I’m always utterly flattered when people ask “when are you gonna write a book?” or say “you should write a book!”. I do often chuckle a bit, because most of those people already experience my words often-enough. Maybe having them wrapped up with a dust cover makes them feel more sexy and real?
I lived a good long season of life where I believed things like “no one loves me” and “no one wants to know me”. Thought I wanted more from life, I ultimately couldn’t shake the belief that I was unimportant. That what I had to say might be unimportant or not interesting to men.
So it’s staggeringly crazy to me to be living a life where people now routinely express a desire to be hearing more of my words. How did that happen?!
What to do, what to do…
To be honest, I’ve long thought about writing a book. Maybe even more than one! But boy-oh-boy, I’m not sure where I would begin?!
- What would I share and write about?
- Where did I get what I’d have to share?
- Who would I share it with?
- What do they need?
- What would they get out of reading whatever I would write?
- Would a book have helped me?
- Would a book the best way for them to receive it?
What would I share and write about?
Without question, the crux pitch of my upward climb as a man and human, has been working through what was a deplorable sense of self-worth, self-loathing, worthlessness and shame.
I remember well those feelings of being bullied, being alone in every crowd, unwanted, unloved, abandoned and miserable. How I indeed suffered greatly from these dark emotions! I was about forty five before I could bear looking in mirrors longer than a few minutes or seeing pictures or videos of myself.
I really struggled to truly let myself be seen by anyone. I didn’t expect they’d like what they saw very much.
So I’d write about how, though I felt like I greatly and deeply loved others and desperately wanted to receive that kind of love from others, I secretly didn’t feel worthy of receiving the kind of love I gave. I didn’t see myself as having anywhere near as much value as everyone else and sure as hell didn’t believe anyone would ever love me like that. Why bother?
I’d also pen a few chapters on my feeble attempts to show others deeper love than I could bear to receive and my foolishness in trying to serve them from an unreliable well polluted with deep contempt for myself.
I’d write about my intense worry and anxiety that I’d die and leave this earth having never experienced what I’d always longed to receive and experience.
I suspect the bulk of my book would be centered on how my suffering was built upon the four pillars of shame, fear, anxiety, and insecurity. It would be filled with some stories where each of those themes was prominent and created heartache and misery.
Like the time I got pissed and spit on in my sleep from boys up above me in a treehouse, then accused of being a bed-wetter and how I’d felt kinda pissed on and disregarded for years after and how hopeless I felt to be labeled something I wasn’t.
Or the time when my fifth grade teacher purposefully humiliated me in front of my whole class when she made me remove an orthodontic device from my mouth much to the shrills and laughs of the kids as they watched me shamefully drool everywhere.
But it wouldn’t end with the sad stories of course!
I’d do my level best to transition to how those times were creating the very challenge I needed to awaken me from my slumbering despair and step into the warm sunshine of self-acceptance and love.
I’d focus heavily on how that self-acceptance, love and high regard for myself became the foundation of finally feeling full, learning to experience the deep emotional connection I’d always wanted and ultimately, the basis for en epically delightful experience of life.
I’d then explain how that led to finally being able to truly love others from an undefiled, incorruptible, and inexhaustible well and how that has transformed my day-to-day life.
But would that be enough? Would that mean anything to the reader? Would it encourage them with hope or discourage them with questions like “Why doesn’t this happen to me?! What’s wrong with me?!”?
Where did I get what I’d have to share?
One thing that’s often bugged me about books is how many are just quoting other books. It’s like… is there some original book that began everything or what?
To be transparent, it’s also been a source of intimidation for me when I consider writing book. What are my own sources? Sheesh… I don’t know sometimes. I’ve passionately read the beginning 10-20% of a sh*t-ton of books. How many books I actually finish though… mums the word.
Well… life itself. Conversations. My musings and pondering. Relationships. My Creator. My Redeemer (who many readers would dismiss or stumble over in my account).
Certainly some of it has come from books now and then (absolutely true of Torah and New Testament) – but proof-texting and citing is intimidating for me because I honestly don’t usually know precisely where an idea I possess came from and yet, it seems like every book is citing other books.
Is it pompous to believe I should do otherwise? Would anyone want to read my non-cited concepts? Would they mean anything to them?
Who would I share it with?
Being a men’s mentor and all, I naturally tend to believe I’d share my book with men. But what about women, kids… don’t they need to know they have value, and worth, and significance?
Yet, I’m only a man and as a human living the life of a man probably have the most to say to people living similar lives. How many of them would know whether or not they want to read my book though? Seems like an awful lot of effort for a handful of enthusiastic social media connections!
Which leads me to my next point…
What do they need?
A challenge I ponder as I think about writing a book is that what the potential reader of my book thinks they need is entirely different than what they truly need.
They think the need: more sex, more love, more appreciation, more respect, more money, more skills, less conflict, less challenge, less complaints from spouses, less contempt, and so on. They think others are holding out on them. They think the source of their disappointment is others.
I could write and sell those men books all day long because lots of men believe those are their greatest need.
Would they feel fooled or beguiled reading my book? What if they guffaw when they read that the root cause of their suffering, the force behind every feeling of lack they experience – isn’t based in their lack of anything outside of them?
