How You Define Yourself Might be Holding You Back

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Apr 26 2022

I’m amazed sometimes at how reluctant I have been in life to define myself. To own my success. For years I would introduce myself as a literary agent with BookEnds, but I never flat out said, I own/run/lead BookEnds. Up until recently (I’m still working on this) I have done the same when asked if I’m a writer. I say no because I represent so many talented and wonderful writers and I don’t see myself as one of them. And yet, I’ve been writing this blog for 15 years and prior to that, I was a journalist. Doesn’t that make me a writer?

What is it that makes us think we need to lessen our accomplishments? Why do we feel the need to define ourselves by comparison to others? No, I am not a writer of books. I will likely never be. I have no patience for the work that goes into a book and frankly, I’m just not that kind of writer. But that doesn’t make me any less of a writer.

Own Your Success

I wonder how many of you have done this with your own work. When someone asks if you’ve written a book do you immediately discount the work you’ve done because it’s not published? Has anyone ever asked you if you’ve written a “real book” (this happens a lot to romance authors) or, my favorite, “have you written anything I’ve read” as if that person’s reading pile is the example of writing success? So often when asked these questions authors/writers downplay themselves because somehow for some reason they are made to feel lesser.

If you’ve written a book, an entire damn book, you need to own that. Whether that book is published or not. To be honest, you need to own that harder than if you are published. Because writing a book that might never see a bookshelf is so much damn harder and takes so much more dedication than the author who knows there’s a check at the end of the delivery. Who has a publisher’s support and who knows there will be readers.

Owning Who You are Leads to Success

There was something that happened when I stopped telling people I was a literary agent and started telling them I owned a literary agency. That I ran a company of 10, 12, 15 people (we keep growing). I achieved more success. The more I owned the truth about what I do, the truer it became.

It’s pretty hard to achieve something if you aren’t owning it. How can the literary world see your book as a book if you don’t even see it that way yourself? How will you trust that I own a whole damn super successful literary agency if I can’t even say those words myself?

Own your success, sing it from the rooftops, tell those people what a real book is and watch yourself soar.

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