I was inspired to write that introduction in a letter I wrote to a literary agent many moons ago. It related to my debut novel, COMMITTED, and to some extent my life.
My mind clicked on all cylinders as I sat down to write what I considered at the time was the most important correspondence of my life. I was energized and motivated by recent word that a friend of mine was a personal acquaintance of the well-known agent, and would personally deliver my letter and excerpt. I felt certain my big break had arrived.
When I finished the letter, I asked my wife to read it. Not an overly emotional person, my wife had tears swell in the corners of her eyes. It was another sign. This was fate. This was my moment. I believed that to attain great success, I had to open the window to my soul. I sealed the envelope, then paused. I had immense hope, but also a hint of trepidation.
A couple of weeks ago the family took in a wonderful movie, We Bought a Zoo. It was about a man and two kids who searched for something to replace their grief from the loss of a wife and mother. They looked for something to unite them, excite them, to set them free from the heartache and sorrow.
The boy had a particularly difficult time with the dad’s decision to buy a dilapidated zoo and make it their mission to re-build the place and open it to the public. The boy was going through all sorts of changes while growing up, including trying to figure out girls. One day his dad told him, “Just give me twenty seconds of courage, and I guarantee you something great will happen.”
As I look at my ever-evolving path as an author, I’ve thought about all of the apprehension at each hurdle. The first time I shared my novel with anyone other than myself. The first time I clicked “publish” on my new website. The first time I sent out a Tweet. When I decided I couldn’t—I wouldn’t—use a pen name associated with my book. Looking back, those were only tiny, almost insignificant steps, but for years being such a private person, not wanting to shine the spotlight on myself, it took a mountain of boldness to do all off those things. I’m sure many more hurdles will follow.
The agent never received my letter. And only one person understood the guts it took for me to write it and send it off...my wife. Until now.
Twenty seconds of courage. Something great will happen. Maybe not on my terms, but at the right time for me.
What about you? Have you given yourself twenty seconds of courage, repeatedly? I double-dog dare you to unleash your inner self. Something great will happen.