How to Identify the Scary Stuff Holding You Back from Writing Your Book

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...

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How to Pull Lessons from Your Experiences to Share with Others

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...

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What to Do with Your Moment of Clarity

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?

Then what?

The Burst

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...

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4 Questions to Ask Before You Write a Book About Your Experience

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...

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Behind the scenes of my tell-all SUCCESS essay

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...

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Why Your Writing Is Falling Flat

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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The Instinct to Succeed [Interview with T.D. Jakes]

The pastor and author shares how to harness the power within you.

Every night before he falls asleep, Bishop T.D. Jakes watches a comedy. “I don’t know that I’ve ever told anybody that,” he says, laughing a little self-consciously. No matter what happened during his day, a comedy keeps worry or negativity from affecting his sleep. “I learned to do that so I could detox my mind. And I like going to sleep laughing.”

Jakes has a lot to be joyful about. He’s the bishop of The Potter’s House, a Dallas-based church that’s home to 30,000 members, with services broadcast across the U.S. and Canada. He’s a husband, a father to five children and a grandfather to three. In 2013 he began hosting the BET show Mind, Body and Soul . He’s the founder of TDJ Enterprises, a media and entertainment company where Jakes turns his talents for writing and making music and films into a sizable profit. His gospel albums have scored multiple...

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Homemade Millionaire [Interview with Kendra Scott]

How the jewelry designer melded family, fashion and philanthropy into an empire of bling

Kendra Scott turned out the lights.

For the last time, she flipped over the sign in the window of her failed retail hat store that read, “Sorry, We’re Closed.” Then she shut the door and locked it.

It was 1998. She had lost her life’s savings—and those of her stepfather, whose battle with cancer had inspired her to start the Austin, Texas, business.

As if on cue, it started raining. “I just sat there and cried like a baby on the steps,” Scott says, “feeling like I was the biggest failure on the planet. I had let everybody down.”

Then something amazing happened. “I heard steps behind me,” and when she looked up, the sign was flipped over and read, “Yes, We’re Open.”

“It was a literal sign.” She laughs. “It was a sign! I looked and I just started laughing because I’m like, Is this some...

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How Seriously Do You Take Yourself?

One of my most embarrassing moments involves a speaking engagement, a skirt, and a very windy day in Texas.

The First Laugh

I had been invited to speak in front of about fifty people. I parked my car in the parking lot outside the venue and took a moment to collect myself. I don’t usually get nervous when I speak, but I do get a little excitable, so I like to take a few deep breaths and say a quick prayer before heading in to greet people.

So after I turned off the ignition, I breathed deeply, silenced my phone, and smoothed the full skirt of my dress. I was ready.

I stepped out of my car. And a gust of wind lifted my skirt up so that the hem slapped me in the back of the head.

I shrieked. I fumbled to pull it down. I pushed the hair out of my face, and looked around.

Please, please, please, let the parking lot be empty, I thought.

Then I spotted them: a man and a woman sitting in their car directly behind me and, now, courteously pretending not to notice me.

I had just mooned...

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How Do You Show Up for Others?

In this blog, I’m going to give you permission to tell me a hard truth. But first, I want to tell you about my weekend.

I just got back from a conference in California. On the surface this was a marketing educational seminar. But really, it was a melting pot of dreams.

I know that sounds grandiose. And I know that anytime you come back from a conference your head is a little spinny and your real world feels a little unreal.

But the 500 people who stood and clapped and hugged and traded business cards at this conference were some of the best people I’ve ever met. And I might have missed it.

Shake Hands with Strangers

I used to believe I was shy. When I was a kid, I ran on a constant stream of fear. I moved through my days on a scale somewhere between mild anxiety and full-on terror. I just seemed to be wired to be afraid of people. Even people I knew made me feel a bit wary.

But as I grew up—it takes some of us longer than others to do that, you know—I came to...

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