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128 - Using A Book to Define Your Purpose - Why “Wait and See” Doesn’t Work


Hey Guys! Nicole Gabriel here! I’m the host of the Let’s Get Your Book Published podcast. I’m also the author multiple books, a Book Designer, a Publishing Coach, and an intuitive Business Coach.

I’ve been in the book business for awhile now and I’ve helped many clients get their book published over the years. On this podcast I share personal stories, client stories, and the truths about the publishing industry….


Today’s Topic: Using A Book to Define Your Purpose - Why “Wait and See” Doesn’t Work

What do I hear all day long every day? “I don’t know my purpose!” Or “I’ve always thought I should write a book.” And my first response about the book is - “Do it!!!” My first response about the life purpose is that you just haven’t found your passion.

I want to use this podcast to break down the break downs on what is being missed and why manifesting isn’t happening for you. The fact is that you’re stuck and maybe you don’t know why. But, from an outsiders perspective… you are lacking the wherewithal to motivate into action. You haven’t yet moved over the hurdle from idea into motivating passion. And, you are probably waiting for a brick to hit you over the head giving you clarity on your life mission. I tease, but, trust me, I’ve been there!

You have a bridge to cross from concept to reality. If you are always talking about the thing you want to do, why aren’t you doing it? Do you need someone’s permission? What are you waiting for? Is it truly a passion if you’re hesitating? Why aren’t you moving in the direction or taking the steps required to take conceptual thinking to the next level of manifesting, creating, and being in your soul’s truth?

The reality is that you aren’t doing something because a fire hasn’t been lit or you don’t want it bad enough. You’re also lacking the understanding that this life is happening now and if there is something you want to do but you aren’t doing it, then you haven’t really grasped that time is fleeting. The only one that is truly holding you back is you!

Now it wouldn’t be fair if I did this podcast and told you that I had it all figured out, so let me tell you about a vision I have had for many years and why I haven’t moved forward with it. And, maybe we can work through this being stuck thing together and help hold each other accountable.

I have always had a dream of having a modestly self-sustaining home where I grow many of my own fruits and vegetables and learn the art of preservation. I’ve often dreamed of being a bit off-grid in a rural setting. I prefer mountains, although mountain elevation doesn’t always work well with my body. (I’ll tell you a bit about that later.) I dream of owning a tractor, a few alpacas, and a large property filled with plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and an amazing shelving system all neatly labeled  (to address my self-proclaimed OCD) and filled with jars like an in-home apothecary shop. I’ve thought about how I would teach yoga there as well as open up the space for like-minded people to come for classes… maybe bring in healers and artisans to work their craft for an occasional class or event. I’d like to have an art studio where I can feel free to create in whatever medium moves me. I think about creating in clay in particular. The funny thing is I have very little experience in this medium. I’ve done stained glass more than any other medium and of course, I design books for authors all day long most days. But when I’ve traveled to places like the sacred valley in Peru…in particular Urupampa (a small town located an hour from Cusco) my heart sings! It just resonates. It feels like home in every fiber of my being.

There was a period in my life where I nearly had all of this, but I met someone and moved west to Washington state and then to Hawaii. I was fine following his dream because I believed this was what God sent me as a path to follow for that time. I wasn’t quite able to financially support my dream so I figured my move would be a learning experience to teach me a bit more before I settled into my vision. I learned a great deal and I’m not entirely sure it took me closer to my vision but I trusted the divine guidance nonetheless. The way I saw it was that I needed an intervention of some sort at the time. It was going to be a fun adventure and it spoke to me louder than what I believed might be my life purpose vision at the time. I followed my guidance and gut. Some might say I made a wrong choice, but I disagree. I don’t even think I was sidetracked. I believe it’s important to keep your eyes on a vision but also to have faith the path you are guided on along the way there is one worthy of taking. The diversion is either going to teach you something new (or needed) for your vision or it’s going to help solidify just how badly you want that vision to manifest. I happen to believe the saying “it’s this or better” and at every stage in life we are always given something better. It just doesn’t always appear that way. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be obvious at the time but it’s often those tough lessons that draw us back in to self-fulfillment, compassion, and may even ignite a flame that draws us closer to defining our life purpose. Sometimes it just looks a little more like a tornado picking up everything in it’’s path. But, eventually even tornados fade out.

