When God placed in my spirit to publish an anthology, I didn’t actually know what an anthology was. I knew that I wanted, but really was divinely directed, to select writers to embark upon a new writing journey with me. I knew that I wanted women to share their personal stories because I understood the emotional and spiritual power of testimonies. And, I knew that I wanted to include women who were different because I believe that since God created diversity that diversity should be celebrated. That’s all I knew.
But even though I knew those basic things, I had no idea how to proceed. I had questions, many of them, that made me really wonder if I was up to the task. I had questions like: How do I select the authors? How do I manage such a big project? How do I identify the right publisher? How do I finance the project? How do I execute a marketing strategy? How do I juggle all of the balls needed to birth a project while at the same time working a demanding full-time job, supporting my coaching clients, serving in ministry, editing my upcoming book and taking care of me? How?
But the more questions I had, the more God quieted my concerns because God reminded me that when God gives vision, God gives provision. God also reminded me that God gives guidance, discernment and direction, and all three are increased in the midst of faith. Finally, God reminded me to use what I had and to use what I knew. I was divinely reminded that even though I was inexperienced, I was NOT ill-equipped. There’s a difference.
Prayerfully, I heeded all of those reminders and moved forward. I took a leap, cautiously but deliberately. I had fear but I didn’t fret. I prayed and I committed to use what I knew. I disciplined by doubt, calmed my spirit and pressed toward the mark. I honored “the call” to compile an anthology.
I know abandoning our dreams is really easy, especially when the magnitude of our dreams is outside of our experiences and expertise. Just think about it. How many times do we talk ourselves out of our dreams because we don’t assess what we already know? How many times do we throw in the towel without doing an inventory of all of the lessons that we have learned, all of the talents that we have and all of the people that we know. How many times? In my life, there have been too many times when I deserted my dreams altogether or downsized my dreams to fit my current reality. I played too small in the world which left me with years of painful regret.
So without any publishing expertise, I did what I knew. What did I know? First, I was reminded that I had learned tons of stuff in graduate school, in corporate America, in ministry and in life that provided a good business foundation. No, I didn’t know everything, but I had a good idea of my strengths and my weaknesses. I knew financing, balance sheets and profit margins. I knew operations, marketing and sales. Most importantly, I knew how I liked to work; I knew what supported my creativity, productivity and efficiency. Knowing yourself is always the first key to success!
Secondly, I knew the importance of a great team. I surveyed who I knew, and here’s the most important part, I identified people who had the same commitment to excellence that I had. That was important. I also wanted the core team to have a similar work rhythm, and their rhythm had to adjust to the music called life. Having a similar work pace and similar work speed were critical because I knew that an anthology included timelines, required coordination and demanded execution. I wanted to make sure we had a dream team to increase the potential for success.
I also knew that I enjoyed and thrived around a certain type of energy, a “can-do spirit”, that was optimistic, action-oriented and solution-oriented. I knew that I had an affinity for people who solved problems and not just reported problems. And finally, I also knew that everybody on the core team needed to be comfortable with flexibility, change and diversity. It was a tall order but the goal was simple: synergy. And I knew that synergy would only develop among people who embraced collaboration, communication and had a genuine concern for themselves and others.
Thankfully, the core team appeared! Some people may say that I got lucky but I think I was blessed because the team not only had the key components for success, they had additional talents that were helpful too. Talents like the ability to understand incoherent text messages, decode half-finished sentences, decipher short voicemail messages and create full sentences from half-baked emails. They had the ability to multi-task, ask for help, push boundaries, defy convention and challenge each other with love, “carefrontation”. They are a talented group who knew how to manage processes, get along with people and stick to plans. Lucky me, right?
I have learned that going after your dreams is not easy; sometimes it is not even convenient. Yet, going after your dreams is doable and achievable if you believe in your vision, and if you find the right people to believe in your vision too. Thankfully, I found the right people. I found the right people to help me steer the ship, the right people to share their stories, the right people to support the project and the right people to promote the book. I found amazing directors who pushed me, pressed me and shared their genius with me. I am so incredibly grateful to them. Thank you!
The people that the team could not find, God sent to us. God orchestrated people, places and things to help us promote the message and communicate the vision of diversity, unity and sisterhood. Yes, God did it!
I know that the book signing on Sunday will be an event to most, but to some of us, it will be a celebration. A celebration of a dream realized, a celebration of sisterhood, a celebration of healing and a celebration of hope. But when I look over my life and consider all of the challenges I faced in 2015, the book signing will be a celebration of God and God’s grace. It will be a testament of God’s power to keep me when I didn’t think I could be kept, love me when I didn’t feel lovable, encourage me in the midst of deep personal pain and to push me outside of my introverted comfort zone. It will be a celebration…God did it!
So what’s the strength of my soul? The strength of my soul is the belief that God is the essence, the expression and the epitome of grace, love and renewal. And because of that belief when I hold the book in my hands, I sense God’s divine presence. I feel God’s power, prominence and purpose in this amazing project that honors women from all walks of life.
We could have done some things differently, and we will, in our next edition. But the lessons learned, the wisdom gained and the joy we experienced are blessings, blessings that help us know God, know ourselves and know each other in new ways. We learned a lot, and we are continuing to learn as we market the book, develop seminars, plan a conference and write plays. We are learning about the power of sisterhood, the power of faith and the power of vision. To quote the title of one of my books, we “have learned a few things”.
Thank you again for supporting The Strength of My Soul: Stories of Sisterhood, Triumph and Inspiration. I am grateful for your patience, prayers and support as we birthed this incredible project. I am grateful for every purchase, every connection, every opportunity and for every encouraging word that you have shared with all of us. I hope to see you on Sunday and I can’t wait to hug you and say thank you in person. I am so grateful!
Blessings to you always