A while back, I told you about that former editing client whose agent asked her to re-format her entire book.
Here’s what I didn’t tell you:
The stylistic change the agent recommended was almost exactly what I suggested to my client right when we started working together.
She heard me out, and decided she liked the format she’d chosen, so she declined my suggestion and went ahead with the style that most resonated with her. I didn’t belabor the point. It’s her book, after all, so she can write it however she likes. We moved on with the editing process and didn’t talk about it again.
Then, after hundreds of hours of work, based on her agent’s suggestions, she was now going back to the drawing board to make the changes I’d suggested months prior.
Whenever I think about her, I remember this situation and one of the biggest reminders that it offers me.
There’s no room for “I told you so” or petty validation-seeking, because despite all the additional work she’s now putting in, I don’t think she did anything ‘wrong’ at all. She did not waste her time. She did not sabotage herself. She did not screw up the chances of her book’s success.
What did she do? She trusted herself.
And whether it’s business or it’s your spouse or your sister, if you really want the best for someone, that’s the first thing you should ever want for them – for them to trust their instincts, value their impulses, and for them to believe in the worth of their own ideas.
It’s not about you. They’re living and choosing based on what feels right for where they are, and no matter what implications or problems you might see in it, their choice should be respected because at that time, it’s their truth.
I’ve built a career on telling my stories and giving people advice based on those stories, but whether you’ve got a job like mine or not, we all need to plug into this truth for the health (not to mention, longevity) of every single one of our relationships.
Speak your mind, without being attached to how others engage with your words.
Offer support, without fixating on whether or not they grasp your extended hand.
Give what you have to give, and then let go.