Freeing Yourself from Fear

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This week, I did the Author Your Life exercise where I let my heart speak, and what poured out was pretty raw. I started writing “Dear Lara, this is your heart, and this is what I want to tell you …” and this is what came next:

Please help free me of the fear that is a vice around me. Fear has me in jail. The stakes are high and we are so afraid. This is your heart and I’m begging you to free me from fear.

I’m not going to lie, even just re-typing that was hard.

My poor heart. And it’s not wrong. I am swinging for the fences with some big leaps of faith coming up in the next few months.

I have a trip to Europe planned that is pushing a ton of my emotional buttons. I am launching a virtual summit on August 15th that is stretching me in ridiculously uncomfortable ways (though I can’t wait to tell you about it, and more on that in August). And I’m doing a LIVE Author Your Life workshop this Wednesday, and I’m so nervous.

But even though this is all going on, I know I can take steps to release my heart from fear.

Here are the steps I’m taking and what I’m writing. I welcome you to use these prompts too. Write your name instead of mine, and then let your pen keep going, let the words flow and see what comes up
 

1.)    Sit with itLara feels her fear. She allows it to be present and doesn’t try to change it into something else. She gives it space. Lara feels her feelings.
2.)    Remember whose hands are on the wheel. Lara lets fear come along for the ride, but doesn’t let it drive the bus. Lara makes sure her decisions are not fear-based. 
3.)    Recognize self-sabotage. Lara sees when she’s beating herself up because she’s scared or doesn’t feel like she deserves good things. 
4.)    Give thanks. Lara is grateful for all she has. She is blessed beyond measure. 
5.)    Keep going. Lara forges ahead. She will not be stopped. Her destiny is calling, and she will march out to meet it.


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Storm the bastille with your pen and free your heart.


xo,
- Lara

Founder & Lead Writer, Author Your Life

P.S. Are you new to the whole Author Your Life thing and wondering how to start your own Hero's Journey? I got you, Boo. Just click here.

Writing What Your Heart Says

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  Every day, practically without fail, my saint of a dad goes to see my mom at the memory care center where she lives. My mom has dementia, and even though she’s not the same person she once was, my dad is unrelentingly steadfast in visiting her and helping care for her.

       I mean, amazing much? (Also, look at this picture of us because how cute is my dad??)

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       But here’s the thing. My dad is super lonely because, even though my mom is alive, she’s not really herself. She can’t tell jokes or ask questions or be present in the relationship the way she once was.

       And that leaves my dad feeling stucker than stuck.

       His heart would love some companionship, but what an awful grey area. He feels guilty about wanting to meet someone who could help alleviate his loneliness, since my mom is still technically…around. She’s just not there.

       The thing is, I don’t think my dad’s situation is that uncommon. At least in the sense of feeling like he’s confused and not sure which way to turn.

      But the great news is that my dad—and anyone else feeling this way—can always put pen to paper and ask their heart for guidance. 

      Try literally asking your heart what it wants, and see what comes up. I know it sounds bananas, but I always say that the miracle of this exercise isn’t that it works—it’s that we take the time to try it at all.

       Grab your pen and write the following sentence, and just let the words flow from there: Dear [Your Name], this is your heart, and this is what I want to tell you about [any issue you’re wrestling with]. 

       This exercise will totally help you clear the clutter and connect to your heart, which has aaaallll the answers.

  • Thinking about changing jobs but not sure if you should?

  • Confused about whether to stay in that relationship or bail?

  • Wondering what’s keeping you from finishing that project?

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       Your heart knows the answers! And you can ask it. Literally


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xo,

Lara

P.S. If you're ready to keep using the power of writing to problem-solve the challenges you're facing, check out my Start Your Story Course here.

Three Steps to Real and Lasting Change

Most experts are going to tell you “how” to change something, without ever digging into WHY you got stuck in the first place. Without this deeper part of the process, real and lasting change is impossible. Watch the video below to learn about the three fundamental steps to real and lasting change, and let’s kick those big obstacles out of your path once and for all.

