Back in 2006, my wife and I were discussing the idea of my attending a writers conference. We both agreed it would be a great way for me to meet some folks in the publishing industry and learn a bit about how it worked. So, when we noticed that I was booked to speak at a church in the same town as a big writers conference was held, all that was left for me to do was register for the conference and write them a check.
I hadn’t ever attended this type of event before, so I was looking forward to meeting other writers and diving into the world of publishing. One of the features of the conference was that attendees could bring their book proposals and have them critiqued by publishers and editors. I brought my book proposal with me and, like everyone else, hoped I would get some positive feedback and maybe a little bit of interest from a publisher.
My proposal was for I’m Not Crazy, But I Might Be A Carrier, an inspirational humor book I had written that was a compilation of forty of my best humor columns. I thought it was a great idea for a book but I didn’t let myself get too worked up about finding a publisher for it at this conference. I realized I was a rookie and had a lot to learn, so I decided to relax and enjoy the experience.
During my time there, I met a lot of great people and got some great information. Most of the people I met were very encouraging and had upbeat perspectives. There were a couple of folks, though, that did their best to pummel any stray optimism that happened to be floating around the room.
One woman shook her head dismissively when she learned it was my first time there. “Well, don’t get your hopes up,” she said. “I had to attend these things for five years before I ever got a book contract. Then, after you find a publisher, it’ll be at least another year or two before your book is published, if it ever is at all.”
Because I’m the crack mathematician that I am, I was able to add the five and two together instantly, and I immediately realized she was telling me it was her opinion that I wouldn’t see anything of mine on the bookstore shelves for at least another seven years.
I smiled and thanked her for her input, and she said she hoped it helped. Thank God, I didn’t take it to heart. You see, I have a secret bit of programming code written in my mind that I placed there long ago. It’s called “You don’t know what I know.”
I had been getting positive feedback on my humor pieces for years when I used to have a syndicated column, so I knew people really liked them. I also knew that there was some good buzz about my book floating around the conference. But even so, there were still some industry people who weren’t sold on the concept.
“This book just won’t sell,” one editor told me. “People don’t want inspiration right after they’ve been reading humor. It just doesn’t work.”
Never mind that A] the material had been working well in my syndicated column for years, and B] it was a compilation of the best of the best of those columns.
When I heard the doomsayers tell me that the book would never sell, I just thanked them for their input, referred to my “You don’t know what I know” programming and went on my way. About a month later, I got an offer from a publisher wanting to publish the book. It wasn’t a huge offer, but the book sold.
There are times on your journey when it seems no one believes in you. It feels like no one around you can see your vision. Nobody gets what you’re trying to accomplish. No one thinks you can make it happen.
How you respond to the naysayers will depend largely on your level of self-belief. All innovators have to believe in themselves, not only when the sky is clear, but when the winds of doubt are battering their vision.
If you are to move forward, fulfill your potential, and complete your vision, you must invest in yourself. You must be the one person who still believes when it seems no one else does.
Feel free to reprint this article in your organizational publication. We only ask that you use the following attribution blurb at the bottom of the article:
Excerpted from The Seven Powers of Success; Unlock You Strengths, Unleash your dreams. www.charlesmarshall.net. © 2013 Charles Marshall.