[?series]. And I think that’s exactly it. It’s there to help people dream bigger; you’re there to ensure that they’re successful and on the right path. I think that’s one of the things that does make us a bit different. That we’re really very much focus on your author well-being, Mark. We want to make sure that you don’t want to go running and screaming (as much as you might want to from time to time.)
Mark: Well that’s just huge, right? We’ve talked about it in the podcasts. We’ve talked about your support system and if you don’t have one, how vitally important it is to go and get one and make sure that it’s available. In addition to that, I was just so excited to be involved in the Academy. Then to take it to the next level and be under contract to publishing the book, so I thought you guys gave me my set of keys to the brand new car. Well, in addition to that, you have all these accessories that you have added on to this beautiful new car and then you’re like, I want you to meet with Lisa every two weeks and so that was an addition to that.
Then we have the rest of the team that just comes in and out and supports you. I have talked about you Lisa in previous episodes. The safety net, the life raft, whatever it is that helps an author. Because it’s a lonely world out there sometimes. Even with support systems. With doing battle with doubt and “am I good enough” and bringing all the other baggage to the table anyway. It’s difficult to manage that spiral at times, when you never know when it’s going to happen. It’s so encouraging. Such a great feeling to know that we have you in our corner to steady the course for those authors that need it.
Lisa: Thank you for saying that. I feel like the work I get to do is really important because writing a book is a grueling, grueling process. And like any really big project, you start off all excited and ready to go, and then it doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen over a month; it happens over months and months, maybe a couple of years. It’s really hard to keep the enthusiasm high. To keep the spirits high. And the start itself is high, there could be a lot of imposter syndrome. Like “who am I to write this book?”, “there are so many people who have written wonderful books – who am I to think that I can do this?” We talk about that a lot. We talk about the “so what” factor. What’s going to have an impact on the readers. What do I include that makes it powerful and valuable? What contributes to their lives?
You mentioned I do a little talking off the ledge. Sometimes it’s a crazy time. What I really like is that I get to work with the authors in the beginning and really work on some clarity. There’s so much that needs to happen when you’re writing a book. Really focusing on the “why” and getting everything nice and clear and then going down the path, stay on the path. If somebody needs to be pulled off a ledge; if somebody needs ice cream. I can do that. I get to do a lot of really wonderful things that make me food good about how I spend my time. Definitely. I win as much as everybody else does.
Jenn: We have that running joke of “Lisa brings ice cream,” because ultimately, what I see playing out (at this point we just kind of fit our natural roles), is that you’re the good cop. You’re the one that sprinkles yourself in. “Mark, how can I support you? Have some ice cream. Cheer up butter-cup.” All these great [corruptive] things. And then there I am dropping all kinds of craziness on him on the other end. I have to be the bad cop. I think it works out really well to have that balance.
I think that authors need support systems. They have to have some support system – whether it’s a mastermind group, family, a couple of other people they know also working on books – and so this is our way at Purpose Driven Publishing, to provide that support system. I think having a good cop and a person to reel you in off the ledge when you really want to be on the ledge. Like our editing call we recently had. That’s something to throw you on the ledge. That’s the nature of the process. And then there’s Lisa “Hey buttercup, I got ya. I got your back.”
Lisa: Exactly. I’m here to catch ya. I’ve got ya. Don’t worry.
Jenn: Let’s talk about the process. Mark has alluded to the Academy sometimes. (For those watching we have the Purpose Driven Author’s Academy: a fourteen-week program, start to finish of writing a book. What does it take? From the mindset, the goal setting, all that stuff, up until actually preparing for a solid book launch.)
And you Lisa, so much fun, we have your presence in the academy on weeks two and three to help the author’s get their heads in the right place. Then you reappear graciously, with your ice cream, much later down the road when everybody is quasi homicidal, on the ledges, just anarchy. And there you are, “hey, let’s remember what you did in the first few weeks.” So, can you talk through what your rhyme and reason is? Not the details of your goal setting process but part of what that includes. Just give the viewers a bigger understanding of how you are the good cop.
Mark: This is when I tell the audience to grab your pen and paper. These are the nuggets.
