The Foreword is by Chris Brogan. There is also an interview with Jeremiah Owyang. The guest author contributions include my bit on Failing Well, Upbeat Living Despite Chronic Pain By Susan Reynolds,The Roller Coaster Theory By Terry Starbucker, and Cherishing Failure By Liz Strauss. That’s a pretty impressive crew.
I asked Marti a few questions about her bringing this book to completion.
What kicked off this book project?
I sold used books on Amazon – stuff I picked up at garage sales and thrift stores. As my sales increased, I noticed that self-help books always sold quickly. I guess a lot of us think we’re screwed up! I am an avid reader, and always had an interest in self-improvement, so I tried to read a book before I sold it. I found many of them to be…well, kind of dull. I thought to myself, “I could write a better book than that!”
So I did. I took the information I’d read in many of those books and information learned from listening to motivational speakers, and put it in a more humorous format. I’ve always enjoyed explaining things to people, and I felt that a fresh and funny perspective could help people wrap their head around the basics of improving their life. I’ve made all of the mistakes I discuss in the book, so I hoped that sharing the ways I had learned to overcome those problem areas, could be of value to other people.
How did you convince high profile folks to participate?
I asked. I know that sounds so simple, but it was scary to make the request. Overcoming that fear was like “living” my own advice in the book. Several people I asked rejected the idea or never wrote back, but I didn’t let it deter me. I think that fear of rejection holds so many people back from doing things that can have amazing results. But I had built a relationship with these people first; by commenting on their blogs, offering help, encouragement, advice or good link references whenever possible. All were Twitter friends. I think it goes a long way to receiving good things in your life, if you give whatever you can, first. Plus I had the good fortune to ask people who are generous with their time, like you! I deeply appreciate the contributors and I try to say, “Thank you” at every opportunity.
You can’t give up. Persistence does not come easily to many of us. It’s a struggle to make yourself continue to work on a project that has had unavoidable delays. Between starting and finishing this project, I lost my father-in-law, became full-time caregiver to my mother-in-law who has Parkinson’s, saw my daughter graduate high school and my husband had a massive stroke which paralyzed his left arm and leg. But I kept coming back to it, sometimes for 10 minutes, sometimes for several hours. I didn’t let myself think, “It’s hopeless.” I believed in the book and the possibility of it helping a lot of people, and that inspired me to keep plugging away at it.
I don’t think anyone is perfect. I know I’m not! Everyone faces challenges and struggles, and many simply don’t learn how to cope. People tend to seek instant gratification when things go bad, but that often leads to more problems. Or they simply deny that there is a problem. A lot of times we build a problem into an insurmountable obstacle, instead of trying to break it down into manageable bits. And a lot of people are just too humorless. You’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself and find the humor in a bad situation. Maintain a positive outlook and be willing to fail. I was struck that even though I told the contributors they could write on any topic covered in the book, many independently chose to discuss failure. Failure and fear of failure is a powerful force, and finding the courage to try something, and be willing to fail, is the greatest challenge many people face. I’ve failed dozens of times, and I know I will continue to screw up, but I keep on trying! I hope that is the message everyone will take from the book, that problems can be overcome, failure can be a learning experience, and that taking that first step, even though it’s scary, is the only way you will ever succeed.
So, by now, you realize that Marti knows all about this stuff. She’s also a terrifically entertaining writer. She even graciously shared a discount for 20% off purchases through Amazon: 5SJMRP5B
Three different versions are available, with all the details here: 7 Ways You Screw Up Your Life.
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