I’m Lovin’ It! I’m Hatin’ It! I’m Doin’ It.
Hey all you dreamers and deliverers of destiny!
If you have ever thought of giving up on your dream because you’re running out of gas and fear you’ll never get there, this post is for you.
This past weekend, I made a trip to Chicago to attend a two-day workshop offered by the fantastically fabulous Hay House Inc, one of the largest midwifes of manuscripts publishing and delivering incredible spiritual books out into the world.
So many years ago in my life I conceived of the dream of writing a book and now after nine YEARS – not nine months – of hard work I was finally on my way to find out how to get my first book polished and published out into the world.
“First book?” you ask. Oh yes, you see I spent four years traveling the world looking for the meaning of life and unraveling the mysterious magic I feel all around me and I came back with so much I wanted to share with the world that I am writing a series of books! (If you have to be crazy to write one book, consider me certifiably insane).
Last Friday afternoon as I was driving up to Chicago, I was so high with anticipation that with every golden arch I passed on the highway with the words, “I’m Lovin’ It” boldly plastered below, I laughed almost maniacally with confidence and throwing my hand up in the air with a solitary fist-pump that, “So was I!”
I was ready to bite into that juicy Quarter Pounder with ooey-gooey cheese and savor the delicious fruits of my labor and sit back, relax and let myself enjoy every scrumptious bite from here on out. I had been climbing the uphill battle of making my crazy dream a reality for years and was finally nearing the top of the world now that my first draft of my first book was finished.
Who wouldn’t be loving that?
But just as a Big Mac slathered in all that special sauce looks tempting and tasty when you’re about to bite into it, sometimes what you actually get isn’t what you were fantasizing about at all. Those first few bites are bliss but oftentimes you’re left with an aching stomach and feeling quite sick afterwards which is exactly what happened in my case.
When I got to the conference that weekend and began digesting everything the fabulous speakers were so truthfully and yet so encouragingly telling us, I started to feel a little sick too. My “I’m loving it” started to sway slightly in the direction of, “I’m dreading it” as I realized my nine-year journey wasn’t about to be over and I was nowhere near the top. Based on everything I heard, the journey – and the real work – was just about to begin.
I did learn that writing a book IS the most amazing gift to the world and that the Universe is helping you ever step of the way (“Woo Hoo” and thank you Mike Dooley!)
What I also learned was that having a passion for getting your message out was so much more than writing a book. My “woo hoo’s” of wonder turned into “uh oh’s” of eye-opening realizations as facts and practical suggestions started raining down regarding what was actually ahead for us as authors.
Did you know apart from the labor of love of writing a book, it could cost almost $10,000 to get your work edited professionally and properly? I had no idea. This was something I planned to do but was budgeting more around $500. Looks like I was slightly off.
Did you know writing a book and going through this process wasn’t the whole goal, but that building a platform and attracting a community of people to read said book is just as important as getting your passions onto the page?
But then the speaker showed an example of a woman who has 40,000 Facebook fans and referred to her platform as “ok, but not great…..” 40,000?!!! I had 150 fans.
However, even with those minor reality checks I believed so much in my work that I wasn’t too deterred. Who would dream a dream for nine years and then give up just because it required a little more hard work, raising a few more dollars and figuring a few things out, even if it was the task of mastering the enigma of social media.
It wasn’t until the very last part of the conference when the President of Hay House made an off-hand comment that I even entertained the idea of giving up.
He stood on the stage and said, “And for those writers who feel they have SO MUCH to share and are planning a series of books, I highly recommend you don’t do that. Put all that great information into one book and wow your audience. Then you can worry about what other books to write next at a later time.”
A series of books? Who would think of that?
Oh wait – me.
My journey of nine years wasn’t almost over, and wasn’t even extended a little bit further having to learn a few new tasks. If I was going to put my series of books back into one book and with that my journey was back to square one.
I left the conference feeling conflicted and wondering if I had the energy to continue on with this dream. I am almost 35 years old, have been working at a restaurant for the past two years while I give my EVERYTHING to getting this book finished and the thought of starting back over almost at square one was too much. I was getting tired and I wondered if maybe I should give up on this stupid dream of writing and go find something “normal” to do.
I got in my car, feeling the inspiring energy of everyone around me starting to fade away as my heart starting to sink in my chest as I thought of giving up on my dream as well what it would take to keep going. There was so much to think about I just wanted to get back home to Indiana, to get to the long stretch of Interstate on I-65 and let my mind mull over this decision for the next three hours.
I put my home address into my GPS and I left the conference to begin my long journey back.
As I drove along the busy roads and passed through yet another toll booth collecting the cost of getting home, my GPS chimed in with a new direction. It told me to “Take I-80 West toward Iowa” even though all the other signs had “I-80 East to Indiana” blaringly across the front. I thought I should be going toward Indiana but I put all my trust in that GPS and veered off the interstate and began heading towards Iowa instead.
I tried not to question it as I drove westward and then I tried not to question when it sent me on some strangely unrecognizable I-57 South leading me right into a construction zone. As my car slowed with the other cars ahead of me, once again my GPS chimed in, the pleasant voice of the direction fairy telling me she had found an alternate route that would take me home 13 minutes faster. Would I like to take it?
I wanted any route that would get me to where I wanted to go faster so I hit the button and heard her voice singing out, “recalculating, recalculating” as I pulled off the interstate onto some back road that appeared to not have been paved since 1955.
