Finding Success – are you positive about that?

    This week, I’m going to address one of the most difficult hurdles along the road to success…attaining your goals while avoiding the pitfalls of negativity. Every single one of our journeys is vastly different; each of us battles unique tasks, circumstances, and challenges. However, human nature practically guarantees that no matter who we are, or what we’re trying to accomplish, all human beings share certain realities that can derail our forward progress. My goal is to help you defeat the factors that can discourage, or stop you in your tracks.

    Let’s start with something basic that everyone knows; The Golden Rule. No, not “He who has the gold, rules.” The positive one—“Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you.” Adopt this, make it a habit, and move on. Cliche’ perhaps, but nothing will serve you any better in life than treating those around you with kindness and respect.

    OK—now think about this. You’ve invested a tremendous amount of time and energy aimed at social networking, right? Are you using it to full potential? More to the point, are you being social? It’s all well and good to have a presence in as many places as you can, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. I’m presently attempting to market myself as an author, and have a novel to offer readers. I’ve quickly learned just how many other individuals are out there with a similar aim. I’ve also learned that it’s not enough just to plaster your pic and book cover all over the place then expect the accolades to come rolling in. Do this, and you’ll be waiting a long time for anything to happen. I know you’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating—have conversations. Too shy? Start with me over on Twitter @threecifer. Talking to others is going to provide you with a veritable potporri of solutions to problems you didn’t even know you had. I learn something new from others EVERY SINGLE DAY. That’s right…people are the greatest resource out there. You’ll learn new things to do and try. You’ll learn what to avoid at all costs. You may even learn some new things about yourself. Best of all, when your lofty goals aren’t being met nearly as quickly as you thought they might, conversations are a wonderful distraction from becoming too disappointed—which leads me to my next point.

    The formal definition of “project” is: to devise a specific plan or design in the mind. My definition: to decide ahead of time how the future will unfold, only to be needlessly disappointed, time after time after time, ad infinitum. Three simple words on this terrible habit most of us have picked up somewhere along the road—stop doing it. I made a conscious decision to stop projecting many years ago. It was difficult at first, but once I trained myself not to count on an unrealistic outcome for my future, two things happened; I started to appreciate each day much more, and I found a deeper degree of happiness in my life. This is not to say “Don’t have a plan.” Rather, do the best you can in each moment, and work slowly and carefully toward your goals, without “counting on” a specific outcome. You will be amazed at what a difference this may make in your life. The late, self-help guru, Robert Collier, once said, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Genius!

    The next item may be dependent on your financial status. I am painfully aware that many people are struggling just to put food on the table in this trying economic atmosphere. However, if you are able, nothing feels better than to give back. This one is a deeply personal issue. For me, it just feels right to help others, whenever possible. Presently, I’m donating the royalties of my book sales to the Japan relief efforts. They need the money far more than I do. My reward…I still get the distinct pleasure of having someone new read my work, while making a small difference. When combined with the efforts of others, these gestures add up to big numbers and contribute to the greater good. As an alternative, you might donate your time or skills. A number of fellow indie author friends have each written a short piece to include in a compilation, entitled “With Love” http://tiny.cc/b0fp9 , the proceeds of which will also be donated to Japan relief efforts. (Please support them and their work.) Another fantastic way to give—help someone who is already helping others. Giving a well-established individual, or organization an assist will not only turbo-charge their efforts, it will fill you up and perhaps even get you and your work noticed at the same time.

    A few other suggestions to hopefully take you over the top on your quest for success. Do something nice for someone you barely know, or don’t know at all. The universe has a funny way of bringing positive energy back around to those who are generous in putting it out there to begin with. Besides, it’s just the right thing to do. Also, don’t forget to carry promotional materials with you AT ALL TIMES. You never know who you might hand a bookmark or card to, who, in turn, makes a remarkable difference in your world.

    I sincerely hope these suggestions will be helpful along your personal road to achieving your goals and attaining success. Do you have any tips or methods that have worked in your life? I’d love you to share any advice, or comments you might have with me and other readers. Thank you for visiting.

    All the best,  AB

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35 Responses to Finding Success – are you positive about that?

  1. Kristina says:

    Al,

    This is a lovely a very thoughtful blog post, and of course entirely accurate.

