When insecurities are driving the bus

My insecurities were buckled in tight and driving the bus full speed toward the edge of a cliff. This was several months ago. I was sending a preview copy of Grow Like Jesus to a few friends and asking them to read it and consider endorsing it.

photo credit: Selega Cockpit via photopin (license)
photo credit: Selega Cockpit via photopin (license)

What if none of them were willing to read it? Worse, what if they read it and didn’t like it? What if they hated it?

Thankfully, those fears were unfounded.

Two of my favorite responses were, “There’s no freaking way I would not help you” and “Just get ready for books to fly off the shelves.” People seemed genuinely excited about the project and more than willing to help.

Now, less than one week from when the book officially “launches,” I find myself continually overwhelmed with gratitude for all the support the book is getting – not just from those who read the advance copy but from others who are promoting the book in one form or another. It’s been humbling, to say the least.

In many ways, the experience of asking friends to sacrifice something in the name of our friendship has made me clay in the hands of the Potter.

I’ve often challenged clients to ask their “networks” for help, but it’s been very different to find myself asking for favors. For the endorsements, I had asked some friends to give up a few hours of their valuable time to read the book, give an honest opinion of it, and then, if they felt so led, to write something nice that I could share with the world. Seemed like a lot to ask.

Now I’m asking people to buy the book, to recommend it to others, to pray for it, to write reviews on Amazon, and to promote it on social media. Seems like a lot to ask. It all makes me very uncomfortable. So as I battle to keep my insecurities out of the driver’s seat, here are a few lessons I’ve tried to keep in mind about imposing on friendships:

Don’t take negative responses personally. I knew some people simply wouldn’t be able to read the book and write an endorsement. Most “no’s” were gracious and understandable. But I’ll confess that a few “no’s” stung a little. I had to remind myself that they lead busy lives, too, and that I don’t know everything that’s going on in those lives. I had to remember to push aside my human nature, stay thankful for all the “yes’s,” and trust God for the results.

Encouragement does wonders for the soul. That said, it was great to get encouragement, even from those who weren’t able to help. It’s often hard to say “no” to your friends, but I saw how it’s possible to do so with grace and encouragement. When I am asked to help others, I’m now more committed than ever to responding – whether with a “yes” or “no” – in an encouraging way.

Faith is most active when I step outside my comfort zone. For me, the hardest part about publishing a book wasn’t writing it or finding a publisher, although those weren’t easy. The hardest part has been marketing it. I love promoting the message, but I get weirded out when it feels like I’m marketing “me” or when I feel like I’m imposing on others. Still, I know hope isn’t a strategy. I have to do my part. Sometimes that involves asking friends for a hand along the way, even if it makes me feel a little strange.

So, to all those who have helped and are helping with the promotion of this book, thanks. In one way or another, you’ve helped me Grow Like Jesus.

(Want to see the book’s endorsements? Click here.)