Schedule your free 20-minute story breakthrough session today!

Do You Worry You're a Bother or a Burden?

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Many years ago, I was at a salon getting my hair done, and my regular stylist handed me off to a young employee who was just learning the ropes. “Put her under the dryer,” my stylist said to the trainee.

So under the dryer I went, but immediately I was uncomfortable. The dryer air was blowing all the chemicals from my hair into my face and lungs, and my eyes started welling up and streaming tears. I could hardly breathe.

If you’re reading this and hoping I shot out of my seat and marched up to the service counter and was like, “Gah! Help me!” I am going to disappoint you.

My “I don’t want to be a bother” side came out in all its glory, and I just SAT THERE.

Yep, you read that right. I had hot chemicals pouring into my face and I didn’t do anything. I didn’t want to be a pest. Some broken, whacked out part of my brain was so worried it was me causing all this, when, really, I think the trainee just forgot to put a plastic cap on top of my head.

Can you relate? Have you ever just accepted something because you didn’t want to make a fuss or inconvenience someone else?

If so, I totally get it, but the good news is that you deserve to ask for what you need and want, and you can write a story where you begin to do just that.

Try using these writing prompts to begin to raise your voice and take up space:

  • [Your Name] asks for what she needs. She believes she deserves to enjoy her life.

  • [Your Name] gives herself permission to ask for help. She doesn’t have to do everything herself.

  • [Your Name] knows she is not a burden to others. She makes time to think about what her needs are, and what will make her happy.

  • [Your Name] has the courage to speak up when her heart knows something is wrong.

Remember, the whole idea behind Author Your Life is that you can write a story about yourself in the third person -- imagining what your character has, what she does, and how she feels -- and this process can impact your real-life life as a result. If you need a primer on getting started with Author Your Life, just click here.


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Do you need help putting pen to paper? Are you feeling stuck and not sure what your story should say, or what you want to do with your life?

I WOULD LOVE TO SUPPORT YOU DURING A FREE AUTHOR YOUR LIFE STORY SESSION. We’ll do the same thing any good writer does with their book — figuring out what’s working, what’s holding your “character” back, and what to write to ignite the most change. W

TO SIGN UP, JUST CLICK HERE, AND WE’LL GET YOUR STORY SESSION SCHEDULED!

The Best Part of the Hero's Journey

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  The very first book I ever wrote and published was a slim nonfiction book with the clunky title of Make Things Happen: The Key to Networking for Teens. It came out in 2004 and was an instant bestseller. Just kidding!

      Even though it didn’t exactly fly off the shelves at Barnes & Noble, it did give me a chance to write pages and pages on a topic I love: people connecting.

      I absolutely get so excited when the right people come into our lives at the right time. It’s so powerful, and I would argue it’s the most important part of the Hero’s Journey.   

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  This is officially called Meeting the Mentors in the Hero’s Journey cycle, and it’s that moment when Harry meets Hagrid in Harry Potter; when Andy Dufresne finds Red in Shawshank Redemption; when Jane meets Celeste and Madeline in Big Little Lies. It’s the moment when the protagonist gets help and wisdom to navigate unfamiliar territory.

      The amazing thing is, this happens in real life, too. I write all the time that my eyes and heart are open to the right connections. That not only do the right people come into my life at the right time, but that I can see them and accept their help.

       You wouldn’t believe how effective this is! I’m constantly amazed at the people I’m “bumping into.”

      To do this in your own story, try writing: The right people come into [Your Name’s] path at the right time, and [Your Name] is open to seeing and connecting to them. She creates genuine relationships with a spirit of generosity. 
 

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      Finding the right people and getting the right help is the biggest catalyst there is for jumping us into the next stage of our journey. 

  • Do you need a mentor and ally on your journey right now?

  • Do you feel alone, frustrated, and not sure how to get to where you want to go?

  • Do you wonder how to make the Author Your Life process work more effectively for you?

