People love my “fairy godmother story,” and yes, I love telling it. Here’s the encrypted version: I spent 12 years writing my book This Time I Dance! Creating the Work you Love without a publisher, agent, or contract. I followed a thin and fanciful golden thread within me. When I self-published the book, it was “discovered” and delivered straight into the hands of the publisher of my dreams, Tarcher/Penguin. It sounds like I picked the winning numbers and won the lottery. But I have to tell you, a miracle has nothing to do with luck. It’s an extension, not an intervention.
Many writers, artists, and new entrepreneurs, listen to my story as though it’s a fairytale. Their eyes glow with visions of candy canes, train sets, and fan mail coming their way. I love to share my story because I want people to know the power of listening to their own inner voice. I don’t want my story to be a legend. I want it to be an archetype or a parable. I hope it will be an equation. I tell my story often, because I want it to be a flag on a hill. I want it to be a reminder that you can have the life you desire, even when you don’t know how, you don’t have money, and you don’t have “connections.”
But sometimes people hear the glamour of having someone from the industry find me, and tune out the part about listening to an inner voice for years. Nobody wants to go into their own cave and listen in the dark. “I want something wonderful to happen to me,” people say, strain in their voices. Then they look at me, suddenly beaming, as though maybe I’m a fairy godmother and I can make their dreams come true. I am sad when this happens. Because the moment you look outside yourself, you diminish yourself. You have so much more power than anyone else. The divine is waiting to come through you, not to you.
Here’s the deal. I didn’t go out looking for a fairy godmother, a burning bush, or a big fish hook from the sky. Yes, I always asked a Loving Universe for help. And, yes, I wanted to be picked for the volleyball team of life. I wanted to go to the prom, or make it into the “follow your bliss” hall of fame. I wanted to be discovered. But that’s not where I put my focus and faith.
I put my focus and faith into my work. I put my time and focus into writing the book I needed to write, and giving it everything I had to give. Before I got that powerful e-mail, I had recently come to this decision. If the Universe wants me to sell my books from the back of my car, for the rest of my life, so be it. If the Universe wants me to be a well-kept secret, a pinpoint of light in an ant’s eye crawling through the weeds of obscurity, then I will serve this way. Listening to a higher power is listening. By the way, humility is not my strong suit. But I have even less tolerance for suffering. And I found that focusing on things outside myself, things I couldn’t control led to ache and envy. So I committed to doing my work, listening to my Spirit, growing my light, and believing I had an inner power that could take me all the way.
The secret to my success then and now– is that I feel privileged to have a gift. I have always felt honored to have a way to express my love. I had decided then and now, that I will do this all the days of my life. I’m not in it for the money or fame, though I welcome those expressions of Spirit. I am doing it because it honors me more than anything else can give me. I am showing up because it’s how I breathe easier in this world and how I sleep at night.
Where you put your focus is where your treasure lies. I focused on honing and sharing my gifts, no matter what. I focused on offering my shiny heart to the world, whether or not the world wanted me yet. I decided to back myself. That’s when the doors opened, the e-mail appeared and I stepped into the next part of my life. It wasn’t the thing that made me. It was just the means.
No one can turn you from a frog into a prince or princess. No one ever takes us somewhere else. We take ourselves. I love you all. I want you to have your dream. Do your work. Trust your own power. Fall in love with the rapture of your gift. Give your love every single chance in this lifetime. And keep the stars in your eyes.