The greatest boost of confidence that I have ever experienced was writing my first book. The greatest loss of confidence started when I tried to sell the book.
Being confident is like riding a roller coaster. There are so many highs and lows, twists and turns, and big-ass drop that turns your stomach as you purse your lips to hold back the vomit.
Trying to sell books is that same roller coaster. There's tiny bits of good luck and lots of down turns-Much frustration and then the high when the story comes together in a way you did not predict when you first started writing the book.
I'm not the only one who struggles to remain confident. Life gets in the way, we all have problems, situations that are so overwhelming, all of this can attack our total being.
That's where I am right now. Honestly, my confidence, at this moment is low, I feel as though I'm the worst writer ever, not only as a fiction writer but as a technical writer. I sometimes feel as though I can't string words together to form a complete sentence.
I struggle to find something to change the tide of emotion, that one thing to make that upturn. Basically, I am looking for the path that leads me to a place where readers find me and read my books and get enjoyment from the story.
Though there's been some positive movement, there's been much disappointment. So much so, I've been researching options in which to find that boost, that change, a way out of this perpetual rut I find myself in.
At first I thought I'd, try some self-help books. I'm not great at self-help books. They may inspire for a moment, but I can't carry it through to a conclusion. They just don't get me.
Next I've opened myself to new experiences. This one is a work in progress. I've joined writer's groups. And as my schedule opens up, I plan on participating and trying to glean something from the experience. I hope this will finally convince me I'm actually a writer. If I keep telling myself that, maybe one day I'll believe it.
As I open to new experiences, I need to remember to acknowledge those moments. Single moments in which I feel confidence. When I feel fierce and indestructible. When I look in the mirror and confidence radiates from my face, in my clothes, in my psyche, there's no more brushing it off as if it doesn't matter. It's time to work toward the greater good. The more I tell myself I'm confident, the more I'll start to believe it.
I keep plugging along because I so believe in myself at times, regardless of the underestimation that comes my way. You can't win, if you don't play; you can't succeed, if you don't try. I can because I do. Join me on the journey, because someday is almost here.Continue reading
Excerpt from Introvert to Sales Goddess
I’m an introvert, and I’m shy. People can exhaust me just as much as they cause me anxiety. But I don’t hate being around them. It just depends on the situation. I can’t change that reality; I can only learn to live within that character trait—good, bad or otherwise. Because I am one of those often misunderstood people, I spend a lot of time observing and thinking. That’s why I’m an avid reader, and that’s why I love writing.
In a way I’m selling myself short, because I’m not an emotional wreck in social situations. In the right setting, I can be chatty and engaging, especially when the conversation is about me. It’s not because I’m self-centered. It’s because I know myself and can speak confidently about who I am and what I can do. And that’s pretty much what a job interview is, isn’t it?
I agreed to the second interview, even as I questioned the job and my ability to successfully do what would be asked of me. I didn’t want to start the job hunt all over again, and this particular office was only five minutes from my house; both valid reasons for pursuing something well out of my comfort zone. Overwhelmed by the nature of the job, I nodded quite a bit during the second meeting; still unsure of the position, I tried to be honest about my phone skills, or in this case, my lack thereof.
I politely shook hands as I met everyone in the office while trying to make sense of what I was agreeing to. But at the same time, I was able to separate that small piece of the job from the rest of the experience as I would be working for a small company in a field that I didn’t know much about, other than that it held some very exciting possibilities. And I knew some things about it. After all, I wear makeup. I dye the gray right out of my hair. I’m a girly girl. It could be fun.
I did realize early on that I had agreed to a sales position of sorts and within that framework, I would be required to talk on the phone to CEOs and company presidents as I tried to sell them on the idea of a sponsorship program. This wasn’t a completely foreign concept for me. I’ve asked for money before. I walked the Avon Three Day Breast Cancer Walk. I wrote letters asking for donations, helped my daughter with her Muscular Dystrophy backyard carnival. It was easy asking family and friends through a heartfelt and honest letter explaining what motivated me to do so. But asking money in the confines of a job, was a different experience, convincing companies that they needed this program to help grow their business was a completely different circumstance.
Truth be told, I do have confidence, though not all the time and not about everything. But when it comes to working at a job, I do believe that I can accomplish pretty much anything. But this job is like a roller coaster with peaks and valleys. Some aspects I’m very comfortable with while others, I seriously questioned my decision to even interview for it.
Within the last decade I’ve learned a lesson about worrying only when you absolutely have to. For me that means, I don’t stay up at night dwelling on a new job unless I have a valid reason to stress. As with every experience that’s ever made me uncomfortable in the days leading up to it, I discovered early that I was usually fine once I get there, once I’d immersed myself in the project or experience. Like a cat that falls from great heights, I usually land on my paws, no worse for wear.
It happens every time I travel to the city. I worry so much about timing and parking that I work myself into a tizzy before I go, then I’m oftentimes embarrassed once I get down there. It all seems like a silly thing to worry about, and I realize that I’m really okay, and that I can do it.
And with all this in mind I accepted the job at the rate I asked for. I had one week.
