Try Being Who You Actually Are
“I don’t think you can write a good book in two years.
The problem is your publisher says, ‘I want it now.’ You’re under pressure…
But one thing almost all of the professional writers I know do is write drafts—and then put the book in a drawer for six months. Then they come back to it.
They force themselves to slow down.”
– Malcolm Gladwell
Well, that’s a relief!
That’s exactly what I’ve been doing as I’ve been writing my second book.
Except I’ve felt really guilty about it.
I’ve felt puzzled at what’s been getting in my way. And I’ve judged myself for what felt like me putting my fears ahead of completing the book.
But it turns out that my life’s lesson—once again—is ‘Slow Down to Speed Up’!
I’ve been researching and writing my second book for over 5 years now.
Truthfully, it’s more like ten years if you include my research into ‘natural confidence’. I spent much of 2007-8 traveling the world, meeting and interviewing what I called ‘the world’s most confident people’. They included Olympic athletes, celebrities and a man who was paid to break into banks for a living!
That research morphed into The High Achieving Introvert Project. And that, in turn, was an early seed of what was to become 4PC—the Mastermind we run for extremely talented top performers.
Then, almost three years ago—just after my father passed away—I was privileged to be invited to emcee at The Association of Transformation Leaders.
I gave a talk called I Don’t Need Help. It turned out to be the single most emotional talk I’ve ever given.
I shared in public—for the first time ever—my dawning realization that I’d been trying to prove myself to my dad for most of my life. By the end of my speech I was sobbing. And so were many of the audience.
Over the years that followed the working title of my next book has changed from “I Don’t Need Help” to “The Success Paradox” to “The Loneliness of Leadership”.
I’ve had to push back against editors and publishers who kept recommending I turn it into a book about ‘how to’ become a high performing leader.
You see, there are a million books about how to become a leader and I was trying to create something very different. But more of that in a moment.
I’m so fortunate to have had some incredible people believe in me, mentor me, challenge me and support me over the past few years:
• Michael Neill, my coach, mentor and friend first introduced my to the concept of creating the impossible. And I’ve been doing it ever since.
• Without Steve Chandler, there’d be no Prosperous Coach movement. I’m so grateful to Steve for trusting me enough to invite me to co-write this book. He’s set the bar high for me as I write my next book on my own.
• Steve Hardison spent a year coaching me, reminding me how powerful I am. It only took me another half decade to truly begin to own the truth of the possibility he saw—and continues to see—in me!
• Sam Horn is a master of the power of the written and spoken word. She regularly challenges my thinking. And she modeled for me the impact of seeking out (and creating) Mastermind groups, where I could be surrounded by extraordinary people.
• Daniel Priestley called me a bottleneck in my own organization and I hated that. But mostly because he was right! And I’ve spent the years since I’ve met him building a team of amazing people, such that I can now say with pride: We’re a community OF extraordinary top performers, run BY extraordinary top performers.
• Zach Obront is the CEO of Book In A Box and he has believed in me since the very first moment I shared the concept of my book with him. Yet, I imagine I’ve been one of his more frustrating clients! It turns out that when you’re writing a book about the paradoxes of leadership, you’re likely to push back against all the traditional ways of doing things. And Zach has behaved with such grace in the face of my contrarian nature. (We’re almost there, Zach!)
• Vishen Lakhiani, the CEO of Mindvalley helped my book get real when he asked to interview me about the mindsets of high achievers that hold them back the most. Then he invited me to speak to several hundred people at Afest—it’s amazing how much clarity a little fear can bring me! He also introduced me to Ajit Nawalkha and we launched the Evercoach Tribe which has become a platform for us to connect with amazing coaches from across the planet.
• Chris Smith is my story whisperer. He’s helped me understand that my brand is my story. And he’s shown me how to connect the threads all the way back—from my family history, through to my future mission.
• Joel Roberts is a deeply spiritual man who listens to me more deeply than anyone has ever listened. His listening draws out the real me and from that place I don’t need to work out my message—I already walk my message. Joel told me, “Humility is not the denial of your gift. Humility is acknowledging the source of your gift. And then giving it fully.” He shows me how much I still have invested in being who I am not. As he says to me, “Try being who you actually are.” It’s easier said than done but I’m working on it!
In the past two years, since my father passed away, I’ve immersed myself in the study of my history, I’ve joined the dots of my story and I’ve reconnected with my mission.
My book began as a frank and vulnerable study of my own struggles, fears and doubts as a leader. It has grown into an exploration of two things:
1. How to Improve Your Performance—When You’re Already An Extraordinary Top Performer.
These are the kind of top performers who have a track record of doing ‘impossible’ things but who are now ready for their next impossible mission.
2. How to Master Your Psychology—When You’re Already An Extraordinary Top Performer.
It turns out there are a number of common struggles—and even ‘guilty secrets’—that extremely talented high performers have in common. And there’s a path beyond them.
The book is a study of a number of paradoxes: The Impossibility Paradox, The Success Paradox and The Leadership Paradox.
Watch this space…
Malcolm Gladwell gave me permission to be OK with slowing down. Now I’m ready to power up.
Mark your calendar. This October my second book will be published.