The Book

JJ and Melissa have a great conversation about a book project that threatened to de-rail growth and other projects they were co-creating in The Self Awareness Journey.

February 9, 2021
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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness journey podcast. This little banter is about a car ride long and features your hosts, JJ Parker, and Melissa Albers. JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years.

JJ Parker  0:17  
Melissa, in this episode, we're gonna talk about the software and its journey

Melissa Albers  0:21  
book. And I want to I know,

JJ Parker  0:25  
that's why it's gonna be an awesome, I don't wanna, you can't make me Well, for a little history, let's lay out the timeline of this, this book, this idea of the book. In a previous episode, you know, we covered yours and my history of cardiology, right? We did cardiology together for years. Then, after we shut that down, we both went back to our regularly scheduled programs, which was me running tightrope. You doing the authentic leader? And we didn't really see each other for, like a year, right? I mean, a little bit, but not like we had. Right, exactly. And then I remember, when we got back together, you told me, you had started working on a book. And that was kind of like the early self awareness journey stuff. Yes. Is that right? Yeah, remembering that right.

Melissa Albers  1:35  
Yep. Yep. And and I should also say that writing a book was sort of the culmination of all sorts of things. From the time I was young, people would tell me, oh, my goodness, you should write a book. And I had a lot of, I mean, so for a really long time, people said, Oh, you should write a book, you should write a book, you should write a book. And then I was part of the john Maxwell team for years. And that was just waves of book writing. Were going through that that group. You know, like, Oh, this is the thing to do. So there was like, a lot of there were a lot of factors, not just the timing of me thinking I should get my thoughts out. But all these pressures that had been kind of building.

JJ Parker  2:22  
That's interesting. So you sat down, you know, here you are, roll up your sleeves. Start writing a book. To me, that sounds intimidating. But so what did you do? Like how did you like, talk? Tell it tell me about like, how, when you decided that you're going to write that book? What did you do? How did you like, blank piece of paper? Let's go. No, no. Romantic style. Yeah,

Melissa Albers  2:52  
right. Right. I got my

JJ Parker  2:53  
mic. what everyone thinks like, I just sat down with a blank piece of paper and all just wrote it out and a

Melissa Albers  2:57  
crow quill and an ink jug. Perfect. No, I this is even this is even more interesting. Because now that you're asking me this question, I never even thought of it until now. But I put it out in the universe. I said, if I'm supposed to write this book, then I would like assign. And immediately within my within two days, I got a LinkedIn ping, from publisher. And I get those frequently, by the way, so it's not like it was the single time. But there was something about this one that I was like, Oh my gosh, that you know, this must be This must be it. I was looking for a sign. And this, this publisher has a model that is a great model. I really like the publisher, he's got a good personality. And, and it seems like it's a really easy project. And he is suggesting that you can actually finish a book in like 12 weeks. So in addition, he's awesome. It's out what could go wrong. By the way, don't ever ask yourself that question. Yeah, so so I got into his program, and he had weekly calls and and his program I still to this day, say is fabulous. I've had two clients that I've referred there, and both of them have published books. So the process was great.

JJ Parker  4:24  
So so you're working on this process? And but you didn't get yours published?

Melissa Albers  4:32  
No. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. And

Unknown Speaker  4:36  
what why did you hate it? What cuz I hate my fat moment. What did you hate?

Melissa Albers  4:41  
My personality is one that does not like to be told what to do. I'm not proud of this fact. It's just his thing. And I felt that so there were all these warring competing feelings. So the external stuff was, this is a great process. It came exactly when I asked for it. Everybody's been telling me that this is an easy thing I should know. They didn't say it was easy. They kept telling me you should write a book. And and so all of these outside factors made me feel like it should be easy. The inside. Okay, my feelings, though were in complete opposition to that from the very start. I've I something inside of me just said this doesn't feel right. I can I can describe it no other way than that. It's just doesn't feel right. But I ignored it. I ignored this. I ignored my feelings. And yeah,

JJ Parker  5:38  
the tried and trued method.

