What You Believe, You Will Receive

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Oct 10 2019

Our thoughts and what we believe play a huge role in who we are and what we achieve. I live by the belief that what you believe you will receive.

There’s a hitch though and that’s that you can’t predict and control how or what you receive. Only that you will.

The BookEnds Story

Twenty years ago, BookEnds opened its doors as a book packager and there was never a doubt in my mind that we would succeed. I believed whole-heartedly and without fear that this was the path to success.

When I look back now I realize how few rules I had for that success. I saw success but hadn’t predetermined exactly what that success had to be or how it had to be achieved. Thank goodness! The BookEnds of 2019 is far different from the BookEnds of 1999 and we are certainly better for it.

On those first opening days, I never envisioned a literary agency or representing fiction. I only saw nonfiction packaging. And yet, two years later when an author approached me about representation, I had no doubt that was the path we needed to go.

It wasn’t what I had planned, it wasn’t the original vision for success, and yet I knew it was right.

The same could be said of our first agent hire. I had talked about hiring, but had no real plan to do so. Yes when opportunity struck, even when unexpected, I knew I had to take it.

The Parable

There is a parable that I first heard many, many years ago and have never forgotten. It’s a life lesson that struck a chord with me and brings home the idea of how opportunity comes in unexpected packages.

Although the parable is religious, I do hope that people of all faiths can see the lesson in it.

A fisherman is out in the ocean when his boat capsizes. A religious man, he prays to his god to save him. That night a boat comes along and offers to bring him aboard. The man refuses, confident his god will save him.

The next day, the sun is beating down, and a helicopter flies overhead. They lower the ladder and beg the man to climb up. He refuses, confident his god will save him.

Later that same day, a swimmer swims out to the man and offers to swim to shore with the man on his back. Again he refuses, confident his god will save him.

Well, not surprsiginly he drowns and when he meets his god he asks why he wasn’t saved. His god answers that he sent a boat, a helicopter and a swimmer. What more could he do?

This is my own version of this tale. I’m sure there are many others.

The Lesson

I think of this parable often when I’m facing difficulty in life. When we struggle it’s natural that we imagine exactly what we need, But focusing on what we think we need means we miss that which we are really receiving.

If I believed I would have success through book packaging I might have missed the real success, through agenting.

The same can be said in everyday life challenges. While the winning the lottery would be incredibly helpful, that low-interest refinance might be exactly what we need.

When I’m stressing about life, an invitation from friends might feel like another stressor. Or it might be exactly what we needed. There are few things more de-stressing than time with good friends.

As you work toward your career in publishing, keep that drowning man in mind. Those who have the most success, see the opportunities that many would miss.

5 responses to “What You Believe, You Will Receive”

  1. Avatar Susan says:

    A friend describes those serendipitous twists in her life as pivots. Wonderful post, Jessica. Thank you.

    • Avatar Laura W-A says:

      I used that parable in the first draft of a novel about five years ago. I love it, but had forgotten it. It’s definitely applicable to my life right now – I broke my leg over a year ago, which I used as a good reason to completely rewrite my ms (and now working on two more) but… lately I feel like I’m back in the drowning stage. Sigh.

  2. Avatar Nancy Cardenuto says:

    Yes!! Fantastic!!!

  3. Avatar Michelle Lindo-Rice says:

    This is so profound. And, so true. We need the continue believing in ourselves and our abilities even if everyone else around us say otherwise.