Are you an introvert? Are you an extrovert and want to understand the other side? Check out my new book Introvert to Sales Goddess now on sale at Amazon.com.Continue reading
Every bad situation has a rock bottom. That place when you just can't endure the sadness, frustration or pain any longer. For some it can sink deeper than others, we all have our limits. They're determined by our experiences; all that baggage we carry with us, our struggles our travails. We all have them, we all dig deep as we endure and our brick walls or rock bottom are ours and ours alone.
My rock bottom isn't one experience, it's a period of time, that encompasses a whole lot situations. A job, a personal relationship, health issues, regardless of what comprises my rock bottom, I think I finally hit it. I think the climb out of mediocrity and moving slowly upwards, the lack of sleep, the lack of fun, the constant work, the job change, finding myself taking one step forward and moving two steps back, finally crashed down around me.
I feel as though I'm walking through a pile of rubble. All of my experiences broken pieces lying on the ground around me. All examples of my trudge through mediocrity and I'm tired. Sleepless nights tossing and turning, dreading the daylight because its ugly and it doesn't lie. It shows everything for what it is, in all it's brightness, exposing what I try so hard to hide.
Near tears all the time, because what I do while awake is for everyone else but for myself because when I try to do for myself, the rest of my life crashes in around me. Things don't get done, kids get angry, guilt that I should be anywhere other than where I am chokes me. I clench my jaws as I keep the tears from falling.
I don't believe in self-help books because I know what the issues are and I know what I need to do in order to release the stress, remove the sadness and let go. I know what I need to do. But will circumstances allow me to make the changes and do what I need to do to not feel like this anymore.
It's the feeling of walking on a treadmill, the one in which I walk at a brisk and steady pace and yet I move nowhere. I think this is my rock bottom, my fork in the road. The time to make the decision on where I need to go. I just need to find my way out. It's not a matter of picking the path less travelled. It's about picking the path that will allow you peace and happiness. For some that's through the untamed jungle and for others it's the path that leads them to the dream.
I've given up the last year of my life for the dream. I've given up time with family and friends. I've given up time for myself, I given up hobbies and I've agreed to do things that I don't wish to do, things that are good for others but not good for me. Because somewhere along the line someone wrote doormat on my forehead.
It's my rock bottom. The place where I say Enough. Because I no longer want to settle for mediocrity. I no longer want to believe that someone else is thinking of me and this is good for me, especially when I know it's not. It's time to no longer let someone dictate what's best for me. Only I can be the judge of that.
This is my rock bottom. My acknowledging that this is no longer acceptable. I have a dream and not honoring me, is no longer allowed.Continue reading
I don't give myself enough credit. I dwell on the failures rather than the successes. When my books didn't sell I assumed it was poorly written, maybe it wasn't that bad, maybe it was as simple as my inability to market via social media. Or maybe it was a lack of confidence in myself and my work. Without thinking it was any good, was I really going to sell it or myself?
When you're shy and an introvert, it's hard to bring attention to yourself anyway, and if you lack confidence, it's even that much harder. Do you really want the attention and what if the book really sucks, can you in good consciousness sell it?
When I finished my book the first time around, I really believed in it. And when the second book was published I was far more confident in that one having learned something about writing and editing. But I received three bad reviews in a row. They were so bad that I couldn't speak for a week. Every time I did, I'd burst into tears. The honest truth is I was set to quit. Throw it all away. If it wasn't for two people who encouraged me to continue because they believed I had something there, I would have.
The reviews for She Wulf nearly destroyed me and what little confidence I had in myself was gone. I tried to put it aside and work on the third book, move the stories forward and hope that those who were fans, would continue to like the series. I started three different books and couldn't focus on which would be the next in the series. I took time off, I rethought what it was that I wanted to do. And when it came down to it, I knew I wanted to write. I still believed in the characters and I didn't know what else I would do with myself.
I made changes. I completely re-wrote The Day of First Sun. I can't wait to share it because out of all the versions, this is most definitely the book that I want to release and that I'm proud of and confident in. I restructured the series and I'm still having trouble with the second book because I want it to be fun and exciting and what I had written, was that. But it will be.
After changing my social media, I was discussing with my team my frustration at the entire process. I told her some of my future projects and we talked. And she said to me, “You have a lot to say and you should say it.”
As I work on the final edition of The Day of First Sun, as I write the first draft of Black Market, I'm working on my voice. Finding it and sharing it. And in the process of sharing my experience, my ups and downs, my lack of confidence, I learned a few things about myself. I'm capable of great things and I have a great support system around me who believe in me. When they tell me, so I realize that I have something valuable to say and to share and if it inspires others or helps them through something, than it is all worth it.
I claim to be a shy introvert. I hate being center of attention, I have a hard time coming up with things to say. But I'm really good at observing and I have an understanding of what people are thinking and what they're going to do. I'm not weird, I can't be fixed, I am who I am. So how did I end up with a job in which I have to sell? It's one of those things that just sort of fall into your lap and you have to either continue moving forward or melt into a puddle of nerves.