Melissa Albers  5:39  
Exactly the tried and true method of ignore what's coming up for you and go do something to replace it.

JJ Parker  5:46  
Yeah, right.

Melissa Albers  5:47  
Yeah. So so I just felt like it really wasn't, it didn't feel right, even from the start.

JJ Parker  5:54  
I see. You kind of tried to get go get through it. And then when you're done, you just stopped.

Melissa Albers  6:00  
So I mean, I really did push it I, the book was to be eight chapters, I finished the majority of all eight chapters. I had probably 20% of the book left. Hmm. And I just could not make myself finish. I just couldn't do it. So I just stopped.

JJ Parker  6:25  
Yeah. Then you and I started working on other stuff. Right? Yeah. Maybe that was that was maybe the stop, right. Like, when? When we started talking about the software in this journey? Yeah. And making those podcasts and making teachings. Then the idea of the book just went away, right? Yeah, for a little while, for a

Melissa Albers  6:50  
long time, just like over a year

JJ Parker  6:52  
started making content. So it's the same content? It's the same idea. It's the same stuff. Yes. Like the stuff we talked about the podcast, the video, all the videos. That's all the same stuff. Yes. So what's interesting is, in one, medium, I would say, book writing. It was hard. And in another medium. Just podcast, it was easier for you. What do you think was what do you think? Why do you think that is what was happening there?

Melissa Albers  7:26  
I feel like the difference between writing a book and collaborating with you and and creat co creating. I think that the work that you and I do, it's based on ideas, those ideas are vetted out through a little bit of thinking. But most of the idea then is then created through our feelings. And the energy that's, that is created through our working together. In writing a book, it's all analytics, it's all in your head. And finding that feeling breadcrumb, to attach to that mental body is really challenging for me, it was for me, I think that's the big difference is the book was all by myself, and it was all in my head, like, coming from my heart. You know, I just didn't trust that it was going to be the same energy. I didn't trust that it would be.

JJ Parker  8:33  
Well, there's a there's a bunch of stuff in there. I now said. Well, the first thing I would, I would know, it is the quote you said co creation, right, which I think is really interesting. Because you both you and I have had business partners. I'm going to talk almost in the context of business because yeah, yeah, yeah. Business entrepreneurship is is still his creation and creative.

Melissa Albers  9:04  
Yeah, definitely. But

JJ Parker  9:07  
this the idea of this, like, solo entrepreneur that can just like bootstrap themselves up to amazing success is, is like a fantasy. It's like, to me it's false. It's like, a few people have done it. You know, when it's not the norm. Having a partner is amazing because of CO creation. Yeah. And it's a very powerful force. And when it goes well, it goes really well. Yes. When it goes bad, really bad. Really bad like this.

Melissa Albers  9:44  

JJ Parker  9:45  
but there is something when people come together to create a it's it's really powerful.

Melissa Albers  9:52  
Yes. Yeah.

JJ Parker  9:53  
And, you know, we talk about that a bit how you and I have a bit of that spark. together and right, and it's great, right? And the idea that someone can will themselves somehow to do work, just as a solo activity is, is, is sometimes like sensationalized. I guess

Melissa Albers  10:19  
I totally agree. I totally agree. And and I would still say that anybody who does make it on a solo, that is singularly known. What's just what you don't know, is all the legions of people behind them that have made it possible. Yeah. So it's almost wasn't actually a

JJ Parker  10:39  
solo endeavor.

Melissa Albers  10:40  
No, no, not at all.

JJ Parker  10:45  
Yeah. Okay, so, so we started creating stuff, right. We started the self awareness journey, and we, and we started making stuff. So we've been doing that. almost nine months. I was looking at the calendar. Oh, it wasn't working out for like nine months, right?

Melissa Albers  11:02  
Yeah. Okay.

Unknown Speaker  11:03  
Do we start in March? I have no idea. Maybe a year? I don't know.

