Leveraging Fears to Make Intentionally Brave Choices

Life Coach Heather Vickery on Learning to Prioritize Her Writing and Empowering Herself as an Author

Invisible Stories Season 2 Episode 7 with Heather Vickery

Today’s podcast is with Heather Vickery, professional leadership and success coach, founder of Vickery & Co, and host of the podcast The Brave Files. Heather is also a motivational speaker and author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. Through her story of personal bravery, perseverance, and resilience, Heather inspires audiences and empowers clients with the tools they need to live bold and meaningful lives.

In this podcast, Heather and I talk about:

  • How she set goals and deadlines for herself and found the motivation to keep writing.
  • Why writing her second book was easier for her in many ways, and what she learned about the necessity of focus groups for her work.
  • How she learned to practice her own advice to others, and to leverage her fears and turn them into intentionally brave choices.
  • Why having a published book increases your clout as an expert in your field.

Gratitude Journal by Heather Vickery

Gratitude becomes a gateway to personal and professional success and allows you to find wonder and joy in almost every aspect of your life. A regular gratitude practice has the power to counteract many of life’s complexities and difficulties. As you practice expressing gratitude, it becomes easier to see beauty everywhere. This journal offers 180 spaces to record gratitude, personal wins, and unique prompts for reflection, including: What pleasantly surprised you today? What seemingly “usual” thing are you most grateful for? How did you serve others today? Words of wisdom, from noted thinkers of the past and passionate entrepreneurs of today, bolster your reflections as you move through the journal. Use this journal to begin a new gratitude practice or deepen an existing one. Whether you record your appreciation daily, weekly, or whenever the mood strikes, this journal promises to expand and elevate your gratitude practice, and as a result — your personal and professional wellbeing.