  • Do you have writer’s block when you put pen to paper?

  • Do you think there’s an old story that’s holding you back, but you need help figuring out what it is?

      If you’re living in Frustration Nation, I totally get it – and I’m here to help. I want to be the leg-up you need in this part of the journey. If you are feeling like you’re ready for this part of your journey to begin, and a big YES I NEED HELP is making it’s way to your lips, let’s talk.


      I would love to support you during a FREE Author Your Life Story Session. We’ll do the same thing any good writer does with their book – figuring out what’s working, what’s holding your “character” back, and what to write to ignite the most change. 

      To sign up, just click here, and we’ll get your Story Session scheduled!


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Let me be the Barf to your Lone Starr, 

- Lara

P.S. Like so many pumpkin spice lattes, the free Story Sessions are only available for a limited time, so grab yours here.



What Does Your Garbage Person Look Like?

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Today’s post is by author Bronwyn Green, who has experienced incredible transformation though the Author Your Life process. I asked her to share a little bit about it, and she basically opened up her heart and laid it bare for all of us. Take it away, Bronwyn!

Lara asked me if I would write a post about all of the amazingly cool things I’ve been experiencing since beginning to work with Author Your Life. And, of course, I said, “Yes!” because I love Lara to bits, and I love AYL to bits, too! But every time I sat down to do it, I was meeting resistance.

 Part of it was the normal everyday resistance of juggling three jobs plus kids and a husband. Part of it was the normal everyday carnival of distractions that is ADHD. But there was something else lurking there. Something in the deeper, murkier brain waters that I’d get a glimpse of every once in a while, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I was seeing.

 I sat down again, this weekend, to compose this post, and the beast rose up from the depths, and I finally recognized it. The dreaded Belittleasaurus. My son, Corwin, helped me with some concept art.

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Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what this unfortunate imagery has to do with Author Your Life and the cool stuff going on. I’m getting to that. But, I’m wondering if some of you might recognize yourselves here.

My mom was always super proud of me and all of my sibs. We all had wildly different interests and talents, and she was always (and still is) super excited about all of them.

My grandmothers, who truly loved us, were less excited about my skills and talents. Actually, that’s not true. They were proud of me, but I learned very early that being proud of myself was a negative thing. That meant (dun-dun-dun) you were bragging. And that was definitely something that girls didn’t do.

Bragging has a very negative connotation. Pride usually doesn’t. But in my experience, if you even kinda sorta thought you’d done a good job with something and you were happy with the way something had turned out, you were totally bragging. (If you were a girl. If you were a boy, you were pretty much expected to crow.)

It wasn’t lost on me that whenever my maternal grandmother would knit something (her knitting was brilliant—she could literally make anything) or my paternal grandmother would embroider something, as soon as someone complimented whatever they’d made, they’d immediately point out the flaws. Flaws that unless you were a competition level knitter or embroiderer, you’d never see—and maybe not even then.

The dreaded Belittleasaurus got more powerful when I was in high school. For the first time in my life, I was being taught by nuns. A lot of nuns. That whole vibe of how wrong it was for girls to be ever proud of anything they did was quadrupled-down on. It wasn’t just a vibe there. Most of nuns gave it words and breath and life. And it became a matter of survival to play down anything I accomplished. Because bragging, or even the barest hint of it, was a one-way ticket to social ostracization.

For instance, I was the only girl in the trumpet section, and in 9th grade, I got first chair in the concert and marching bands. Obviously, it wasn’t because I’d worked my ass off practicing, right?! I brushed off my mom’s praise. I think I told her it was because the boys had colds. Seriously? All nine boys had colds? Sigh.

Anyway, if you’re still with me, all of this is to say that, as an adult, I thought I’d deep-sixed that dinosaur in a habit, but it was just hanging out, waiting for me, making ripples in the pond and offering all kinds of resistance when it came to getting excited about my accomplishments and, most recently, writing about the cool things that have happened since I started working with AYL.

