I dreamed of writing a book for many years. When I really let myself dream, I allowed myself to envision my book hitting #1 on a bestseller list.
I woke up on Friday, April 1st with a fuzzy brain. Saying yes to that extra glass of wine the night before was doing me no early morning favors. I had nothing on my schedule (Fridays are always free), but I felt the desire to create something.
Scanning through my e-mails, I read Seth Godin’s post about how invisible ads were going to be the new thing in marketing. It took my slow brain a couple reads before I caught on to the joke.
Oh yeah, today’s April 1st… Good one, Seth. You had me going for a minute…
And then a spark of inspiration ignited within me.
Ah, it’s April 1st! I’ll create something FUN today…
I let that thought be and in the meantime decided to do some housekeeping and organize the files on my computer. Doing so, I stumbled over an old graphic I’d created years earlier as a joke where I’d replaced my wife’s head with Oprah’s.
Upon seeing the photo, the spark of inspiration took flame. Instantly, the idea downloaded into my brain. My fingers danced on the keyboard and within 25 minutes, the story was written and posted. (I’ve written few things as easily as this post.)
Clicking the “send” button and sharing my thoughts with thousands of people always makes me feel alive. However, on this day, I noticed that my feelings of anticipation were sky-high and I realized something interesting unfolded during the writing process.
Even though the events and details were made up (I have no friend named Maggie, I never share champagne with Oprah, hell, I’ve never even used Skype), by envisioning all those details, I started to believe my own story.
What I mean is that I could feel the reality of what I was envisioning. In that moment whether I would physically be sharing a stage with Ms. Winfrey in a few months was irrelevant.
I was already there. I could imagine it. I could feel it. And I liked how it felt. I liked it so much, I gave little thought to how my message would be received.
I suppose I expected to fool some people for a moment or two, just as Seth Godin had me going earlier in the morning. I figured there were enough clues (e.g., the doctored photo, the show date being months after Oprah’s highly publicized retirement, the fact that it was April1!) to make it all quite obvious.
Less than two minutes after clicking send, my phone began to ring. And ring. And ring. Hundreds of the most wonderful, positive messages of support (“I knew you would do it!”) I’ve ever received flooded my inbox.
Congratulatory e-mails outnumbered the “good April Fools joke” messges by about 20-1. Family members called me wondering why I hadn’t mentioned the big news earlier. My college roommate sent a message of congratulations, even though if Maggie existed, he most certainly would have known her.
While the rush of positive attention felt wonderful, I felt like I had created a monster, a Frankenstein no longer in my control.
What do I do now? I wondered. Should I write another message and say, “Ha Ha, I got you! April Fool!”?
To decide, I sat and asked myself the question I always ask…
Right now, what feels better to me?
And what felt better (not great, mind you, better) was to do nothing… to write people back and thank them for their warm words, (this felt very good) and to just surf the wave until it finally reached the shore.
I’m writing this now because as my “air date” approaches lots of good people have been contacting me for details. As I began thinking back on these events, the coolest part of the experience dawned on me.
Looking back, the act of writing out my story in a fun way (and believing it myself) had some powerful effects.
No, Oprah’s people have yet to call (but they really should if they want that OWN network to fly), but in the original post I announced my book’s release on the Kindle. Amid the flurry of messages, lots of people told me that they had just bought my book and were really enjoying it.
I remember checking my sales on Amazon in the Happiness genre, and The Very Cool Life Code was #23. Seeing that sent a wave of energy cascading down my spine. Wow! That’s pretty cool.
For the next day or so, as buzz continued to crest, I kept refreshing the page, watching my name climb past some well-known names. Wayne Dyer. Richard Bach. The Dalai Lama.
#16. #9. #5.
And there is was. My book hit #1…
While this was a cool moment for me, I didn’t fully allow it at the time. I did not appreciate that this was in fact the manifestation of exactly what I’d asked for many years earlier. Mostly I let feelings of guilt (“it’s not nice to fool people”) rule the day instead of basking in the wildly unexpected manner in which everything unfolded. (I am allowing myself to bask in it now, however.)
So that’s my story of how my intention came into being.
I planned nothing and followed where my inspiration took me.
And I believe that to be a winning formula.
P.S. Don’t forget to set your DVRs for tomorrow night! Me. Oprah. 8PM!
Better yet, come see me live in Burlington while there’s still space. Today 9/9 is the last day to save over $100 per night on accommodations at the Hilton!