When you think about international bestselling authors who have made a huge impact in the lives of millions of people, you might think of names like Glennon Doyle, Brené Brown, Marie Forleo, Gabrielle Bernstein, and Elizabeth Gilbert.
You might also think, “I could never do what they have done.”
And, to some extent, perhaps you are correct.
As it currently stands, each of these authors has an international profile, lucrative publishing contract, and the capacity to sell millions of books on reputation alone. (Obviously, they continue to produce works of high quality, so those reputations are well-deserved.)
But it wasn’t always that way.
Each of those authors started from obscurity. They weren’t handed their profiles or their publishing contracts. They had to work for them, and it wasn’t easy. It required consistency, dedication, belief, and perhaps some luck. But it was more than that.
Apart from being skilled writers, these authors share an important characteristic, and it is this characteristic that, I believe, is the greatest driver of their success, impact, and influence.
It’s not money. Each of these authors started from humble beginnings.
It’s not that they get to hang out with Oprah (although they do, and it certainly hasn’t hurt their career trajectories!).
What these authors have in common is a willingness to share their experiences honestly and authentically. It is their shared capacity for vulnerability that has been their magic dust and enabled them to connect and inspire millions of readers around the world.
The best news is that this is available to all of us.
We each have a story, and we can impact others by sharing it. When we speak our truth and share it honestly, we connect authentically.
There’s no doubt it takes courage to be vulnerable. In our Insta-worthy paradigm of filters and special effects, it can feel strange to let others see our less-than-glamourous reality. But that is where the connection happens.
Readers don’t love Glennon Doyle because she claims to have it all together, all of the time. Quite the opposite. Her catchphrase is, “we can do hard things”, and the frequency with which she repeats it is an indication of how often she needs the reminder.
She also cautions her followers that she is a clinically depressed motivational speaker, so if you expect sunshine and rainbows and a fictional Insta-perfect-not-reality all of the time, you are looking in the wrong place.
However, these vulnerabilities do not deter her audience. Quite the opposite. It is her refreshing capacity for sharing her truth that draws people closer.
When I wrote my book, I agonised over the inclusion of some of my most painful episodes. I questioned whether it would seem as though I was seeking sympathy or airing my dirty laundry.
However, each of those stories contained lessons I had learned and could be of service to others.
To my surprise, it was those stories that my readers commented on. They related to my times of pain, frustration, embarrassment, and grief. They thanked me for sharing my truth and told me how much I helped them by doing so.
That’s how I know writing a book that makes an impact is not just for famous people and influencers.
Although I have not topped the New York Times Bestseller list, and Oprah hasn’t called me (yet), I am confident that my story has impacted my readers, and yours will too.
So, please don’t deprive the world of your story because you are waiting to be famous to tell it. Those who need to hear it need to hear it, regardless of how “unready” you think you are to share it.
You are the authority in your story, and that is all the credibility you require. Be brave. Be vulnerable. Share your truth and make your impact. Nobody else can tell your story the way you can.
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