Getting Real About Success: The Long Game

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Overnight success takes at least 7years. And one night
– Natalie Shell (a wholly unscientific observation; emphasis on the ‘at least’)

How do you measure success? Is it working for you?

I’ve been thinking a lot about success lately (maybe because I released my first book a few months ago and because I’m also transforming my work). And I’ll admit it. Sometimes I get frustrated and overwhelmed. I spent several weeks of the last months feeling the exact opposite of successful. I was in a funk.

It became clear that one of the main reasons for this is because I have been using a limited way to define success.

Namely, numbers. How many books I’ve sold. How much money I make. And how much time any of this ‘should’ take. These concepts do have value, but they don’t tell the full story. And when I get stuck there, they certainly don’t make me feel good. And hey, what’s the point of projects, especially creative ones, if there’s no joy in them!?

Over the last month I’ve been asking people how they measure success (“joy from doing” ranks high) and heard the same words “you have to play the long game” come out of the mouths of about 10 people. I have no idea how I’ve never heard the “long game” in this context before. However,

when I hear the same story repeated to me I listen. I kind of see it as the universe kindly trying to smack me in the face and say “hey, you’re missing something…follow this story”

And then, hah, Linda posts these amazing video stories by Adam Westbrook on the long game.

Watch it!

The Long Game Part 1: Why Leonardo DaVinci was no genius from Delve on Vimeo.

There’s also part 2:

Hmmm. Creating. Success-ish/Failure. Time. Creating. Success-ish/Failure. Time. Creating/Failing. Time…Keep going…Repeat…Success.

So, I’m feeling better and trying to just keep creating and sharing and enjoying…following the directions that feel right and me. And, whenever I’m stuck, asking myself how would I feel about this direction in 5 years, or when I’m 80? (Watching movie’s like Advanced Style help, too)

I’m sharing this because funks happen to the best of us. But maybe next time you get stuck on worrying about whether you are being successful and comparing yourself to other successful people already ‘there’ you’ll also remember the long game and how much time and failure stories are missing from the success story* you’re comparing to. And let’s not even go into the cost for some types of success (burn out, depression, break downs…).

I hope you’ll check back in on your own long game story. The one you want to live and create.

What do you think?

(*Except for Matthew Weiner, the guy who created MadMen. He was totally honest and you can read his reassuring story about creativity success here!)

Related post:
Ira Glass on Storytelling and Creative Pursuits

The poem, T.T.T

YAY! The Wedding Virus & Other Snippets Is OUT!

Hello fabulous people!
I just wanted to share the exciting news that my book, The Wedding Virus and Other Snippets is OUT! And available for purchase!

Book The Wedding Virus and Other Snippets By Natalie Shell

I’d love your support in buying 1 (or a million ;) copies!

You can get it via my book’s website, on Amazon, on Kindle or order it from your local bookstore!

And, seeing as I believe in asking for what you want, if anyone of you out there know people who works for book sellers, top wedding blogs or magazines for gals 25-35ish or know Lena Dunham and Leandra from Manrepeller – hook me up please.

Quote The Wedding Virus and Other Snippets

Like every debut author I’d love to see this book get into the hands of many – especially all you ladies out there who have caught the wedding bug or wedding stress and are wondering if you’re alone! (You’re not, the stories we hear simply don’t always match up to our realities!)

And, if you are already reading it, a HUGE THANK YOU!
I’d love to hear what you think here in the comments or find me on twitter and instagram!

Now for those who aren’t, off you go and buy the book

Behind The Scenes 2: The Making of A Book Trailer For The Wedding Virus

Guess what? It’s May tomorrow and that means we are days away from my debut book, The Wedding Virus and Other Snippets, coming out! Stay tuned!

And one more fun thing – the book now has a trailer:

The Making Of A Book Trailer for The Wedding Virus & Other Snippets
“You should make a book trailer”
“Oh that’s an awesome idea”
“Yup, and it’ll really help you with SEO…”

So, a few weeks ago some variation of this conversation took place.
And I listened, added it to my already too long list and said, OK let’s do this.