It whispered things like, “It’s just a fluke. You’re not really affecting anything. Coincidence!” And when I would remind those voices that those things weren’t true, the dreaded Belittleasaurus would open its giant mouth and remind me that if I shared all this cool stuff with anyone—even if someone asked me to—I’d be bragging.

*cue all the anxiety ever* 

So, I’m trying to muzzle my inner asshole dinosaur, so I can share some of these awesome things with you guys that have started happening since I began working with Author Your Life.

I was lucky enough to get to beta read Author Your Life. (I basically threw myself at Lara’s feet and volunteered as tribute.)  

I was in a horrible depressive slump because of some bullshit life circumstances. Highlights include, both my husband and I working only contract jobs for three years (his old employer shut down the MI office and ageism is for real, yo), no health insurance (a family of four including a child who was in the midst of gender transitioning) trying to survive emotionally in this socio-political climate, and not being able to write because I was having to pick up all kinds of side work that paid immediately rather than eventually—like fiction.

But when I saw Lara’s initial FB post about this project, I had actual, real-live hope. I just had the strongest feeling that I had to read this book, and I had to read it now. When Lara agreed to let me beta it, I legit cried with relief. I just felt so strongly that this book was going to make a difference in my life and, boy howdy, has it ever!

For the last three or four years, I’ve kept a gratitude journal. It was my way of trying to start each day on a positive note and to combat negativity in my daily life. So, I’ve been poring through the journal, trying to read my horrific handwriting to share some highlights with you guys.

I admit that I got so overwhelmed and depressed that I’d stopped journaling for a while. My last entry was 1/23/18. When I started it up again, it was 1/21/19. Two days shy of a year. And I started beta-ing the book on January 10th. I did the exercises as I read.

When I started telling my story, Plot Twist, I promised myself that I’d keep my eyes open for opportunities the universe might be sending that I might otherwise ignore because change is hard and scary and so is putting myself out there. But I’d vowed that if things arose that required it, I’d do it.  

I wrote about how my character made time for herself and her writing. That even when she had tons of client edits or audiobook preps scheduled, she still made time every day to work on her WIPs (works in progress). I wrote about how she got new clients who were less soul-sucking to work with and paid better. I wrote about how she had a great, comfy place to work where she wouldn’t be distracted constantly.

I wrote about how her existing publications were getting tons of recognition and people were buying and reviewing her books. I wrote about how she had more opportunities for reaching new readers and how much those readers were enjoying her books. I wrote about her wanting to have a better relationship with her body and food and exercise—specifically eating better and getting a rowing machine because it’s one of the few forms of exercise she doesn’t completely loathe. I wrote about how excited she was about her husband’s new amazing job.

I wrote about all of these things almost daily. I worked hard open up and feel the excitement about these things that were happening to my character. I worked hard on getting her to love and respect herself.

So, here are some great things that have happened since starting AYL on January 10th. (Not gonna lie, I just got that horrible flare of anxiety in my chest and stomach at the thought of publicly posting this, but the dino-muzzle is still firmly in place.) 

•               I started writing daily again. 1/12/19 (At present, I’m up to almost 60,000 words on three different projects, not including regular blog posts and flash fiction pieces.)

•               My husband had an interview for a job in which he was basically a one in a million fit. 1/30/19

•               I was invited to a slew of release parties for other authors where I was encouraged to promo my own books to their readers and have some giveaways. (I can’t remember the dates or how many—I think there were 4 or 5 of them.) but during that period, my monthly sales more than doubled, and that was with no new releases for me.

•               We’ve had a room upstairs that’s functioned as a junk room for years. It was The Sacred Dumping Ground—that room where everyone shoves stuff when they don’t know where it goes. My husband and I made a concerted effort to clean it out and fix it up and, now, I have the perfect little writing nest at the top of the stairs with almost zero money spent.

