I’ve just finished my second novel, The High Road, which is the sequel to The Merger Mogul. It’s set in both Barbados and Manhattan but the emphasis of the book is Barbados. Let me be quick to say that it is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons who are alive or dead is purely coincidental. Any reference to political parties is in a fictional context and does not refer to either existing or past parties. Having established that up front I want to share what I’ve learnt from this process.
I’ve learnt to persevere. In life we will always come across things that challenge us and try to stop us from fulfilling our purpose or from anything that we have put our mind to do. I talked about that in my article on Resistance. If we truly want to achieve the end result, whether that is a qualification like an MBA, to lose weight, or to write a book (you can fill in what it is for you) we must persevere and push past the resistance.
I’ve learnt not to be afraid to change something that’s not working. Before I left to go to the story seminar in April, I was struggling with the book. I would say that I had writer’s block but the reason for that was less that I had nothing to write and more that the story was not working. So after I got some tools from the seminar I came back and applied them which meant that I had to change a lot of the story. Once I did that, ideas begin to flow again.
If something in your business is not working, whether it’s a product, a service or some issue with your staff (and this applies to your personal life as well) don’t be afraid or ashamed to admit that it’s not working and try something else. I remember reading in Built to Last – Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Collins and Porras, that some of the successes these companies had were not always the result of strategic planning but often by trying a lot of things and seeing what worked. That meant admitting and discarding what was not working.
I’ve learnt to go beyond my comfort zone. I recently saw a quote that said: “Until you try you don’t know what you can’t do.” I enjoy books with a bit of suspense or intrigue but I said to myself that I didn’t think I could write intrigue. However I stretched myself in this book and included some political intrigue.
Readers will have to let me know whether or not it worked or if I should stick to my knitting, as they say in business. So there should be no such word as “can’t” in our vocabulary, especially before we even try.
I’ve learnt to take risks. Operating a business or any venture is about taking risks. Trying new marketing methods is a risk, investing money into something is a risk but then entrepreneurship is about being willing to take risks. My advice though is to decide up front your allowable losses, what you’re prepared to lose in the event that the risk does not pan out.
I’ve learnt from writing in general and from giving seminars that you can’t please everyone and you should not lose sleep over that. Some people will love what you do and others will not. It is because we are all different and have had different experiences and are at different places in our life and development and so we will respond differently.
As long as you are satisfied that you have done your best then your job is finished. As Eric Jerome Dickey told me when I asked him about any negative reviews that he gets said that his philosophy is: “It is what it is.” In other words this is it, take it or leave it.
I’ve learned to keep trying until you get what you want. That is kind of like persevering but I’m talking more about the physical activity than a mental position. I can’t tell you how long I sat at my computer today trying to fix some issues with image that was not coming over well when uploaded the book on Kindle Direct Publishing.
However, I did not give up (although I came close) and I was delighted when it finally worked. Let me just give a caution here that sometimes you need to decide if something is worth your time and effort or if it makes more sense to just give up on it and try something else.
So I’ve now reached the exciting and fulfilling place called the end of the project and even this is not an end; it’s the beginning of another phase of the process which is marketing and selling what I’ve created. I’ve already started that as you would have noticed, but as I said before, I’ve learnt to try a lot of things and see what works.
* Donna Every is the CEO of Arise Consulting Inc. which provides business and motivational training and advice to help individuals and organizations fulfill their purpose. She has written four books and is about to release her second novel, The High Road.