So, along with my visions of creating my sustainable home and property I have also thought over the last few years that I will write another book, but that hasn’t yet happened. Fact is, I’m like you… a little stuck. I’m guessing you perhaps have thought, like me, where I’m waiting for a plateau or pinnacle of sorts… I’m waiting for a transitioning point… the place where there is a clear divide in what was, what is, or what is to come…a kind of leveling out or safe zone… before I begin writing. It was always when those clear transitions happened in my life where I was inspired once again to write. I’ve had a few moments where it felt like a book would be birthed but then something major shifted in my life once again. I didn’t feel I was in the mindset I needed to be in to write. I guess, in other words, I didn’t want it bad enough.

There is an energy that comes through when it’s time to write and I often feel like every time a person writes they are inspired by a divine presence that allows those moments of clarity and focus to happen. There is a great shift happening in our world today. I think you’d have to be pretty blind not to notice. Although, I have met many that are indeed pretty blind. There is a massive culling of humanity happening right now. If you’re paying attention then you know what I’m talking about. And, if you know what I’m talking about… then you also know it’s more important than ever to be a light-bringer and way-shower for humanity. For those of us that haven’t lost ourselves in this time we are the chosen ones to help build tomorrow. We have realized that we have gifts and voices that need to be heard. We’ve been allowing the dominate voice with a dark agenda to overpower us for far too long. And, now here we are…it’s time to step up and be a way-shower.

I don’t have to tell you what isn’t working because many of us can see that. But, there is a next phase that needs to happen now…stepping up – not bashing one side verses another. Those of us that have come through this need to be leaders and lead by example. We don’t need to create an audience by showcasing who’s wrong. We have to showcase what we are capable of and how we can take steps to create a new future. I often say that voicing a problem is great but don’t complain until you have a solution. The world is full of complainers! Is your brain racing with solutions? To get those solutions exposed and implemented with a larger audience a book is a fabulous tool…especially one that is self-published. Not only does it showcase you as an expert but it also can lay out a plan if it’s produced properly. When you have a rebuttal to any argument you can use a book to be heard.

If I go back to my vision of a sustainable and creative home then writing a book on any other topic will not get me closer to the target. Sure we can have other interests but this is where you start to see how bad you want something. The topic you choose to write about is something that sticks with you for life. I recently went down memory lane with someone reading my first book and for me it did’t align me with my present or future visions. It actually depressed me! It repressed me back into the memories of yesterday and all I had to conquer back then. Re-focusing your energy on that which you wish to create in the future and aligning that as a kind of manifesting tool when you write will quickly let you know how aligned you are. For example, I tested out a few things this summer because I had the ability to. I learned that I do have a really green thumb and my idea of some kind of home farming is viable. I decided at this time in my life I’m going to learn little chunks of the whole picture that I’ve been building in my mind for many years. Taking action is everything! This is where you gain clarity. I started looking into and doing gardening and I learned to can my very first vegetables. I learned how much work it all is and how much time and space I have to allow in my day for growing and harvesting and preserving. It was surprising to me how time consuming it all is. And, I threw out my back several times in the process from an old slip and fall injury. I learned how much you sweat in a greenhouse and what happens when you over or under water. I learned about container gardening, fertilizing organically, and balancing and replenishing soil for particular plants. I also learn how much space is needed for climbing plants and how much each plant yields as well as secession planting - that is - planting new crops when the old plant dies out…and that means learning how to cultivate seedlings.

I also had this other vision of a butterfly house…my vision was like angels singing and harp music playing…butterflies popping through the sky and all over my colorful flowers. The big light in the sky kinda spiritual scene played out in my head for years. But, I learned how not glorious the whole process is! And the funny thing is that those that never raised a butterfly thought I was being negative when I shared the reality of the experience… thinking it’s a glorious process and what could possibly be not-so-desirable… kinda like what did I have to complain about! Well… let me tell you a bit about butterflies because boy did I learn a lot!

