life lessons

Lessons Learned Along the Way



So by now everyone in the North American hemisphere knows that I've gotten an offer to have my novel published.  (If they haven't, I'll do my best to make sure they do over the next couple of days.)  On Monday, I wrote an initial post about the news.  Yesterday, I wrote a bit more.  And today, I'm writing about lessons learned along the way.  Because, there have been many of them, starting with….

Determination.  First of all, let me explain.  I finished this book two years ago, maybe longer.  And I've been marketing it off and on since then, mostly to agents.  As a matter of fact, the publishing house that accepted me is the first publisher I sent it to. I've lost count of how many agents I've sent it to, probably at least fifty.  Yes, fifty.  I love this novel and I've been determined to have it see the light of day. So there you go, first on my list is determination. Never underestimate its power.

Clarity.  Last fall, I parted ways with a coaching program I had contracted with.  It wasn't working for me, and I had some chronic pain issues that made it difficult to keep up with the program.  This led to deep soul searching on my part.  Why hadn't the program worked for me when it was so very successful for others?  Which led me to the answer: because I was trying to be something I wasn't. So that made me think long and hard about what I was and what I wanted to be.  What did I love doing, above all else?  The answer was writing books and blogging.  From that moment on, I redoubled my efforts in both areas.  The results have been gratifying, with more traffic to this blog, and now, my novel about to be published.  Let me just tell you, clarity rocks.  Rocks, baby.

Discernment.  Along the same lines as above, I've had to gently learn the fine art of discernment.  This, not that.  That, not this.  Resist the latest bright shiny thing that is not exactly allied with my areas of interest and stay the course.  This means, to me, not buying the latest glitzy course in how to run some area of my business.  Instead, I'll put time into either my blog or my book.  (Or my coaching.  I do love coaching and teaching, too.)

Serendipity.  I think its important to allow for the unexpected to happen.  After I submitted to this publishing house last fall, I didn't hear from them.  Then I assumed that I wouldn't hear from them.  But then I did.  Never underestimate the unseen forces that are working on your behalf in the background.  And finally,

My spiritual practice.  This may well be the most important lesson of all, because it underlies everything.  Since I returned to church last year, I've learned a whole new way of thinking that makes everything better and easier.  It is based on faith–faith in our ability to create our lives, our health and our prosperity.  Some may sneer and call it all positive thinking, but that's their issue.  I say it's a lot more pleasant to think positive thoughts than negative ones, no matter what the outcome.

So there you have it–the lessons I've learned along the way.

Create a successful, inspired writing life: Identify the life lessons that have guided you.  Because once you've identified them, you can more readily call upon them.  Inner knowing is half the battle.

Would you be willing to share your life lessons in the comments?  We'd love to hear them.  And if you liked this post, please tweet it or post it on other social media.  Thank you.


Photo by austinevan

On American Soil

As of yesterday, my son-in-law, he who has been deployed in Kuwait and Iraq all year, is back in America.  Home.  Not home home yet, as the army has all kinds of things they do to returning soldiers at Fort Hood.  But back in the United States. 

Everyone is breathing easier and sleeping better.Soldier_weapon_army_263893_l

No longer do I have to hide newspaper articles about deaths in Iraq or be sure to keep the TV and radio off if my daughter happens to be around.  No longer do I have to fret about what might happen.  No longer do I have to defend the army to others.

It's not like my son-in-law is a gung-ho soldier type.  No, he was one of many who signed up after September 11th, served his four years, and expected never to hear from the army again.  Until they called him back up, completely out of the blue, last January. 

And we're the complete opposite of an army family.  Born and raised Unitarian, liberal, peace-loving, we've never even really known people in the army.  Until now.  And suddenly this puts a whole new spin on things.  I'm not a fan of the war in Iraq, but I am a passionate fan of the soldiers who are serving there.  Now, when I walk through an airport and see a soldier, I smile and sometimes I say, "Thank you for serving us."  I would have thought that was so corny a year-and-a-half ago.

The great thing about being a writer is that every experience, bad or good, has meaning.  This experience has taught me to walk a mile in another's shoes.  Well, not exactly, because I've not experienced the rigors of war.  But to be suddenly pushed into looking at certain things in a different way does wonders for one's world view. 

My daughter has borne the brunt of this, of course.  And watching her deal with her new husband's absence for a year, here's what I've learned:

Shit Happens.  Usually there's no why.  Bad things generally aren't traceable back to anything you did.  (Except for obvious things like the person who gets lung cancer from smoking a pack a day.) So there's really nothing to be gained by wringing your hands and asking, "why?" because there is no answer.   You'll be better served to ask "how?" as in, "how am I going to get through this?"

Connection Matters.  Everyone in my daughter's circle of family and friends has grown accustomed to her carrying her phone around with her every second, waiting for a call, which could sometimes come at odd times.  We've become used to her excusing herself at dinner or in the middle of a shopping trip when he calls.  No matter what she's doing, she drops everything and talks to him.  And that is precisely why they've managed to remain so close throughout this year.  Connection matters, whether it is connecting with other people, God (see below), or other writers.

Prayer Helps.  I've never been religious (I was raised Unitarian, after all) but I do consider myself to be very spiritual.  I don't know if prayer really influences events–though I like to think it does–but I don know that it is a comfort, and we need to take our comfort wherever we can find it.

What about you? Have you experienced any big life events that have taught you important lessons?  Comment away.