Friends and Breakthrough Hustlers: I am beyond excited to share that I have landed a book deal with Perigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House, to publish a book based on my self-published first book, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough. I'll be writing the new book this year for publication in 2016. Perigee is a wonderful boutique house that published Chris Guillebeau’s first book, The Art of Non-Conformity, which had an important influence on my own career.
This means several things. It means that my next book will be in bookstores around the world. It means that I actually get paid to write my next book, which definitely beats what I did the first time, which was balancing 4 part-time jobs while I spent a year writing, self-publishing, and marketing my book.
It also means that I am never allowed to doubt myself again, and you shouldn’t doubt yourself either. Three years ago, if you were to tell me that my first blog posts would one day lead to a book deal, I would have laughed in your face. Just a month ago, I was sitting at home stressing out about what the hell I was doing with my life, telling myself being a writer and speaker was unrealistic, and considering taking a desk job. Well, I just defeated my inner-critic.
One thing I’ve learned over the past three years is that anything (and I mean ANYTHING) is possible if you dedicate your life to something that matters deeply to you (and matters deeply to others). If someone tells you not to pursue your dreams, ignore them. If someone tells you you’re not good enough, ignore them. If someone tells you you don’t have enough money, ignore them. If someone tells you you’re not famous enough, ignore them.
Success is embracing a new pursuit at the age of 30, despite having no clue what you are doing. Success is changing 1 person’s life, not having thousands of Twitter followers. Success is trusting that others will support you when you start working with purpose. While validation is a beautiful feeling, success is sitting down and working (and working, and working) during the days and months and years when you’re making no money and no one else is paying attention.
A lot of people like to tell you what you need. “You need to find your calling.” “You need to follow your passion.” “You need to take my workshop, you need to go to Bali, you need buy my product.” These people want your money. The truth is you don’t need to find your passion, or your socks. You don’t need to buy anything. You just need to sit down, and write.
It’s easy to post inspirational quotes on Facebook. “Quit your job! Take the leap! Follow your passion!” It’s a lot harder to do the work. It’s a lot harder to go the library every day for six months straight, turn off Facebook, and start typing (actual letters, not just the ‘delete’ button).
I now have the wonderful opportunity to speak to 20-somethings about how to find purposeful work, yet it turns out that ‘finding my purpose’ was not the cure to my own career frustration. Finding the patience to commit to one thing for an extended period of time was.
I don’t think I got a book deal because I quit my job, took the leap, and followed my passion. I think I got a book deal because I kept writing, even during those months when I wasn’t making any money. I think I got a book deal because I kept going after being rejected. I think I got a book deal because I spent three long years blogging regularly, writing and self-publishing my first book, practicing public speaking, and building an audience from scratch. I think I got a book deal because I hustled harder than I ever had in my life.
Today I want to express infinite gratitude to my amazing agent Lindsay Edgecombe at Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency, Perigee for believing in my message, and everyone who helped make The Quarter-Life Breakthrough and my journey possible. Thank you.
Two years ago, April 2013. Storyboarding at the UCSF Library. You never know what can happen when you start writing lots of things on post-its. (Photo Credit: Gabe Prager.)