Putting Ego In Its Place

starry night

Have you ever had a day, due to your own expectations, which put you into a pity party, made you doubt if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing with your life at this place and time? I had one of these days on Saturday.

I had a book signing…after my last two which went well I had expectations this one would also. I had friends who assured me they’d be at this one. My venue offered me so many unexpected pluses. I touched base prior and the person who I’d made arrangements said all was according to plan. I got there and a different person was in charge that day and nothing that was previously discussed was done. And after the fact I found my Facebook post was on custom (not public) and went to one friend. The odds were not in my favor after all.

As you know I am not good at selling myself in the first place. I refuse to push my books on anyone. I have faith the people who are meant to read it will find it. During the two hour span the store only had about ten customers. They walked in the door and would immediately turn the other way…you know …avoid eye contact…don’t- look- that –woman- in- the -face -or -you -will -be –obligated- to- buy- whatever -she’s -selling…you know the guilt concept. Don’t lie, you know you’ve avoided looking the bell ringer in the eye at Christmas time…come on, you know you have. Anyway, I said hello to anyone who looked my way, but that’s as far as I went.

I know my books are not meant for everyone because they attract a certain type of people which not everyone fits into, and I’m ok with that. Still, this was scheduled during what was supposed to be the busiest time of the weekend. Epic fail on that part. I did not work the people, epic fail on my part. Anyway, as one couple was leaving the woman came over and asked me to tell her about what I was doing. I told her about my books, and she bought one. As she turned to leave she said to me, “Keep doing what you’re doing.”  She smiled and I smiled back and thanked her. I didn’t think much about it. I began to wallow in my misery…you know not that I want to be rich or anything, but it would be nice to break even on my investment for the books I purchased.

I had made a tiny profit on my first order and applied it to my second order.  Yes, I have sold books, but I’ve given away three times the amount I’ve sold. Bottom line is all the people who tell you they are dying to buy your book, aren’t. All the people who tell you they are going to your book signings aren’t. Sorry, but it’s the hard cold truth and I should have been smart enough not to base my purchases on feedback from others. People say these things because they want to make you feel good. However, most want to wait to see if you really are going to make it or not…you know, they depend on the media to tell them. Now of course, you really do find out who your friends are as well. They are the ones who rush out to buy your book and show up at your signings to support you…and yes, I had that at my first two signings. I started thinking that perhaps I’d run out of friends…sad state of affairs. I decided I just wasn’t well-liked after all. I basically felt like I sucked big time. In fact, I typed it out in a text to a friend who lives several states away and can count on during times of great elation and despair. Then I thought about it and deleted the message before sending it. I wasn’t focused on the sale I made…my mind was set on the sales I failed to make. I was not thinking about doing good in the world. I was thinking about losing money. See where I’m going with this?

Then, visions of those exploited American Idol contestants ran through my head. You know the ones who not only lack what it takes to make it in the music industry, but can’t even carry a tune? The ones Joe Public makes fun of? I began to wonder if I had been falsely encouraged because people didn’t have the heart to tell me my writing sucks.

I couldn’t sleep when I went to bed. I began to question why I was even writing. Was I writing because I had something to say or because I just wanted to say something? There’s a big difference between the two. Then the words of that woman replayed, “Keep doing what you are doing.” A Divine message. She was the messenger of the words I needed to focus on. I had fallen victim to my ego. I had let my purpose slip from sight.  I know why I write and why I choose to share what I write. Like most every other writer, it has little to do with money. The reason I have chosen this path runs much deeper.

It is not necessary for me to know the bigger picture. Perhaps this is the beginning of what’s to come. Perhaps my writing purpose is the delivery of a message to a particular person. If I know within I am doing what I am supposed to do, does it really matter why I am doing it? I know I only need to keep doing what I am doing, and the rest will play out in time.

I remind you to heed the words of the messenger, “Keep doing what you are doing.” You know deep in your soul if you are doing what you should be doing. Your heart is leading you. Know you are worthy. You are gifted in the area you are for a reason whether you are aware of that reason or not. Have faith you are doing what you are supposed to. Don’t allow the ego to guide you in this world. There are much deeper reasons for following our passions than status and money. Be thankful for your gift, and when your messenger speaks be thankful for that gift as well. Each star and planet is small in comparison to the many galaxies, and the infinite cosmos. We’re each but a tiny spot in this universe, but equally important and together we span the earth.

40 thoughts on “Putting Ego In Its Place

  1. What a fantastic post, Suzi.

    The Ego is insatiable . . . whatever it has, it wants MORE. It is never satisfied for long. It’s a greedy grasping thing. Using the Ego as a barometer creates untold suffering for us and those around us.

    You speak from the heart. Keep doing what you’re doing. Write on!

    • Nancy, the ego is a beast. That is one of the reasons I try not to look at ratings, blogs or books…if I use that is my guide for writing I am surely writing for the wrong reasons, at least for me. Thank you.

