I mentioned back in October that I’ve started writing my book. Well, I am very happy to share I just finished the first draft. Overall it has been a good experience but like most things, it has been a journey. It has been a learning experience, with plenty of dead ends and an equal number of breakthroughs. I guess it’s a bit like life, we have to figure it out as we go. If you aren’t willing to play, you’ll never find out. Here’s some of my learnings and what you’ll see later in the published copy.
My original idea was to create a book on leadership. This is where I’ve ended up but it is very different than what I imagined it would be. The book has two parts. Part one outlines my leadership story. It is my story of learning the painful limitations of my heroic leadership style. My story is a common one, the belief that I was supposed to be the chief problem solver and have all the answers. I had to learn my job was really to get the best out of everyone around me. When I learned to do that, I became a much more effective and popular leader.
Part two of the book outlines eight key leadership practices that helped me regain my mojo and take my leadership to a much higher level. This part of the book is similar to what I envisioned my original concept to be. The one difference is it is intended to be very practical, explaining how to be an effective leader. My hope is anyone reading it will pick up at least a few key insights that help them elevate their leadership game.
As I mentioned above, the book turned out to be very different than I expected and yet similar in many ways. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way.
Four Key Learnings
- It is a journey and it won’t be a straight path. I had a plan that didn’t survive intact for very long. As soon as I shared my ideas and the first few chapters, I learned it wasn’t going to achieve the goals I set. It was disappointing to throw away three chapters but it was the right decision. It would have been much more painful to write the whole book in isolation and find out at the end.
- Journeys are more fun with companions. I joined a writing community, Seth Godin’s ‘Writing in Community‘. I was fortunate to be supported by generous people who are terrific writers, and who provided endless encouragement along the way. Thank you Tonya, Andi, Jay, Anya, Ellen, Brian and Mark.
- Get a guide. I was introduced to a very experienced editor, Rod Sweet, who has edited many successful books. Rod has challenged my ideas and he’s been flexible to find the right path forward. When the future path is uncertain, it pays to learn from those who have been there before.
- Enjoy the journey. This has been a difficult one for me. I’ve always been goal oriented and journeys often pass me by. Looking back, I enjoyed the breakthroughs and at times got down on myself when I didn’t see a good path forward. In hindsight, this is part of the process and as I move forward, I’m going to try to enjoy not knowing. As I write this I don’t know how I will publish the book. This is the next thing to learn between now and September, when I hope you will have a copy to read.
One last thing, what are you doing that is taking you out of your comfort zone? It may not be a book, but I bet there is something you’ve been hesitant to start. If now isn’t the time, when is?