OK, so it starts out that you get a container of caterpillars. They are quite pretty really., but basically they are bugs. They are white and black and yellow and you are first in awe when you see them… you think how hard it is to believe the process they will go through. But, the newness wears off quite quickly when you realize how much these little things poop! I mean really poop! It’s almost like having a pet mouse. You’ve never seen anything like it til you’ve done it. I couldn’t figure out why I was offered a poo-poo pad or special butterfly vacuum in the buying process, but I figured the vac was kinda gross so I opted for the pad. I’m glad I did I’ll just tell you that! Now, once you get over the mass amounts of poop you learn just how much these little suckers eat! I had the whole neighborhood scoped out for milkweed. I’d give it to them one morning and find two days later I needed to find more! So after a few days you start to think wow, when it really comes right down to it I’m raising bugs because when they are ready to fly I will simply say goodbye. But, there was so much that happened between bug, chrysalis, and flight! There are so many analogies that can be spring out of this learning experience!

So, one morning I looked in on them and poof! Just like that a few had climbed to the top of their mesh cage and spun cocoons! And they were at first bright green and then they developed gold flakes around the top and a few along the sides. One started the cocooning process and fell to its death - splat on the poop-poo pad! Another began the chrysalis process but only it’s head grew a cocoon and it slowly died thereafter. My first thought was probably like you… wow! Who would have imagined making a transformation was so hard! Hadn’t nature figured this all out by now? So, I bet, also like me, you are thinking if nature has a hard time doing what nature is supposed to do, then that explains why my personal transformation has been so hard!

That all being said… eventually those that went into a chrysalis did emerge…all but one. Then, low and behold, it finally emerged well after the others had taken flight. I didn’t think it was going to make it. And, then the reality was it was struggling to come out of the cocoon. In fact it was not opening it’s wings properly. It was clear it was not going to make it. I thought to myself… after all this time and it was just so close. It was as if the goal was right there within reach but it couldn’t cross the finish line. There is a divine energy that gives us our purpose and I had to realize the perfection. And, perfection to me meant completion and flight… but not to God and not to this butterfly. To me this felt like the athlete that could see the finish line but fell before crossing. To go through all that transformation and not fly seemed as if God had played a trick on us. So, I did what all good butterfly moms should do… I look my little friend out to the lavender garden and let him spend his final minutes in the sun and flowers. Not long after it would pass. God just had other plans for this little spirit.

So, I guess my lesson is that our purpose isn’t always about completing something. It’s also that sometimes we have to step back and cocoon before we can fly. And then some of us just go about doing what we were programmed to do just like everyone else and eventually we take flight doing what we were designed to do. There isn’t a plan that fits everyone. And, if you are watching others in flight and wonder when it’s your turn…it will come when the timing is right as long as you don’t give up trying.

There is a cute dialog about a butterfly I found online… where Piglet is talking to Winnie the Pooh. It goes like this:

“How does one become butterfly?’ Pooh asked pensively.
‘You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar,’ Piglet replied.
‘You mean to die?’ asked Pooh.
‘Yes and no,’ he answered. ‘What looks like you will die, but what’s really you will live on.”
— A.A. Milne

So, anyhow, the topic of this podcast is Using a Book to Define Your Purpose. I watch a lot of authors take to a book to kind of use it as a therapy… you know, when no one is listening and you just can’t get enough in that social media box… you wanna tell everyone what went wrong… but you also hold back because you might not completely want to air all your dirty laundry. Yeah, sometimes a book becomes the space where an author writes a tell-all. And, yeah this might be some great dirt but really in the end it’s not going to serve you real well. You’re going to spend a lifetime apologizing for whatever got out-ed.

I have to admit there were a few times I wrote where I wanted to talk about everyone that has done me wrong. And, trust me, there are plenty of those people that have crossed my path in my lifetime! But, after watching so many books come through my doors and working with so many authors over the years I watch much of the same book get produced one after another after another. But, every now and again I see a book come through with some really great advise or a heart-breaking story or something that moves me in the way all the previous books haven’t. But, I also know that there is a difference between a great story and a useful book that is a kind of work horse for its author.

