When I wrote a jingle for the Santa Monica Blue Bus contest many years ago, in my imagination I enjoyed weeks of winning—until they announced the winners! I was young and naïve; it was fun to live in my fantasy world.
When I sent my e-book to Dan Poynter’s 2013 Global Ebook Awards, I had no thoughts of winning. I just wanted to give the book a chance; I felt it deserved it.
Nowadays kids win trophies for showing up. Some parents feel, “This is absurd,” and ask, ”What are we teaching our children?” Others think about it quite differently: “The trophies lure the young athletes, and they get exposed to the sport. Hopefully, the sport eventually becomes the lure, because in time, the trophies and awards only come when they are earned.”
How does it feel, and what does it mean to have earned an award? I can only answer for myself. When Bring Out the BEST in Your Child and Your Self received a silver medal, I was shocked and deeply moved. I found myself uncontrollably crying and laughing in alternating cycles: relieved that my hard work had paid off and ecstatic that it had been recognized.
Why the extreme reaction? Writing this book brought out every strength and weakness inside me. My passion and discipline surprised and delighted me. My complexes nearly overwhelmed me; tears kept my workspace clean. But nothing was more paralyzing than the voice of fear, “If you finish the book, the double-headed giant (a metaphor I associated with the terrifying aspect of marketing and promotion) will eat you alive.” I locked the door to book number one for months at a time.
Instead, I turned my attention to book number two, Parenting from the Higher Self: the Gifts of Wisdom and Compassion. Although I was happy writing, a persistent voice gnawed at me, “You must release your first book; you can’t keep avoiding it.” I agreed and sought help, which allowed Bring Out the BEST in Your Child and Your Self to be published in 2010.
Despite the fact that life offered me many rich and rewarding opportunities to teach in the United States and abroad, the double-headed giant was largely ignored. And I devoted most of my energy to completing book number two.
One evening I confessed to my husband, “I’m on the last paragraph of the last chapter; I love writing this book and I don’t want to stop. What will satisfy me as deeply when I’m done?
”The next day I received notice that I had won the award for the recently published e-book version of Bring Out the BEST in Your Child and Your Self. As the flood of feelings settled, I experienced a deep joy—and slowly came to the realization that the award could be the answer to my question. This insight seemed to come from the double-headed giant, but now it was as if he were a mentor: “Now you have an opportunity of a lifetime. Make peace with me. I can be your best friend if you’ll just feed me. I can give your passion and discipline meaning. I can support your yearning to help parents realize their dreams—to bring out the best in their children, and discover the best in themselves."
As I listened to his truth, I noticed I was standing taller. I looked him in the eyes and to my surprise, and delight, I heard myself say, “I’m ready to befriend you.”
He began by saying, “Positive gossip goes a long way, and social media and book reviews provide the perfect outlet.” He added, “Reach out to do what you love: speaking on the radio, training instructors or offering CEUs. Most important, be open.”
Following his advise, all suggestions are welcome; you can
contact me at IleneValEssen@me.com
And, of course, a LIKE would be a delight!