I’m always amazed to find things out about my friends that I didn’t previously know. Such as, my dear friend Lieve Olivera is a brilliant writer. While I was visiting Lieve and her husband Hector last weekend we started talking about family, our parents, grandparents, etc. Lieve then shared with me a short story she had written about her father who had died when she was only three months old.
Wanting to give myself uninterrupted space to enjoy my friend’s short story, I took the few pages to the guest room I was staying in. I was immediately captivated, not just by the facts of her ancestry, but by the nuances with which she told the story. I was riveted and didn’t want it to end.
The ensuing conversation we had regarding her writing shocked me, but also provided a wake-up call with my own life. I asked Lieve why she didn’t write more and she replied, “I’m concerned I’m not good enough.”
I was aghast! Her comment was so absurd. “Not good enough for what?” I asked her. “To sit at your computer and put your thoughts to words? Not good enough to enjoy your God-given talent?” It then struck me, what exactly is the measure of “good enough?” And do we use that mythical metric as our excuse to stop procrastinating and start doing? Or do we use it as our excuse so we won’t be disappointed if whatever we are executing isn’t hailed as brilliant, genius, and worth a million dollars?
I put off writing a book for years because I didn’t think what I had to say would be “good enough.” In all honesty I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to read what I had to say. And then I thought “Who cares? Why should I worry about the potential interests or criticisms of others?” The answer was liberating: I’m NOT writing a book for money or fame. I’m NOT writing a book to achieve a new and different type of acclaim. I AM writing a book because I’ve had a full 35-year career at UCLA filled with trials, tribulations, challenges, rewards, accolades and setbacks. I AM writing a book because I’ve so thoroughly enjoyed my life that I wanted to relive the memories of the last 35 years and I DO believe I have earned some wisdom that, at best, will benefit and empower others and, at least, get readers to pause and ponder.
Once I got out of my way and smashed all of my excuses for why I might not be “good enough” I had a blast skipping down memory lane and putting all of it into words, stories and anecdotes. IF someone finds what I’ve written to be of value… then it will be a very exciting added bonus.
Actually I’ve already received that added bonus. I’ve shared the first draft of my book with a few people in different walks of life. I’m beyond thrilled that all of them told me that they found the book to be a super interesting read and filled with nuggets of wisdom and suggestions that they, in turn, have translated to their own lives and work environments. That is so cool! So in reality, I haven’t sold one book and have already reaped the rewards of having stopped with the apprehension and excuses and finally written a book!
OK your turn… what have you been putting off because you are believing the lie that you’re not “good enough?”