Real You: The power of outside approval

It's funny. Whenever I talk to groups about empowerment or personal branding, writing or publishing, I focus on the basic fact that belief in yourself is the key ingredient of success. The ability to know your REAL YOU, to define it - and what you're conveying to others - authentically - is crucial whether you are selling yourself, widgets, books or teaching your kids an important life lesson. Too often we find ourselves caught up in what other's think - waiting for a five-star review, a pat on the back, a promotion. But really, that waiting and hoping for outside approval moves us far away from our purpose and dangerously close to the snark infested waters I write about in Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs. Relying on outside approval turns your power over to others - and often, unfortunately, those others are snarks who's jealousy or unhappiness leads them to attack.

That's the downside. And the more real you become, the more you believe in yourself and follow your dreams, the more you stir them up. Keep calm and carry on. Try to let the negative slide off your shoulders. And most importantly, embrace the positive. The kind word. The thank yous and the promotions, the five-star reviews. Those are what matters in the end.

That's why I have a printed copy of the Kirkus review of my new novel ALL THE DIFFERENCE pinned above my desk. I was afraid to read the review when it arrived - but when I did, I was delighted. (Do you want me to read it to you? Just kidding, but if you were sitting here, I would!) Outside approval from an amazingly respected source. It will keep me going when a snark attack happens, which it will. The review will keep me believing in my stories, just as the many readers who have written positive reviews believe in my stories.

A few days ago, another letter came in the mail.

It was from Barnes & Noble notifying me ALL THE DIFFERENCE would be carried in store. Happy dances followed, and that letter, too, now adorns my bulletin board. I cannot count on this support, this affirmation. But boy, when it comes, it sure feels good.

Thank you if you've been part of that approval, if you've read and enjoyed my books and let me know. It means so much more than you'll know - and I'll never take it for granted!