Three times in my life, I’ve hung clothes on a line to dry under the Texas sun.
First, standing next to my grandmother, my small hands turned backward on my hips in a mirror of her own.
Next, in a little house I rented where the dryer put rust stains on anything it heated.
And finally, in a small duplex where I lived so poor and distraught and sick that I nearly died.
We’re supposed to look back at our lives and see how far we’ve come and feel a sense of accomplishment and gratitude. That’s what our ancestors would want for us, right? That’s the expectation we all have.
There was a time in my life when I looked back and wished above all else that I could just rewind.
Because what I saw wasn’t a triumphant climb or even a steady progression, but a steep, heart-breaking decline.
It was winter of 2000, and I lived in a place with no phone, no heat, and no running water. If I hung clothes out to dry in the winter chill it was because I’d...
Let’s say you want to write a book to help people avoid the same crap, the same heartbreak, and the same massive losses you’ve suffered as you live your life and pursue your dreams.
And let’s say that to fulfill this magical mission to share your wisdom, you’ve got to share the crap, the heartbreak, and the massive losses you’ve suffered…with the world.
That’s scary stuff. And it stops a lot of us from being our best and giving our most. But it doesn’t have to stop you.
Courage comes in many forms. Sometimes, all you need to see clearly is the obstacle in your way to realize that you can step right over it. So today, let’s take a look at what’s holding you back from serving at your highest.
1. Fear of facing trauma or past pain. This is a doozy because the emotions we have tied up in past suffering aren’t just in our heads. Neurobiologists now say that trauma is actually stored in the body. So...
Has anyone ever told you that you should write a book? That you should write down the story of your life or the story of that one experience you had nobody can believe?
And you said, “Yeah, I should. But I just can’t.”
People started telling me that I should write down my story years ago. The first few times it was suggested, I dismissed it right away. It sounded ridiculous. How could I share all that information about myself—and everyone else in my life—with perfect strangers? Not only would I expose myself to all sorts of judgement, I’d be setting off an emotional bomb in my family.
Since then, I've shared a great deal about my life and story on an international level. Not only do I feel liberated by this process, but I’m hearing over and over again from people how my sharing is helping them to reframe their own lives, find healing, and share their stories of healing with a hurting world.
So if you’re considering...
My uncle died. Sorry to kick this off on a depressing note, but there it is. I’m going to come around to something encouraging shortly, but sometimes, we have to go through the hard stuff to get there, you know?
Like getting through the thick layer of dislikable stuff to find the lovable part of that one family member.
I’ve lost a lot of family members and friends over the years—to cancer, lung disease, addiction, alcoholism, suicide, you name it.
Grief and I are old bedfellows.
But this one is unique. And I’m going to be frank about why, so hold onto your hat.
My uncle was wicked smart, well-traveled at a young age, a real animal lover, a multi-lingual and highly educated man of letters, an eagle scout, and a barbeque connoisseur.
He was also a hoarder and a sociopath.
And he looked at me like I was sex on a stick from the time I can remember.
Here’s the thing about people who harm us: Sometimes we love them anyway.
My uncle was like...
I woke up this morning about 6 am and did my best with the regular morning stuff.
By 8 am, I felt like I was an utter failure at all the things. All of them. Motherhood, entrepreneurship, online marketing, delegating, deadlines, friendship, you name it.
Do you ever wake up and feel defeated almost before you start?
As I walked around my house turning off lights and adjusting the thermostat, I sent out an “I hate you” to people I can blame for my current obstacles, thought patterns, and core beliefs.
Not surprisingly, this anger at others and the damage they’ve done to me in the past gives me a momentary feeling of righteousness, a stomp-my-foot kind of justification, and a nearly physical rush of power.
But it doesn’t actually make me feel like less of a failure.
It’s at this point in my morning when I realize my thinking is irrational.
People who are failures don’t have thermostats. They can’t pay their light bills so...
You have a boat load of experiences that you can share with others to help them live a better life and build a better career. Do you know how to pull the best lessons from those experiences and lay them out for others to learn?
If you’re anything like me, the lessons—along with the gratitude I feel for all that freshly earned wisdom—doesn’t come until I’ve gotten some distance from the actual experience. Often we have to process our feelings to get useful perspective on our choices.
After a little time, lessons usually begin to naturally show themselves. We think to ourselves, “You know, I believe all of that happened so that I could…” or “I couldn’t see it at the time, but looking back, that experience gave me exactly what I needed to…” or “Well, now I know not to trust THAT guy!”
I want to help you get the most out of your story—for both you and the people you might help. Think of one...
That moment you know everything is different. That instant when you realize the truth and can’t go back to the time before you knew it. That second when a flash of insight hits you—profound and shocking and sometimes delightful.
But what if it’s not delightful? What if it’s horrible. What if the Truth—not the regular truth you tell to other people but the Truth you tell to yourself—is that you’ll never be okay going along in the same way you’ve been living or working or relating or loving? What if the Truth is a total shift in who you are?
You feel overwhelmed, scared, tempted to stick your head back in the sand of denial, distraction, or ignorance.
But once you know a thing, you can’t unknow it. Once you look at a Truth within, you can’t unsee it. Once you admit a scene into the vault of memory, it remains to permanently alter your perception on the present as well as the past.
If you admit to yourself...
In 2017, a very personal story of mine appeared in SUCCESS magazine. This wasn't a story covering the life of a celebrity or an entrepreneur. It wasn't a piece on how to acquire a vital business skill or a psychological trait that could make or break your success in life.
This article was about me and some brutal truths about my life.
I’ve had countless pieces published, but the fact that this one was going to be on newsstands was terrifying to think about in the days leading up to publication.
Writing about someone else’s struggles is enlightening. Writing about my own was empowering ... but scary.
Know what I mean? I learned a lot from that experience, and I continue to learn as I share my own story.
If you’re someone who is working toward building a business or writing a book based on what you’ve learned from your story or experiences, you’ll need to ask four big questions to tell your story in the right way.
What's the Point?
Do you want...
Here’s the truth:
Sharing some of my most painful, shameful, and depressing moments with the world felt great. For about twenty seconds.
And then it felt horrible. Then great again. Then terrifying. Then freeing. Then crazy. Then gratifying.
It’s been a roller coaster of emotion over here at the Anderson house. (You ever have those days?)
So why in the world did I share this kind of deeply personal story in SUCCESS magazine? [Read it here]
Because over fifteen years ago, I walked into a room where one person was honestly, openly, brazenly sharing his own personal story. He talked about his fears, his selfish choices, his scars. And in his story, I heard echoes of my own.
Do you remember the moment you knew you weren’t the only one? The only outcast or the only failure or the only one who was different? It’s life-changing to realize that you’re none of those things—that you’re just human. Spectacularly, painfully, marvelously human.
I went up...
Have you been writing but keep getting a weird twinge in your gut that something is “off?” Or a deflated feeling that what you wrote doesn’t communicate the image in your head and heart? Or maybe you like what you write but you’re not getting the kind of response that you expected?
Turns out, there might be one big reason for all these writing hurdles. Let me tell you a quick story about how I discovered this massive obstacle in my own writing.
In 2004, I had graduated college with a degree in English and applied to eight writing programs, including two “safety” schools that I thought were no-brainer admissions. During my wait for responses, I got a job at the ABC-TV station in Dallas. I produced my first TV spot. I learned to write copy for station promos and news teases.
And the school rejections started rolling in.
One after another, thin, sad envelopes appeared in my mailbox. My hope became thinner and more desperate with each one. Finally,...
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