Melissa Albers  11:07  
I don't either. I didn't keep track of time. around a year? I

JJ Parker  11:10  
don't know. Yeah. So we, you transparently, we do the podcast, we do this video teachings, we do this stuff on LinkedIn. We've done a blog, we have a website, we're trying to build a tribe of like minded people that like talking about this stuff. But we don't really have much of a plan.

Melissa Albers  11:33  
No, it's an art project.

JJ Parker  11:37  
Isn't it? Right? It's an art project. So. So whenever we sit down to make a plan, we get all wrapped around the axle. Like, like, we can't even I know. Do anything.

Melissa Albers  11:51  
Which by the way, is the that by the way, is validating my whole fear of staying in my head too much.

JJ Parker  12:00  
Well, I was gonna say it's terribly ironic, since both of you or both of us are basically in the strategic planning business.

Melissa Albers  12:07  
Exactly. Right. And I enjoyed that. I love I love the business.

JJ Parker  12:12  
People literally hire you to make plans, yet you can't make your own expenses. This is not a good commercial for you.

Melissa Albers  12:20  
I think we should stop the podcast,

Unknown Speaker  12:22  
look at the tired stuff. I need to hang out gotta go?

Melissa Albers  12:29  

JJ Parker  12:31  
well, I think most you know, for a variety of reasons. We purposely are are staying out of planning on this little project, right?

Melissa Albers  12:40  
Yeah, it's true. It's an intentional choice.

JJ Parker  12:42  
But sometimes we sit down and we say, Okay, what, what are we going to do next? Right. So a few months ago, before the holidays, we sat down and said, Okay, we got a podcast, we got these video lessons, we are doing this LinkedIn stuff. We're not quite sure. You know, what resonates with people what's helped and we're just throwing stuff out there in the universe. And we're thinking, what should the next little chunk of this project be? Man? I don't know, who suggested that. It was probably me. I said, hey, maybe we should finish that book.

Melissa Albers  13:16  
No, it wasn't. I'll tell you exactly what happens it

JJ Parker  13:19  
What are you remember? Okay, because we're here at my office.

Melissa Albers  13:22  
Yes, we were planning things. Yeah, we were at the high top. And we even had the big screen going. And we were gonna do some strap planning, we definitely were. And what had happened is one of my clients said, Oh, my gosh, I really want to write this book, I have the whole book in my head, I just need I don't know how to do it. And I said, Well, I have a really good person for you to talk to that I very much trust. I have not finished my project. But that's not on them. That's on me. And so this client, went into that process and finished a book in eight weeks. And so, during coaching, this client is like, Melissa, why don't you just get back? You should do it. How come you're not doing it? Well, how far are you? Well, how much would it take for you to finish? And I was like, well, look at how well he's doing. Maybe I was just in my head too much when I was doing it last time, and I should enter into the experiment again. Maybe I should give myself some grace and try it again.

JJ Parker  14:20  
Yeah, and here we are. We've made you know, nine months worth of other content you have. Yeah, yeah. Right. Like it all makes sense. That's logical, right? We

Melissa Albers  14:29  
had built so much like you've got a self awareness journey. Like I felt so good about the energy around it.

JJ Parker  14:37  
So I just thought so we decided. Yeah, so yeah, so we decided that our next shippable project for the self artists journey was to get that book out, right. Don't you're spoiling the end.

Melissa Albers  14:57  
Okay. Okay.

JJ Parker  14:59  
Well Yeah, so we, I went into organized mode, right? Yeah, like, okay, like, what do you got here? Let's dive into this. Like I, like pulled out all the chapters, I organized all the ideas. I started doing that and then you started writing? Mm hmm. And at first, it felt like there was some good movement.

Melissa Albers  15:22  
There was,

JJ Parker  15:23  
yeah, right. I don't know how it felt for you. But at first, I was like, Okay, we'll collect all this stuff. And then, and then we'll get going. And but it didn't last very long.

