From the outside, I looked successful—at least by other people’s standards.
I’d landed three traditional-publishing deals and self-published 18 eBooks, and almost all of my books had become Amazon bestsellers. I’d spoken on numerous stages, sometimes sharing the mic with leading industry experts. I was considered a thought leader and had a sizeable following on social networks.
Yet, after 15 years of striving for success by publishing industry standards, I found myself empty. I had little passion for my work. I felt uninspired and lost… And nothing I did was enough.
I was trying to meet my literary agent’s expectations for who I should be or needed to be. I was attempting to be patient and write what I was supposed to write and do what I was told to do so that someday I might get to write the books I wanted to write.
And there were other external pressures. For instance, my husband really wanted me to contribute to the family’s income. And so, I built a business around my books and attempted to make more money doing things I never planned to do.
While I waited and continued to do what was expected, I hardly wrote at all. That fact alone, caused me to feel guilty, inauthentic, off-purpose, and unworthy of another traditional publishing deal.
I lost sight of my dream for my life’s work. Even worse, I lost my connection to the person who was supposed to do that work—me. I stopped thinking about or moving toward aspirations I had for myself—ones that came from my sense of spiritual calling.
One day I was having lunch with a friend who has known me since I began my journey to authorship. About halfway through the meal, she looked at me and said, “What happened to Nina—the Nina I used to know? Where did she go?”
I put my fork down and stared at her. I was no longer hungry; my heart now lay like a stone in my stomach, and tears fell onto my napkin. She was right…and I knew it.
That Nina was gone…long gone.
I was no longer the same person who set out to become an author. Nor had I written the books I set out to write or made the difference I planned to make. And, I’d given up my power to create the life and career I wanted as I allowed others to make decisions for me or influence my own.
My friend no longer saw "me" because I had lost that version of myself along with the passion for my dreams and commitment to fulfilling my purpose.
I considered the price I’d paid for allowing myself and my life to be measured by external expectations, dictated by my fear of disappointing others, and guided by my need for security.
Not only had I lost myself, forgotten my dream, given away my power, and gotten off-purpose, my marriage was failing. My books weren’t selling, and a new book contract seemed an impossibility. I was 20 pounds overweight and struggling with an autoimmune disease. I felt disconnected from one of my children, both my sisters, my spiritual community, and the Divine Creator. And I could not figure out how to find my way back to my authentic self, to align with my calling, or to turn my career toward my life’s work.
I’d paid a high price for the emptiness, worthlessness, and powerlessness I received in return for my efforts…a price that left me filled with a profound sadness and inability to enjoy my life or success.
At that moment, I realized I had to choose myself. And I had to decide to live into…not up to…my soul purpose…rather than external expectations.
I had to become the creator of my life—a life full of meaning, purpose, and connection with spirit. That type of life would make me happy and fulfilled, and it would never leave me searching for that elusive "something more."
So I hired a Certified High Performance Coach®. She lovingly challenged and helped me realize the huge disconnect between where I was and where I ultimately wanted to go (and had always wanted to end up). This personal development program increased my awareness of the disharmony and dissatisfaction I felt while giving me the tools to create harmony and fulfillment. It also helped me remember and redefine my purpose. In fact, the process was so powerful that I decided to also become a Certified High Performance Coach®!
While I wanted to continue writing, albeit on very different topics, I also had the desire to feel spiritually guided toward fulfilling my soul purpose. And I wanted my work as a writer, speaker, and coach to flow out of that connection and guidance.
For that to happen, though, I had to remove my internal blocks to connecting with the Creator—just like I had to remove inner blocks to a deeper relationship with my husband, my family members, and myself.
In fact, I had another big aha moment when I realized my personal and spiritual growth were integrally tied together. When I worked on myself, I increased my ability to feel connected to and guided by the Creator. And when I focused on spirituality, I made huge strides toward self-realization. Only if I took actions that led to both personal and spiritual growth could I realize my potential and create the life I was meant to live.
And so I gave myself the permission, time, and space to develop a better relationship with God. I began to meditate, pray, and journal consistently as I dove deeper into more Certified High Performance Coaching sessions.
As I focused on my personal and spiritual development, I began to create what I truly desired—a life full of meaning, purpose, and spirituality. I created a life that feeds my soul.