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, and a Publishing Coach as well as 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: Victories, Vulnerabilities, and Your Book - Leading with Your Heart, not Your Head
Often times I have chats with new authors about how much is too much when it comes to making oneself vulnerable. How much exposure to your wounds, life challenges, and obstacles is appropriate when you tell your story?
There are a few quotes that come to mind as I sit down with this podcast. Remember the movie Jerry McGuire with Tom Cruise? He was an agent trying to help Cuba Gooding Jr in his role as Rod, the football player with an attitude.
Jerry would tell Rod he wasn’t playing with heart…that he was all head. The famous quote goes something like this: “You are a paycheck player. You play with your head, not your heart!” He told him that this is not what inspires people. He would tell him that if you don’t have a breakdown you won’t have a breakthrough.
So, how much breaking down do you do when you write?
Well the answer is that you go with your heart! But, at the same time you go with what is relevant to make your point. You go with what relates to the reader. You don’t criticize others in the process. But, it’s ok to share the dramas and traumas that came into your life and impeded your success. Ultimately, the goals should still be the same as you write. You can use stories to relate to a reader, but always stay laser-focused on your why. Why are you writing in the first place?
On today’s show I’m going to make myself a little vulnerable. I want to share with you how much time, energy, and dedication it has taken me to be here with you today doing what I do. I’m not sharing this for ego’s sake, but because over the years I’ve had to remain laser-focused on my goals to overcome a tremendous number of obstacles. I think anyone desiring the title of “Author” will be able to relate.
I have had to fight very hard over the years to share my love for—not the publishing industry—but for the love I have for my authors and the messages they wish to share. I know what life can throw at you when you sit down to write. I know how many times you think today is the day I’m going to sit down and write and how many times you kick yourself for not birthing the words. I know how many times you think about the title and how the cover is going to look. I know how many times you ask yourself “who would read it anyway?” And I know how many times you thought you weren’t good enough. I know how many times you expected to get an acknowledgement for your thoughts or the beautiful composition of your words. I know how brave you have to be to expose yourself and the way your mind thinks. I know about the inner critic and all the games it plays. I know about the long nights, late hours, and countless moments you wake in the middle of the night just to jot down that perfect thought or sentence. I know about when the urge hits and the words come and all life stops to make it happen. And, I most certainly know about people leaving your life in the process.
So all that being said… what makes me vulnerable? Well… the same things that makes you vulnerable—sharing from the heart! Sharing what lessons you learned and how painful some of them can be may or may not be something that is a fit for your book. It may not seem as fitting to a business book and at the same time…it worked for Jerry McGuire.
A book shouldn’t be that time you drop all your trash on the pages, but a certain level of self-exposure can drive a point home and help you relate to your reader. Even in a business book you can talk about a mistake you made and the lesson you learned and how you overcame it. But, there is also the backstory…everything that was going on in your life that was happening behind the pages. Your real, and sometimes ugly, life. These late night tears over broken relationships, losses of loved-ones, sickness, or transformational thinking are the ammo that likely sparks your fire as you write.
Yes, a book allows a writer to share their inner-most thoughts, experiences, and knowledge. In order to get to where an author does (by putting themselves in a position to write) well.. they have to overcome something! Once an author takes to the pages they have attained some level of mastery on their subject and they have a fire in their belly to share it with others. There has to be so much passion on the subject for the author to give themselves permission to expose a certain level of self to accomplish writing a book. Even if there is no particular level of personal sharing in the words they’ve written, something’s got them fired up enough to take on the challenge of a book project!
I’m going to take you on a little personal journey over the last few years of my life… share with you some of what has gone on for me and what’s challenged my desired outcome or personal presence. You know, probably like you, I had plans… plans that got drastically interrupted. Of course we’ve all seen a bit of this in all things covid, but my journey has been going on in the undercurrent for some time now. I’m sure some of you can trump my story with your obstacles, but I find that oftentimes we are shown the highlight reel in public places for the sake of professional appearances and profits. But, if we all play with our heads and not our hearts we are functioning a bit more like robots than we are emotional humans. That all being said - here we go!
