How do you create work that brings the respect of the market, the value in your bank account, and the positive influence in the world? My upcoming self-published book Bring Your Worth: Level Up Your Creative Power, Value & Service to the World, arriving February 7 in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook, takes proven methods from my keynotes and coaching practice and puts them into a strong, focused package perfect for both independents and traditional businesspeople interested in making their best impact in the world. Below is an edited excerpt.
The easiest motivation and the laziest shield from harm is anger. It is also the most treacherous. We're taught to show the world that it can't hold us down. Show them who's boss. "I will make an impact today and you can't stop me!" Best case scenario, one day, you would have shown the world how much of a badass you are, and there will be no more battles to fight, no more prizes to win. The most driven people can find themselves miserable in their mansion or their private jet or their worldwide TV show or whatever trinket of personal success. When they get to the so-called top, they realize that they were motivated by winning, which means, by their definition, someone else has to lose.
What happens when you do win? Many of us don't think that through. And that vengeful, prove 'em wrong attitude doesn't just dissipate when you achieve what you say you want. It doesn't have a release, so you begin creating adversaries because you need enemies to stay motivated or, worse, subconsciously plot your own downfall so you can have another mountain peak to reach.
Gay Hendricks calls this an upper-limit problem, meaning you aren't comfortable with your success because you feel like you don't deserve it or you realize your motivation is going away. So you sabotage it. I'm tired of the accomplished entrepreneur, the established politician, or the amazing athlete sharing their take after a public, avoidable downfall, finally excited with a glint in her eyes, a conviction in her voice, talking about proving all the doubters wrong and loving being the underdog and envisioning herself back on top, when her drive was missing moments before she made the foolhardy decision in the first place. The only person that didn't believe she would stay on top was her.
The original reason you do things goes away, which is why you can't be motivated by anger. You should be the same to whom you serve no matter what your circumstances. The trials seem frustrating, if not insurmountable, when we begin a new journey. For a while, I believed we were tested by a vengeful god, a tough universe, an omnipresent boot camp sergeant wanting only the strong to survive and have the spoils. It is hard to earn.
I've learned differently now. The treasure is initially denied because we need to learn how to show up even when the rewards feel out of reach, when the tangible rewards are questionable at best, and when we aren't sure there will be a payoff at the end. It isn't a test of your ethics or grit. It is guaranteeing that you discover the real treasure: Serving others to your highest capacity.
Delayed gratification means showing up in a consistent manner, whether fiscally rich or broke, impacting audiences large or tiny, or being a best-seller or a minor seller. I worked on my first major book, Porn & Pong: How Grand Theft Auto, Tomb Raider & Other Sexy Games Changed Our Culture, for five years, and remained antsy about getting it out into the public after many rewrites, much agent drama, and different personal challenges, until various veteran writers pulled me aside and said my reward wasn't getting it published. I was already experiencing my reward: Creating my first manuscript outside of the scrutiny of the public. No one knew who I was and no one cared. There would only be one first book, and, no matter what the success of the book, I would never experience that solitary practice again. My voice was at its purest.
They were right. My effort since has been to get back to that essence, to give you my clearest voice, and to serve you my best expression, regardless of how many copies my books sell. I've written best-sellers and I've written just as many flops. My intention is always the same, though, and I could not promise that the intention would have been the same if my first book had earned a six-figure deal before it was done (it didn't) or if I came from the public spotlight (I didn't).
Your core ideas, those core intentions as a creator, are all built in the struggle, not in the feast. The biggest danger, then, isn't missing your opportunity to shine brightly, to create wealth, or to impact the world, but not allowing the life experiences to prepare you to do those very things. The circumstances will come in disguises, cloaked in a frustrating situation, a setback, or an unexpected development. Your life is tailor-made to develop the muscles you need to succeed.