I want to share with you my experience of launching my book this week as a metaphor for the emotional roller coaster of a high-achieving woman.
As the day approached, I vacillated between excitement, trepidation, and pain; my back was killing me as I sat for hours at the computer blogging, tweeting, requesting, begging, and thanking.
On the day of the launch, I woke up to find my book was #95 in Personal Transformation books. This is a tough category to master with the likes of The Secret, The 4-Hour Workweek and The Last Lecture. I would love to stand with these books, but making it to number one seemed impossible.
I watched the computer as if it were the weather channel following a hurricane. Every hour, my ranking climbed. With every climb, my heart leaped, for a moment. Then I was quickly comparing my book to the one ahead of me, determining what it would take to jump ahead.
By 2:00, I hit #12. At 3:00 it was still #12. At 4:00, nothing changed. In fact, my overall ranking was starting to decrease. I figured the game was over. It was a respectable result. My cheerleaders applauded. But true to form as a high-achiever, I was disappointed.
Then at 9:00 I checked before I went to bed (I was exhausted!). Wander Woman hit #9 and #1 in hot new releases in Personal Transformation. Again, my heart leaped! I made the top ten!
By morning, a friend emailed me and asked, “Are you happy?” I didn’t want to lie, so I put the email aside. I had dropped to #10. The climb was fun, but it didn’t meet my high standards and expectations.
Then I read this email from a woman I had never met before:
I have searched high and low for a book that would help me sort out my situation….the constant need to be challenged, the burning urge to feel fully utilized on the job, the inevitable fleeing when the job disappoints. I’ve dragged my family all over the world, I’ve gotten high level degrees to ensure I could find my dream job, and yet that nagging feeling of boredom and disappointment perseveres! I’ve read all the Deepak Chopra and branding books I can stomach. I’ve memorized the secrets of highly successful people, I still don’t know what color my parachute is, and I would say someone really has moved my cheese!
This is the first book that speaks directly to me. It’s about understanding who I am, why I act the way I do, and using that knowledge to shape my future. Instead of trying to mold me into a corporate automaton, you helped me see my pitfalls and adapt. Finally there is hope for me!
You have no idea how much this book means to me. How you could understand my struggle so well is beyond me, but I am grateful that you do.
I remembered why I wrote the book. I can get brief emotional satisfaction from a good accomplishment (and maybe not even that if I don’t make #1), but when I remember how I’m touching people’s lives, the feelings are deeper and lasting.
Of course, true again to my high-achieving ways, I found a place on Amazon where I could request that I be ranked in a second category. I chose Women and Business–Management and Leadership books. Not only is it a more relevant category for Wander Woman, my ranking on Thursday would have been #1.
Amazon gave it to me but said it would take up to three days to post.
On Friday after watching my ranking slip in Personal Transformation, I turned off the computer and went for a massage. Saturday I realized my disappointment had turned into a mild depression. I let myself cry until I felt better. Then I mindlessly caught up on work until it was time to go to dinner.
We stopped at the Borders near the restaurant. They had four copies of Wander Woman on the shelf! I signed them and beamed through dinner.
But the goal is not the number. It is the impact, right? I kept reading the email from my new fan to remind myself.
By chance I checked the Amazon page on Sunday. There it was. Wander Women hit #1 in Management and Leadership books for women in business! I can now call myself a bestselling author.
In truth, the goal for me is the impact—that I will touch women in many powerful ways—and it is the number. I like being number one. And being a bestselling author is a dream I have held since I was a little girl.
I am working on focusing more on the impact I make instead of the number, but I’m not sure I will rewire my brain in this lifetime.
Thank you to everyone who bought the book, cheered me on and held my hand. What a wild ride.
Do you have a similar story of accomplishment to share?