A friend of mine was about to publish & launch a marketing campaign for a new book that took a lifetime to write. It’s the type of book that you can’t write unless you’ve been doing the work in the trenches of life/business/politics for decades. The book provides brilliant, deep, complex solutions to big problems in the world.
My friend expressed something like fear – the calm before the storm. The difficult and tedious work being complete, he expressed a complacent acceptance that his life would soon change. And he reached out to me more to share his feelings than to request advice. Here was my reply, which is applicable to just about any new adventure you might face in life and might provide you with some humble comfort on such journeys:
“I’m not as wise nor experienced in the world as you, but in this matter perhaps I can provide some guidance that likely will provide reinforcement on your existing hunches rather than provide you with anything you didn’t already know. So, in the name of sharing a satisfying bourbon with a friend on a sunny day, here it goes… Doing a thing that stretches your comfort zone, such as launching a new book/website/etc is difficult, impressive, scary, and (indeed) life-changing. Nobody will ever understand the depths of this change in yourself, but that doesn’t make your personal journey to get here any less profound. At its healthiest, each time you stretch like this, it makes the next stretch down a similar path just a little bit easier, and, if you’re lucky and are doing it right, people will start to notice and will think these stretches are weird (people thinking you are doing weird things is one clue that you’ve succeeded in stretching yourself a little bit). So take some time but not too much time – the main risk is to your sense of self and the unknown ahead, as you’ve noted. And for what it’s worth, and not to diminish the scale and scope of the gargantuan task we are about to complete, usually, as far as the public is concerned, these life-changing moments land like a giant falling tree in the rainforest (the tree notices but most every other living thing carries on as usual).”