I drove along and still tried not to question the route although I noticed I was starting to run out of gas. As the GPS led me on down stranger and more rural roads, my level of panic began creeping to the orange zone as the needle on my gas gauge slowly fell to the danger zone.
I kept hoping to see signs for a gas station, or directional signs to I-65, or anything except miles and miles of farm fields and grain silos. By that point I had driven so far into the cornfields I had no idea where I was. There was nothing around and the fears of running out of gas in the middle of nowhere with no one to help me except some trucker as murderer flooded my mind.
The longer I drove and the deeper I got into deliverance-ville, I started panicking, my mind wild with worry that my GPS wasn’t the directional fairy I hoped but rather the voice of the wicked witch leading me to the west and far away from home which is the only place I wanted to go at that point.
With the gas gauge almost at “empty” I became convinced I was going to die out there and so I did what any other 35 year old woman would do. I started screaming at the GPS – out loud – and with the worst words I ever imagined would come from my mouth as I berated It’s absurd directions, questioned where the hell I was and by the end, was begging for it to get me to a gas station and get me home.
It was not my finest hour as I drove along, banging my hands against the steering wheel, tears in my eyes and whining into the silence of my car, “Please please just take me home. I want to go home. I’m tired of being lost and alone out here. I just want to know where I am.”
That helped – zero.
I drove along wallowing in my panic until finally as I turned down yet another mysterious road I found a gas station just in time. The sign said “Phil’s Station” but I was sure the guy’s name was Bubba or something and I just hoped he wasn’t there playing a banjo with a washed out look in his eye.
I pulled my car up to the first pump but it was covered in a plastic bag so I pulled to the second and discovered it was too. I drove in circles around the pumps and finally found the ONE pump that was actually working and filled my tank.
Now that I had gas again, I took the chance to recalculate my route once more and as I typed a new direction into the demonic GPS, I totally lost the signal.
At that point, staring at the arrow continually spinning around on the screen but coming up with no results, I really wanted to cry. I was lost, had no idea how to get home and now my GPS wasn’t working. I had no idea what to do and knew all I could do was just keep traveling down the road I was on and hope the GPS would come back on and direct me at some point. I definitely wasn’t going in to ask Bubba for help.
So I pulled out of the gas station, took off down the road and 10 minutes later I heard what now sounded like the voice of Glenda the good witch of the East tell me to turn in that direction. East is where Indiana was located and exactly where I wanted to go.
It was in that very moment I stopped.
I don’t mean the car. I wanted to get home so badly by then I wouldn’t think of stopping the car unless I absolutely had to. Instead I stopped worrying and fretting and freaking out that I had no clue where I was. I had no other choice but to trust the GPS to lead me home and nothing I could do would change anything. My only job was to trust and keep going.
As I drove on with a full gas tank and in a much more calm manner, I thought about the weekend and something Mike Dooley, the keynote speaker had talked about. He said that listening to the Universe was like following a GPS. Our job was to type in the destination and begin our journey even though we wouldn’t know how we would get there or which routes were the fastest to take. We may feel we are being detoured but we must trust the Universe knows where we want to go and knows the best way to get us there.
I couldn’t help but think of the last 45 minutes of my life and how lost I felt out in the cornfields of wherever I was, knowing I wanted to get home but fearing I would never get there. It seemed a lot like how I felt this past weekend with the process of my book, totally lost as to where I was now that I was having to start over. I knew where I wanted to go with this book but I was starting to fear I would never get there.
The parallels of the two situations almost made me laugh and I smiled that familiar feeling of comfort as I realized the Universe –the actual Universe – had led me on this detour to teach me the most important lesson I needed to remember that weekend.
Like Mike Dooley said, the Universe knew where I wanted to go and it was going to get me there and I just needed to trust it. I could spend the entire time freaking out and panicking thinking I was going to die in the oblivion I felt all around me, or I could relax and trust I was on the right path and actually try to enjoy the ride.
Then just as I was thinking this, I saw some strange object up ahead moving about on the very rural road I was on. As I drew nearer, I watched in surprise as a wild turkey wobbled across the road, its red gobbler shaking back and forth as it reached the other side.
In that moment, rather that screaming foul words at my GPS into the silence of my car, I laughed out loud as the old joke, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” popped into my head.
Immediately I answered with “To get to the other side” and I knew the Universe, with its strange sense of humor was telling me my answer. I was driving down this road of continuing to work on my book even if it was starting back from square one because I was trying to “get to the other side.” If I would only trust and keep going, I would most definitely get there one day.
A few minutes later, I started to see signs for I-65 coming up and my detour was over. I pulled onto the ramp and merged with the other travelers around me feeling grateful I had taken the path I did, experienced all I had and learned the important lesson I needed to know to keep me going.
Everything I learned in the workshop from the panel of incredible speakers, I knew was exactly what I needed to hear and I was determined more than ever to keep going. I do trust in the Universe and know it’s watching me every step of the way. I’ll do my part, keep filling my gas tank as many times as I need and will just keep going knowing I will get to the other side one day too.
So dear dreamer and deliverer of destiny,
I had a dream before this weekend and I still have that same dream after this weekend.
I know you have dreams too.
I decided I am going to do whatever it takes – and for however long it takes – to make it a reality and I hope you will do the same.
The world needs more of those who dream and dare to make those dreams a reality. If you ever feel lost just remember, the Universe is with you every step of the way.