I can’t believe one year ago today was when my first book was officially published! Its been a pretty cool thing to see a tiny little thought turn into an actual thing! A character turn into something that people have referred to as helping them with a tough situation or being a light that they needed in a dark time. My purpose was to give my girls hope and a positive point of reference for an aspect of their childhood that I have only been able to understand as an adult. I have achieved that and so much more and if you can bare through this long post, I am here to pay it forward to you!
I was led to accomplishing this goal through many different stars that aligned just right, nuggets of encouragement that weren’t meant to be that, but struck something in me that gave me the motivation and courage to do something different, get out of my own way and just go for it.
My girls are my reason for everything and being an example and inspiration for them is something that is at the forefront of my every.single.day. No, I am no one special here I realize this, but I feel a strong duty to, as my Grandma always said, pay it forward. Pay forward the motivation, encouragement, and possibly be the start of stringing those stars together in however messy a line or cluster is necessary to get them to start connecting.
I wrote this book so I could normalize a situation that felt uncomfortable for my girls, even though I hate the word “normal” because it just doesn’t exist but I hope you know what I mean. Not only were my girls able to relate to the book by saying “our move will be a great adventure just like Katie Harlow said”, ugh my purpose complete! The girls dressed up as her character on different occasions, wrote about her in school projects and doodled pictures of her on their notebooks.
Beyond this, I expected to sell a few to family members and friends who were happy for me and maybe a little curious about what the heck I did. A few months after being published though, I began seeing sales on Amazon, it started as a couple a month and some really sweet reviews that had the girls and I crying in car line when the first one came in from Germany! Was Katie Harlow really going to start helping kiddos around the world? It was crazy and so exciting! Those couple of sales a month turned into a couple a week and my rank was continuing to improve and more reviews were coming in. A couple sales a week then turned into a couple, sometimes as much as ten, per day! I couldn’t even believe it and wanted to start tracking down these strangers that were buying my book so I could hug them!
Let me tell you, I was able to recoup our investment and fund my next two projects strictly from my “business account”. This was kind of huge for me, not because I didn’t have financial support or because it was about finances but this was just something, I honestly didn’t even imagine would have been possible. In the last year over 1300 people have read my story. These numbers are not earth shattering I know, but when I expected to maybe sell a couple hundred its kind of cool to see this number and know it keeps climbing. Little ol’ me was able to touch 1300 lives with words that I just felt I needed to get out to help my girls and if it reached anyone else that was a bonus.
But you know what I have gotten-I’ve made contacts with people I would have never, ever met if I didn’t go for it, I’ve heard people that have said this book has helped their child feel better about their move, I’ve gotten to read and speak to over 300 military kids who just brought tears to my eyes to tell me they have moved almost every year of their life and how they could relate to the story. I really think I have inspired my girls and have given them that positive point of reference. My confidence and courage have grown immensely and I have fulfilled something I had no idea I was missing in my own life.
I’m not saying all of this to boast or anything like that, it’s actually very uncomfortable for me to talk about this being a success for me. But someone out there might be waiting for their “sign”. Those words of encouragement that light a fire in them to go for it, waiting for someone to give them permission to get uncomfortable and believe that they can accomplish a goal and reap the benefits that it will bring to them because you are allowed to be fulfilled too. I have a ways to go, but my confidence is growing upon a foundation that it is possible to do the thing. I’ve written two more books, have another one that I am dying to get going and have began another business. I haven’t done everything perfect and I’m learning something new with every tip toe that I take on how to improve. It won’t be perfect and that’s the beauty in it! The beauty is actually accepting it won’t be perfect and being ok with it! Whoever you are I’m here to tell you to do it! I give you permission to do it and I can’t wait to see you succeed. Because you will, small ways or big ways, you will see success and it will be your stair step to the next success!
I have more goals, bigger goals and I so needed this punch of reality with the reminder that it has been a year, only 1 year! Things don’t happen overnight, it doesn’t even happen in a year, you tip toe to certain milestones and you have to thrive off of those and celebrate them and make the next bigger goal! Guys you are one person who is meant to do something great and there may be only one person or a million people out there that need you to be you. Don’t keep that from anyone. Share what you have. You need to and someone needs you to probably more than you know. Don’t let any type of fear keep you from making a difference in someone’s life or your own no matter how big or small!! Make the great big move towards your next surprisingly exciting adventure!!