a little grace

As a writer, publishing a book is a big task. When the book is out, though, it's no time to take the foot off the pedal and bask in the glory of a job well done. Promotion plays a huge part in this and there is no bigger stamp of approval than having a NYT Best Selling author endorse your writing. The way it works is usually based on connections and who you know more than what you know. Sure, you need to have good material, but if a well-known author gives you the thumbs-up, it can be a game changer. Problem is, you need to be well-known to get an endorsement whilst simultaneously being well-known in order to receive one. As a reader I see it a lot! There's a scene where authors repeatedly pop up in books that are related to a particular topic. As an independent writer, I have no publishing company behind me spending thousands of $ telling the masses just how much they need me and my book in their lives. I have to promote myself and I hate it. Hate it! The message that my product is special is like telling an already crowded room that I should be heard. Sure, there's room for everyone, but I would like to be talked of as a human being who cares for others, not a salesman blowing his own trumpet every chance he gets.

I want to sell books to help change people’s lives. Period. That has happened with some of the feedback I've received and it is still unfathomable to me each time. To reach a greater audience, I need to promote and get the all-important endorsement. I decided a while back that I would keep my integrity intact and politely contact the people that have influenced my journey. I could have written to people I don't completely align with and gotten a blurb to look nice and pretty on the cover of my book. Instead, I opted to reach out to real mentors, who, even though not directly mentoring me, have shaped the person I desire to be.

Bob Goff was the first person that came to mind and this post is now actually getting to the point I am trying to make. Bob is a legend! If you know of him you'll completely agree. If you don't know him, you're welcome. Bob lives LOVE! Lives it. Unconditional, unquestioned, whimsical, force-of-nature, love. Bob dishes it out like a billionaire and because of it, is the richest man on the planet. He shares this richness in a way that is, unfortunately, an anomaly in our twisted, selfish society.

So I'm thinking of Bob and his book, Love Does, and how he is everything that is good about life. I mean, who better to write this endorsement. I love the guy and he is super credible. I send Bob a great email. (I write great emails, no seriously, you should get a passionate email from me sometime, I guarantee you'll be moved to do something nice for me). Anyway, I am pouring my all into this mail and using references from his book as nice little insider-type material to, you know, build trust and actually make it seem like we are already friends and that I am doing him a favour by letting his name be on the cover of my magnum opus of near-death and redemption.

The day after I hit 'send' on yet another masterpiece, I see Bob pop up in my Instagram feed. He is in Somalia hugging Sultans and throwing his arm around diplomats. He's busy, he'll get to my mail eventually. Couple of days later Bob's Instagram account shows me he's in Haiti. A few days later he's at a conference, then his old law school, then the Pacific North West to speak to kids who've lost their dads and are being mentored by some other equally awesome dudes. It's then that I start to feel bad. I feel bad because I realise just how swamped he actually is. And here I am asking him to read an entire book and agree to have his name slapped on the cover. I pass it off and forget about it, until this morning. Bob wrote me an email. I've gotten some pretty good ones in my time but this one is up there in my top five.

Bob tells me what a great man I am for all I am doing in my community and for my kids. He tells me that the world needs more people like me, how he is honoured that I asked him in respect to the book. He told me that he is in 1-3 cities a day and is just “buried.” I understood all of this and he even goes so far as to say he would love to help out a “friend,” that's me btw in case you haven't been paying attention. It's his closing sentence that sends my mind twirling and feeling all good about life. “I hope you give me a little grace on it!” A little grace. Three of the sweetest words that when lived by, change everything about life.

I have repeated that mantra all day and it trumps all my past selfishness immediately. How many times have I lacked grace in everyday life? Too many. How many times have I responded to something in a way that laid emotional hurt at the feet of someone else? Too many. How much of my life has been spent adding up the things I've done for people and expected something in return? Too much. I desire to live like Bob. I yearn to be graceful in all aspects of my life in both the minute and the massive. Bob is living proof that the ripple of love and grace can turn into a tidal wave that truly no one can stop. Give someone in your life a little grace today, you'll be surprised at just how far it goes.

StoryMalcolm McLoughlinComment