Back in 2016 I was in the middle of writing my 3rd book Healing Your Dog Naturally when all of a sudden the world just came crashing in on me. I was living what couldn’t be much closer to a dream life on Maui in Hawaii. I was doing what I loved for a living (the work I’m doing still today), I had 3 beautiful puppies, I was engaged, and living in my dream location for both weather and food. As a vegan for some 30 years now I had finally found a place on the map where I could actually go out to eat and even did so daily for both lunch and dinner. That was kind of a big deal in itself.
I woke up every single day giving thanks for my life. I was aware of the gifts and not a moment went by where I wasn’t appreciative for them. Then one day I was out in the yard tending to my fruit trees when I heard a voice as plain as a person standing next to me and it said “Do not get too comfortable here, as you will be leaving soon.” I gasped! I literally fell to my knees in tears because I knew that something massive was about to shift. My finance and I had been looking around on the island for a home and he was trying to buy it to level out his tax situation, as we were just renting. He would get denied numerous times and then he hit me with “I can’t get approved here in Hawaii so lets move back to the mainland” and after I had packed up the house some 3-4 times because we were literally days from closing on all the houses he got denied on I just assumed this was what the voice meant. I was trying so hard to stay focused on my book but every free minute I was working on client projects or patching and painting walls. I finally got tired of patching and rehanging pictures and curtains and eventually just put everything in boxes. I just wanted to be ready for whatever this voice was telling me.
I stayed ready to go and remained focused on completing my book. I had a divine energy flowing through me telling me that whatever you do this book is being birthed. There came a point I was locked in and nothing was going to interrupt me. There was a book flowing in my sleep, as I closed my eyes for bed, sentences coming out so fast I literally would leap from bed when my eyes opened and ran to the keyboard to type. I had so many thoughts pouring through me. As I was laboriously giving birth there was an energy of change circling around me…it was almost hunting me…the nagging knowing it was coming pushed me faster and further to complete my research and lock in my words. The book had possessed me with an energy of purpose lit by my passion to help heal my canine companions and so many there were struggling like mine had. I was on the other side of my dog Bella’s helicopter rescue and still emotionally driving to give back in thanks for her safety. Something larger than me had a hold of me and I was going nowhere without this book complete. This fiery passion will overtake you when the urge to write comes. And when it does you’ll know you are in the zone. There seems to be a point in all of my books where come hell or high water it’s getting done.
So here I was in the passion of the moment when all of a sudden I’m hit with a morning blackout and I can no longer see the computer screen. Everything was black! Oh my god I thought - how am I going to finish this book? I had no thoughts at the time about what was wrong with me. All I wanted was my ability to see so I could complete what had been passionately flowing through me. After the blackout occurred I would find myself covered in sweat fresh out of the shower. Then one morning I would pass out as I was approaching the bed. It was as if I had a seizure as I could sense what was going on but I couldn’t see or move my body. I would take notice of what appeared to be a spider bite on my leg. I assumed for awhile that’s all it was and this would all pass. I had no more immediate reaction and regained my vision within a short period of loosing it and my partner at the time was just far too busy to share. He didn’t have time for things like this. We were always running, not walking. We didn’t have intimate time to talk about little idiosyncratic things like this so I passed it off as a fluke thing. I went back to my words. But, then there became more frequent episodes. The little spider bite was still there but then there was another on my face, another on my chest, and then all over my back. I was told by anyone that saw it that it might be shingles and I assumed it was so I treated it as such. But, then on came the neurotic twitches. Then the painful and bloody bowel movements, the rash went into my eye, and I could feel an electrical pulse moving through my body. I went to see a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, a few other natural or metaphysical healers, and I tried every vitamin and natural therapy I could find. And, of course, Hawaii was full of them! But then finally I had so much pain in my body that something had to be done.
