Are you tenacious?

For those of you who know me or have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am also a professional juggler. For those who don’t know me…yes, really. In addition to bringing the joy of authorship to writers, I also perform for young and old on stages large and small. The HAPPY in The Happy Self-Publisher stems from the joy I get performing (with my husband) and bringing smiles to children and their families for 28 years.

Aside from performing as a juggler, I also speak about my experiences and my unusual life choice. The following is an excerpt from my talk, “Juggling Fire and Other Life Lessons.” I connect the past to present from learning to juggle to succeeding in other areas of life. The things I learned as a juggler fueled my courage to write five books and start a publishing business.  I’m not suggesting you need to learn to juggle to write a book, but the confidence I gained throughout it all was invaluable. The traits I discovered in myself benefit me when it comes to everything else. Look for these things in yourself and good things will follow.

In this talk, I highlight six life lessons. The first, featured here, is tenacity.

To be tenacious is to embrace failure. In my life and especially in my career, I’ve failed over and over again. In fact, it is the only way I could have succeeded. No one juggles the first time they try. Or the second. And often, not until doing it dozens or hundreds of times. Every new trick I try or every new combination of tricks I do is met with the assurance of failure. It’s true for musicians and athletes, entrepreneurs and writers.

Years ago, my daughter was trying to learn how to dive in a pool. She got frustrated after doing a belly flop time after time. She was going to quit and resign herself to NEVER being able to dive. Do you know what I told her? “You haven’t failed enough times yet. After you fail 100 times, then you can think about quitting.” And do you know what she did? She started counting. But, she never made it to 100. She figured it out before she got there. She reframed her thoughts and understood that the only way to success was to push through failure.

For me, failure is a sign that I am trying and risking and putting myself out there. It’s scary, for sure, but worth it. The first time I juggled fire I feared I might make a mistake and my hair would go up in flames. But with the surrounding fire companies on speed dial, I tried, failed, and picked up the burning sticks until I mastered them.

As a fledgling writer, you may craft imperfect sentences or your organization might not be clear. As a new author, you may stare at your sales numbers wondering if anyone will ever buy another book. If you stop at your first try, you’ll never find the gold. There’s a better sentence in you, a new way to organize your thoughts, and another way to reach your ideal readers. Keep digging.

Sharing your voice, your vision, or your knowledge and the impact it makes on others may be the only treasure you seek. Maybe it’s more than that. It’s up to you to discover what’s important.

Whatever your treasure may be, don’t stop at the first failure. You may have many more in front of you. Push through them. Once you find the 100 ways it doesn’t work, you’ll find the way that does.

I can’t promise you an easy road, but I can promise that writing a book will change you forever. That’s the real gold.

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