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  • Writer's pictureLeah Dawkins

The Learning Curve

I am an expert at being a nurse. I have done it for 32 years. I am also an expert at being a nurse leader. I have held leadership positions for 17 years, not to mention the previous 15 years as a charge nurse. I am really comfortable with answering questions related to all things nursing.

I am not, on the other hand, an expert in all things book related. In fact, I am a novice. I am in the dreaded, Learning Curve. I am anxious to get to the other side and be comfortable with all things related to authoring and publishing a book. Oh, and let’s not forget marketing. None of which I have ever done in my entire life.

And, yet, here I am. Scared out of my mind as I attempt to invent a life I crave. A life outside of being a nurse, and to do so I must get comfortable in the Learning Curve. I must lean into that which makes me the most uncomfortable. I have to be, ugh…vulnerable. And, I have to admit when I need help. And trust me when I tell you that is not my best gift.

So, instead of dreading the Learning Curve, I am learning to embrace it.

Well, at least trying to learn.

What has this taught me about myself?

I truly suck at IT. My brain struggles to navigate the world of computers, platforms, links, and websites. I absolutely know what I want but have the worst time bringing it to fruition. And it frustrates me. And, yet each day I get up with the attitude that if I want to achieve this new dream I have for my future, I have to master the IT involved. So, I keep trying.

I put way too much faith in delivery dates. They are just suggestions. Don’t move forward with launch dates or plans until you have the finished product in hand. And this is absolutely on me. I had no understanding how self-publishing worked and made assumptions that were, in hindsight, naïve and uninformed. Lesson learned.

Marketing my own product makes me super uncomfortable. I think it's because it feels like asking for help. It isn’t. Done right, selling books on consignment is a win for both parties, but still, it feels weird to me. I am used to being the help, not asking for it. So, I swallow my pride and my fear, and walk up to complete strangers and ask them to consider having my product in their store. So far, no one has pushed me out of their store and locked the door. I consider this a win.

I second guess myself…and third, and fourth. I make a decision and then I over-analyze it, wondering if it is the right decision, because well, I just don’t know. I have no benchmark. I have nothing to compare it to. I have no experience in this area, so every first thing is an act of blind faith. Is this the right picture? What about the name of that character, does that fit the persona I am trying to create? Should I put this on social media? Maybe I am not the right person to narrate my book for Audible? I have to work to stick with decisions. And here is the thing, my second guessing is causing me to make silly mistakes. I need to learn to leave well-enough alone. To realize I can and will do better next time. I am just learning.

In the end, I have decided to treat this book as I did my first child. This is the book I am going to practice on. When my daughter was born, I knew nothing about being a mom. I just kept getting up each morning and doing the best I could. I hung out with other mother’s, I learned from them. I would mess up, apologize, and then try to do better the next time. I asked for advice. I prayed, a bunch. And I loved. And I am happy to say I have an amazing daughter, she turned out fine despite my lack of experience. And being a mom, the second time was like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes. I slid right into it.

I feel confident my next book, Peace Cries the Soul, will go much more smoothly and I will be a much better author and publisher. The Learning Curve will be a thing of the past, I will now have experience. I may still struggle with areas of my new world, but that’s okay. Putting myself out there, taking a chance on me, it’s worth every uncomfortable feeling, every misstep, every frustration.

My biggest lesson from this entire experience has been nothing short of total enlightenment and I am happy to share it with you. Here it goes…

Being vulnerable is not a weakness, it is your biggest strength.

I know, right? Who knew.

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