Thursday, October 22, 2009

Give Up!

I have two words of advice for those of you who want great things to happen in your life: GIVE UP.

Give up, you say? Never! We are taught that we should work work work work work for all of the things we want. If you want a better job, work for it. If you want a healthier body, work on it. If you want a better relationship, work to attract it. I don't know about you, but all of this damn work is making me tired.

For the last ninety days, I have been drowning in work. The more I tried to accomplish, the more unsuccessful I became. I had a list of action items that could choke a horse, none of which I was doing very well. My list of work priorities in no particular order included:

* Creating one-day seminars for social workers, nurses, and bodyworkers
* Proposing corporate training on time management, overcoming adversity, and change management
* Pitching keynote speaking events for health care organizations
* Developing in-service training modules for teachers
* Acquiring a literary agent in order to reissue Opening the Kimono
* Writing my blog, freelance articles, and "Sex and the Suburbs" column
* Trying to get "Sex and the Suburbs" syndicated
* Contacting radio and TV stations for interviews
* Scheduling book signings at booksellers
* Submitting Opening the Kimono to popular book bloggers for review
* Teaching creative writing classes
* Hosting meditation circles
* Conducting intuitive healing private sessions
* Facilitating Club Kimonos
* Growing my social media network on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
* Networking networking networking
* At least 25 other "mission-critical" tasks

UGH. After writing all of that crap down, I can understand how I was miserable. There was simply too much to do, and not enough time to do it. I was under the wave.

During last week's flight to the East Coast, I asked Spirit for some much-needed help. My To-Do List From Hell had to stop, and I needed a receive a clear message from the Universe as to what I should be working on. After my prayer, I went about my business and waited for the signs to appear.

After conducting a couple of righteous guided meditations, two super-charged speaking events, and a heartwarming Club Kimono, I realized (or remembered, to be precise) that I NEED to be on stage bringing the Mojo in order to be happy. I get energized when I am in front of a group of people doing my thing -- making them laugh, inspiring them, and helping them to see what they can do to bring more joy and peace in their lives. I got very little sleep last week, yet I had enormous amounts of energy. Simply put, motivating people and connecting them to Spirit is my passion, not my work. It is like oxygen for my soul.

Later in the week, I received additional guidance that I should let go of any other tasks that don't have to do with my inspirational speaking. That meant that I was to drop corporate consulting, educational training, and bookstore events --- at least for right now. Instead, I should funnel all of my energies towards getting on the stage. As I have written before, it is my natural habitat. If I were to be honest with myself, I am not that juiced up about the other stuff. My motivation to accomplish all of those goals was simply fear in disguise. I was afraid that I wouldn't make enough money if I didn't get it all done. Never mind that, since my heart wasn't in most of it, I wasn't able to close any business.

On Saturday afternoon, I came to another conclusion: I no longer needed to kill myself to find an agent. This discovery was made ONE DAY before I was going to fly to New York City to attend a swanky "Meet the Agents" forum. How ironic! I opted to go to New York anyway, since I already had the plane ticket and prepaid for my stay in a trendy Brooklyn apartment. I decided that my new goal wasn't to acquire an agent; rather it was to have fun in The City and meet some cool people along the way. I packed my suitcase, put a few copies of Opening the Kimono in my big purse, and was on my way...

When I got to the event, I immediately noticed that the room was full of angst-ridden wannabe authors. While waiting for the presentation to start, many of my neighbors were kvetching about how unsuccessful they have been in acquiring an agent, how rude some of the agents are, and how unlikely they were to get a "Yes". Nice attitude, ladies.

After the agents introduced themselves, all of us fledgling writers waited in very long lines to get our three minutes of face-time with two or three of our preferred agents. The anxiety, depression, and anger levels were reaching a fever pitch. I recall a woman behind me who was nervously reciting her pitch in her head. She reminded me of the late great Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live doing The Chris Farley Show; she looked liked she was going to start pulling out her hair and scream, "I'm so stupid! Argh! I can't believe I said that!" One could almost smell the fear. I, on the other hand, was totally relaxed. I decided to tune out the crazies by goofing around on the Facebook app of my iPhone.

When it was my time to be in front of Agent #1, I joyfully sat down, plopped down my book, and said, "Hi, my name is Theresa Rose. I am the author of this book, Opening the Kimono: A Woman's Intimate Journey Through Life's Biggest Challenges. It has won two awards so far: the Royal Palm Literary Award and the Living Now Book Award. I am also a motivational speaker and workshop facilitator, and I sell my book to about 80% of the attendees at each function. I also write a column called "Sex and the Suburbs" for Creative Loafing newspaper, and I am looking to get it syndicated. I think the time is right for me to start looking for an agent to take Opening the Kimono to a larger audience. Is this something you might be interested in?" My pitch took me no less than one minute, and frankly, I could have cared less what her response was.

What did she say?

"I'd like to learn more. Send me the book and your proposal when you get home. Next!"

I waited in two more lines over the next two hours, and I had one more agent tell me to send her my materials.

Just like that. Easy peasy.

It was an interesting lesson for me. When I let go of the need to work so hard at it, the results come easily and effortlessly. Even today, as I finish up the book proposal, I am relaxed, confident, and totally trusting that whatever happens will happen. Either Ms. R or Ms. B will want to take me on as a client, or they won't. Whatev. It doesn't negate the power of the book or my absolute certainty that I should be on stage bringing the juice.

Two nights ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Deepak Chopra speak in front of 2,000 people at the University of Minnesota. Naturally, he was brilliant and inspiring. But, I got more out of watching Deepak than hearing him. I imagined myself speaking in front of a large, enthusiastic group someday and thought how friggin' kick@ss that will be! I heard the laughs, saw the smiles, and felt the warmth. Right now, I mostly speak in front of groups of 50. Someday, it will be in front of groups of 500. If I'm lucky, eventually it will be in front of 5,000. For now, though, I am content to let go of the need to "work" at it and just BE.

Sometimes we need to give up so we can receive.

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