    As one of those contributors to the With Love Project, it was my pleasure to be able to give something to help those who have so little

    As ever a kind and very considerate man, and it has been my deepest pleasure to have ‘met’ you

    KJx

  2. Al Boudreau says:

    I feel blessed to call you a friend too, Kristina. Thank you for all that you do to contribute to our writer’s community, as well as to the greater good. And, as always, thank you for your weekly visit to my blog.

  3. Dannie says:

    Al, I am becoming one of your biggest fans. Your book has only one course– to become a hit. Your blogs always have positive messages from a caring heart.
    I have days of wondering what am I doing. trying to sell books that I write and there are days of almost uneduring, unfulfilled gloom. Then I read what you write to us– and I’m sure to yourself– and it lifts me from my hole and gives me a better outlook at our world. We do need to put what is important to the forefront. Helping those that need it more than oneself.
    There are the days when someone reads my writings and it makes all my efforts worthwhile and it gives me pause to read the words of caring people like you.

    Thank you

  4. alboudreau says:

    Dannie…I am truly humbled by your kind and generous words. It’s very savvy of you to realize that I write these posts for my own benefit, as well as for all of you, in order to stay grounded, centered, and focused. I too have days when I ask myself if the effort and hardship we sometimes experience is really worth it. Then lo and behold, a new friend comes along, the dark clouds part, and my spirits are lifted. As writers, our words remain our currency…our calling card…our soul. A simple kindness can change the trajectory of another, making their hardships dissolve and fall away. That, my friend, is power.

    There are individuals out there who choose to curry favor by way of wealth, and connections, in order to rise to the top. What they fail to realize, is that a simple kindness offered to another can provide a fulfillment that all the cash, cars, yachts, and so-called prestige in the world never could. The cost…a simple decision to reach out and offer a piece of one’s self without expecting anything in return. You have obviously learned this valuable lesson. You have my respect, and admiration. Thank you so much for your friendship.

  5. eden baylee says:

    Gee, I just read this and I’m bawling, thanks a lot Al!

    Seriously, what you say is all good stuff. It is important to give unconditionally, give without expectation of getting something in return, give because it helps to diminish ego, and give because it feels good to make someone else happy.

    Through your words, you give a lot, and I hope the positive energy you send out is returned to you tenfold, if not more.

    Eden

  6. Pingback: Finding Success – are you positive about that? (via alboudreau) « Soldiering through the Writing World  

  7. What a great post, Al!

    Stepping out into social media (i.e. a universe full of strangers!) was a really big step for me. I am truly amazed at how many wonderful people I have met! The authors I have been privileged to meet (including you) have all been amazingly supportive, offering friendly advice and suggestions and asking nothing in return. They did not know me from Adam, yet welcomed me with open arms into the community. I am very blessed to have made these new friends – their help has been immeasurable – I hope I can offer the same help to others.

    You, Maria Savva, Darcia Helle, Jason McIntyre, JBKirkpatrick and many others have made me very proud to be an indie author. Please accept my sincere ‘thank you’!

    All my best,

    Michael

  8. Al Boudreau says:

    Michael…my experience is very similar to your own. When I started down my own writer’s road, I was clueless. I had heard of Twitter, but couldn’t have “tweeted” if my life had depended on it. Everything I’ve learned since is a direct result of the generosity, knowledge, and spirit of those in the writing community. That being said, I appreciate your kind words…I am merely returning the favor by attempting to share anything I feel might be helpful to fellow writers.

    The authors you mentioned…Maria Savva, Darcia Helle, Jason McIntyre, and JBKirkpatrick, are people I respect immensely. Inclusion in this group is deeply humbling to me. I’m very pleased you enjoyed this week’s post and really appreciate your visit.

  9. Larry Enright says:

    You’re a good man, Al.🙂

  10. What a coincidence Al, I was encouraging a fellow writer only this morning. She has some very serious health issues and was feeling isolated and gloomy. We chatted for an hour or so and I have organised an evening together to help her. Reaching out to others has transformed my life – literally. I have ‘found’ such wonderful people and with mutual respect we have encouraged and supported each other.
    Your blog is awe inspiring in its content and I always feel heartened after reading it. Global connections can be used to the greater good.

    • Al Boudreau says:

      It never ceases to amaze me, how the helping hands, or small gestures we offer are magnified in the eyes and hearts of those who receive them. As you have found through your fellowship with others, giving a piece of one’s self actually makes us grow in the process. I appreciate your visit, and kind words. Thank you for taking time to reach out to those who need you. Each time we do so, the world becomes a better place.