Lisa: Let me share some nuggets. The first thing we do is try to eliminate some of the barriers that I think, as humans, we naturally put around ourselves. Ways to keep ourselves feeling comfortable by sticking in our little box and doing what we need to do. Mark mentioned it before, we start with permission. We start with granting ourselves permission to believe “I can do this.” “This is possible”, “I’m the one to do this.” Really saying “Hey, it’s okay” you have permission to do this. I’ve had some authors say (Mark, it might have been you), “I have permission from Lisa so if all goes South, it’s her fault.” That wasn’t quite what I meant, but it got you where you wanted to be so okay. [all laugh]
We start with permission, a really important place to start. And then we focus on writing a book. But I’m one of the first ones to say “Okay, why the book? What are you going to do with it afterwards?” Yes, we are all running towards that finish line, to carry this book across the finish line, but then what? Some of the work I’ve done with Mark, is like “give me the top 10 really big dream ideas that you have that this book will support.” It’s not just getting your story out there and helping the readers, and really contributing to the world in that way, what else happens?
I was talking to an author the other day. She’s in the editing process as well. I said “right now, your biggest goal is publishing this book. There’s going to come a point in the not too distant future, where this book is only one of many things that you offer the world; and the way that you expand your platform and expand your audience and expand your message. So right now, this seems like the only thing and the most important thing, and right now it is; but it won’t always be. This is your first child. You’re going to have a second child and then a third child. It’s important to keep that in mind. [Mark and Jenn laughing and nodding.] I know! “There are going to be lots and lots of kids running around.” So, it’s really important to think beyond/high enough when you’ve got your head down in this process to think beyond simply the publication of this book. What happens next? Where are we going with this? And I like to say the skies the limit. That’s why we start with permission. Think as big as possible. Dream as big as possible. That’s really important.
Mark: Absolutely. If I could add, Jenn, we were just talking recently on a podcast about the manuscript handover. I had been working with my manuscript strategist, Fern (she’s just amazing), and Fern was telling me, as we were coming to the end (now she already knows in the process what’s going on) she knows me well enough that she said “Ok Mark, I need you to develop a list of ten things you’re going to start working on because it’s going to be really quiet for a while and it’s going to be out of your control.” It was just perfect timing, in this entire process, because right after that, the following week, we started with our schedule to meet with you. It’s not that it was keeping-me-busy work; it was refocusing my energy and attention because all of a sudden, my head’s down, and I’m working, working, working on this manuscript for what seems like an eternity and now all of a sudden, it’s like “Now what do I do?”
It was clear that I had bandwidth that I could take the time to tick away at the task list. Then really just spend that power-hour with you. Which I really mean it, it really is an incredible power hour that I unplug, I shut anything off that can make a beep or a noise, and it’s just you and me against the world kind of thing. We’ll redo the scenes from The Titanic, you and I will stand at the front and [all laughing]
Lisa: Let’s change the ending now.
Mark: We know how that ends. But totally game changing. It all interlinks to everything that Jenn and I have been talking about on the podcasts with giving yourself permission and having those fruitful conversations with yourself in the mirror, plus the support system. So, it comes all around 360 to complete circle.
Lisa: Mark, you said something that I think is really important. One of the things I feel as a team that we do really well is something that I always like to do in my work, is we have the big picture, even when you do not. As the author, you have your head down, your nose in the book, I mean you’re just going, going, going, going. There are times when it’s important for you to NOT have the big picture because you’re focusing on getting the words on the page, and then writing and writing and writing. We never lose track of the big picture. We always know what it is. Even if it’s not the right time to talk about it. We know that, that is part of our job to make sure that people realize the biggest picture possible, or as big of a picture as they want. It doesn’t have to be taking on the world, if that’s not what somebody wants to do. Maybe it’s taking on the local library, and that’s totally cool. We’re always keeping the big picture in mind.
Mark: To your point, we just recently talked about that. We were talking about the fees and we did the hand-off from manuscript to editor. Then we got the first editorial summary review. That can be a bit daunting for an author. But it was okay. Jenn and I were talking about “what was I feeling at that moment?” I looked up and across the bar at the top of the computer screen on Zoom, and saw the thumbnails of everyone that was there. All the PDP entire team was there. Although it was just Heather and I talking, everybody was there in support because everybody has their eye on the prize with the big picture.
