I guess it started in childhood. No doubt when I was challenged by two cousins, an aunt, and an uncle — all of whom were no more than four years older than my six-year-old self — to climb the big oak tree. I climbed, limb by limb, stretching my reach further than I thought possible and finally jumped from one limb to the next to achieve my goal.
Or maybe it was when this same foursome dared me to climb to the top of the haystack my grandfather had stored in the grain crib to keep dry. We weren’t supposed to be in there, of course, but sneaking into dangerous areas was exciting. Scrambling to the top of the hay bales was much easier, and lots more fun, than climbing the tree.
And of course, there was the creek they said I was too little to jump across. I just wished I’d taken off my black patten leather shoes before I proved them wrong.
The it I refer to that started in childhood was my desire to prove I could do whatever I set my mind to, and that I would not allow anyone else to predict what I could achieve.
When I packed all my belongings into the back of my 71 Volkswagen Beetle three days after graduating from high school and left my north Alabama home for my birth city of Atlanta, my dad didn’t even say goodbye.
“She’ll be back in a week,” he mumbled to my mother from the sofa where he lay, arm folded over his forehead to cover his eyes for a mid-day nap. I never returned for anything more than a visit.
It seemed I was born with this strong will to achieve my intention and prove my naysayers wrong. I welcomed the dares, weighed the possibilities, and then chuckled with glee when I succeeded, skinned knees and all.
All of this changed the day I decided to write a book. I shared my dream, and all of my excitement for my next big adventure, with someone I loved and trusted. He laughed at me and told me I would never do it.
Then the strangest thing happened. I believed him.
It takes a level of healing to put yourself out there.
Linda Joy, Bestselling Publisher & Inspirational Catalyst #quote
— sheila callaham (@SheilaCallaham) February 4, 2016
Years passed. The yearning to write a book remained, creating an ache in my heart. But along with the desire, as if attached at the hip, was my doubt.
Who am I to write a book?
For many years I kept a copy of Marianne Williamson’s quote from her book A Return to Love tapped above the light switch in my office.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Even though I was reminded day after day, it took many years for the power of these words to permeate the barrier of self doubt I had come to embrace. But when the message finally began to sink in, I rekindled my dream. As if the fearless little girl in me had been reborn, I set up a no-fail strategy for writing my book. I trusted in myself again, and eighteen months later the first draft of Truth Runs Deep was complete.
Reconnecting with that fearless, adventuresome spirit from my childhood took me many years, but now that I’ve found her I’m not letting go. Not only that, I also want to inspire others to find the courage to trust themselves, too.
I believe that if a seed of thought has been planted in your heart and mind, there is a reason for it. Water it. Nurture it’s growth. Let it mature and eat of its fruit.
Since my first book was published, I’ve written and published five more, in addition to contributing to two best-selling anthologies. I love living with courage, being on purpose, trusting myself in all that I do, and inspiring others to live with trust and purpose, too.
Stay inspired no matter what your dream. After all, who are you not to be powerful beyond measure in your own right?
For wanna-be authors, I am presenting a free workshop on how to write your book. So many people, like me, secretly dream of writing a book. If you’re one of them, join my class so I can share my no-fail strategy for getting it done.
Believe me, when I say, once you write the first one, there’s no not writing more!