In my dream scenario my trailer would look like Sophie Blackall’s Missed Connections book trailer, with Sophie loving my book so much she personally asked to if she could make me the illustrations for it. (Of course you can Sophie!)

Naturally it would also play the Juno theme song (above) over the top. And because I am a famous author I would have no issues with obtaining the digital rights.

But here’s the thing. Maybe that will happen, but for now, we’re trying to get this book out there so it can become an Amazon best seller ;)

As such, I decided practice what Tip and I preach: to let go of any or all the stuff not critical and stressing me out or if I have to do it, #screwperfection #juststart …

And I did. As you can see above.
I have a book trailer!

Hope you enjoy – and stay tuned – The Wedding Virus & Other Snippets is out next week!!!

PS Would you help my book go viral?
If you would like to co-promote or think this book is something for your target market, let’s connect.

Behind The Scenes: The Wedding Virus And Other Other Snippets

The Wedding Virus Cover Art

As the date to hitting PUBLISH and RELEASE on my first book, The Wedding Virus and Other Snippets, looms super near I must admit to vexing between super-excited and super-stressed. Having worked on enough projects and products launches I would think I’d be used to it.

Alas, no. All the roller coaster emotions are still here.

If I was writing in character she would probably write it like this:

Things That Cross Your Mind Pre-Book Release

“hey,” I phone my friend.

[insert how-are-you-type-question-answers until…]

“How’s book stuff going?”

“Oh, I’m all monkey-brain.
One minute I’m: Oh wow, I have a book coming out soon!
then: Oh f$%^ I have a book coming out soon!”


“But it’s true. Then I get distracted and wonder if it is too late to organize a launch party.”

“Oh, you so should have a launch party!”

“I know, but then I wonder where and who can make me teal-green-with-my-cover-heart-cupcakes? And if yes, what should I wear.

And then I wonder: What if noone wants to read it?”

“I’ll be reading it!”

“OK, so then What if lots of people want to read it?
Will they like it? Hate it?

And, wait for this, then my head does something super weird. I think if they like it what if they don’t like my second one, The Baby Epidemic?”

“hahah you’re killing me”
“Isn’t it crazy? I haven’t even finished writing it! It’s insane how my head works”

“Finally, I’ll go for a walk to take a break, just in time to bump into someone who says “Hey! I heard you have a book coming out”.”

laughing “C’mon darling, let’s meet for a drink”


Balloon filled car

On a related happy note I’m really enjoying finding fun images for instagram. Like the one above. I mean, who doesn’t love a car filled with balloons?!

If you’ve read this far I just wanted to say thank you for supporting me on my chick-lit-sprouting journey!

Looking forward to continuing this ride with you all!

Fun workshop at #hive15


Image above is by the folks from Lego

Super excited that Tip and I from got to present our taster workshop “Create The Life You Love (home, work & all the rest)” at the Hive Conference today!   

Not only was it emerging for us, the gorgeous folks who joined us told us they had fun and it was a privilege to get them shifted and moving and yes, actually started on things they were holding themselves back from!  

Heck they even tweeted about us!


 Super excited and blessed to get to give these and help coach and teach people wisdom we’ve learned! 

Bring on more!

Thanks to all those who came to our workshop for your warm acceptance and Yvonne from the Hive Conferece for having us! 

Your sweet spot…

I haven’t written here in so long and it’s time to blow this site up and start a-new (with an archive just in case ;))

In the meantime, I thought you’d like this doodle of Dave Pollard‘s work:

I keep hearing people talk about their “work” and figured I should share Dave’s Venn diagram on finding “your sweet spot” (drawn quickly by me).

I especially like the purpose part being about what the world needs. It’s much easier to focus on than “economics” and money etc usually follows when you truly are working to purpose.

Hope it inspires you today too.

Tx Maya & Tip for both bringing it back to my attention this last week