Sunday, 2 June 2013

All Mouth And No Trousers

Last week, Jacqueline Harrison and I sat down to start co-writing our book How To Create A Business From Nothing.

As you'll recall from my blog You're On, the book was originally Jacqueline's idea, but after reading the first few chapters I approached her about writing this blog alongside her writing the book. And then after a few months of blogging I took another courageous step (for me) and asked her about us co-authoring the title (which I wrote about in Shooting For Gold). Last Friday, we had our first writing day.

Although, it very nearly didn't turn out that way.

Jacqueline and I had already brainstormed the idea where we fleshed out the book and gave ourselves a week to think about our individual input. When we met up last Friday I had spent the morning strategising and working through some of my ideas. I wanted to discuss them with Jacqueline so that we could determine our collective vision for the book, form a clear picture of who the reader is, and plot the chapters. I wanted to line up all the ducks so that we could get started.

Jacqueline on the other hand, just wanted to start writing.

"Well," I said, "Before we start writing we need to know who the reader is and what our purpose is so we can refer to that and stay on track." (You see, I know a lot about publishing; I've been doing it a long time…)

"Yes," said Jacqueline, "So let's start writing."

(Oh dear, she obviously doesn't realise how important all this stuff is in creating a bestseller…) 

"But before we get the words down I think we need to be clear about the angle and what we hope to achieve."

"Absolutely," agreed Jacquleine. "So let's start writing."

It was at this point (with maybe a few more buts from me) that I realised Jacqueline was less interested in dotting all the 'i's' and crossing all the 'Ts' and more keen to get some words down. This was going against everything I "knew" and my resistance was strong. Every cell in my body was saying We Must Have A Clear Plan.

Luckily, at least a few other cells had the wisdom to stop and listen. I considered the situation. Both Jacqueline and I have started businesses before, and writing a book is like starting a business. It's basically a product. In this situation I am the "book expert" but Jacqueline is the business expert and has made millions of dollars from her ventures. Meantime, I seem to have made millions of "buts."

In that moment I recognised that listening to Jacqueline and just getting on with the writing process could help me move closer to my dream of becoming a millionaire. I mean, I am doing what I've always done: making sure I "know" what I'm doing before I start (because I don't want to make a fool of myself or fail, right). So the very idea of just doing it and letting it unfold seemed to go against everything I thought I knew. But really, all I know so far is that my methods aren't working as well as Jacqueline's.

Hmm.

My way of operating could definitely do with a shake up. Sitting down to write, brought to light the fact that I've always thought of myself as a do-er, but am beginning to realise that maybe I'm not as proactive as I like to tell myself. Because here I am, wanting to figure out everything about starting our book before we start, which leaves the actual act of writing nowhere near close to happening. In my mind, we have so much to sort out before we can get moving, it's ludicrous to begin. Surely we are setting ourselves up to fail if we don't have an exact map of what, how and why?

But what if there's another way? An even smarter way?

Surely not, said my ego…

Mmm, until that moment, the idea that I was avoiding taking action was unknown to me. The doing part of the plan was sitting beyond my peripheral vision because in my view, the very act of talking about writing the book and planning how and why, was doing it! What I had been telling myself was that the act of actually starting a business, (or in this case, writing a book) was my version of being proactive. But what I hadn't understood was the fact that I Could Be Doing More.

I have to say, part of me is cringing because I can recall numerous conversations with friends where I have haughtily declared that I am a risk taker and soooo proactive that I wouldn't even know what procrastinating feels like!

Once I removed the BS-tinted glasses (and listened to Jacqueline telling me about how she also used to avoid making phone calls and talking to potential business partners – before making any money), I felt as though someone had just shone a light into my eyes. Admittedly I also felt an inner dread that I would now have to be "less mouth and more trousers" and Change My Ways.

[Sh*t]

Or not…

[Yay!] 

But if I don't then I'm looking at a future that involves many more business start ups and no extra income. In a nutshell, what I need to do is avoid avoiding!

After a day of writing, Jacqueline and I are now 2000+ words closer to finishing our book. If it hadn't been for my co-author's insight and experience, we might still be plotting and planning the Hows, Wheres and Whys and not even have a page of content. But fortunately at least one of us has learned the benefit of Taking Action. Because as Jacqueline says "Taking action produces results."

And she's right.

Plotting and planning, and understanding your competitors is one thing, and I won't argue is useful information when starting a business. But what's the use of a reader profile if you don't have a book (or product) to sell to them! All the knowledge in the world is useless if we have nothing to apply it to, right?

So, with this breakthrough I have made a new pact with myself (which I am terrified of because it means stepping out of my Comfort Zone and into the Fear Zone), but, I am committed to achieving my dream, so, from this day forth I choose to Take Action and Create Results.

And with any luck, if I do it enough, that million bucks might actually have a chance to find its way into my back account.