When you sit down to write you first need to have a reason or a purpose for doing so. If your goal is to just simply tell your story then be honest with yourself. Tell your story, but don’t expect huge sales or a great following. Yes, I’m sure your story is wonderful or unique but unless you find a way to relate to your reader, it’s just going to be your story. Be clear on your goals and make sure they are measurable throughout the process. Be clear who your audience is and spend some time defining that in detail before you write as it will make the writing far easier as you go. You never want to write thinking you are writing to “whomever reads my book”. Even if you have a niche market be sure to identify that up front. In fact, lay it our for your reader. Tell the reader who you are and why you have the credentials to write the book and why they should care to read it. Tell the reader why you are an expert in the thing they’re about to invest their time in. Qualify yourself and your reader right up front. “Here’s why you should invest your time with me…” When you clear that up right up front your saying I respect you enough to let you know I know that you are busy but I’ll make it worth the investment. And never leave your reader hanging! If they like what you are telling them then you want to be sure you have something to offer them outside the book.

When you are clear on your purpose you aren’t sitting there writing thinking “I wonder what I could offer them?” You should already know what you want and what you can offer. If your goal is to coach or speak or teach or train you better darn well have thought all of that out well before you promise people you can do it.

Let me tell you what I have done as support for my book Let’s Get Your Book Published…

When I wrote my book I had a very clear plan for what I’d offer in my book and how I’d turn that into an online training program. Then, one day, someone said to me “Hey, I want to refer someone to you. I’m sure you have a system.” And I had to think to myself, hmmm… a system? Do I really have a system? I know that I can get any book published but do I legitimately have a system? Do I need a system? It was that moment where I had to really check myself. This is also where clarity of purpose happens. You have to step up at a deeper level. Do you have a passion to go deeper on your subject?

It’s real easy to write a book with the idea you are going to affect and change people’s lives but then when someone calls you to be coached, can you actually walk them through something that takes them from where they are to where they want to go? There’s a big difference between pie-eyed ideas and conceptual thinking and results.

I’m always about building a logical system that allows a free-will thinker the ability to recognize what works for them and what doesn’t. Therefore, my system first says let’s get a baseline for why I’m going to teach you the way I do… then let me walk you through the process. I want to educate you about the way things have always been and how I see them… because this is going to be the approach as we go forward. When you write, you want to set a premise for what you are about to speak about. But, to get here you have to first have clarity on why you do what you do and how. But, what I can’t tell you is what goes into the content of your book because I’m not in your head. I can only help you gain clarity to bring this forward.

Most of the time people aren’t writing a book because they can’t organize their thoughts - then, they get stuck on what comes next in the process. So, it’s kind of a two-fold approach - get them aligned with their why and the content to support that, then show them what comes next in the publishing process.

You can’t state something in a book and wait for a response before you give the next steps. When you aren’t in active dialog with your audience real time then you have to choose a side or an approach then go with it. This, of course, requires a certain level of clarity and leadership. Lots of people get to a book and use it as a time to think through things rather than guide and direct things. It might be the first time in-depth thinking to produce content has ever happened for you.

Many put a book out there with a “wait and see attitude” like if you write it they will come. At the end of the day your book might get you some attention from places you wouldn’t have gotten it from without it, but the reality is that a book alone will not clear a path for you. You can’t put a book out there and wait for something to happen.

Let’s use my book for example. I tell you in the title that I’m going to get your book published - Let’s Get Your Book Published. I interviewed people over the years and asked them what’s held them back from writing and that’s how I came up with my subtitle it hits on all the things that stop people. It says: “A practical approach to self-publishing, aligning with your purpose, releasing fear, maximizing time, and making a profit.” These were all the common roadblocks people had as answers to why they hadn’t published. You have to open up the book or call me to learn how we address these issues. And my tagline at the top of the book says “your an expert in something—leave your legacy.” This drives it home that you have a story to tell. This book tells you right aways that it’s action-oriented and will give you an approach. So, it tells you up front there is likely a system.

It took me years to write this book, not because it was hard, but because it was right in my face. It was so close I couldn’t see it. I had been living my life doing my dream job but I hadn’t written book to support it. In fact, this book merely sets the foundation for what comes next when you contact me to work with me and that’s how you should approach this for you. If your book gets them in the door, then you have to do the hard work to identify what they get next because they contacted you. In other words, now you have to offer even more! Really the book is the easy stuff.