Would they understand that their greatest need is to see themselves differently? That their deepest need is to return to something, not get somewhere new? To learn something about their deepest and essential self in a new way? To be released from shame and contempt for self?
Certainly they’d be surprised to learn that fear, anxiety and their insecurity has been what has been depriving them of well-being.
Do they need such a simple and yet unfathomable explanation?
Who’s gonna believe a non-credentialed, non-famous goat-farming men’s mentor from central Pennsylvania when he explains the path out of these things though?
Yet, what transformation would take place in them if they did?
What would they get out of reading whatever I would write?
Shew, that’s a hard one… what would they get out of it? What do they get out of whatever I write now that makes them want me to write more?
I’d love to think they’d get some hope, some encouragement, a sense of camaraderie with another man that has been where they are. But would they get what they really need? That’s the question that plagues me as I ponder writing a book.
My experience and belief are that those who would read it need a personal transformation. But would that happen from a book or would it become something else?
The words of Salmon Rushdie haunt me at this point:
“When a book leaves its author’s desk it changes. Even before anyone has read it, before eyes other than its creator’s have looked upon a single phrase, it is irretrievably altered. It has become a book that can be read, that no longer belongs to its maker. It has acquired, in a sense, free will. It will make its journey through the world and there is no longer anything the author can do about it. Even he, as he looks at its sentences, reads them differently now that they can be read by others. They look like different sentences. The book has gone out into the world and the world has remade it.”― Salman Rushdie , Joseph Anton: A Memoir
Would a book have helped me?
I have little secret, only it’s not little and it’s not really a secret.
I’ve been involved in some form of personal development, spiritual formation, and/or self-help for eons. Literally since my grade school days. I recall being pulled out of a third-grade class to be in a “special class” thinking I was in some sort of trouble or might have some sort or disability I hadn’t realized.
It was in reality some sort of “gifted kids” program. I remember it was called “nottoomanyofthem” (they pronounced it “notta-mon-yoff-them”).
Ironically, being a “gifted kid” apparently, it took me a staggering amount of time to figure out what the name meant!
Anyway…. all that to say, I spent decades trying to create the best me possible. After all, I’d read the first 10-20% of a lot of books in the process. I was all in!
It wasn’t any of that stuff that got me through the crux pitch of my climb. Not at all!
In fact, it all became a source of anger and resentment to me that despite having done all that work, here I was – suffering. Shouldn’t all of my effort to form and educate myself have made it easier to avoid or get through this most challenging season of life?
Why wasn’t I getting results?
Would my book have helped me?
Did I need another book?
Did I need more information.. more learning?
Unequivocally and adamantly – no!
Would a book the best way for them to receive it?
I don’t believe any book I could have read would have helped me further.
What I truly needed and could not find enough of, was other men to show me the way. But I couldn’t find very many who could show me how to get through the crux pitch. Most men had given up on climbing, fewer still had any interest in helping a nottoomanyofthem “gifted kid” like mwah.
Then I did finally find a mentor in a family friend, “Uncle Ed” thirty years my senior. He told me a few things I needed to embrace more and a few I needed to let go of if I were to reach my destiny. We shared lots of coffee and breakfasts at Panera Bread in my hometown. His words and warmth and insights helped me tremendously.
Then I met another mentor – Steve Horsmon. He told me how empathy and compassion would release my heart from the stranglehold of anger, bitterness and contempt that were just about causing me to stroke out. The words he shared made impact – within mere minutes of talking to him the first time.
See… what I needed most in my life were mentors – men like Uncle Ed and Steve Horsmon who’d been where I was and knew exactly what to do. Not what books to read but how to get past the crux pitch of the climb.
I could find books a-plenty in life but what I seemed less likely to find than the Hope Diamond were men who could show me the way. Men who had been where I was and knew the path. Men who were mentors.
So when am I gonna write a book?
I honestly don’t know. If no book would have helped me, not sure any book I could write would do so for another. I guess I’ll write one when I believe that being an author will be more fulfilling than being a mentor.
Since mentoring was my greatest need and one I struggled find I believe my energy would best be used be being what was my own greatest need.
Certainly books can impact many, and I hope whatever I’d write would too – but for now it’s most important to me to offer myself, not merely my words and ideas.
I don’t want my words alone to comfort and guide a man in his crux pitch, I want to be personally present alongside of him offering him friendship, encouragement, and love.
That’s my purpose. That’s my mission. Being with. Mentoring!
Maybe one day I’ll write a book? Maybe not. I don’t know.
Maybe when I leave this world, those interested can locate and assemble my words into a book if they like? Maybe not. I don’t know.
What I do know, is that for now – today, I am giving my energy to being with men. To being a living book as it were – “written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts“
So for now, if a man truly wants to read what I write, his best option is for me to be together alongside with him. That’s what I have to offer.
Do you need a mentor for your crux pitch?
This masculine journey can be brutally difficult. Do you really need another book? More information and ideas?
Or do you need a mentor?
If deep inside you, you’re feeling stirred that what you really need is a mentor – setup a free call with me and let’s talk.