Handling groups of people, speaking in front of even the smallest group sometimes leaves me anxious. It depends on the importance of what I have to say, the relevance to the conversation that determines how uncomfortable I'm going to be. The reason for me is, I have an inability to think quickly enough to move a conversation forward. That makes me a much more effective writer, because I can take my time to craft my message, think it through and re-edit until my fingers read. I'm a much better writer. Go figure. Which leads me to prefer sending emails to making phone calls. So why in the world would I accept a position that requires me to sell, to talk to strangers on the phone and ask them to join our newest program?
Because I realized that if I were to move forward as a writer, I needed to interact with people I don't know. To learn to be comfortable in situations that leave me anxious, you need to throw yourself at them rather than run from them. For me that is all about making phone calls. I'm the type of person who feels like I should always have a reason to contact someone by phone. And if there's no reason, I make no call. And yes that means I very rarely call someone just to chat. Though if they call me just to talk, I'm open and a little chatty. Approach me fine, but don't make me approach you. Yeah, it might be the whole fear of reject or maybe it's just the fear of I don't know what to say. But whatever the reason, placing myself in uncomfortable situations is my way of becoming stronger. Getting familiar with something rather than run from it should then increase the size of my comfort zone.
That's why I took a job that seems so out of my ability and skill level. You can't change your basic personality, but you can learn to work around the traits that hinder your success, you can adapt and quite possibly grow out of some of the more difficult ones to live with. I may never dump the shyness, I may always be terrified by the sheer act of calling strangers to sell a product, but maybe not. Maybe with practice, I'll get comfortable and my zone will be wider. And maybe then I can sell myself and my books and live the dream I keep dreaming.
We all have them. The place we feel the most comfortable. We're familiar with our environment, our friends and family. Even with all the problems they might possess, it's the devil we know and regardless of what's happening, we can maneuver and get through it. It's when we're faced head on with something new, well not even new rather an experience, a place, a person so unfamiliar that we clam up, hide in a ball or under a blanket and refuse to come out because doing that thing, meeting that person or going to that place is so overwhelming all we can do is shut down.
I have a feel experiences like that where I rearrange my schedule or find something else to do to avoid it, or pass on jobs that could potential be wonderful, all because the fear of the unknown is holding me back. I did it with a career in interior design, sometimes I do it if I'm driving to Chicago and once I lied and said I'm no longer interested in that job.
It's not taking advantage of all that life has to offer, not experiencing things that fall into your lap because you lack self-confidence. It's being an introvert and knowing your limitations and not trying something so radical because you can't see yourself doing that.
I took my job because it was sorta handed to me. I mean, I had to interview and I had a great interview. But I also had a really good temporary job experience that gave me confidence and I realized through that, that I can do pretty much whatever is put in front of me. I'm a pretty good employee and in the case of the temp job, I went above and beyond because I knew I needed a good recommendation when it was time to move on.
And being that it was I interviewed for a job in a field and a company type like no other I had worked for. (I've spent a lot of time in tech companies and in large banks). I've handled whatever was thrown my way and I've been successful. Though they were all merely a way to make money while I worked on what I really wanted to do, I always would do my best.
Knowing the temp job was ending, I interviewed for a job in the cosmetic industry at a trade association for small cosmetic manufacturers. I like makeup, clothes and shoes it seemed like a great opportunity. But as I learned about the job, part of my brain said, run, while the other part said, you need to learn to do more than write. Talking on the phone and meeting people, you could use that experience.
When I interviewed I made it known that selling, it's not my strongest ability, it's really not one at all. I also let my boss know that I'm confident that I can do whatever is thrown my way. I had a temp job to prove that. But in a way, I feel as though I'm a liar and a fraud, because, talking on the phone isn't my strongest ability. I do it awkwardly because as a writer, what I can do, is craft a sentence. I can string two or more together to complete a thought. I can edit and I let what I say stew and churn in my brain until I say what I really want to. I'm a much better writer than I am a talker out loud.
I've been surveying members of this organization because part of my job is to update the database. It's fairly straight forward but it's tough because there are a lot of questions to go through. It's stilted and awkward as I try to ask all of the questions. Now why didn't I email these members first you ask? I did. These are the one's who haven't responded. And though I've made contact with a few, it's hard to get in touch with people and many simply don't call back.
It's stressful for me to pick up the phone and ask company specific questions. I stall, I finish up other work, I check my email for the second, third and fourth time. I wring my hands until I finally make the call. In the end it feels foolish that the phone causes me so much stress. It's really not as bad as I think it is when I finally check one off the list. I move on because the second part of my job is even more tricky. I get to call members and try to convince them to buy sponsorships with our company. But that's for another day.
My point is I'm out of my comfort zone. A carefully crafted zone that I know, whether it's good or bad, at least I know what to expect. Sometimes I wonder why I chose to say yes to a job whose skills I am simply uncomfortable doing and other times, I push the anxiety way down deep and realize at some point in time I have to act like a grown up, handle my discomfort and move on to something more. I mean after all, maybe I will get lucky and my book will sell and as a result I'll be asked to do several interviews.
It's all about communicating and finding the place best suited for you and sometimes it's about letting go and finding your way to something better.Continue reading