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Key Takeaways

  • [00:01:44] Heather: [00:01:44] Yes. So, um, the, both of the books that I have written are about gratitude and their gratitude journals as well. Um, I am certified in positive psychology. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it. Um, psychology used to be this concept of [00:02:00] going from bed to, and about 20, a little over 20 years ago. [00:02:04] Now a scientist named Martin Seligman came in on a seat and he said, wait a minute, folks, zero, can’t be the end game. Just trying to get to zero. There’s gotta be a way to actually get happy. And through the course of studying created what is now called positive psychology and the number one factor in increasing overall happiness and wellbeing while decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression is a regular gratitude practice. [00:02:30] And it’s something that was completely game changing for me. And I really wanted to share that journey with other folks to help them tap into it. It’s easy to do. Like anything else that you do trying to build a habit around habits are hard to build, but once you’ve built them their goals. So there’s a written component of book that talks about, about my journey towards gratitude, the science behind it, different ways to use it. [00:02:53] And then it’s 180 day guided journal with unique questions every day to help you connect with [00:03:00] gratitude.
  • [00:05:42] Heather: [00:05:42] folks were really asking for it. Um, I was able though to, to write and produce the second book much quicker because we knew the layout, we knew the format.[00:05:53] Um, so w and I just trusted myself a whole lot more. Second book is a whole lot easier to do, even if the content is new, [00:06:00] because you’ve done it. And there’s proof. I mean, I actually, um, I am a contributing author in a collective book of collective essays. And I have very little to do with that. All I had to do was write my 2,400 word essay and send it off, but seeing my name on that book and having that on my writer profile on Amazon was like, Oh, I can do this [00:06:23] Right. And so it was just like a confidence switch. Um, What took the longest with the second book was the focus group. I did not do. I didn’t have to do any focus grouping for the first book, because I wrote from my own experience in my own knowledge, but I really wanted to bring in different perspectives of different families and different parents and guardians and caregivers. [00:06:48] Okay. I thought a lot of the written content will stay the same, but just being retooled. And that’s not really what happened because I learned a lot from the focus group and it was a lot of fun.
  • [00:10:05] Heather: [00:10:05] Literally, what I do is help people understand their fears, dissect them, and then leverage those fears into making intentionally brave choices, because those are life changing behaviors that, um, are contagious and we win bigger and we try harder and all that stuff. [00:10:21] So I don’t really use all of my own tips and tricks to get myself going. And I learned a lot about, uh, You know, we, we talk ourselves out of stuff all the time, right? Oh, I’m too busy. I can’t, I don’t have time. I’m doing that right now. When I spoke over it is messing with my writing. Like I’m not prioritizing, I fully understand that I have the power over this, but a, I need a deadline. [00:10:44] I’ve learned this about myself. So. It’s one thing to be like, Oh, well, I can just produce this book. I can just publish it whenever I want. I was never, ever going to do it. So then I had to put myself on the line and publicly declare on X date. This book is getting released, which meant I had to sit down and do the work [00:11:00] also.
  • [00:11:01] Heather: Um, I’m just not going to write in the afternoon or evening. It’s just not going to happen. So when I want to really focus on writing, it has happened in the morning, like early, and I’m not a morning person, like early in the morning, six or 7:00 AM. I have to get up. And it has to be like make coffee. And that is the only thing I’m doing for them hour to an hour and a half before start anything else. [00:11:21] And if I don’t do that, I will not prioritize it throughout the day. That was the hardest thing to figure out for myself.
  • [00:12:41] Heather: Professionally is figure, understand themselves well enough and then build, you can build your schedule around the way you best function. I know people who can go, I’m just going to take a week. I remember reading about this, um, actually in Michelle Obama’s book becoming that, but Barack Obama is able to go, I’m going to [00:13:00] go out into a cabin in the woods for two weeks, and I’m going to write this book like this 500 page book. [00:13:05] Yeah, that’s amazing. I could not do that. Uh, but there are lots of people who do that. Like I’m going to set aside a week and I’m good. Can I power it out? That’s great. So it’s really important. I think to know yourself well enough to know what you need and are you self motivated enough to not need a deadline?[00:13:22] I am not. I need a deadline, even if it’s an arbitrary deadline that I pull out of thin air, I need something to work towards. Yeah.
  • [00:18:07] Heather: [00:18:07] um, I. I always find it helpful to have an outline. I’m a bulleted point, bullet pointed outline kind of writer. [00:18:15] I like to have conceptualized things ready to go, no matter what I’m doing so that I can check and balance. Um, again, I think that’s why I’m not a novel writer, but, but I know novel writers who do that too. They map things out and they plan it. Uh, so. I don’t want to miss anything. And I like to have some, I’m not a, I don’t love a blank page. [00:18:33] I’m not gonna lie. Like a blank page is terrifying. So if I have a bullet point like, Oh, this is what I want to talk about, then I can go or write about it and I can be much more efficient in it. So a little prep is really helpful for me as a writer. Um, understanding that least the bones of where I want to take the piece so that I don’t feel like I’m inventing something new every time I sit down at my computer.
  • [00:19:26] Heather: [00:19:26] Well, it’s not terribly surprising, but when it happens, it feels surprising. It most definitely is validating. [00:19:35] Professionally folks perceive you differently. Now, listen, we all know you don’t have to be great to be a self published author. You don’t, you just have to put it out there. You just have to pay the money and sign and put this up out. Um, but if you’re taking the time and if you are really conscientious of what you’re producing, Uh, people can tell the difference. [00:19:58] And so that was super validating. [00:20:00] We have a local independent bookstore. This is actually a funny story. So I like it took me months to get the courage to go in and ask them if they would consider carrying my books. Yeah. Laughed. And she goes, I’ve now tried to make you feel bad. But we will literally put anybody’s book on the shelves. [00:20:20] You just have to sign this paper and I’m like, Oh, okay. That’s on paper. Can I give her five copies of the book? But my daughter’s boyfriend came over last week, just last week. And he was like, It was really cool to go into the book table and see your books on the shelf. It’s like, that’s really, really, really neat.
  • [00:27:36] Heather: [00:27:36] I suppose as cheesy as it may sound, um, get yourself published in any way, shape or form you can because it unleashes something. [00:27:48] So like I said, I started by contributing an essay to a group book. Um, even if you’re publishing essays or stories, it doesn’t, you can repurpose content. You can do all [00:28:00] sorts of things. Just put something out there, even if it’s an ebook. Um, You can make it a small goal, but so you’ve done that. It just sort of opens up the flood Gates to trusting yourself to doing a bigger project. [00:28:12] So don’t sit on it and don’t just wait for forever because it’s never going to happen if you don’t plan it. And that’s what the world wants to hear what you have to say.

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