The HB Brew Sesh
My creative mindset changed in one hour this week. I’ve been following the work and career of author, Hannah Brencher, for years. Throughout the last decade, I’ve read her Monday emails, purchased her books, stalked her social media, and talked about how amazing she is on my social media. I’ve been a super-fan if you will. Her words and courage to share her journey has inspired me throughout my evolution as a writer and, yesterday, I got to sit down with her for more than an hour to simply, talk.
As the minutes ticked down and my time with her approached, I couldn’t decide if I was more nervous or excited. I mean, I was about to talk one on one with the, Hannah Brencher! The nervous sweats started as I poured my first cup of coffee. I could hardly sit still as the zoom room opened and, suddenly, there she was.
I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had multiple opportunities in my life to meet some of the people I’ve adored from a distance. America Ferrera, Nobel Peace Laureates, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Meg Ryan, Erin Gruwell, Annette Bening, and more. After meeting them all and feeling their energy, as brief as it may have been, I’ve learned that fame can be exciting but a heart for service and kindness to the core is the most inspiring. Hannah Brencher is the definition of a service-centered, loving, generous person.
In my imagination, we would sip our coffees, talk about the secrets to writing all the words, getting a book published, branding a business, building community, and more. We’d laugh as we discovered how similar we are and she’d bless me with the brilliance of one thousand writers and the wisdom of the editors. I’d become “one of them”. If I’m honest, I wanted her to hand me the secret insider guide to getting a book published that only published authors have.
By the end, I imagined I’d be a member of the super-secret “special people only” club she’d give me access to… or she would have at least sent me a Facebook invite to their next meeting. Tyler says I tend to be dramatic. Based on my expectations of this meeting alone, he may be right. But only in this one specific example.
Ultimately, she did not bless me with holy water and give me access to the super-secret club. No Facebook invites were sent and, while we laughed about the Bachelorette and creative stressors in social media, I didn’t leave that meeting with the guide to getting a book published. Instead, I left with something much better: ease.
There’s a story I’ve carried with me for years that work has to be hard. Repeatedly asking myself, if it’s not hard to do, do you deserve respect? If I don’t have to sacrifice sleep, grind away the late nights, and feel an impact on my appetite from stress, have I worked hard enough? The story I was telling myself about what had to be done to get where I wanted to go was the very thing standing between me and where I want to go. In other words, my mindset is my biggest hurdle.
“This should be fun!” she said. “Life is already full of hard things, this shouldn’t add to it.”
I spent the better half of our time together with my jaw on the floor. Ease. This process of creation should be fun! This part of my life, this thing I love so much, should be fun! Instead of granting me three wishes and giving me the secret guide, she told me to write a new story for myself. Create ease, feel the joy in the process, stop taking it all so seriously. “This is not the end-all, be-all,” she said.
At the end of our time together, I was reminded of a piece I wrote just a couple of years ago. “It’s not supposed to be this hard” was the title. That particular piece was about the pressure and misery that comes from living with a perfectionist mindset. Once again, I had stumbled upon the idea that life shouldn’t be so hard. As usual, I was making things harder for myself than they needed to be. Release the pressure, find the joy, feel the ease, have some fun!
At this point in 2021, we’re reaching the end of another year of things being freaking hard. Two years of difficult decisions, frightening realities, constant stress, constant ambiguity, and the process is still unfolding. We’re not done yet. Life has been hard. As usual, life brought the hard things without our permission and we’ve done our best to respond. That doesn’t mean everything in life has to be hard. We’re all allowed to have some FUN! We’re supposed to have some fun. And, sometimes, we get to choose what we make hard for ourselves and what we make easier.
This week, one of my favorite authors challenged me to relax, release, and enjoy. It’s a message I’ve heard before and a reminder I desperately needed without knowing it. She reiterated a truth I already believe – the only way to free our mindset is to write a new story that serves. Change comes in a rewrite, both literally and figuratively. Sharing words, sharing a message, has always been my passion. The roadblock to doing so in abundance was the belief that the process had to be arduous and maybe even a little torturous. So, here’s my rewrite: Writing is easy for me. Creating a new piece is like working a little bit of magic. I am in my zone of genius and I am calm.
WOAH. What a shift. Just writing that makes my dreams far more… inevitable. Whenever it is you may find yourself reading this blog, I hope you’ll challenge yourself to rewrite your own story. It doesn’t have to be so hard. It doesn’t have to be so anxiety-inducing and it doesn’t have to change the world. Relax and release the pressure – you’ve got this.