It was okay because I don’t have to be the control freak all the time. Figuring out all the time, keeping the plates spinning, because Niki on the team she’s going to make sure that we’re dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s and making sure we’re staying on task at the end. But then, in that particular moment, I could just be at peace and relax and focus on what Heather was actually saying vs. worrying about all of the other loose ends and details of that big picture.
From where I sit, and being the receiver of it, you guys absolutely have that covered and it’s so comforting. That really is my safety net. It’s okay. I might bounce around. I might fall off the high wire a little bit. But here comes Lisa with “It’s okay buttercup” conversation or “Here’s some ice cream, get back up on that high wire.”
Lisa: From now on, I’m calling everyone buttercup. I’m just doing that.
Mark: Maybe that’s the name of the episode Jenn.
Jenn: May be.
Lisa, you and I have a lot of similar qualities, which we’ve learned being in a mastermind group together. One of the things that I feel that I have learned so much from you, is this one simple phrase, that I feel like you hit me with routinely, and that is “don’t worry about the how.” You have said that to me at least a dozen times, in probably the last three months even. I feel like that is one of those things… it’s such a simple phrase, but to actually digest the meaning of “don’t worry about the how”, that really clarifies your role with the authors. We focus on the 30,000 foot view. The author does not need to know all of the moving parts at all times. There are so many things happening behind the scenes. The author never even knows happened. It’s just the nature of this process, a lot of moving parts.
We tend to work with Type A driven over-achieving professionals and business owners. That is definitely our market. The determined ones. Those that are sharing an important vision. Being a Type A person you want to do the 7000 things all at once. I’m the same way. I can’t even preach this information because I have to practice it first, but Lisa, you actually practice it well. How does that phrase weave in your work with Mark and other authors?
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Lisa: I do say that a lot – “Don’t worry about the how.” That’s a very important part of the goal setting work that we do. Certainly, when an author is in the Academy, when the author is in the PDP publishing house, it’s a good reminder that “Hey, you don’t need to worry about the how, because you’ve got a whole team.” If you’re in the Academy we’re going to tell you everything that you need to know, you don’t have to figure it out. We know how to do it, we’re going to walk you through it. If you’re a publishing client, you’ve got this whole team. There’s a lot you have to do but there’s very little that you have to figure out.
In general, for goal setting, I find it’s really important not to worry about the “how” because when you’re in the goal setting phase… when you think of a really cool goal and the next thought is “how am I going to do that?” It’s a goal killer. It is a dream killer. Because if you have a really, really big goal, but you don’t know how to get there, you’re going to want to make yourself comfortable and knock it down a little bit. So if you think of something that requires you to do x,y,z, 1, 2, 3. But you only know how to do x,y,z… what are you going to do? You’re going to knock it down a little bit.
Jenn, what’s the other thing I always say to you? I say there are 9 billion people in this world, if you don’t know how to do something, somebody else will be able to help you. You know? So, during the goal setting process in the very beginning, I say “don’t even think about the how.”
I want to throw in one of my favorite quotes by Chelsea Dinsmore, but I don’t always get it exactly right, but I do get the spirit of it right. She says when you focus not on what you want to do, but why it’s important to you, the how reveals itself. If you tethered a goal to why it’s so important to you, because you will knock down walls to get to the how. You will knock down people. You will just make it happen. If you’re working on something without the support of a whole team and organization, if it’s something you really, really want to do, you’re going to get it done. You’re going to make it happen. But don’t limit yourself during the goal setting process by thinking about that at all. Just think what do I want to do and why. And then the how will come about.
Jenn: Mark, I feel like I was probably channeling my inner Lisa when we decided on a whim that we were going to do a podcast. We made this decision in a one hour, Done, we’re doing it. We decided, I declared it, then I thought “shit, how the hell are we going to do this in some streamlined way that does not take up all of our time to do?” And here we are! We are muddling through doing Facebook lives. We’ve done a couple of them now. We’re getting a little bit better. But it’s one of those things where I feel like I was definitely always focused on the how, always. The mechanics, the minutia, the finer details.