  2. I’m embarrassed to say that I bought your “Into The Wilderness” book only last week. I had a bunch of books stacked up on Kindle, and I thought “As soon as I finish these”. I also thought ‘Into the Wilderness” would be about trees, and hikes, and nature, but figured I’d bite the bullet and learn more about that stuff. I was so delighted when I found it to be a book that was less about the natural world, than about what is in the heart of one lovely and complex woman. I adore the book! I’m sorry I waited till now to tell you! Write for yourself Suzicate. And write for those who love your words and love you. (That includes me, by the way!)

    • Linda, don’t be embarrassed. I don’t want people to buy my books to be nice; I want them to buy them if they truly have an interest in the subject. I’m glad you found it was not about hiking and trees…do you think I’d write a book to give you nightmares, lol? And thank you, Linda for your very kind words.

  3. *thunderous applause*

    Each star and planet is small in comparison to the many galaxies, and the infinite cosmos. We’re each but a tiny spot in this universe, but equally important and together we span the earth.”

    Well said and expressed post, Suzi!

    It’s ironic you shared this today, because yesterday I sat in the park and took your book with me. I like to just randomly open to a page and read what it says because it always seems to pertain to something I need to hear that moment. And yesterday, was the same.

    And as I was reading your words, I kept thinking to myself, ” Suzi has been Divinely guided to share this book.” I could actually FEEL the Divine energy that inspired you to write it, I kid you not. And I also thought, “Those who are meant to read this book will just automatically find it. And in turn, they will share it with others, and others, and others.”

    So, (and I REALLY mean this). You are one heck of writer, my friend. And not only a heck of a writer, but you have something to say and share. A very important message. And the same Divine energy that guided you to write these books, will take care of it being noticed.

    “Then the words of that woman replayed, “Keep doing what you are doing.” A Divine message. She was the messenger of the words I needed to focus on.”

    Exactly. So keep on doing what you’re doing.

    YOU. ROCK.

    X ya!

    • Ron, I truly think He tells us what we need to hear when we need to hear it…the art is learning to listen so we don’t miss the message as I almost did!
      Thank you so much, Ron, for your thoughtful words to me. I do believe things will work out just as they should, and I rest my trust and comfort there. If I can prevent myself from falling prey to ego and focus on where I’m supposed to be, all will be well. Sometimes I just need to quiet my mind to allow my soul to move me where I need to be.

  4. Wal Disney was told he “lacked imagination and didn’t have any good ideas,” and Ford Motor Company didn’t want Lee Iacocca, so he took his ideas to Chrysler! Where would these people be if they had believed the feedback given at the beginning of their careers?! You’re amazingly talented. Never forget that! xox

    • Sometimes I must be reminded not to think too much or read too much into situations at hand.
      One of the greatest success stories for writers is that of the book, The Help.
      I trust whatever happens with my writing is where I’m supposed to be led…who knows it might be something entirely different…
      Thanks for the peptalk, Lisa. xoxoxo

  5. How I identify with this post! How many times have I had something I tried be lackluster and I take it as a blow to my ego, a stamp of how I’m a giant failure. I’ve been down that road a few times.
    Nor have I gotten your book yet – not that I haven’t wanted to – it just hasn’t been a priority on our end. I will fix that and soon.

    • It’s amazing how we beat ourselves up! We truly can be our own worst enemies at times.
      And no, I’m not asking you or anyone to make my book a priority…I was just stating this so other writers don’t expect too much when publishing…then again, I’m the one who’s bought and given away as many as I have! Lesson learned, I won’t do that again. But, I also still have signings that I may sell at…who knows? If not, my kids will find a cardboard box of books when I die and they can donate them or toss them in the garbage, lol!

  6. So sorry that you had doubts this weekend – loved that a “messenger” came your way to tell you to keep doing what you are doing!

    My brother also wrote a book, so I know first hand how hard it is to get it out there – and it’s truly funny writing.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0974973262?ie=UTF8&tag=lockspress-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0974973262

    He even ended up self-publishing it in the end and like you, I think he gave away more books than he sold. 😦

  7. Suzi, if I lived closer, I’d have attended your book signing! I mean that, my friend. We creative types MUST support and encourage each other — if for no other reason than that our world would be a very sad, gray place without artists of all kinds!! I’m glad you found at least one person, though, to buy your work and offer her encouragement. She must have been divinely sent!!

    • Yes, we do need to stick together…other writers are the ones who get it. Or maybe it’s just the sensitive ones…Yep, I’m that kind, too, usually beating myself up about something!

  8. Thoughtful and authentic post, Susan. I think we all battle ego and our expectations. The writing life, I think, creates an increased chance of both negative and positive feedback. It is when we are in the writer low, where those positive comments make the most impact. I am grateful that you intersected with the woman you mentioned. Perhaps it was fate?

  9. Oh, my dear friend, how I KNOW that feeling. BTDT! Isn’t it amazing how God sends that tiny whisper like the quiet true words of that woman, to still the inner storm? You will sell that pile of books, but maybe not in three weeks.

  10. Susan – I am so sorry you had to go through that, and then had to work though all those terrible doubts! I have struggled with those same doubts many times before, as I am sure all writers and artists have. How beautiful that you were sent an angel of encouragement! I am thankful for her message and the way it cheered you up and brought you peace and resolution! It was something I needed to hear as well. Thanks for sharing.

