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“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” ~ Benjamin Mee, “We Bought a Zoo”
What have you always wanted to do?
What is that one dream, that one hope, that one accomplishment that burns inside?
For 30 years, I’ve always wanted to be a published author.
I’m finally stepping into my writer’s life with a level of commitment I’ve never had before.
One day, that started much like any other, a promotion for the Elephant Academy online Find Your Voice course landed in my email. You know those moments that seemed destined? In a synchronistic moment, the Universe was supporting me.
I’ve seen what you’ve done to get clear. You must make your dreams come true, be brave, and go for it.
In 17 seconds, I decided to join.
Up until four weeks before, I’d been ruled by fear: fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of this, fear of that. And in my marriage, fear of loss of connection was screaming at me. I started to fall into a depression.
It terrified me that I might slip into a state of settling ennui.
My mental chatter wasn’t rational. I reasoned that if I became depressed, I might prove to be of no use to my wife; following this was the fear that she’d leave me. Whether or not this would ever happen wasn’t the point—living with this fear was isolating.
With the help of friends and a caring therapist, I engaged in self-inquiry, faced my traumas, and started to heal.
And yes, I wrote, but never pieces for publication. I would craft poems that only friends would see. I would develop manuals for workshops and do technical writing to earn a living. I would receive unpaid accolades when I gave my services away to small organizations I cared about.
I also penned letters to people, often loving letters telling them how they inspired me.
In a therapy session, I shared how a friend who had received one of my letters a week earlier had poured herself into a 20-minute voice message. In that message, she relayed how impactful my words had been; after reading my letter, she saw herself in a new light.
“I value your letter and sharing of what you see in me…your gift in writing and sharing your truth is so powerful…what matters to me is the quality of the person I am, and you see that, and I’m thankful that you share that with me.”
How did that make me feel? Useful. I had been of benefit to someone. My small contribution had an outsized impact, not simply because of what I wrote but because of how she took what I shared and acted on it.
Other people shared similar reflections. My letters were well-received. I penned them because they flowed out of me and met my need to express myself.
They also felt safe because only one person would see them.
This was my way of playing small.
When anyone asked “What else are you working on?” I would tell them about my ideas for the book I was authoring—for release by the end of the year. Hearing their curiosity about my writing, I bathed in self-congratulations.
But protecting this imagined identity was more comfortable than expressing my thoughts on the page. I stopped every time I got to more than a detailed outline. I would quit again and again, choosing instead to fantasize about my future publication. It was enough to believe that my book would be consequential—I never actually acted to write it.
Now, I’m on a journey without fear. I know that I have something worthwhile to share. I have found my inner voice—the voice that so patiently waited for so many years to be woken up. That voice is consequential. When I express my thoughts from my core self, when I let that self out onto the page, it will connect with someone who needs its message.
I’ve let go of having to hide.
What has my “twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery” brought me? I made my dreams come true; even before the Academy course finished, I pitched an article to a magazine and got hired.
When I joined the course, I fell in love with the community. The people were instantly engaged and generously shared their time. And we’re super supportive of each other.
This community has helped me to grow into the writer I was always meant to be.
There are many ways to benefit from the Find Your Voice course; here’s what some of my friends created for themselves:
“Thanks to this program, I have learned to be more authentic and be in service through my writing. Writing has become a major part of my evolution.” ~ Yael
“I expected to find my writer’s voice, that voice inside me that I knew was there but felt murky and unorganized. Untethered. And scared. I already knew I could write but I wanted more. And I got it. By walking the path to find my voice through my writing, I discovered my voice was loud and resounding and that I had something to say. Finding my voice as a writer inspired me to find my voice as a human being and to speak up about what I’m passionate about, what I care about, and what I think matters. I found my courage to be a voice.” ~ Molly
“The biggest benefit I’ve received from the Elephant Academy is being a member of a kind, open-minded, supportive community. Not only has it helped me grow as a writer but I’ve evolved personally and met many amazing people. I’m very thankful.” ~ Janis
Each person finds something different, something personally meaningful while taking this course.
Take a moment and listen to your inner voice.
If you hear it, is it saying, “Join”?
Come and be welcomed and supported by this beautiful community.
I found my voice—and it’s insistent. Write, right now!
*Authors note: This is a revision of my second piece written during the Spring 2023 Find Your Voice course. I didn’t want to take that piece down as it spoke to many people. You can read that first version here. After I committed to being published, breaking through 30 years of resisting, I was published three times within two months of getting brave and joining the Find Your Voice course. What do you dream your writing will give you?