I had a full day yesterday. We had the keynote luncheon speech by Sherrilyn Kenyon and today I got to talk with her for a few minutes and get her to sign her book.
She has been on the NYT Best-Seller list 16 times. That’s a writer who has a lot of dedicated readers.
But life hasn’t always been easy for Sherrilyn. Her grace and courage, in the lean years, in the years when she was building her career and during the setbacks are what make her so great. Did you know she was homeless at one time, with a new baby born with lots of medical problems and hung out in a hospital waiting room with her baby because they wouldn’t kick her out? She almost gave up writing, didn’t even have the money for a stamp to send off a query letter, and carefully stole one of two stamps her husband was hoarding in his wallet. That query letter changed her life.
She talked about getting an editor rejection letter (I paraphrase): “Don’t ever submit to this house again. We will never be interested in this author’s work.” Instead of giving up, it fired her on.
Some things really hit home for me. We all think we have more than our fair share of grief and bad luck. But she doesn’t even stop much to think about it. As she said better than I ever could, “You can measure a person’s talent, but you can’t measure the fire in their soul.” She wanted it. She wanted it bad. And her dream came true, in spite of some odds most people wouldn’t ever recover from.
I like this quote too: “If you sit by the river long enough, you’ll see the bodies of your enemies float by.” I take that to mean, if you keep working hard, the defeats in your life will be washed away by the fire in your belly, the desire to become a successful best-selling NYT author.
You see, I think Sherrilyn would agree with me. Adversity doesn’t make a person. It reveals a person. You don’t overcome your obstacles, you outlast them.
What about you? How do you outlast the obstacles that keep you from being the success you could be? How do you keep your locomotive going so you are unstoppable?