I received an email this week from a client who had ordered my Coach in a Box product. She told me she was getting a lot out of the product, but noticed that in my book and in my workbook I used the wrong tense often and there were too many typos.
After reading this email, I reminded myself that I really have no business being an author. Half the time I don' t know where to put a comma, what tense is appropriate and I consistently end sentences in prepositions. The only reason I know about the prepositions is that my mother (who is the one who should be an author) points this out to me regularly. Otherwise I am sure I wouldn’t even notice.
I did try to get someone to write the book for me. I really did. I hired a ghostwriter because one of my coaches told me it was very common and "everyone" does it. When I got the first chapters back, the grammar was perfect, but the content was ridiculous. This guy knew about writing, but he didn't know anything about emotional eating. So I had to write the book myself. I did hire an editor, but not even she could catch all the mistakes on the first round. It was that bad.
But here is the thing-I was willing to suck at it. When I train new coaches I have to remind them regularly to be willing to be imperfect, be willing to make mistakes, and be willing to do a terrible job. It really is the only way we can improve and get better at anything. I realize this is easier said than done. Putting yourself out there without "being perfect," automatically opens you up to all sorts of constructive and non-constructive criticism. Just reading the reviews on Amazon can send some of my fellow author/coaches into bed for days. It means someone might think less of you or lose respect for you. They may even laugh and make fun of you.
So I could have waited until I learned better grammar to write a book. I could have let the ghostwriter turn out an error free product. Or I could have obsessed about how I will never in 20 million years write a book as well as Harvard educated Dr. Martha Beck. But I didn't. I sucked at it. And if I hadn't been willing to suck at it, I wouldn't have received this email about the very same book:
A friend gave me your book, If I Am So Smart, Why Can't I Lose Weight? Like millions of others, my friend and I have wrestled with our weight since childhood. I've always said that no one knows more about losing weight than a fat person. I am pleased to eat (metaphorically) those words! I've been 'moved' by many things, including holding a length of hardened artery removed from my mother; but nothing has ever moved me the way your book has. You put things into a perspective I can finally grasp and call my own. I have been crying for the past couple of hours. I know I'm crying because I feel deep hurt at how I've treated me, and I'm crying because for the first time in my life I feel so much hope I can hardly handle it. Both reasons are good, and I'm so thankful you had the experiences you did so you could write this book. There's so much more I want to say, but don't have the time, as I'm at work. I keep a journal, and if you don't mind, I'd like to share my experiences with you from time to time.
God Bless You
What gifts are you selfishly hoarding because you aren't willing to suck at it? Your "Rondi" is waiting.