And Mark, as you talked about Niki before (I know she’s watching this, so “Hi Niki!”) her role is really focusing on the how. Really focusing on the operational piece. Making sure that all systems are moving at the same time, as they should be. It’s a whole bunch of stuff going on in the background that the author doesn’t need to worry about.
Mark, from your vantage point, you’re working with Lisa the last couple of months. What is your big vision now? I have a hunch that your vision has exponentially blown up as a result of Lisa pushing you and saying “Let’s go a little bit bigger.” And a little bit bigger. And Mark, you’re already crazy levels of energy (you’re difficult to keep up with) so your new vision is real levels of crazy. Everyone who is in your immediate sphere (we can thank Lisa for riding this additional energy level), talk to us about how things have changed from your original thought was of this book.
Mark: Wow. The footprint is getting bigger. Much, much bigger as we go. I think people have come to know me on the podcast now. I have a little bit of energy, I’m pretty positive, I jump out of bed like Tigger, ready to go every day, every day, every day. What Lisa was just talking about…We all like to drive a car, right? We might not necessarily know how all of those little things work inside that make it happen, but we all know that we want to drive that car. I didn’t really know it was that, until I started working with Lisa (you know “don’t worry about the how”) I think I just did it systematically.
In a matter of three days (I’m not kidding you all) I just began to make Served in Silence happen. Every day I was going to make five more phone calls to figure it out. It was that Saturday morning that Jenn and I had a chance to chat. I didn’t care about the how at that point. Actually, I didn’t even ask about how we were going to get it done. Because, that’s not my job. That’s the publishing company’s job. That is for somebody else… I want to be aware of it; I want to be able to help or whatever. That is so true and so positive. It’s almost like if you’re worried about the how, then you’re dreaming with limits. If you don’t worry about the how, then it really does take those blinders off and let you just dream exponentially. And dare to dream great. And dare to be great.
My vision of, I want to use Served in Silence as a platform for us to launch into something bigger, is really revealing itself. There’s going to be a lot of how in “to get there” because I can dream REALLY big. But that’s okay, I’m going to bring on the experts. I’m going to figure out those who know how to make the vision and dream come true. This is just a tip of the iceberg (I don’t know why I have so many Titanic references here!) but a tip of the iceberg, for the much bigger vision of the National Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame. Using my book as a platform to be able to launch that is pretty spectacular. Pretty awesome.
Lisa: Yeah. When you first said that to me, I was like “whoa! There we go. That’s what I’m talking about!” That was really, really great. I love that you just said it “this is what I’m going to do.” And you mentioned some others to me. And you just said like “this is what I’m going to do.” And I said “this guy’s got it.” He knows how to do this.
Mark: Poor Mr. Wonderful. I think he braces for impact day after day. Lisa, the other day (I’ll send you a shot (I sent it to Jenn)), in my quiet time I am envisioning what the book launch is going to look like. I can see myself there.
(Jenn and I have a running little joke about our first podcast. We both put cologne (or perfume) on before we came to the podcast. Wait – this is virtual. No one’s going to be smelling us.)
I’ve got this all envisioned. I just figured out the how, real quick. But it didn’t really matter. I wanted downstairs in my living room, I wanted to see what the trade show expo is going to look like, 8’ x 8’, with lights, with a podium, and I had it envisioned. And he came home from work and said “So this is happening today.” [(laughing over voice of Mark) Look at Mark…???] Take a picture of it. Send it to the publisher real fast. [Laughing]
Jenn: It’s never ending
Lisa: Roll with the punches.
Jenn: Lisa, I want to hear from you. For people who are watching, (we have a diverse audience in terms of people watching our show; most of which are on the fence about writing a book. They’re trying to figure out if this makes sense for them. And then there are people who are in the process and it’s kind of nice to watch Mark’s journey. I think this will make maybe the 12th episode-ish. We’re getting in there to a dozen. Feels good. We’ve covered a lot of ground.) but what are your top tips or pieces of advice or nuggets of wisdom, whatever we’re calling them, to someone who is thinking about writing a book – in terms, from your vantage point, not necessarily ours.