  11. This was a wonderful post (and I’m not just writing that to boost your ego :)) I have had similar doubts with my writing (though I haven’t had the courage to sell anything yet.)

    I got goosebumps when I read how you recalled that woman’s words to you and placed them as a message from God. That is so cool!

  12. What an inspiring post, Suzicate! Book signings are usually all over the place, some memorable, some we want to forget, and yes, people do make promises and don`t follow through. I`m not sure non-writers fully understand the depth of feeling we have for the books we write. I`m so glad you were able to take something positive away from this experience. This fall, I`ll also be doing signings and I`ll remember this post of yours as I head out. I`ll remind myself to keep doing what I`m doing regardless of the outcome. 🙂

  13. Suzicate, I think that special sensitivity you bring to your writing might also complicate “promoting” what you’ve written. Ironically, without that sensitivity, I don’t think your writing would have such depth and tenderness…but that same sensitivity might make the promotion feel vulnerable. If you weren’t so “sensitive” ( I mean that in a very positive way), then promoting might be easier, but the writing wouldn’t be so special. A conundrum, it seems. Perhaps keep reminding yourself of the goodness and positive intentions of your writing?
    I have both books and am finding them filled with wonderful insights and helpful suggestions. Thank you so much for publishing hard copies.

    • Vulnerable-you hit it head on! I wish I had it i me to promote, but I honestly don’t. I’d rather sit back and hope it makes a positive impact on someone.
      Thank you for your support in purchasing them. I’m glad you’re enjoying them. You brought a smile to my face and warmth to my heart through your comment.

  14. Hmmmm. You wrote this a month ago. I get notified via e-mail so I had seen this title and I thought I read it. But cleaning up my in box right now, I clicked on it and I had not. Hmmmm. I’m wondering . . . . . hmmmmm.

    I love the idea of doing what we feel is right in our hearts, but there really comes a time when the need for income challenges that. Hmmmmmm.

    I used to get so excited when people would call me and tell me they love the idea of Nia and would come to a class. Or when someone does come and says they love it and they will be back. Or when people tell me if I get an evening class they will most certainly come . . . . it just needs to be “after work”. I used to get so excited . . . . . now I know better. 🙂 I understand, life sometimes gets in the way, so I don’t get excited about the people that say they will do “whatever (fill in the blank)”. I get excited for the people, about the people, with the people that are dancing with me.

    Yes, focus on the ones that are reached — the ones that do buy the book or the ones that do come to class.
    I am wondering if this post is a message . . . . . 🙂

    Hmmmmmm . . . . .

    • Synchronicity? Timing? A message? Hmmm…sometimes we hear what we need when we need to hear it.
      I understand how the need for income could definitely challenge what we feel is right. There are times we take things more personally than others.
      I think often people spout out what they think will make you feel good whether or not their intentions are genuine, like coming to a class or buying a book etc.. They don’t mean any harm in it, but it puts the other person in an awkward position of expectation followed by disappointment which is hurtful and frustrating. Had I not had other income and had to be concerned with my investment, I would probably not have found a way to turn this negative into a positive. Life is hard like that sometimes.
      I’m the type of person that might know what she wants, but I’m not going to do it at someone else’s expense. Perhaps if I was a more confident person or had a stronger personality, I could push myself. I enjoy the feeling of helping others as much as the next guy, but I also wallow in rejection as well, too.
      You’re right to get excited not by what people say they will do but by the people themselves when they are doing it. Thanks…I will keep this in mind to enjoy the people along the journey. If nothing else, that alone has been a plus for me. And really seeing who among my acquaintances/friends really do believe in me and support me. Everyone needs a support system through the good and bad…you find your true people are the ones who are with you through both. This probably has never been clearer to me since I’ve gone through both this past year.
      And truly, if I lived near you not on the other coast, I’d definitely take your NIA class. I have a feeling I’d have fun, and you wouldn’t make me self conscious about not having rhythm.

  15. Yup. That is what I am thinking about (“Synchronicity? Timing? A message? Hmmm…sometimes we hear what we need when we need to hear it.”)

    I think some people have a tendency to say things that others want to hear, but I also believe in some cases they really do intend on attending a class. I know that I have done that before. I have told someone I will get to their class “soon” and next thing I know it has been 6 months. Life sometimes gets busy. So, I understand, and that is why I no longer get excited. I only get excited when they are standing in front of me ready to take the class.

    We have to focus on the people we are “reaching”/”helping”. One day I was subbing a class and I could have sworn one woman made a face in response to being told it was Nia instead of Zumba. I was in the process of walking out of the room on my way to the restroom and decided not to take it personally, but I was thinking about it. Then as I was walking out of the restroom someone else was walking in and she said, “Oooooo. I love your class. Glad you are here!” Ha! That helped a lot!

    For me, I try to also focus on the product. Whether I have confidence in myself I know the “product” is good. For you, the “product” is a part of you so that might be different.

    I hope that one of these days you will take a Nia class from me. And you don’t have to THINK you have rhythm because if you just let your body move it will move in a way that is comfortable!

  16. Pingback: “Another” Is Never Enough | Spirit Lights The Way

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