Pathetic First Steps Lead to Genius

A man whose work I admire, Bill Harris, says that whatever your goal, the most important thing you can do is take a step towards it. One step. Any step. Even if it’s pathetic.

Once that step is taken, you can assess it and, depending on the feedback you received, either take a second step in the same direction or in a different direction altogether.

But you do need to take that second step.

And the third.

And so on.

When I decided to self-publish Leaf, I took quite a few unfamiliar, scary steps, some of them pathetic, but the end result turned out rather well, I think.

Yay, Leaf!

As far as marketing Leaf goes, there have been quite a few pathetic steps, but they’ve led me to some interesting people and places (IPAC) and provided some wonderful experiences (speaking to the Red Hat ladies) and led to some encounters and discoveries that I probably would never have experienced otherwise.

For instance, last spring I started having weekly Mastermind meetings with my friend Laura of Imagine It In Writing so that we could support each other in our new endeavours, me with marketing Leaf and she with offering her services as an editor and writing instructor.

By the way, in the next few months Laura is publishing a book of true short stories about overcoming a challenge (including one by yours truly, I’m happy to announce) that she compiled and edited. It was so much fun to go through the editing process with her, tossing ideas back and forth and trying different things as I strove to create a story that fit her vision for the book. I’m itching to show you the front cover of her book, but will save that for it’s own special announcement.

In one of our Mastermind sessions, Laura invited me to join her at a Discover Your Genius weekend that was facilitated by Genius Practitioner, Karen McMullen – that’s not her real title; I just made it up – but Karen’s genius was evident as she shepherded 15 or so participants through the process of uncovering and claiming our particular geniuses.

 I’ve always been fascinated with the whole “why am I here/what’s the purpose of my life” question – in fact, one of my very first blog posts was about something called The Passion Test – so I was looking forward to seeing what unfolded on the Discover Your Genius weekend.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

According to Karen, there are three aspects to our Genius: our passion, our gift and the economic engine that gives us the medium in which to share those two things with the world.

Turns out,

my passion is facilitating epiphanies,

my gift is providing a listening space for truth to reveal itself,

and my medium for supplying these two things for others is providing sanctuary.

I have a friend – I’ll call her Pegasus, because she reminds me so much of mythology’s beautiful, winged horse – who lives so far away that our tea dates have to happen over the phone. There is never time wasted with small talk. No matter how long it’s been since we last connected, we dive right into the meat of what’s happening in each others’ lives, exploring, questioning, ruminating. Often, there is that moment when the lightbulb goes on for one or the other of us as we realize something profound about our lives or our relationships with the people in our lives. That discovery is usually accompanied by a profound silence while we take in this new truth. In that silence, I am sure I can hear the subtle shiftings of long-held beliefs and all the tumbling realignments that follow in its wake.

I absolutely love those moments.

Epiphanies like that don’t happen all the time, but every conversation has the potential to go there if both parties are willing and I love providing the space for conversations to take that probing turn. I love being 100% present to whatever it is that is wanting to be expressed, asking the questions and providing a safe, nonjudgmental place for those aha moments to float to the surface.

Those sorts of  conversations are themselves a sanctuary.

Discovering these things – no, putting words to these things that were so important to me – was all very interesting, but how did Leaf fit into all this genius stuff and why couldn’t I have found this out before I spent all this time and money publishing a book which, at first glance, didn’t seem to fit at all into my zone of genius?

Or did it?

I’m still working it out, but here’s what I’ve come to so far:

As a read-aloud children’s book, Leaf provides a cozy sanctuary of adult/child connection.

As a gift book for adults, Leaf gently reveals a truth that has the potential to facilitate an epiphany about the reader’s own relationship to change.

And every time I share the story of Leaf’s creation, I create a sanctuary of sorts where the listeners are invited to explore their relationship with their own creativity and wonder about what sorts of dreams they may have put on hold.

Leaf was the impetus to get me to create a business facebook page but, right from the start, that page has been more about exploring ways we can create sanctuary in our own lives than about promoting my book. And I’m loving that.

And, along those lines, an idea has bloomed for a way I can create sanctuary in the form of Breathing Space for women, especially mothers who pour all their love and creativity into their families and find themselves depleted . . . erased . . . and asking “who am I again?”


Maybe getting Leaf’s story out into the world was the necessary first step to start me moving into what I’m really here to do.

Who knows?

And if it was the first step, it was far from pathetic.

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