If you love your work, if you enjoy it, you’re already a success. Jack Canfield, author
This week I interviewed Sarah, a daughter who lost her fifty-six-year-old mother to breast cancer when she was twenty-one. I went to college with her mother and fondly remember her. Here’s part of her story.
“When mom died I asked myself, What can I do to make myself happy? What would mom have wanted? I decided I wanted to share her value of doing work she loved. One of my mom’s great gifts to me was the love of books. By giving me this gift, she gave me what I needed to survive without her and be happy. I am a journalist and I love my work.”
Loving her work has translated into success. Sarah is a James Beard Award nominated freelance food writer, editor, and recipe developer. She’s been a staff food editor at Food & Wine, Parade, and Food Network Magazine. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Martha Stewart Living to name a few. The Fall of 2017 she published Adventures in Slow Cooking (see photo) and she’s currently completing a book about premature birth experiences.
Sarah discovered a way to move forward after her loss, honor her mother, and create a satisfying work life for herself. Her mother would be so proud of her.
Affirmation: I will do the work I love.
Coaching questions: Are you doing work you love or, if retired, activities you love? If not, what’s keeping you from it?
Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. Believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you. Misty Copeland, American ballet dancer
Not everyday is a good day at my desk. Today my short story was rejected for the Marco Island Writer’s Anthology. I respect the professionalism and expertise of the person who gave me feedback and I will rewrite my short story or start over. Rejection is a bitter pill to swallow but, as a writer, I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to it.
The challenge of rejection is to not lose confidence in myself or my writing—to stay strong and keep pushing forward. Creating art in any form is a tricky business. Going public with my creative process means exposing myself time and again to an audience with a variety of opinions, interests, and levels of expertise. I will take the advise of a ballet dancer. I will stay strong and be fearless.
Affirmation: I will persevere.
Coaching questions: In what ways does rejection affect you? Do you keep moving forward? If not, what support do you need to succeed? Where will you find it?
Photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash
While I wouldn’t consider it a viable substitute for therapy and counseling, writing about our painful experiences can cause them to lose their power over us. Srinivas Rao, author and podcast host.
I dedicate this blog to my mom, Winnie (pictured here), who only enjoyed thirty-four years on Earth but has not been forgotten. Writing a book about my mother loss along with the experiences of nearly fifty other daughters, is powerful and healing. The book led to this blog and I hope the blog has made a difference.
In the last year people from over twenty countries have read this blog with over 7,000 views. When I write, I picture some of my dear followers and friends who tell me they read it consistently. They are the impetus to keep going. I don’t want to let them down. I’m not stopping. I will continue to blog, just not every day. Become a follower so you won’t miss out. I’m considering including a “what’s for dinner?” post since I’m a foodie. Stay tuned and thanks for being there.
Affirmation: My writing is powerful.
Coaching questions: What’s in your heart that might be important to write about? How might writing make a difference for you or others?
What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence. Samuel Johnson, eighteenth century writer
In one month and two days, I will have posted a blog for 365 consecutive days. I challenged myself to do this so I could become a better writer, share ideas that are important to me, and add to my marketing platform. Thank you, Dear Readers and Followers, for encouraging me and my journey worthwhile.
I believe that writing is a learned skill. Perhaps some people have more natural writing ability than others just as some are better at numbers or visual arts or mechanics. However, I believe what Dr. Johnson said centuries ago, diligence is the key to success in whatever we choose to do. Putting one foot in front of the other, day after day. Writing isn’t glamorous. Many days it requires slogging through word after word, sentence after sentence of ideas you joyfully expressed months or years ago to bring them to perfection. In other words, more than anything else, it takes diligence.
Affirmation: I am diligent.
Coaching questions: What success have you experienced through pure diligence? What would you like to do next? Exercise your diligence muscle and you can accomplish your goals.
Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships. Stephen Covey, author
After I post this blog, I’m heading out to particulate in my writers’ critique group. Twice a month, five writers come together to read and critique each other’s work. I’m bringing future newspaper columns for them to comment on and correct.
Yesterday, my editor returned a re-written chapter from my book manuscript. Frequent evaluation isn’t for the faint of heart but it is a wonderful learning opportunity. For me, the important ingredient in the process is to trust those who are critiquing or editing. Trust that they have my best interest in mind, that they have expertise in writing/editing, and they are being completely honest in their evaluation. Difficult but gratifying.
Affirmation: Through trust, I learn.
Coaching questions: How do you feel about critiques or evaluations? Can your self esteem handle it? If you have a difficult question or problem to discuss, consider who you trust enough to help you evaluate.
Experiencing overwhelming pain doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to sketch new thoughts or paint new memories. Pain can be as transformative as the art on a torn canvas. Jess, blogger Visit her blog at https://outoftheashes33.wordpress.com
After suffering the loss of her sister and mother, Jess started writing about her personal journey. She writes on her blog, “I found my voice, I found my truth, but most importantly, I found healing in the words that were flowing from my soul.”
Whether we write, paint, make cards, cook, refinish furniture, garden—creativity seems to be one part of the process to heal our broken hearts. In my book Mom’s Gone, Now What?, creativity claims a chapter as one answer the Now What? question. Jess has found relieve and the beginnings of recovery through her writing. She writes from raw feelings and the deep emotion of a broken heart that is healing.
Affirmation: I can use creativity to heal.
Coaching questions: What’s a creativity endeavor you enjoy? How might you use it in your healing process?
Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd. Rumi, 13th century poet, scholar, theologian
People sometimes ask how I can stay positive while immersing myself in mother loss for hours a day. The same might be asked of an oncologist or mortician. Yesterday I asked myself the same question after absorbing several particularly difficult life stories in recent days. I checked in and realized that I felt fine because I know that the purpose behind my interviews and research…writing a book that will make a difference in people’s lives…keeps me traveling in the positive lane. Generally it is also cathartic and positive for daughters who are willing to share and relive their heartbreaking stories because they are confident that their resilience will be an inspiration to others.
Purpose is everything. It gets us up in the morning, keeps us going to the gym, watering our gardens, loving our families. Knowing their life can still have purpose keeps prisoners of war alive, the paralyzed engaged, caregivers still caring.
Affirmation: I have purpose.
Coaching questions: What is your purpose? What difference does it make? How has your purpose changed over time?