my Kindle App. And I read.

The Universe apparently was winning the war with my demons because it led me to open Poke the Box, a manifesto by Seth Godin about starting.

You may wonder how a manifesto about starting could help someone who was trying to finish. You'll have to read it yourself to completely understand but I assure you it did.

Most of us think we have nothing of importance to say or that raising our hand and standing up for something, however big or small it is, will not make a difference. And therein lies the problems in our world.

Seth wrote, "We're trained to fit in, not to stand out, and the easiest way in the world to fit in is to never initiate."

That's when I got it. The demons that have been fighting for air time in my head are the ones who want me to fit in, to hide, and to accept the status quo. And the struggle for those last pages, which as it turns out are the first pages, have been the demons trying to get me to quiet my voice and keep me still.

Guess whose winning now?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

OWN: The Antidote to 24/7 Cable News

To any of the myriad of news organizations out there that have been predicting the demise  of the OWN network,  the reports have been greatly exaggerated. One need only to have been in the audience, as I was yesterday afternoon at Radio City Music Hall to know that. Some six thousand people, mostly women, filled the seats of what is perhaps the greatest venue anywhere. The people I talked to came on buses, trains, planes and cars. They were friendly and happy and grateful that their name had been picked out of all the requests to attend. They have not written off Oprah and her network. They are just reigniting their love affair. And they were patient as they waited on line to be ushered to their seats.

Not like those who  have Google Alerts set for Oprah + OWN + failure and await the next update. Or those of our media who insist upon writing and reporting on the news from a place of scarcity and fear.  Ingrained to look for the worst, find the chinks in the armor, get out of the present and predict doom and gloom because that is what they are directed to do from their corner offices.  They are convinced that is what makes headlines and that is what creates ratings which creates higher ad rates and more advertisers and of course, more money.

None of that ilk is willing to be brave and step forward and take a chance that just maybe that is not true. Just maybe the world is clamoring for something new and refreshing. Something without backstabbing, lies and angry words. Something that will inspire them to live their best lives. Except Oprah.

At a time in her life, where money is not of consequence. When she could as she said, sit under her tree with her dogs and read books, she sees a greater purpose to her success. She wants to use her voice and her platform as a source of inspiration.

Oprah is not a quitter. Oprah is willing to get on CBS This Morning and talk about how much more difficult this is than what she expected. She displays humility and realness and the press twists that  to create an unflattering soundbite. Again, because they are convinced the only reality we want is scripted “reality” television.

I believe they are the ones wrong and Oprah is the one who is right. I am not sure she could have picked a more perfect time than this time, as the world undergoes such a dramatic energetic shift to launch a network with an entirely new and untried format. 

Real change is never easy.  Those who don't like it wait for it to fail, in fact even hope that it does. Because that in some twisted way allows them to stand still, justify their own lives and not risk what they have for what might be.  

I'm an idealist and an optimist. I believe more want hope. They want guidance. They want inspiration. They want to let go of their fears. And Oprah is offering them that 24/7, seven days a week. The antidote if you will to 24/7 cable news.

I'm still reverberating in the energy of yesterday's experience. To be in that room, to see Oprah's brilliance on stage aside the wisdom and gentle humor of Deepak Chopra (who for the record I am more in love with than ever) reminded me of why I am doing what I am doing. To live my life with purpose, to inspire others and to paraphrase Deepak, help to transform the world through my personal transformation.

And Oprah, if I should be so lucky that you read this blog, in answer to the question we were asked in advance of the taping, what is the one thing that would most change your life at this moment, mine would be you reading my novel, The Secrets They Kept and adding it to your Book List!