Successful authors have courage. If you want to succeed as a nonfiction author, develop the willingness to move through your fear and toward your goals and dreams of successful authorship and a career as a writer. Become courageous.
To develop courage, master your psychology, which is one of the six Pillars of High Performance. Fear usually begins in the mind. Your mind tells you a reason exists to feel afraid. Most often, your body doesn’t say, “Danger!”—unless you are being chased by a mountain lion. The fearful messages are given to you by your mind, but they are incorrect. You’ve received false evidence that appears real (FEAR).
You thoughts have trained themselves on some future event, or even a current event, you think might have a negative outcome. Maybe you are afraid an agent or editor will reject your query letter. Or you are afraid no one will purchase your book if you publish it.
You have no proof that potential outcome will become a future reality. In fact, the future might present an ideal or positive outcome instead, like an assignment from an editor, a contract from an agent or publisher, or a bestselling book.
Could Your Fears be Real?
You have the ability to determine if you are safe or in danger. You also can decide how to protect yourself. However, most people bastardize this ability into excuses to remain emotionally comfortable.
After all, some of the things humans fear most, such as public speaking and flying, don’t pose any physical threat. If you are walking in a dark alley in a large city, you might have reason to fear for your safety. A mugger could jump out of a doorway and physically harm or kill you.
If you need to send out a query letter to a publisher, the fears you have about rejection (or acceptance) exist in your head, not in the physical world. You aren’t in physical danger. Your fear revolves around a future potentiality. The result of your action, which is what you fear, doesn’t exist yet. It hasn’t happened.
In such cases, your fear is an ego-based condition. The fear stems from thoughts of possible future outcomes, none of which will land you in the hospital or a casket. They might make you feel badly about yourself and ashamed.
The solution? Rid yourself of fear with mind management as opposed to safety management.
Think about it: Firefighters have good reason to feel fear each time they enter a burning building. They get over that fear with training so they can succeed at their jobs—and save lives. They practice until they are comfortable enough with their fear of coming to physical harm that it doesn’t stop them from running into flaming buildings. In the process, they develop courage.
What Do Writers Fear?
According to author and trainer Brendon Burchard, most of the fears your mind tackles daily fall into three categories:
- Loss pain—You fear you’ll lose something.
- Process pain—You fear the process will be hard.
- Outcome pain—You fear the result will cause you emotional distress.
In all three cases, you fear mental and the emotional pain that accompanies the possible outcome. You are not afraid of physical pain nor are you in physical danger.
Yet, these fears hold you back. They stop you from taking the necessary steps to succeed.
Here are a few examples of how this might play out in your life:
- Loss: You don’t send out a query letter to a literary agent because you are afraid the response—a rejection letter—will cause you to lose your dream of publishing a book and becoming an author.
- Process: You don’t start writing your book because you are afraid that the writing will feel hard, take you away from your hobbies and leisure activities or feel like work.
- Outcome: You don’t publish your book because you are afraid it won’t sell (you’ll fail), it will sell (you’ll succeed, and then what?), or authorship won’t be what you expected and you’ll feel disappointed.
Start Courage Training
To combat these fears, Burchard suggests you turn them into anticipation of positive future payoffs. Stop seeing them as potential negative outcomes.
- When you fear loss, connect with what you might gain.
- When you fear how difficult a process might be, focus on the goal you want to achieve or your desired result.
- When you fear an outcome could cause pain, trust that everything will work out for your highest good and in the best interest of all concerned.
Use your mind to train yourself to become courageous. To move through fear and develop courage mentally:
- Focus on the positive rather than the negative potential outcome.
- Get comfortable enough with your fear that you can move through it toward your goal.
- Trust that everything will work out perfectly.
You also can use this following training exercise to develop courage:
- Write down what you fear using this question: “What if…[describe your most negative or fearful thought about moving toward your goal or dream]?” For example, “What if the literary agent rejects my book idea?”
- Change the negative statement to a positive one. For example, “What if the literary agent accepts my book idea?”
- Describe what it would be like if you took the next positive action toward your goal—an action that feels right and in integrity. For example, “I could write my query letter—and even get it edited by a book-publishing expert—and then send it out to ten agents. I then might get one—or even two—acceptances and get to choose the agent I prefer. I’d then be a huge step closer to getting my book published.”
Focus Your Mind on Courage
If you want to have the courage to pursue your goals and dreams, become conscious of your thoughts. To do this, notice how you feel.
Your feelings are a result of your thoughts. If you feel anxious or fearful, you’ve trained your thoughts on undesirable potential future outcomes—even if you are staring at a mountain lion!
Ask yourself if you are in physical danger; if you are, take action fast to protect your physical safety.
If you are not in physical danger, ask yourself what you are thinking about. You’ll discover your fearful thoughts, and then you can change them into thoughts of fabulous possible positive outcomes.
When you train your mind in this way, it becomes much easier to move through your fear. You will have the courage to discover and take the next step forward toward the writing career of your dreams. And with each step, you’ll get closer to what you desire—writing success.
Do you courageously move toward your writing goals?
Don’t wait! It’s your time…now…to level up so you can achieve your potential, fulfill your purpose and live your life fully.
Photo courtesy of hesalzmanngmailcom | Pixabay.com.