Go Getters Go Out On A Limb
Nothing ventured, nothing gained is a very popular saying to remind us that we must be willing to take risks in order for our dreams to manifest. And we must learn to trust and rely upon our intuition and those hunches and impulses and ideas which have a way of just popping into our head out of nowhere. I feel that such hunches are often messages from our soul and from our guides. I have also found that the more I listen to and follow my intuition the more messages and guidance I receive.
This does not mean that the action and deeds we are guided to perform are necessarily easier to accomplish. Often times they are not and we know it. But such promptings from our soul are meant to prod us to move forward and sometimes that means going out on a limb where nothing or any kind of reward is guaranteed. Such may not be the reason or purpose for certain actions anyhow. There could be other learning and lessons such as the mere act of going out on a limb as a means to trust our intuition and to prove to our self that we believe in our goals and dreams and are willing to do our part to help them manifest. Part of the lesson from the actions and experiences may result into challenges, conflict and struggle. There can be hidden gifts as well.
To illustrate this going out on a limb I will share a recent experience involving my recently published book of poetry, Dawn's Kiss. First of all, I still consider it a miracle that I ever mustered the courage to gather my love poems and to submit them to a publisher let alone become enthused and passionate about the marketing aspect of promoting a book. I have been writing love poems for over twenty-five years and friends have been after me for that long to share them with the public on a broader scale than in chapbooks such as I had designed and self-published in the past.
Due to self-esteem issues and lack of confidence as well as some fear, I never took that extra step or climbed out further on the tree of life to go out on a limb for my dream. But then one day a few months ago an email from a writer I correspond with set me off and somehow ignited the creative flames in my soul and got me to going. My friend knows that I love and write poetry even though I often would find myself saying poets are a dying race. That we were much more appreciated in the last century before computers, the internet, television, radio, and other technology came along. I was making some reference in the email to my friend saying "I wonder why I still write poetry when I know we are a dying race."
Of course I know that some part of me does not believe that or I don't think I'd write poetry because Lord only knows I have dozens of other writing projects going on that have nothing to do with poetry. Since we attract people to mirror and often state something that reinforces or validates that which we, or some part of us believes, (positively or negatively ), I did not find my friend's comment strange or unusual. He said, "Michael, two types of books do not sell: humor and poetry." At first I just nodded in agreement. Then I found that something deep inside me stirred and the next thing I knew I got all fired up. Suddenly, after years of inactivity and procrastination, I became bound and determined to prove my friend wrong.
I could have turned that email into a negative experiences and felt hopeless despair and just gave up my love or desire to ever write poetry again. But I did not. Instead, that so-called negative encounter, turned into a very positive one and helped set me on the path to prove my friend wrong. Of course, I know now, that it was really myself who I wanted to prove wrong.
I was a nervous wreck as I put some poems together and even more nervous emailing them to a publisher I had found on line in North Carolina. "Maybe if I'm really lucky she'll publish a small chapbook of a few love or inspirational poems," I said, as I clicked the send button. "Well, that is done," I said, sighing. "I need a drink to celebrate this going out on a limb."
A few days later I received a reply from the publisher. My heart fluttered in nervous anticipation and excitement. Then the solar plexus bounced around. Then the fear came. The fearful inner child in me said, "that is most likely a rejection email. And another one bit the dust and don't call us we'll call you. We all know how the fearful part of us can come up with all kinds of negative statements and pull out such negativity out of the negativity hat. It happens to us all at some time or another.
For a moment I was tempted to just delete the email and forget I had ever submitted any poems. But I'm also a fighter too! So, with trembling hands I clicked open the email. To my utter astonishment and surprise the email said. "Mr. Dennis. Thank you very much for your submission. We at Comfort Publishing feel that your poems would make a very nice book. Please choose a set from each section you sent such as love poems, inspirational poems, (as we love all of them) and tell us which you would like to have published and please send what you have." I had to read the email again because I truly felt my eyes were playing tricks on me. Instantly I knew that I wanted my love poems published. I sent all that I had, which was nearly two hundred, telling myself why not go out on the limb again with the whole batch and see what happens. Again to my surprise, no mention was made of a chapbook, because the minimal amount they publish are fifty poems according to their submission guidelines and here I had sent them nearly two hundred. They wanted to publish all of the poems which would be in some eighteen different categories, exploring and expressing the various faces and facets of love.
I celebrated and rested on my laurels for awhile. The book came out and I began to market it at the local level. It was hard to call the bookstores to see if they would carry it and sponsor a book signing because my inner child still has issues with self-esteem, confidence and rejection. But, as I always encourage my clients and friends, I went out on a limb and began making the calls. Everybody was very nice and all of the managers agreed to consider it. My publisher mailed them a copy and I have begun the follow up procedure to make sure they received their copy. I will call later to learn if they choose to carry my book and sponsor a book signing.
A few days later I did more research on line and found a few more BN and Borders bookstores in the surrounding areas of Cincinnati. I felt it would be easier this time, making my second round of introductions and such, but it was not. My stomach still had knots in it and I found I kept making small excuses not to call the second batch as I called the bookstores.
Finally, on Thursday November, 12, the day before our Friday the 13th this year, I told myself that although I don't believe in bad luck, I still would not make the calls on Friday 13th. That actually gave me a good excuse to make the calls.
"Okay, little Michael," I said out loud to my inner child. We are going to make a few new calls." I could feel the trembling beginning and I wondered why I can get so emotional at times. I mean what is the worst thing that could happen. Well, I knew the answer to that. The worst thing that could happen is that they could reject me and not express any interest in my baby, my book of love poems which would reinforce the old tapes of my fathering telling me as a child that I was worthless and would never amount to anything. I still had that feeling even though nobody had rejected me in the first batch of calls. "Stop, being so negative," I told myself. "Pick up the phone. Be professional and courteous and see what happens."
Part of me wanted to go for a walk or go get a snack but I made myself pick up the phone. Again to my surprise and astonishment the manager not only expressed an interest, but he asked for the ISBN number. I verified that it was available through Ingram distributors. He then said he wanted to carry it and that he may not get it in the store by the very busy Christmas season coming up, but he'd like to promote it for Valentine's day. Needless to say I was on cloud nine. Like my title says "Go Getters Gotta Go Out On A Limb!" if we want to be successful and have our dreams come true.
I was on such a high now that I called the Barnes & Noble in Newport, Ky. The manager was also very interested in my book. Not only did he look up the ISBN number and find that the book is available, he said, that he wanted to carry it and he even booked a book signing for me and told me what all they do to advertise it and he encouraged me to contact the local media and newspapers and ask them to announce it. Wow! was all I could say. All of the bookstores had agreed to look at my media kit and have a look at the book, but only one other one had instantly agreed to carry it.
"Now how is that for going out on a limb?" I told my inner child. "There are wonderful people out there who are interested in our art and poetry. We have to let go of the old fears, and hurts and move on."
When that actually happens is something I do not have the answer for. Perhaps old childhood wounds and hurts take a lifetime to completely heal. What is important is that we honor, love, and learn to reclaim and champion our inner child as John Bradshaw says in his popular books. Setbacks are natural. Old skeletons can come out of the closet at any time. Old fears and old nightmares can and do come a callin!
I have come to believe that we possess the inner strength and resources to move past the past to some degree at least. And with willingness, determination and a desire to succeed we can surmount at least some, if not all, the obstacles that life tosses our way for whatever reasons and lessons. May we all go out on a limb for our dreams!