by Jenny Hansen
In my "day job life," I draw a lot of wisdom from entrepreneurial, marketing, and motivation experts. People like Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi, Lisa Nichols and Og Mandino, Trent Shelton and Brené Brown. Just like writing advice, I take what resonates and make it work for me and my own Success Blueprint. And of course, when I hear really great stuff, I want to share it with all my friends here at WITS.
2024 is a big exciting year for me, for a lot of reasons. I am in the middle of writing two books I'm excited about -- one fiction, and one non-fiction. My family is moving to the East Coast this summer to start some new adventures over there. I won my dogfight with cancer and I'm excited to be alive.
I'm also excited about the wisdom, so here it goes, in no particular order...
"We are the sum total of the five people we hang with the most." - Dean Graziosi and Tony Robbins
Every year, Dean does an event in January where he shares his own blueprint, and this one stood out to me. He said, "Don’t hang out with the people who you make excuses with about your dreams." I LOVE that.
(p.s. While I hope you relate to nothing on the list below, I suspect that some of it will sound familiar.)
Take a second to think about how many times you've:
If you nodded your head 'yes' to any of these, I see you. I hear you. I get you.
Think about the fact that one of the people you hang out with the most is yourself. Some of those messages are coming from you.
It's a new year and a new day, and we are better than that. We don't need to hide our spectacular selves away. Spread out. Live large. Shine bright. Allow yourself to be excited about the glorious stories you want to tell.
If it's a close friend or family member who isn't excited about your goals and dreams, simply have different conversations with them. But find a writing and/or mentoring circle that is excited about you and your endeavors. Your people are out there. Some of them might even hang out here at WITS.
Find your people -- those two to ten who light you on fire -- and hang out with them more. Your own inspiration will grow when you surround yourself with people who feed your creative soul.
Who is steering the trajectory of your life? Who is steering your goals to completion? Is it the siren call of your dreams, or the dark whisper of your fears?
This is an important question for every person at every age and stage of life. Sometimes this is harder for creatives to answer because there's such a long runway spent honing our craft. We spend weeks months and years learning from those who have gone before us, and from our own successes and failures.
I prize the people I can trust to give me good advice. Bad advice is the most costly advice in the world, especially if it is allowed to dictate your dreams. Failures and regrets and imposter syndrome are the most unreliable of navigators. You don't want those bozos steering your career.
In the end, YOU need to be the one in charge of the steering wheel.
Brené Brown has said in numerous talks that she carries a list in her wallet with the names of people whose opinions matter to her. What a smart and tangible way to stay grounded! That means if a person isn't on that list, then their opinion is their own problem, and not hers.
“Your transparency will lead to other people's transformation.” -- Trent Shelton
Our story might not be for every reader, but if we bring love and truth to our stories, readers will feel it. This is how we serve our readers and our characters. This is how we can treat them with the utmost love.
Many years ago, I heard an agent talk about writing voice. She believed that every time a writer puts words on the page, they are shouting out, "this is who I am." I think that is both true and false. We aren't our characters and our characters are not us, but pieces of them are. I know writers who struggle with being seen so clearly by their readers. I know writers who are afraid to be seen at all.
Trent Shelton has wisdom here too: “We are all a little broken. But last time I checked, broken crayons still color the same.”
Sometimes those broken bits of us are the exact puzzle piece a reader needs to feel alive and whole.
“Everything you've ever wanted is sitting on the other side of fear.” -- George Addair
That quote tells us to be bold. To hang in there. To keep doing the work, even when we're failing or frightened. I think of Theodore Roosevelt's 1910 speech, excerpted by Brené Brown more than a century later in her book, “Daring Greatly.”
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Brené, through the words of Teddy Roosevelt and through her own, helps me remember to Be Bold.
“Big doors swing on little hinges.” --W. Clement Stone
Small changes will transform your life. Journaling for ten minutes each morning. Stretching before your morning coffee. Stating your goals out loud while you look in the mirror. All of these have been proven to be life-changing over time, even though they are somewhat tiny in the moment.
For me, it was stretching for a few minutes before I got out of bed. I had to do it for OT and PT after my surgery last October, but I've been astonished by the results. Not only do I have far less neck pain, but those few minutes have given me back half an inch of height over the last six weeks!
What routine could you shift without very much trouble? What small daily something might make a dramatic shift for you in the long run? Reading? Stretching? Meditating? Journaling? It might be fun to pick one and try it for 5-10 minutes a day or 15 minutes a week and see what happens.
"Don’t you dare dim your glow to make the people around you feel better." - Lisa Nichols
I'm circling back to this point again, because it's so important. And if you've never heard of Lisa Nichols, I promise you will want more of her. In fact, I think experiencing this three-and-a-half minute video with her might be one of the most inspiring things you do today.
She makes me grin so hard my cheeks hurt.
Just to sum up that Success Blueprint again:
Also, for all of you who had trouble getting into the link to Angela Ackerman's post on Monday, we didn't want you to miss it. It is stellar! -- Increasing the Emotional Impact of Your Story.
"I will persist until I succeed. The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning; and it is not given to me to know how many steps are necessary to reach my goal. Failure I may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road." -- Og Mandino
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By day, Jenny Hansen provides brand storytelling, LinkedIn coaching, and copywriting for accountants and financial services firms. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction, and short stories. After 20 years as a corporate trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.
All article photos from Depositphotos.
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