•               My husband had a second interview with the same company. 2/6/19

•               MY FAVORITE BOOK I’VE EVER WRITTEN GOT REVIEWED BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY ZOMG STILL EXCITED 2/15/19

•               I was invited to write a short, multipart romance that will appear in a newsletter with a large number of subscribers for an independent bookseller.

•               I was invited to do another round of release parties and increased sales, followers, and general awareness.

•               This one was already in the works, but I was super nervous about it. Back in October, a popular indie author’s PA asked if I would be interested in participating in a 3000+ person reader group activity where the readers pick out elements via for a short story and the author gets 24 hours to write and post it. They usually end up hilarious and fun for everyone. As I mentioned, I was nervous. This was wildly out of my comfort zone. So, the week before the polls were set to go live, I wrote about how my character was going to nail this challenge and find connections between the oddball ideas to make a fun read. It worked! It ended up being really popular, and a large portion of the people who read it loved it so much they asked for a full length novel with these characters. And several people emailed me asking if they could share it with their friends who weren’t members of the group. And, as a side benefit, I made a lot of sales that weekend and got new followers. And the story itself was almost 7,000 words long. Not bad for 24-hours!

•               During March and April, I got 1 new audiobook prepping client and 4 new editing clients—all of whom are a delight to work with.

•               My husband had another job interview with that same place. 3/30/19

•               I started working on healthier food choices in April and trying not to engage in emotional eating. And if I was emotionally eating, I’d acknowledge it and write a new story about it.

•               My husband had interview number 4…?…5? with the same company. 4/27/19

•               My husband was OFFERED A JOB WITH FULL BENEFITS (from the company of all the interviews ever) 5/2/19

•               I’ve gotten a number of new reviews on various books I’ve written.

•               Rewritten, my favorite book I’ve ever written, was listed as one of the best workplace romances on a book review site that I adore because they focus on feminist romances and books that smash the romance stigma. 5/11/19

•               Found a great rowing machine in awesome shape on Craigslist for $40, and I’ve used it every day since. 5/14/19

Like a lot of people, I tried affirmations for years. But “I” statements never worked for me. As much as I wanted to, I never believed them. That whole garbage person was in there letting me know that I didn’t deserve those things I was saying. Worse, the dreaded Belittleasaurus really knew I didn’t deserve them and delighted in pointing out that saying all those lovely positive things about myself and my life was just another form of bragging.

But writing about this character? I can totally do that. I can write about her every day because I love seeing all these things unfolding and blossoming for her. I love seeing what’s possible. I’m excited to see what happens next both in the stories she’s writing and the ones that are being written about her.

Since starting this journey, I find that I’m willing to cut myself a little more slack. I’m willing to stop pointing out the flaws in everything I create. I’ve always had a hard time promoting my own work because to be excited about this thing I love felt like (say it with me) bragging. But, I’m getting better about owning my excitement and sharing it. The Belittleasaurus is still there, lurking. But I think I’m gonna relocate her to a nice deserted island. I’ll even give her some craft supplies so she can take up a new hobby.

I know that I have a ton of work to do still. but instead of being discouraged, I’m hopeful. I’m excited. I’m up to the challenge. But most of all, I’m grateful to Lara and this book, and this course, and to all of you for making this world a brighter more beautiful place. When we’re happy and truly living our best lives, writing our best stories, we can help others rewrite theirs. And who doesn’t want to spread a little happiness?

 (Disclaimer I don’t think nuns are evil—not even these particular nuns. But they, like my  grandmothers, were products of their time and societal conditioning.)

THANK YOU, Bronwyn, for this incredible post and for sharing so much of your journey with us!


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Oh, hey! If you’ve got a garbage person or Belittleasaurus too, grab this free exercise from the Author Your Life Workbook and start muzzling that voice today.

And don’t forget, I’ve got a new webinar coming up called “10 Minutes to Transformation: How to Use the Power of Writing to Create the Life You Want With Just 10 Minutes Each Day, Even if You Don't Have Money or Writing Experience.” It’s gonna be AWESOME and you can sign up here!

xo,

Lara