Four days ago I published my new book. The day before that I found out that it was debuting as a bestseller, #2 in the Washington Post list behind Michelle Obama. (Squee!) And, the day before that over a hundred of my dearest friends and loved one came from all over the city and all over the country to bathe me in their love and support.
This morning I woke up to pictures of my book in the windows in Barnes & Noble in Manhattan’s Union Square.
Six hours ago I took a selfie with Malala. (Double squee!)
Suffice it to say: this is most definitely the weirdest week of my life.
It’s 4:28am. Or, at least I think it is.
It might be 7:28am. It might be 1:28am. I’ve gone to sleep in ten different time zones and woken up in a dozen new hotel beds in the last three weeks. I’ve honestly lost track, and am too damned tired to do the Mickey Mouse Hands calculus any longer.
I’m on an airplane, currently somewhere around 35,000 feet, with 1,323 miles behind me and about 851 more to go. Some time in the blur that is “the past” is getting on an airplane in Seattle. Some time in the blur that is “the future” is being back home in Boston.
The exhaustion that I am feeling right now, sitting in the upright and locked position on this red eye unable to sleep even a wink, is unlike anything I’ve felt before.
Sure, I was tired with babies. But that was sort of a marathon type of slog, where I just had to quiet the hormones raging in their quest to rebalance themselves while they whisper screamed in my sleep-deprived inner ear, “You have no idea what you’re doing!” (Come to think of it, that voice wasn’t wrong.) And, I was tired with actual, you know, marathons, which were just a 26.2 mile fight against every part of your fully evolved being saying that this torture the body was wholly untenable.
This, at least for me, is different. It’s wonderful. And it’s hell. It’s wonderhell.
And, wonderhell is where the “Burden of Potential” unpacks and sets up the sleeping bag and camps the fuck out.
The Burden of Potential attaches a weight as large as your ego to your shoulders, and demands that you carry it around and serve it at all times. It starts the moment you realize that you have an idea that has promise, and that could have greatness if you leaned into it as it demands. The bigger your ego, the bigger your wonderhell.
And, it turns out, I have a pretty big ego.
Now, I’d apologize for that ego. But, I just spent two days in Calgary and Vancouver keynoting to audiences of 2,000 women each about the importance of ambition, and the value of owning your unspoken but big-ass dream. And, I’d hate to disappoint 4,000 women, especially when I have 2,000 more in Toronto next week.
So, I’ll do the opposite. I will name my goal. It’s pretty simple, really: I want this book to be big.
Like bestseller list big.
Like Pretty Woman mistake big: Big, Huge.
And, that’s not because of the size of my ego. It’s because I’ve seen first hand the excitement that audience members, friends, supporters have had when they break through the doubt and indecision that has led to them to dustbin their boldest ideas.
Okay, maybe it’s a little about my ego.
I’ve worked harder for this book launch than almost any other thing I’ve done in my professional life, and I have the under eye circle and indigestion to prove it. And, that doesn’t make me special: plenty of authors I know work hard and only hear in return the chirp, chirp, chirp of crickets. I’ve worked hard, but I’ve been lucky as well. And, I want to acknowledge that straight up.
But I’m also going to acknowledge that I’ve put in the time, and the sweat, and the resources. I’m not waiting around to see what I deserve, because if all I ever did was wait around to get what I deserved, I’d never get what I demanded.
I’m going to name it to tame it or not claim it. And I’m going to work tirelessly for it.
I invite you to do the same thing with that goal you’ve been carrying around inside of you, too. If you’re really feeling bold and brave, share that goal here in the comments too so we can all uplift each other. There’s room for all of us here in Wonderhell.