Melissa Albers  15:36  
No, it was right before the holidays. And one of the processes of this, of this publisher is that you write every day, for you time block, you write for an hour. And, and I had a really hard time actually getting into that even. But I convinced myself that it was just because it was, I was really, and I am very busy with coaching clients. So I was like, well, it isn't about the book. It's just about my open time. So I'm just going to keep pushing, pushing, pushing. And somehow I actually did get myself into a flow where I felt Oh, my gosh, look at this. And I think I nailed because I basically took all that stuff, you helped to organize it. And I basically started over. I basically started over and I got into about the fourth or fifth chapter. And I just hit a wall again.

JJ Parker  16:28  
Yeah, what that the writing every day, I think is a good technique. Right? And why my favorite book war, the War of Art talks about just write everyday, it doesn't matter what you write, just write, you know, I think the publisher, you're following same philosophy, right. But sometimes that doesn't feel right. You know, this idea that you should just plow through your work, regardless of everything else. might work for some people, but I don't think that's a again, I don't think that's a universal. Yeah, and so in some ways that might be pretty damaging,

Melissa Albers  17:09  
especially when we've been developing the self awareness journey, like we have, and becoming more and more aware, being more self aware of myself, being more aware of my feelings, not pushing them away and replacing them with doing, like, there's been a huge shift for me and that and so running back into this process, now with the added, chirping in my head, while you're your customer just did it, how come you can't? You know, so they're just all sorts of competing narratives again, about why I shouldn't be able to just do it, and I was right in that. What Why can't you? Why can't you just do that?

JJ Parker  17:49  
Yeah. Like judging yourself big stop carrying yourself. Yeah, all the things that we know lead to. Yeah, you know, bad work and unhappiness. Totally. The other thing that happened was that projects quickly became not our project. But your projects. Yes. I didn't feel like had much to contribute. After I organized it. I didn't feel like I had much to contribute, right. So it went back to like a solo project.

Melissa Albers  18:23  
Right. Right. And you are also very busy with some of your other stuff. So we had, and we hit the holiday. So all these competing things happen? In one, right spot. Yeah, my day job was really getting in the way. And my day job, got quieter. Yeah. Yeah, so I think all these things happen now. So

JJ Parker  18:48  
yeah, so that period of time was weird for us, right? I mean, for us as making a self awareness journey. It was weird. It was like, I was busy. The holidays. Were kind of a little bit out of our routine, obviously, out of our routine, I'll say, and then. And then you were kind of working on this solo. Part of the project. Right. feeling really energy for us got really weird.

Melissa Albers  19:19  
It did. Yeah. Yep. For sure. And it kind of came to a head this week. I mean, I think it took this long. I think it took it's not it's actually still this week, not last week even but I feel like it took this long to to unravel and then make itself known what was happening. And being more like, I think, for me, the hardest part was and I said this to yesterday, I think the hardest part for me was being in that stage of we didn't exactly know what we were going to create. Next. I'm working on this thing that I don't really feel good about. You're really busy doing your other stuff. too, and it just felt like the whole the self awareness journey was in a spot that was not. I didn't like that feeling. I didn't like the feeling. And it scared me Actually, I got fearful that something was really really bad.

JJ Parker  20:19  
Yeah, like I you even asked me Do you still want to do this?

Melissa Albers  20:23  
I did. And

JJ Parker  20:24  
yeah, I that like actually like I could feel that in my chest like what do you mean? Do I still want to do this bike? Yeah, Yes, I do. Like what?

Melissa Albers  20:33  
Yes. We're just trying to do Melissa relax.

JJ Parker  20:38  
Yeah, yeah, well, but I think it was I don't think that was an inappropriate question because I think the because the way you and I were engaged in this project together, it was so the energy was so strange that that was a completely legitimate question.

Melissa Albers  20:59  
Yeah. Yeah. And so and it.

JJ Parker  21:03  
I'll go, I got I had one other deep insight.

Melissa Albers  21:07  
No, I like to hear it. I'd like to hear it.

JJ Parker  21:11  
Well, like what I was, what was it? Like, we talked about this and what it felt like a little bit was, like, towards the end of cardiology, it almost have the same thing happened, right? Like, yeah, like, I had to focus back on, tightrope. And you are working on a solo thing is like almost that same. It was probably wasn't nearly as intense. But it was just a little glimpse of that.

