Amazing things happen when we create momentum. Tasks become easier. Challenges become less daunting. Stuff gets done. Barriers crumble before our eyes. We begin to see results. And, in the middle of it all, we change. We learn new things. And unlearn old things. We gain new perspective. Acquire new skills. Build confidence. Expectation. And belief.
Belief in what’s possible (for us).
Last Friday I wrote about my new kid’s book; The Angry Ant. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what would happen in terms of feedback, general response or sales. I wondered if the post might be met with deafening silence and overwhelming disinterest; kind of like a first-time comic looking at a sea of blank, bored faces after his first joke. After all, who’s interested in a talking angry ant? As it turns out, quite a few people.
Phew (wipes brow).
Since Friday morning, I have received more than a hundred emails (yes, I’ve read them all) from people with comments ranging from “well done” to “you’re brave for writing a kid’s book” to “I’ve been ‘almost’ writing a kid’s book for years”. At the same time, we’ve also pre-sold more than three hundred books (in about a dozen countries) with no external marketing, no PR campaign, no posters (yet), no media exposure and not one single book in any book store (yet). On Friday alone, we sold books to three libraries and two schools, with a Montessori school buying fifty books in one hit.
One clever mother suggested that we produce a colouring book (remember: everything starts with an idea) as an accompaniment because kids (of that age) love to colour in. The thought had not even crossed my mind. So smart. As we already have the illustrations (from the book), this seems like, not only a good idea, but a very do-able one, also. From one idea, more ideas grow. And from one project, more (exciting) projects grow.
To be honest, there are many people who are vastly more qualified, experienced and ‘appropriate’ to write a kid’s book than I am. After all, my last book had ‘F*ck’ on the front cover (my mum still won’t display it on her ‘Craig’ wall). And I have no kids of my own. Or nieces. Or nephews. As an only child, I didn’t even grow up around other kids, so what would I know about connecting with the primary (elementary) school brigade?
Nonetheless, I developed the initial idea, wrote the words and my father brought the story to life with his illustrations. I asked the relevant questions. Had the appropriate conversations with the appropriate people and did what was required. I spoke with parents, teachers and, of course, kids. I stood in front of rooms full of young students. I spoke with experts about practical stuff like layout, font, design, paper, cardboard, binding and dimensions. And like most projects, before long, the book had an energy of its own.
There comes a point in time (with any project) when the original idea finds its own heartbeat. Its own personality. It begins to live and breathe independent of its creator. And the creator’s idea. Sadly, most people give up long before then.
Have you ever accidentally tried to drive your car with the handbrake on? It’s hard to make progress isn’t it? Well, some of us have been driving our lives that way for years. Our ‘handbrake’ might be fear of failure, embarrassment or rejection. It could be procrastination. Or the need for approval. Maybe it’s laziness or apathy. Or maybe it’s a curious combination.
Today friends, I’m encouraging you to take your handbrake off. To get your wheels turning freely. To write your kid’s book. To commit to your dream. To tap into your untapped possibilities. To make a courageous decision. To find a solution, not a problem. To take a chance. To stop planning, waiting and over-thinking. To step out of your safe, familiar and comfortable routine.
And to shine the light of your potential into the darkness of your fear. 🙂