Here I was writing a book about natural dog health and healing and as I wrote I researched and learned. There came a point that my writing became my escape from the pain and then there came a point where nothing was working and I was writing a love letter for anyone that would take care of my dogs in the event of my presumed death. I kept focused on the words and as I researched for the book I was trying to figure out what was happening to me. I didn’t know what kind of doctor I needed to see but finally the pain became unbearable. I told my fiancé I had to go to emergency. But, it was at that point when he told me that we no longer have health insurance! What? When did this happen? I had been so focused on the book and fighting the pain I had no idea it was cancelled. I just kept the idea of using it in my back pocket thinking this would be my last resort. But here I was at the last resort and it wasn’t available!
There was no other option but to seek care and now I had to be awake and aware enough about what was going on with my body because I was going to have to pay cash for my care. When you’re that sick and in that much pain its very hard to think clearly. I would go back through my research and what I was writing in my book and think it all through the best I could until I finally got clear on the idea that I had to gain clarity through the pain. I had to make choices that were in my best interest and I had to clearly do it alone. I was thousands of miles away from my home state of Michigan and he was traveling and I had the dogs and cats and my business and of course the book too. There came a point where I had to stop my beloved book. I had to stop pretending this was going to be a marriage. I had to think more about that voice and all my things in boxes and how I was going to get somewhere safe and how I was going to heal. I was so overwhelmed and I was doing it all alone. I had to sit with the pain as if to have a conversation… “Are you planning to kill me?” “Where did you come from and why are you here?” I had been trained in the metaphysical and I understood the practices of mind over matter. I would ask myself if today was the day I go to emergency or will I be dead tomorrow? I finally got up the clarity and strength to make a doctors appointment and at this point is where I learned that no doctor on Maui was worth $500 cash an office call and especially with no resolve.
There came a point where I came to the conclusion my next attempt for healing might end with me in the emergency room followed by either my death or a heavy debt to repay. So, until I could come up with a better solution I found ways to manage the pain and work through the blackouts. Now my eyes were really open to this massive shift in my life. I would rehash the therapies, treatments, and other various ways I had been trained over the years as I did battle with this energy that overcame me. I would crawl onto the yoga mat and cry just because I made it there. I would cry on the days there was a ton of pain and cry on the days there was less because I was thankful for the reprieve. There came a point where I realized this pain was mine and it was mine to conquer. No one else was intimately intertwined with this pain but me. I would begin being able to step out in public and around people without anyone knowing I was struggling. I kept it as my secret. I knew I was battling something and there was no point sharing it because it was clearly only meant for me. But I also realized the lack of compassion and true connection I had with anyone in my life at that time. The pain was my journey and no one cared! That was a hard reality to face!
While I was battling the pain, looking for solutions, and still holding a flame for the words that were still flowing through me I began to allow my thoughts to flow onto the situation with my partner…he had been having panic attacks, visits in the ER, and began seeking the care of a spiritual healer he had met months earlier on the mainland. It would take some time but I would finally come to the conclusion that when this man entered our lives was when everything changed. It was not for the better! I will respect the privacy of all concerned here and simply tell you that there are many infidelities in relationship - financial, spiritual, emotional, and physical. They were all broken. But I refused to allow any and all of this to break me. I would simply watch, let it go, and focus on my healing, my book, and the proper point where I was strong enough to exit.
The book would encounter another hurdle with editing, but in November of 2016 I finally completed it. I still know to this day it was one of the books I would write that would give me purpose when everything else was wasn’t — it kept me alive. Shortly after completing it I was strong enough to pack my things and leave. I would have a long flight with the dogs that still haunts me today. My boy down below in a cage crying the entire flight. Every passenger aboard heard him, but at least I knew he was still alive. I fought back tears on that flight into California - the same flight he took a month earlier to be with his girlfriend. But I couldn’t focus on that, as I had a long drive ahead after one night in an Airbnb in San Diego. I had beautiful friends waiting with open arms to help me with the dogs, the car, and my luggage. I was still in shock and still in some pain, but on that flight I had written my next book in my head. I knew when I landed on the other side of the country in Michigan that I would first go visit doctors and next begin writing.
