This is Part 2 of “Lead with Your Heart,” a week-long series about letting go and moving forward.
Yesterday, I wrote about casting aside the past and moving forward. Doing so is inherently risky. The tendency to shy away from what is uncomfortable and unfamiliar is something all of us can relate to. And yet, confronting those entrenched fears—particularly the fear of letting go—is something we have done multiple times in our lives. We are where we are because we assumed risks and accepted the inherent consequences. Our actions helped reinforce our resiliency and strengthened our problem-solving capabilities. As an added payoff, our experiences helped make us more empathic toward those who are struggling around us. We were presented with opportunities to give back, and we accepted the responsibility to do so. Simply put, we led with our heart.
Three months ago, I started a publishing company called Crow Books. I am the sole owner and operator. This is my first business venture, and I must admit, I entered into the decision with no trepidation—not because I have a ton of confidence in my abilities as a business person, but because it felt like the right thing to do. Simply put, I led with my heart.
I love the challenges of writing and book design. As much as it sometimes pains me to work collaboratively with other creatives, the sheer amount of satisfaction I’ve experienced in the past five years while working on my first book has been immensely rewarding. Freed from the burden of slaving away for 40 hours a week at a job I hated, I have quadrupled my creative output and feel like I have uncovered only the tiny tip of a giant iceberg. There is so much more to come!
Sure, my income has dwindled to a fraction of what I used to make at my old landscape maintenance job, but every day I am reminded that time is far more important than money. That’s not to say I don’t work hard. I spend far more hours per week doing what I do now (getting a business off the ground) than I ever did in any full-time position I’ve held. The funny thing is—and you’ve likely heard this from others many times before—what I do now does not seem like work. I’m doing what I love, and I love what I do. I am good at it, and no one can do it like I can—and that’s a good thing, because I don’t want anyone to do it like me. I want them to do it THEIR way. I want them to take risks, to address the things that currently suck in their world, and take the time to create solutions that will lead them in a more positive direction, a direction that leads not to job satisfaction, but to life satisfaction. (There’s a big difference, people!)
I know the path ahead will be fraught with obstacles, but I am ready to meet those obstacles head-on. I have persevered many times in my life. I have assumed risks and I have been successful in many ventures. Crow Books is the key to my future. It is the cornerstone of a new adventure. It will become part of my legacy, and I will be a better person for having taken the risk of launching it.
The first Crow Books release will be “Part-Time Superheroes, Full-Time Friends,” a 288-page journey I embarked on 14 years ago. The story chronicles my 35-year-long friendship with my best mate and muse, Scott McFarlane, and courageously navigates the numerous peaks and valleys of friendship while descending the Mississippi River in a small boat. The storyline is highly relatable and is sure to have you examining your own engrained perceptions of the word “friendship.”
To coincide with the book’s release, I have designed six t-shirts, each related to the book in some way. All of the artwork featured in “Part-Time Superheroes…” (over 20 illustrations, including the cover art) has been reproduced as 12” x 18” high quality prints. Friend and artist, Jeremy Bruneel, has done a wonderful job interpreting the book’s characters and themes, and it my distinct pleasure to feature his amazing art at more than twice the size of how it appears in the book.
“Part-Time Superheroes, Full-Time Friends” will be available in paperback and eBook versions, and you will be able to purchase the book (as well as the above-mentioned merchandise) via an online store at the Crow Books website (coming mid-June).
My financial livelihood will primarily revolve around items sold through the Crow Books website as well as at speaking engagements, trade shows, and book signings/readings. I sincerely hope I can count on your generous support as Crow Books continues to grow in new and exciting directions. Running a small, independent publishing company will not be easy, but with your help, I hope to provide a positive example to the world that success—however you choose to define it—is not only possible when reinforced with hard work and dedication, but also immensely rewarding when led from the heart.
Thanks, in advance, for your interest and involvement in my exciting new pursuit.