Some Days You Gotta Just Listen…

Firestorm of Star Births in Galaxy Centaurus A


I woke up this morning to find these three things all waiting in my inbox:


1. A quote from William Arthur Ward:

“Nothing limits achievement like small thinking; nothing expands possibilities like unleashed imagination.”


2. This most excellent and inspirational video courtesy of the folks at Copyblogger (I’d never heard of Ze Frank before, so it was kinda cool hearing my own doubts and self-talk coming out of someone else’s mouth!)

Warning: not safe for work! And if you’re reading via email, click HERE to view.


3. This Note to Inspire from Simon Sinek:

“Those who believe that the route must remain fixed don’t get very far. Those who believe that the destination must remain fixed change the world.”


So today, I’m not fighting, not striving, I’m just listening. I know my destination (writing Thrillers with Heart) can change the world (because the power of stories has altered human destiny time and again–no room for doubt, it’s a fact). I’m ready to start, although not fearless about my start, but that’s okay.


As for unleashing my imagination? Oh yeah! That’s what gets me out of bed each and every morning.


What about you? What’s the universe telling you today? Are you listening?


PS: to top things off, when I clicked over to wikimedia while writing this post, ready to search for photos about listening or getting out of bed, I found the above picture was the image of the day–how cool is that?

Is the universe telling you it’s time to become a ProWriter? Check out the new courses on Breaking into Publishing and Secrets of Indy Publishing created by myself and Joanna Penn. Click HERE for more info.

Three Wise Men Who Changed Everything

Longtime followers of No Rules might remember my mentioning an interesting guy named Simon Sinek who posited that people connect with you (whether personally or for business reasons) because of WHY you do what you do, not actually WHAT you do.


I found his ideas fascinating and talked about them HERE earlier this year.

(if you haven’t read them yet, check out the posts and the TED video)


Looking back on 2011, it’s been a year of tremendous ups and downs. At the start of the year I was one book away from being out of contract and actually thought I might need to abandon my CJ Lyons career and start fresh under a different penname…but thanks to brilliant thinkers like Simon Sinek and Brendon Burchard and Mark McGuinness, I began to focus on WHY I write Thrillers with Heart and what I want from my work (besides keeping a roof over my head).


Simon’s book, Start with Why, was a huge light bulb sparking tons of brainstorms, complemented by the new ideas I was being exposed to by Brendon and Mark.


Thanks to Mark’s Creative Pathfinder course, followed by his Roadmap class and Brendon’s Total Product Blueprint, I was able to focus on my WHY.


My WHY was simple: I wanted to inspire and empower my readers. To remind them heroes are born everyday. That ordinary people can change the world.


How could I better serve my readers? By giving them what they want: more books, faster, easier to obtain.


And so I began to experiment with giving away free books–something I’ve done for years–but now on a grander scale, using Amazon and BN’s tools.


By giving my readers what they want, they rewarded me with the best year of my career. Debuting at #2 on the New York Times list, hitting #4 on the USA Today list, selling a quarter of a million books in a few months…it was a breath-stealing roller coaster ride.


Yes, it took a bit of courage (not to mention several huge leaps of faith) on my behalf, but I would have never been inspired to take such bold action without the influence of three wise men: Simon Sinek, Brendon Burchard, and Mark McGuinness.


Who has inspired you to make a leap of faith in 2011? How did it change your life?


One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of Simon’s Start with Why from Amazon. Be sure to leave your email address. Entries close midnight EST January 1, 2012.




If you don’t understand…

I spoke of Simon Sinek before when I raved about his book, Start with Why.

Check out this excellent video about connecting with your audience, If You Don’t Understand People, You Don’t Understand Business.

In it, he argues that “as individuals and companies, everything that we say and do is a symbol of who we are. And it is only when we communicate our beliefs authentically that we can attract others to our cause, and form the bonds that will empower us to achieve truly great things.”

(if you’re reading this via email, click thru to the blog for the video)

Learn more about Simon and his powerful philosophy of Start with Why HERE

Start with WHY

I previously mentioned Simon Sinek when I posted about his excellent TED talk HERE

After I watched Simon’s video, I bought his book, Start with Why. Although it’s aimed at business leaders, I found that it had tons of insight for creatives as well.

Simon’s premise is that:

People don’t buy WHAT you do. They buy WHY you do it.

Sounds simple, right?

Know your Why–or as I tell all my students, know your passion–and you’re halfway there.

After Why comes How. How you communicate your passion to your audience. Forging connections, Emotional Velcro.

That’s what we fiction writers call compelling. Gripping. Evocative.

Last comes the What. The end product of your passion and vision.

Your novel. Your website. Your blog. Your video. Your workshop. The actual vehicle where your audience will interact with you.

I was blown away by how this simple concept not only totally meshed with my personal beliefs about the keys to success (Passion, Vision, Commitment–you’ve heard me talk about them before HERE) but it also follows the path I take when I start a new novel.

For me the words on the page won’t flow until I understand the Why of the story. Some people call this the theme, to me it’s the primal emotional struggle driving the story–betrayal/trust, love/hate, freedom/captivity, justice/injustice…

Then comes the How, embodied by the characters and the conflicts I put in their path.

And it all ends up as one finished What: a novel.

Pretty cool, isn’t it? Creative business and creative writing following the same path.

Interested in learning more about Simon? His Start with WHY site has a lot of great free resources in his Leadership Library (click HERE) as well as a place you can sign up for daily inspirational messages, HERE.

Have a friend struggling to find their Why? Click below to share.





Do you understand the Power of WHY?

Photo courtesy of oledoe

Don’t you love it when you find someone who not only thinks like you do, but who can explain in a rational and scientific way the reason why your gut instincts are right?

You all have heard me talk about my sincere belief that the key to success in anything, especially writing, is understanding:

Vision = What you want
Passion = Why you want it
Commitment = How are you going to overcome any obstacles in your way

Check out this excellent TED talk from Simon Sinek about The Power of WHY and you’ll see exactly what I mean by Vision, Passion, and Commitment:

(reading this in an email? click thru to view the video)

Don’t you love it when great minds think alike, lol? Don’t forget to share this amazing video with your friends!

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