Carrie and I have been doing some goal setting before returning to the US.
Carrie asked me if I would like to have a best-selling travel book.
Contrary to what most people think, I know that “best-selling” means “best-marketed”.
This involves a significant amount of work, which goes way beyond just writing the book.
Writing the book is the easy part.
That’s not to say that writing is unimportant or insignificant.
Of course the process of having a best-selling book starts with having something valuable to say, and knowing how to say it in a way that relates to others.
But lots of people have hugely valuable things to say, and truly amazing messages.
Many of those messages are never heard because we live in a big, noisy world.
We live in a world where people believe that what they see on TV (especially on the news) is a true snapshot of the world (It’s not).
This is especially true in societies where “mass media” means “mass control” of the information people receive.
People believe what they see on the news, because it’s the news.
The news has their attention because it’s had their attention their entire lives.
And attention is the most scarce (and therefore most valuable) resource in the western world today.
If someone has a message or product that is valuable for you, you should understand that it is highly unlikely it will land in your lap or on your iPad by default.
That doesn’t happen very often (that an idea or product goes “viral” without someone aggressively promoting the idea or product).
In order to be heard or read, people with valuable messages have to be good at marketing.
People have to do everything that it takes to get (and keep) people’s attention.
So in having been asked if I would like to have a best-selling book, I had to be honest with Carrie and with myself.
I told her I wasn’t sure if I was ready to work that hard, or deal with the naysayers, in order to get people’s attention; in order to make the book become a best-selling book.
And that led to some serious realizations for both of us.
We have fears about putting products (and ourselves) into the world.
So do most of the people we share our ideas with.
They have fears for themselves, and they have fears for us.
And those fears have come to us in various ways over the past 2 years of travel, and especially since returning to America and re-connecting with family and friends.
But there are simple responses to those fears.
I share these fears and responses here in a list I’m calling, “Get over it.”
Fear: It’s too much work.
GET OVER IT!: Oh, like pushing a wheelbarrow filled with lychees for sale down the street, just 2 weeks after you’ve just given birth to a baby because you have no other option? (This is something we saw in Ecuador. The woman was obviously in pain, and was carrying her baby slung across her front in an old blanket. We talked with her. She had no other option so she did what she had to do.)
Fear: I won’t be able to help all the people who ask for help.
GET OVER IT!: Yep. You’re right. So hire some people to help you, and then do your best. And do your honest best.
Fear: I can’t serve everyone.
GET OVER IT!: Yep. You can’t. So what? You can do your best. So do your best.
Fear: What if people view me as egotistical or bragging?
GET OVER IT!: The people who view you that way, already do view you that way. Many people view you that way before they’ve even met you. There’s nothing you can do about those people. You can do your very best. So do your very best.
Fear: I don’t know enough.
GET OVER IT!: You know more than 99.9999% of all the people who. have. ever. existed. EVER!
Fear: Why would anyone want to hear what I have to say?
GET OVER IT!: Because people have already said they want to hear what you have to say. Of course not everyone wants to hear you! Who cares. Do your very best, and let the rest go.
Fear: What makes me better/different?
GET OVER IT!: Every person on the planet has things which make them better at something than someone else. What makes me different is that I constantly find ways to share my unique qualities with as many people as possible, depositing the wealth within me into the world at large.
And yes, among my goals is to write – and do the work to market – a best-selling travel book.