Take the pressure off yourself
I always wanted to be a writer. In fact, it was one of my earliest dreams. As a child, I wrote stories for my own pleasure, and even unsuccessfully submitted a couple to magazines.
Somewhere along the line I went astray. I got an MBA and spent the first part of my career working for a Fortune 100 company. From there I co-founded Pinnacle Management Group, which provides training, coaching and consulting in the areas of leadership and employee engagement. I’ve been doing that for nearly 17 years and love it. However, something was always missing. It really wasn’t a big mystery what that something was.
It wasn’t until a couple years ago at the age of, (dare I say it?) 55, that I started to make the effort to turn my dream into a reality. With the invaluable support of my husband/business partner, I was able to start the next phase of my life in earnest. Since that time, I have co-authored a leadership fable, Leadership in Wonderland (currently looking for representation), have two novels in the works, have published two short
stories in anthologies (with several more coming), and a monthly magazine column for Women’s Voices Magazine. All of this while keeping up with my ‘day job.’
I am a true ‘better late than never’ success story.
My life is a work in progress. My friends are thinking about retiring and I am thinking about a new career.
What made you decide to finally realize your lifelong dream?
There are several things that happened all at once. It was sort of a tickling from God saying this is something you should be doing.
It was serendipity. I received an email about November being National Novel Writing Month. The commitment was writing 50,000 words in a 30-day period. This exercise became a book. It was a very good experience.
What were the specific obstacles that you faced?
My obstacles were self-imposed. There was a lot of self-doubt. When I read something I wrote, I have a hard time accepting it the way others do. I still have a hard time seeing myself as a professional in that field. It’s retooling my own thinking.
What helped you get through them?
I participate in a writer’s group on Linked In. There were a lot of people looking at my writing. I put myself out there in a very safe environment. We comment on each others’ information to help each other grow. I witnessed my own growth by getting involved with the group. I am much better today than when I got started. It is great to hear it from other people that they like my work and like what I’m doing, but I had to believe it myself and see that improvement.
Were there people who tried to discourage you?
No, there was no one who overtly discouraged me. I would hear, ‘Oh, that’s nice…you’re starting a new hobby.’ A lot of people don’t understand that this is not a hobby. I want to make money, and even if I don’t, I will continue to do it. Some of my friends get nervous because they think that anything they say or do around me is potential fodder for a story. I warn them on Facebook, ‘Anything you say can be used in a story.’
How did you feel when you finally accomplished your lifelong dream?
I am more giving and in a much better mood because I feel more fulfilled. I hope other people feel the same way. I am a work in progress, I am making progress. It’s not necessarily the destination, but the journey. If people start the journey, it makes life more incredibly rich. I want to help other people step out in faith and start following their dream.
What advice would you give to others who are contemplating finally living their dream?
There is no pressure to find your purpose and dream and pursue it. Some people may feel guilty for not having a purpose or dream. You have to take the pressure off yourself. Don’t feel as though it’s a bandwagon you have to get on.
If it’s something you want to do, the fear of failure is what holds people back. If you fail, that’s OK. Failure is an option. If you don’t try, then you definitely won’t succeed. I don’t think failure is a bad thing. Not trying out of fear is a bad thing.
To read Rebecca’s writings, visit here.