Photo by Aubree Herrick / Unsplash

A friend and I were talking about books we were hoping to write.

“I’ve actually written a book,” she confessed. “I just don’t know what to do with it.”

“What’s the challenge for you?” I asked, fully expecting her to launch into frustrations around publishing.

“I’m scared it won’t work. That it won’t be successful,” she replied vulnerably.

Excited to be jumping into the deep end of internal blocks so quickly, I spent a few minutes asking her what her definition of success and failure looked like. She shared her fears.

Then I asked her what real evidence she had that her work was useless (her word). In contrast, what evidence did she have that what she’d written was useful and helpful to others?


She took a breath, then paused again.

Her eyes widened in recognition.

“Actually, I have 20 years worth of letters, notes, emails from parents of kids I’ve helped telling me that the tools I provided and the work I did made a difference. I’ve been keeping those in a box for years.” She paused, tilted her head and raised her brows. “Maybe I should take that box out and start looking at those again, reminding myself that this stuff works.”

She laughed in surprise as she heard herself. “The only thing telling me it isn’t going to work is in my head. I have no real evidence of that.”

“Huh,” she exhaled.

We laughed together as we talked about how much more time and energy we spend on imaginary things we fear rather than on the real things we know for sure. Sometimes, it helps to have someone remind us there's another option.

As Seth says:

Speaking up
For many, the imagined cost of speaking up is almost always higher than the actual cost. And we live with the cost in our imagination daily, dying a little bit over time as we keep our insights to …