  11. Ellie Ann says:

    What a fantastic post, Al. You have a kind a beautiful spirit, thanks for sharing it with us. I’m taking your advice to heart.🙂

  12. I think positivity may be the most important, and most overlooked, aspect of human life. I know that I have struggled with negative feelings my whole life but recently it all turned around. It’s terribly difficult to be positive when you’re feeling negative, but sometimes you just have to give yourself a break. I know that it’s only through focussing on doing what I love over the past few months, and giving myself permission to do so, that I have suddenly achieved a kind of clarity about where I am going and where I want to be.

    As you say, having a plan doesn’t have to include monthly targets. That kind of plan rarely bears fruit when applied to real life. But when you focus on your end goal (in my case, earn my living as a writer) then you find that everything starts to fall into place, a little bit at a time. Progress towards achieving your life’s goals is often measured as much in your heart, by how you feel, as on paper by your bank statements.

    Giving back to others is one of the best ways of giving to yourself. The feeling of achievement we get from being able to help someone cannot be underestimated, quite apart from the warm fuzzies we get from helping as well. Your time and energy are often all it costs to help someone out. Likewise, you shouldn’t spread yourself too thin. After all, you need to do things for yourself as well as for others. But when an opportunity presents itself to help someone else out, unless it’s really going to mess up your life, the opportunity should be taken, like any opportunity that comes your way in life.

    You are a wise man, Al, and I am so glad to have ‘met’ you. Twitter has opened up a world of writers that I didn’t even know existed and I have learnt so much from people like you. I sincerely hope I can make it to ReaderCon this year and meet you in person!

    • Al Boudreau says:

      Anne…there is nothing I can add to what you have said so eloquently, other than thank you. Your words function as a lovely page added to my own post.
      I truly appreciate your insight, as I’m certain others will. And I would love to meet you this summer too.

  13. Dannie says:

    Well said, Al and Anne! What a great string of thoughts from great writers.

  14. Chloe says:

    Hi – one of my blogging friends (Haley Whitehall) made reference to you in one of her recent posts, so I thought I would pop by to visit your blog. I’m so glad I did! I’ve subscribed so I can view your future posts😀

    Have a great day!

    • Al Boudreau says:

      Hi Chloe…I’m so glad you did too. Thanks for signing up, and I’m certainly looking forward to getting to know you…@threecifer on Twitter if you’d like to say hello.

  15. Shay Fabbro says:

    It is so amazing how much this post hit home! I was NOT blessed with patience…not even a smidgen. ***sigh*** The good Lord puts obstacles in my path to test this major flaw and I fear I disappoint him terribly most days😉

    Patience is something I strive for. I often wish there was an elixir or supplement I could take to boost my levels, if even a little.

    However, my constant energy and drive to want things NOW is what helped me get my Bachelors degree and PhD in genetics. It is also what helped me write my first book while still going to grad school. And my impatience also gave me the energy to self-publish rather than wait for some agent somewhere to maybe want to represent me. One hundred and sixty rejections was just too much for me to want to continue the process.

    I admit that I am annoyed and angry and dejected after seeing that no one downloaded a sample off Smashwords, or that no one has ordered anything new in over a week from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. I get so frustrated that I want to throw in the towel and give up, focusing instead on teaching and research.

    But I love to write and I love my books and think that many others will like it too, once they get a chance to read them. And so I pick myself up (with the never-ending help and encouragement from GREAT people like Al!!!!) and chastise myself for being a whiny baby, and continue to meet people through Facebook and Twitter.

    Thanks for being such a good friend and such an inspiration!🙂

    • Al Boudreau says:

      Shay…I was literally force-fed patience for so long, I had no choice but to succomb and conform—a painful transformation. I’m now thrilled it happened the way it did, to be quite honest. The lessons really sank in to my former, bunker-quality skull. With this patience came humility, another trait my life was sorely lacking.

      If we’re living right, I truly believe life will provide us the lessons we need to grow.

      Do not feel alone, in terms of temporary stagnation of your book sales. Every up-and-coming author feels the same when their titles don’t move as quickly as expected. I go through it too. People help bridge the gap. Your visit to this blog, and communicating that it has helped you, pulls me out of my narrow focus and supplies me with the exact same feeling I get when another soul reads and enjoys my writing. I feel appreciated, I feel needed, and I feel alive. Little old me has affected a small, yet positive change.