Melissa Albers  21:40  
Yes, yeah.

JJ Parker  21:41  
And that was super scary, because because neither one of us really liked that.

Melissa Albers  21:46  
No. And in cardiology, I think we work so hard, and we got all this content done. And we were in this phase of trying to get customers, which is real normal and startups. Here we are in the self awareness journey. We've built all this content. And we're in the place of looking for people to join our tribe. So the timing of it was also like, Oh, this feels so familiar and so scary. And I don't want that. And what if, what if, what if, instead of what is, so I really got myself? Yeah, I really got myself upset. And it's super interesting, because what happened after we had that conversation, and then we and I thought it was a super good conversation. It was a very productive dialogue. And we both just said, well, let's, let's just leave this conversation. Let's think about, because you started asking about the book at that time.

JJ Parker  22:45  
Well, yeah, this, this guy, like this was on Tuesday, right? On Tuesday, we're having our how do we move forward? Like, like, we're still working on the book, most of us feeling like crap, I can't seem to engage in and making any content. Right? We even decided, like, hey, let's put the LinkedIn videos on hold for a while because I was just feeling overwhelmed. Or either overwhelmed or disengaged is probably the second one.

Melissa Albers  23:11  

JJ Parker  23:13  
And so like, here we are with a, this project that's just doesn't feel like it's going anywhere. And so Tuesday, where it's like, well, what are we going to? What are we going to do? We don't even know what to do? Yeah. So let's think about it. Well, great. We'll regroup Thursday, which was yesterday.

Melissa Albers  23:29  
Yeah. Yes. Yes. And we we had some fun things happen yesterday, which we don't even have.

JJ Parker  23:37  
Oh, and the parting thought on my parting thought on the Tuesday call, though. When you and I were talking it was I think all I said I threw it out. Not in a blamey way. But I just stood out. What if it's the book, because I was like, What changed? What was the thing that changed? And the thing that changed? Was the book.

Melissa Albers  23:55  

JJ Parker  23:56  
So we had two days to think about what if it was what if the problem is the book?

Melissa Albers  24:01  
Yeah. So right after that, you and I both have a mutual friend who is just an absolutely dear friend. And occasionally, his name is Chris. And occasionally, Chris and I will have

JJ Parker  24:16  
we can use this name. Yeah,

Melissa Albers  24:18  
I don't think you'll mind I think you'll be fine with

Unknown Speaker  24:21  
Chris, and Chris. Very nice things about him.

Melissa Albers  24:26  
I'll have to remember to keep saying nice things now that his name has been mentioned. But usually Chris, and I go and have pancakes together about once a month and since since COVID, we haven't been able to but we do still have zoom meetings where we'll just kind of get to catch up. So just synchronicity. I had a zoom conversation with him that same night, and I trust him with my life. And he and I have been through some stuff together too. And he's just such a dear man and such a good listener and and a good person to bounce things off of him. He just listened. And he said, Melissa, this sounds because I was like, and I don't know what I should do about this stupid book. And JJ wonders if we should just stop this, I hate the book. I don't even want to do the book. And, and, but we're sort of stuck and we have all these, we could go, we should do this, we could do that we should do this, we could do that. And he just listened. And he is kind of smiling and shaking his head, yes, over over the zoom screen. And finally, when I stopped, and I'm I talked a long time. I stopped and he said, You sound afraid? Hmm. And he said, Do you remember when I was in a bad patch? You said the acronym for fear is false evidence appearing real. And I was like, stop it. Don't throw my own stuff back at me.

But it was in that moment that I actually realized, oh, my goodness, I'm not. I'm not wrapped around the axle about what projects were doing. I don't want to do a book, I've been hanging on to that stupid thing, because I felt like I should. But in this in this conversation, and in the start of the conversation with you that morning, I really didn't want to do the book. And I was making myself wrong for it. My feelings were just so opposed to it. I was making myself really wrong for it. And then I was feeling afraid that since we were in this little lull of not knowing what to do that somehow we were replicating what we had done before, which is not the truth at all. But I was so afraid of that. And it like all came crashing down at the same on the same day on Tuesday. So yesterday, when we had some other conversations that we were having, and that was those were really fun conversations, and we were laughing right before we hung up. You said oh, by the way. How did you land I'm sure our conversation on Tuesday.