You see, I once contacted a gal to get answers to something she said she would coach on. We talked and basically I interviewed her. She told me if I pay her $5 grand I would get the answers I was looking for. Yet, she had nothing she could give me to show me exactly what I’d get and no confirmation that she even understood what I wanted. She had this attitude “yeah, yeah… pay me the money and I’ll do that for you.” And yet, as the conversation went on I learned that I had to get the answers over a period of 6 weeks in a structured class. I didn’t want any class. I needed answers now. I would have paid her $500 right then if she could have just gotten me the answer and I got to move on with my busy day. She didn’t qualify me in any other way than asking me what kind of income I wanted to make. What did that have to do with me getting the answer I wanted? I didn’t want to be coached. In fact, I really didn’t even like her. I just wanted the answer to the question I had. She had no idea the structure she was going to teach me was my entire background. I just wanted the one piece - the techie piece on how to implement my ideas. Basically what she was telling me was that we are going to dance around for 6 weeks to get me the answer to my question. I was frustrated!

Eventually, I invested in teaching myself and got far more out of it in the long run. And, I learned how to address the same issues I knew my clients would have in the process. I learned a great lesson from this gal! I have to showcase what someone gets when they think about hiring me so there is no question about what I offer. Again, this means I have to go deeper. Again, you can’t go deeper without a sincere passion for what you do.

Your book might get you attention, but you still have to run a business outside the book. Whatever you are offering has to be well-defined and presented in a way someone that wants to do business with you knows what they are going to get. No one knows your intentions. Of course, it’s my intent to offer everything I have to every client but fact is that every client seems to want something different than the last. When you know your topic you can pivot for those clients needing a bit of extra guidance to those that don’t. Everyone comes from a different background. So, you might get their attention with your book and you might even sell them on the big concepts and ideas but what are you actually delivering? A book forces you to go deeper if you plan to truly engage with your reader.

When I built out my book and online training program I identified all the functional working aspects of the process and clearly identified those in my book and in my program. I wanted to address the bones of the process so they were there if my client wanted to jump around or ahead since everyone comes in with a different background and experience level. Some might know printing and others might know marketing. I’m not going to run them through a canned program and waste their time on areas they have strengths in. So, with the foundational aspects identified we can talk specifically about their stumbling blocks. Are they stuck on a process or on content or purpose?

Heres the thing… if you ultimately know why your doing what your doing then the rest of it is easy. Most people get locked up not knowing their why, not knowing their audience, not fired up and passionate about what they are doing, there isn’t a fire lit. Often times when I talk with people that don’t have clarity they seem to broadcast that lack of clarity onto me where they think they’ve identified a weakness… the place where they might think I’m not solid in my passion. For example, if I told someone about my passion for gardening and creating a self-sustaining life they would tell me to quit my job and write a book and do that thing. In reality I want to do it as a lifestyle, but not as a career. It’s a side gig. The fact is that so many people can’t understand when someone is already doing what they love. I don’t ever care to do anything different as a primary source of income. I’m doing the thing I love. Perhaps for some it’s scattered energy because they don’t have the capacity to do both. For me, I have free time between clients where I like to do something different. If you enjoying boating people don’t always tell you to make a career out of it. It’s an accepted thing as an enjoyable past-time.

It’s taken me a lifetime to see that most people aren’t doing something they love. Most people don’t harness passion and turn it into a career. And, so many I know feel they have a higher calling so they sit around waiting for that brick to hit them in the face telling them to stop everything and do something different. We’re allowed to diversify and have a thing we do as a career and many others we enjoy as a pastime. The trick is finding the passion you have for whatever your niche is and using a book to further define what might not be obvious to others or taking what is obviously a strength for you and showcasing your level of expertise in a way that can be leveraged by others.

On that note, I’m off to do one of my passions… cleaning up the garden in preparation for the season change. And, perhaps that’s were new passions can be fed… in the off season. Or perhaps I dive deeper into learning while snow is falling. Growing seeds, learning about indoor container gardening, or something totally different. Or…who knows…maybe another book…

I’ll leave you with a final butterfly quote:

The butterfly does not look back upon its caterpillar self, either fondly or wistfully; it simply flies on.”
— Guillermo del Toro

Wishing you peace, love, and light…

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