You’re the hero of your own adventure
My friend Kat Kronenberg didn’t think she was a writer. (Spoiler alert: She is.)
You see, Kat has done many things in her life: studied business, helped youth groups at her church, and worked in the hospitality industry. She never even thought about writing. Then one day, boom.
“Well, it didn’t come to me in a dream like the woman who wrote Twilight,” Kat says, laughing. Instead, inspiration struck 11 years ago, at a concert.
I was listening to the music and it just whacked me over the head: I need to empower children, to show them the power of a smile.
Her book Dream Big was just published. It’s a kid’s book full of vibrant illustrations and a powerful message: “When you believe in yourself, you can achieve your dreams.”
When you believe in yourself, you can achieve your dreams.
You’re damned right. Obviously, I love that message, and it’s one we tell our clients every single day. But, for me, the most compelling part of Kat’s story isn’t in her book. It’s her own journey – from aspiring writer to successful author.
Trust your vision
“I didn’t know anything about the publishing industry,” Kat says. “I started from ground zero and had so many false starts,” she explains, recalling pushing through 10 years of writing draft after draft—nearly 2,000 of them—and doubting herself when the work of her first illustrator, a renowned artist, wasn’t delivering on the vision she held for her book.
He had the portfolio and credentials, but his work didn’t have the vitality I wanted. I thought it was me because I was new at this. I thought I was the shortcoming.
But instead of getting discouraged, Kat’s doubts actually helped clarify her vision. “Everything I went through helped me figure out a clear agenda,” she says.
So many times, I wanted to give in to self-doubt. But every time I tried to talk myself out of it, I just couldn’t. I had done enough work to know that I had to trust myself.
When Kat finally engaged a second illustrator, everything clicked. “My story was so multi-layered and purposeful in my heart, and she did a beautiful job creating the historic mystique I envisioned. And she made it so fun and kid-friendly, too.”
Kat’s publisher might have thought her original illustrator was the shit, but Kat knew it wasn’t right — and once she followed her gut, everything fell into place.
I know the feeling. When I first learned about factoring, the bank I worked for thought it was a losing proposition. But I believed it in its potential. I had to find ways to prove it, roadblocks be damned. I got lucky, though — I found the best mentor, Don Stricklin. Once upon a time, Don was the CEO of a small bank in LaGrange, Texas, who gave me a chance to make factoring a successful business. Today, he’s my business partner. And I wouldn’t be where I am today without his guidance and support.
Keep your eyes on your goal
Throughout her journey, Kat kept a single-minded focus: She wouldn’t watch a show or movie that didn’t teach her something about creating a story. She continually educated herself: She took classes, joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and read every book on writing she could.
Her best find: Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
Campbell, the famous scholar of myth, studied iconic stories from cultures around the world and identified a common underlying narrative: The Hero’s Journey. A regular person gets a “call to adventure.” Despite doubts, fears and initial refusal, the hero embarks on an arduous adventure filled with many tests, trials, and ordeals. With the help of a mentor, the hero prevails—and evolves in the process. But the hero’s gains aren’t just personal: They have the power to transform his or her community for the better. Think about Star Wars. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
It might also sound a little like your journey. I know it sounds like mine. I started out with a little education, even less experience, and one big purpose: to help entrepreneurs fund their dreams. And that’s what I’m doing today.
And, today, Kat is a published author. Through her work, she’s empowering children to be the heroes of their own journeys, to chase their dreams and to do it in their community by enabling their parents and loved ones to help. She has two more books planned in the series, Love Big and Live Big, and supports the organization, we.org, which promotes connection through positivity.
“It’s embarrassing, the thousands of documents it took to write this book,” Kat explains. “I wouldn’t throw one away. I needed to go through every bit of what I did to get where I am today.
When you honor the process, none of that effort is ever wasted.
I agree. Every step, no matter how random, no matter how much of a disaster it seemed at the time, got me to where I am. I wouldn’t trade a second of it.
You can buy Kat’s book on Amazon here – and don’t forget to leave her a review if you like it.
We’d love to hear about the powerful and even random stops along your journey. Tell us about it in the comments.
Cole Harmonson is the CEO of Far West Capital, a company that funds the goals of high-growth entrepreneurs. Know a great company in need of capital to unleash their potential? Send them here and we’ll give them a call.