JJ Parker  26:56  
And I was like an aside. It was

Melissa Albers  26:58  
it was like an aside. very sneaky, very strategic. And I was like, Oh, yeah, I hate the book. I'm not doing it. And it was just like, as simple as that.

JJ Parker  27:10  
And here we are.

Melissa Albers  27:14  
And here we are.

JJ Parker  27:19  
Well, I think that was that. You know, I wanted to talk about this as a podcast, because I just thought it was so I mean, it's it's real. Right? That's what I mean, we want to share real stories in our real experience. Yeah. And but I just thought it was wonderful in many ways. Like everyone gets stuck on projects. It's it. And and everyone, even even us who you know, yeah, think about self awareness. all day, every day. No, get stuck. Yeah, having a shockingly low amount of self. This is great. I mean, it's always great practice. And

Melissa Albers  28:05  

JJ Parker  28:06  
and some of these things really sneak up on you in ways that you don't expect, right? Like these. These past experiences, these past feelings, you know, they they, you know, past companies, pasts, things like, it's amazing how they affect current projects. What was that? What was that fear acronym? You used? You just yeah, throw it out there false

Melissa Albers  28:31  
evidence appearing real? false evidence is so

JJ Parker  28:36  
just That is very true. That's a good thing to think about.

Melissa Albers  28:38  
Yeah, because I think in a summary for me, really what it was, was, I was in my head so much. And I had all these feelings that I wasn't really sitting with and trying to decipher it all because they scared me. Those feelings felt a little too familiar. And I didn't like how they felt. And so I decided I would just ignore them. Even though I didn't think I was doing that. You know, I'm the queen of like, justification. Oh, no, I'm not I'm not doing that. But the fear of something happening to our partnership, or us being able to work together, which is ridiculous. But it was halting all sorts of creativity, because I was getting in my head about something that wasn't even real. So it was it was a very interesting like to come to that realization. And humbly own it. You know, I feel good about humbly owning it. Yeah, I feel a lot better now. Now

JJ Parker  29:36  
we're moving off from the book is right in the world. Screw the book. The book. No one should. No one should be waiting on us for a book because after this, there's no way we're ever right.

Melissa Albers  29:54  
You know, and you know that the other takeaway, I think, too, is besides the obvious one. That's very obvious. I think. To me, the other thing that's really important to think about is when you get yourself into some commitment, and it's not going the way that you want, I think it's really important to ask yourself, why, why why isn't it going the way that you want? Is it a feeling that you're having that you're just not owning? Because that I think that happens a lot. And then, you know, what would have been really cool? If I could have given myself grace earlier in the process before my feelings got so amped up and just said, This just doesn't feel right. And I'm going to just own that I'm going to sit with that. Why doesn't it feel right? And just ask myself some questions and allow a commitment that I made, allow it to be adjusted or stopped If it isn't, in my best interest?

JJ Parker  30:43  
Yeah, I think we can all reflect on that. I just as you said that I've I instantly can recall feeling like when I had when I was working on a project that I committed to that wasn't going well. And I decided to not do it. Yeah, a feeling after was so so much better. And really, things get done. Things get done anyway. It's not like I let the world down. We just figured it out in a different way. So I really like that.

Melissa Albers  31:13  
Exactly. We hope that you've enjoyed today's episode. Our mission is to help people become happier and more effective by gaining insight into their own thoughts and feelings. We'd love your support. First, share this podcast with anyone you think might enjoy it. Second, leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast site. This helps others discover the podcast so we can reach more people. And third, sign up for our newsletter at the self awareness journey.com. This will help us communicate better with you and build our community. Thank you so much for joining us in the self awareness journey. We'll see you next week.

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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