Lisa: One of the things I find myself saying to the authors very frequently, is “tell me your story.” As you do that, remember, this is why you are more than qualified to write a book. You are the only one that can tell your story, or tell the story from your vantage point, and that’s really what you owe to the world. A lot of the authors we work with, have maybe gone through a difficult time in their lives and they’ve learned from that. Or somehow, they’ve learned some lessons, some information that’s really helpful to impart to a lot of people. I say, “you owe that to the world” this is how you change the world in your way. And that feels very daunting, but remember, you’re the only one who can do this. And not only are you qualified, you are uber qualified because you are the only one who can do this.
A big thing we see is the ‘fraud factor’ or the imposter syndrome. I think it’s really important to try to bust through that as quickly as possible so it doesn’t bog you down.
Jenn: I think that everyone we’ve worked with has had some level of “who am I to do this?”, “why is my story important?”, “Why me?” All of those types of things. In the current author academy, you were on last week I think, and you were talking about the imposter syndrome. You could see the lightbulbs going off. What an incredible call.
Plenty of the authors in the current Academy will be watching this because I did share it in our group. I know that (I’m just being totally honest and candid) we were talking beforehand, before the call thinking like, alright, how are we going to get everybody on the same page, to really understand what your role is in the Academy. I think what happens, what we’ve both narrowed down, you get into the Academy and it’s like “I have the keys to the kingdom. I can take all of this information and I can go get my book done.” So, people want to be down here, we’re like “No; let’s stop” “Let’s think” “Let’s pace ourselves,” “Let’s plan,”, “Let’s see what our barriers are going to be.” So, we had the most incredible call in the last one because it was just the lightbulbs all went off at once. It was just a thing of beauty. So, what was your experience of that?
Lisa: I absolutely thought that too. I went into the call with low expectations because I was feeling like maybe it was the wrong time to be talking to the authors. I didn’t know if they were interested in what I had to say at that particular time because they were already so focused on what they were doing. I agree with you. I think it was one of our best calls, because we really did a deep dive on feeling like a fraud, feeling like an imposter, feeling like ‘are people going to care about this?’ I care about it, and I know that I know about it, but are other people going to care about it? Is someone other than my mother going to read this? This was really, really great.
There are a lot of books in the world. And very little creating brand new wheels. At the same time, every book is a brand new wheel. Even if it’s on a topic that has been written about a thousand times, it is that author’s take on that topic. I think it’s always important (and I found this in coaching; I found this in my nutrition practice) I may have the exact same advice for about ten different people but I have to say it in ten different ways, in twenty different ways because everybody receives it differently. Even if you feel like you’re writing in a saturated market, you’re writing in a way that hasn’t been written, and a message that hasn’t been written about before, like you’re doing it in your own unique way. And that means there are other people that need to hear this message and they haven’t gotten it yet, because it hasn’t clicked for them with other books that have been published. I think it is very valid. That was a big part of this call we just did. It was so thoroughly satisfying. In a very selfish way. I’m happy.
Jenn: That’s kind of how I felt too. You are there in the second and third week. You’re there back to back. Mark and I are always talking about the intentional ways he has to begrudgingly trust the process and I think this one of those scenarios where we know that two and three make the most sense but that doesn’t mean the authors know. And that’s just something… a matter of phrasing it differently. And for whatever reason, however we conducted it, it went differently, where those light bulbs were going off. And I think that once that author has the light bulb go off, once they’ve been granted permission by some outside party, which is often you Lisa, it’s like now they’re just off to the races and there’s literally nothing holding them back. But it’s a matter of getting there first.
Lisa: Absolutely. You said “off to the races” and I’m thinking of a horse race, where they’ve got that (I have no idea what it’s called) barrier thing where the horses go into each slot. You know they’re there and nobody’s getting anywhere because the gate hasn’t opened yet, and they get everybody in and all of a sudden, the gate opens and all the horses are going, going, going (an exciting part of the race) so it feels like that. Once we assure the authors, you have permission to do this, you are able to do this, you are the right one to do this. People are going to care about this. I think a lot of people just wait to hear that and once they do, they’re like “bam, here we go”
I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve been trying to multi-task looking at our comments and views, I think we are definitely coming up on our time, so maybe, starting with Mark, if you have any final nuggets of wisdom to wrap around? And then I’ll throw it to you Lisa.