For some, writing a book is an accomplishment but for me, it was literally saving my life. I would fight through all the discomfort in my body and transition into colder weather that seemed to bring on more unexplained pain. I saw every kind of doctor with still no explanation as to what was going on, but after some time the pain let up and still with no answers I marched on and kept writing. I had a plan. I loved my work and I was fighting hard to keep it going. I lost my home, my partner, and nearly my life, but I was simply not loosing the work I loved too. My plan was to replace my partner before he replaced me. All my business was coming in through him and I wanted to try to get my own so that I wouldn’t be left also without an income and the employment I loved so dearly. So I had a plan. I was going to write a book to support my business - a book about writing a book of course!
I would establish my own publishing company, start a podcast, record some videos for my website and social platforms, I would register with the Library of Congress, and then learn all the backend platform to turn my book about writing a book into an online training program. Each chapter would become a module in the training program. I would dedicate every spare functional moment to writing the book, creating the platform, thinking through the program, writing a few podcast episodes (not a horrible start to those, but I’ve become far better as time has gone on), and then I would position myself with cross platform marketing and write a blog.
By the grace of god, most of this was done within just six months. I think something superhuman came over me when I look back today. But somewhere in the process after I published the book I relocated to Utah and did my best to stay focused in the transition, home remodel, and the like. I was recording when hammers weren’t flying and sawing weren’t buzzing. I had a desk in the middle of the living room and not much privacy or silence and a ton of interruption. Of course, I think it was all too much and once again I would find myself sick. I had to pack up everything and make my way back to Michigan once again. Mom and dad were troopers and watched the dogs. I ruled out cancer and knocked out my blood hemoglobin issues I previously thought to be a cause or effect of something. Still after many visits with doctors I had no answers. But, once again, stepping away from the stress seems to have healed whatever was ailing me. I returned to a much more tolerable discomfort zone.
After some time in Michigan, I had nearly knocked the wind out of my sails with regard to my plans I had set in place. I nearly gave up on all of it and called it quits. I would return to Utah for a short time and as I did I met up with an old teacher I met many years ago. He was in town teaching a yoga class. He had been instrumental in helping me understand a few sticking points in my life before, and now he would acknowledge that indeed the books were instrumental in keeping this kid alive. As usual, I said nothing about it, but he brought it up. He’s a seer, an intuitive, a man dedicated to his craft and I’ve confirmed many times that doing the work we do as yogi’s brings on a sense of knowing. He point-blank said “You do know that this book has kept you alive, don’t you?” I said, yes I do know. The last one did too. And so with that being said…it was god’s plan for me to write…to write each book was a divine appointment. It was just in the cards to do. You know, I don’t feel like anything written in these books is life-changing for another, but it was life-changing for me to write them.
So, perhaps in sharing a little piece of my struggle and how I ended up here you feel equally inspired to stay the course as you push yourself through every obstacle and remain laser focused on the completion of your book too.
For some, writing a book is a calling and I guess I can’t guarantee any life-saving results, but I can say that life is not easy and whatever little nugget you can grab onto to give your life purpose or meaning is one worth holding onto. If a life force flows through you to write then it’s likely you will inspire another. Theres a strange kind of partnership energy with a book. What you put out there eventually returns. Everything is gods timing. Many artists in history weren’t found and appreciated until after their death. A book leaves your mark and sometimes there are synchronicities that line up and sometimes what we produce here and now isn’t for here and now, but for after we’ve left. I guess really only god knows.
