When I first wrote my book, The Hero’s Choice, I wanted it to become a best-seller. I don’t mean that I expected it to sell millions of copies, but certainly tens of thousands, if not a few hundred thousand copies in the first few years. I don’t think I’m all that different from most authors who want their work to do well.
After several weeks of research and marketing experience I learned just how difficult it would be to achieve that goal. I learned that only one book in every 120,000 published hits a million sales and most authors don’t sell more than a 1,000 books. Pretty grim numbers.
But I also learned that it only takes around 10,000 sales in a week to be a best seller on one of the big lists—New York Times, USA Today, or Wall Street Journal. So I continued my research by consulting with a well-known book marketer to explore a campaign to accomplish that goal. We had about three conversations by phone. Initially I grew excited. Here was someone who had never struck out. He’d helped 43 authors accomplish this goal. I was onto something.
As we continued to talk, we got more specific. He told me I’d have to pre-sell 20,000 books (my rolodex didn’t hold that many names), hire a top PR firm, hit the big media, and do a several city tour promoting the book. I remember the words he spoke next. “This will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life.”
Not that I’m one to walk away from a challenge. But, I had to carefully weigh whether or not I was willing to pay the price to get that result. I thought long and hard. In my final conversation with him we talked the financial commitment to make this happen—an investment of three to four hundred thousand dollars.
Conversation over. Decision made. At that moment I knew I wasn’t willing to pay the price to make this dream happen. I’d still create a marketing plan and do my best to promote my book but the glitter of “best-seller,” at least in a top media outlet, no longer had the same appeal. Not that I couldn’t have found a way to do it. I wasn’t willing to pay the price.
My experience with this marketer caused me to reflect upon what I really want. Part of our work at HDI is inviting, prodding and supporting people in getting clear about their vision. This clarity is an important part of discovering success, joy and meaning in your life. What do you really want? How clear are you?
I believe 80% of the message from the Law of Attraction, so popular these days. I also realize that clarity, even positive emotion, is not enough to give us what we want. There is also a price tag associated with our vision.
I continued to think about the words of the marketer over the next several days: “This will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life.” If not selling books, then what aspect of my personal and professional vision is so big as to be worthy of calling “the hardest thing I do in my life?”
The answer was clear. There is no more important vision for me than living from my highest self—to daily live from an attitude of abundance, goodwill and love, no matter what. I don’t mean this statement to sound grandiose or self-righteous. But it’s the reason I wrote my book. I realized that far more important to me than selling the book is living the book. I also know it’s the hardest thing I’ll ever do.
There are moments when I succumb to my lesser self. Times I want to complain, vent, even feel sorry for myself; times I play “small” by acting more from fear than trust and abundance.
To my credit, there are more moments when I make the “hero’s choice;” moments I take full responsibility for my negative thoughts and emotions and create a positive outcome; moments when I’m fully present to life; moments when I stand tall in the midst of adversity; moments I act with courage and clarity of purpose to make good happen, no matter what.
My purpose is to do this again … and again … and again … until it is the only way I know how to live. Until I’m truly (in the words of Abraham Maslow) a self-actualized human being. That’s why I wrote The Hero’s Choice. It’s why I coach and teach seminars in personal development.
The truth is that I’ve come a long way in this journey to live from my higher self. Today, I live big more than I live little. But it hasn’t always been an easy journey. Nor should it be an easy journey. After all, the goal of making my book a best-seller would not have been easy. And this journey of self-transformation is far more worthy of my commitment and passion.
You know how I know I’m making progress? It’s when I’m in the middle of a tough key moment (challenge or adversity) and I can say, “making a good choice right now feels like the hardest thing I’ll ever do.” And then I step into my “higher self” and I make that choice anyway. And the feelings of exhilaration, integrity, peace, love or goodwill tell me that I’ve won.
I invite you to join me in this journey to live from my better self. It’s not a journey we travel alone. We’re all in this together—supporting, loving and inspiring one another along the way. In fact, come to think of it, that’s why I don’t need to be a perfect role model. It’s not about me. It’s about you and me and all of us helping one come from a bigger place.
Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal transformation, leadership, and teams. His tools and methods have helped hundreds of businesses and tens of thousands of people transform the ways they work and live. To learn more, visit www.theheroschoice.com.