      Here is the pay dirt…it gets no better than that.😉

  16. Jen Knox says:

    Great post, Al. When the quest becomes something elusive like success, and not human fulfillment an connection, one is easily lost. Thanks for addressing this.

  17. Al, I loved your post and try to live by those “golden rules.” Thank you for sharing and giving all of us some insight into who you really are inside.

    • Al Boudreau says:

      Val…after having the distinct pleasure of getting to know you, I’d say you do much better than “try” to live by the more important of the two “Golden Rules.” You are a SuperStar in your assistance to fellow writers. I’m proud to call you my friend. Thanks for stopping by.

  18. Toby Neal says:

    Good post, Al. Nathan Bransford says on his blog you should start networking 3 YEARS before your book comes out. I’ve been doing it 6 months and hoping books will be out in the next six, and I’m convinced its’ all about building relationships, not just to sell stuff but because the world is full of amazing people, and we can affect change together. Like, you got me out of my funk with the the ‘greek seaman’ thing. I was afraid I was going to find something nasty and instead it was HILARIOUS and something to cringe at. We are all tender-tummied porcupines, we writers.
    Here are a few of my own thoughts on social networking/etc:
    http://www.tobyneal.net/2010/09/06/blogging-social-networking-and-evolving-as-a-writer-inseparable/
    For me, being online drew me further into writing than being isolated ever could have. What a journey!

    • Al Boudreau says:

      Just read the post on your blog…great stuff. Also, after having several conversations with you on Twitter, I dare say you are doing quite well with your networking. Thank you so much for stopping by, Toby.

  19. One of the things I love about the network of online writing friends I’ve found is how generous everyone is… with their time, their platform, and with encouraging words.

    Great article.

  20. andrewmocete says:

    Funny thing about your title, I feel like any success I’m having has found ME. In a lot of ways I don’t feel like I’m marketing, just talking to people, but I’m always surprised by the people who find me or mention something I’ve written on my blog. In this case, nice guys finish first.

  21. Al Boudreau says:

    An interesting perspective, Andrew. I think you’re onto something, my friend.

  22. Junying says:

    Al, as always, an insightful and inspiring post! I am continiously encouraged and uplifted with your wise observations and kind assitance to other felloow writers. It is your generous spirit and your giving nature which make your blog such an addiction for your friends and readers.

    Yes, it sounds so easy when we talk about positivity but more often than not we are dogged by nagativity, especially when our books are not selling, our efforts are not rewarded and no matter how hard we try, we just could not help but feeling disppointed and dejected. We started moaning, then gloom set in and all going downhill spiral to a very dark place😦. You’re right to remind us how important it is to remain positive and focus on what we can achieve. When we give out positive energy, we in turn receive postive response and support from those around us.

    I particularly like what you say about treating others with respect and kindness, and to give back. No matter what our financial circumstances are at any given period, there are always people who are worse off than us, who need a helping hand and donation of our time and money. I supported a poor Chinese girl through high school a few years ago, and she is now studying medicine at university – there is no reward better than the feeling of giving without expecting anything return, except that I changed this person’s life, and in time, she is going to change many more people’s life by doing something good and worthwhile.

    Thanks for your kind gesture of helping Japan, and for metntioning the book With Love, which I have contributed to (to my great sadness, I was attacked by certain members of my family when I mentioned this – unfortunately but perhaps understandably, their hatred towards Japanese is so great that they can not forgive what they did to China during the WWII).

    My recent visit to China has given me a lot of food for thought, and I have gone through far deeper cultural shock than when I left China for the UK two decades ago. I was completelt shaken by China’s obsession of money and comsumerism which has partly brought the economic dire straits which the West has now found itself in, and it made me almost miss the days of Communism when nobody cared about money🙂. Anyway, that would be one of the themes for my future blog -that’s the plan anyway🙂.

    Finally, just to say how much I’ve always enjoyed reading your articles – I have finished your book by the way, one of the few happy outcomes of my ‘home’ visit🙂.

    I also enjoyd reading other people’s comments. Al, you’re gathering a big fan base. Well done!

  23. Al Boudreau says:

    Junying…what a lovely story about the young Chinese girl you supported through high school now having moved on to study medicine. These are the stories that truly warm my heart. In regard to your travels, it sounds as though your experiences were a mixed blessing, yet I’m certain you will weave them into another wonderfully original story. Hurry home, my Dear. You’ve been missed greatly by all of us. As always, thank you so much for your savvy insight and kind words. You are someone who truly makes a difference!

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