Vulnerability… I don’t necessarily think we are always sharing what makes us vulnerable when we share our truth. We are sharing life and living and simply just the obstacles we have overcome. Personally, I can only go diving into parts of my past to share with you who I once was… what I came through… and when I reach a point of sharing I also know its something I’ve transitioned and let go of. It’s who I was that makes me who I am. I’ve disassociated with my former self, I’ve healed. So, I don’t share with you my stories for any kind of “poor you” response, but simply to say that if I can break through all these hurdles it’s possible you can too. And it just may be possible that you will inspire another when you share from your heart.
Recently, the fire in my belly was lit as I once again struggled with my health again. I overcame it once again, but, of course, in the aftermath I have given birth once again…and finally put one of the last finishing touches on a project I set in motion back in 2018 as I was flying overseas and leaving my beloved home in Maui, Hawaii. For many, recording an audiobook might just be part of the package, just another offering, but for me… I kept loosing my voice, my vibrancy was challenged, I struggled with every podcast and video. But editing works magic and low and behold, months and months of struggling to record between clients, between travel, and between health challenges it’s finally complete! I stuck to it and kept going and at the end of January, 2022 (some 4 years later) I did it! I got it done! I’m now the proud owner of an audiobook for my book I worked so hard to birth to - Let’s Get Your Book Published. I was once told by a friend that, as a woman, when we don’t give birth to a baby we must find other things to give birth to. For me, this has been a labor of love with my books.
I have stayed focused and persistent and there just was no way this wasn’t happening! And, in the process I corrected all the errors of a poor editing job from an editor that quit once he got his final payment… yep - I didn’t mention that, did I? But, guess what? I learned more that I can now pass on to you! Trial by error and trial under fire! It’s not how I saw this going, but in the end I can’t tell you how many times I had to ask myself “how bad do you want it?” And yep, I want it! I love what I do! I love my clients! And I want to keep doing what I do for the rest of my life! So, how bad do you want it? How clearly can you see the goal posts?
Yes, there are always going to be obstacles and many will not understand your passion and purpose and may become diversions in your path… wanting their own levels of attention… those that don’t behoove you to engage with. But, can you stay focused on your dreams, goals, desires, and passions despite them? Often this is what it takes. It’s not selfish when there is a higher calling on your life than others around you just don’t recognize it.
Because I don’t want to be too vulnerable I won’t share all the details of my unique journey, but there were many more tests put upon me to remain steadfast and dedicated to my path. I had the conviction and perseverance I needed to have to bring my last two books over the finish line. For me, it just wasn’t a no…even if I had to crawl to get there!
So…how about you? Can you celebrate overcoming your obstacles and make a book a reality? You know, not every victory in life is one that others can understand. They aren’t all visible. You put in the blood, sweat, tears, and motivation and not all victories are seen or shared. For me, the books were labors of love, labors of life, and they represent massive victories and stand as accomplishments of not just words on paper but as tokens that overcoming adversity doesn’t look the same for everyone. They symbolize various levels of success. For some it’s a victorious moment just to get out of bed, for another its income goals attained, something purchased, a lavish vacation taken… What is your victorious moment you’ve overcome that not everyone else gets to see?
A book gives you the permission to move on by putting a stake in what was, identifying what can be, stepping up as an expert in your topic, showcasing your talents, how you overcame adversity, and perhaps all leads to how you can help others thrive or achieve their personal or desirable state. Not everything we go through in life relates to our topic, but sometimes the undercurrent of our challenges has us asking “how bad do you want it?” and when you fight for your cause you are always further identifying your truth…solidifying your why… yeah, I want this! How ‘bout you? Where is your passion? What have you overcome?
Thank you for indulging me while I reflect back on what was… to get me to where I am. Ah, it’s just so good on the other side…put in the time, do the work, and the book is the visual result of what can be. Stay focused on the goal and true to yourself! Play in life with your heart, not your head!
And, hey… do a girl a favor… download my 4-year-in-the-making audiobook…then do yourself a favor—get going on your book once you listen! Seriously, it can’t be as hard for you as it was for me! You got this!
And on that note, and as always, I’m wishing you peace, love, and light!
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