Mark: Sure. I think there are many stages of Lisa that we experience in the Academy, or at least I have. What you were talking about in weeks two and three, as an author, I don’t think I was ready until the third week. The second time when I said “Oh, now I get it.” I’m paying attention.
But, let me tell you when the magic began. The magic began when I went into the publishing process. One of my first meetings with Lisa, I’m coming and I’m being all constructive about my manuscript; I’m digging in; I’m polished, I’m practiced this on my run. And I’m going to make my presentation. Lisa here is my challenge. Here is my problem. I am so concerned about the “so what” value of Served in Silence. I want to make sure that people understand its authenticity. I think she let me ramble for a little while before she stopped me dead in my tracks and said “wait a minute. You are empowered to do this. You are writing it; you have written it. And you don’t get to tell me, translate authenticity based on your experience.” Well, let’s go into the races. That was again the third party permission. Somebody on the outside, not reading the manuscript yet, and saying “you’re okay; you’re doing it right”, you’re not doing it wrong. Why do we do this to ourselves A personalities? I don’t know. That’s where the magic really began. Because I put on a different set of lenses to look at how I was working on the manuscript.
Lisa, it was so powerful that you were able to help me, not only give me that boost, but now looking back and reading over the manuscript, “wow, that is pretty good; maybe someone can learn from that.” That is that second wave of Lisa that I got. And I’m so excited that I get to enjoy the future waves.
Lisa: I remember that because it brought up a lesson that I had learned myself. You were also saying “I’m not sure how to bring in expert opinion, how I got through this. Should I have a checklist of like, okay, here’s what I learned?” I think it’s more important to tell your story from your point of view and don’t spoon feed the reader “this is what you need to learn from this, let me bring in the expert.”
There are some books where it is important to have some science, some research, maybe an expert talking about it, but not every book needs that. I think there’s a lot of power in the story itself. I think stories are far more powerful most of the time than let me back up what I’m saying with all this stuff. I think that can come from a lack of confidence sometimes. Now speaking from my point of view… I have done things where I’m saying “let me jam pack it with all this other stuff that people had done. Let me make it seem more robust. Let me do this.” And honestly people just want the core message. That’s really, really important. It’s feeling confident enough to do that and saying this is my story. What I’m talking about for this book is enough. It’s always a good lesson for anything we’re working on, to go back and say “am I trying to make it seem more valuable by putting in too much stuff?”
Guilty. I do that quite a bit. I try to pull back. Maybe I don’t need to bring 40 gallons of ice cream. Maybe 20 gallons. [all laughing]
Mark: Well because of that conversation, this opened up an entire whole new platform for my communication stage because I was able to develop an awesome formula. I’m not a math person. I don’t have that side of my brain. I can barely balance my checkbook, but I came up with a formula that is now going to help me succeed in working with other communication strategists, for really making sure I’m polished and ready to present my book to the world for the launch. It was my life story, plus my life lesson, equals authenticity.
Jenn: Maybe that’s our title of today’s podcast. That sounds beautiful. I LIKE it.
This was such a good, good episode. I’m happy that we did not have any Facebook live issues. Which is a first. [All giving kudos] It was fantastic having you with us Lisa. I hope that you join us again in the future. Maybe closer when Mark’s book will be launching which will be in March-ish. At that point, we’ll have an even bigger spectrum to cover. I appreciate you so much. I am so happy that you’re a PDP’er and that you and Mark have such a good chemistry. It’s exciting.
Lisa: Yeah. You know what? It’s such a thrill for me. It’s so cool that I get to spend my time doing this. I’m just happy to have been on here too. I love all of it. I can go on and on, but people don’t want to hear about that. I enjoyed today. Have me on any time. I have so much more that I could say.
Jenn: I know you do.
All right, with that being said, thank you Mark, thank you Lisa and we will be back in another couple of weeks for another Facebook live. Talk to you soon.