In 1992, Marianne Williamson published her first book, Return to Love. The book became a best-seller and catapulted Marianne into the spotlight after an appearance on Oprah. You probably know these lines from that book:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
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This quotation lit the world on fire. Nelson Mandela used it in his inaugural address. I’ve had it taped on my wall for at least 10 years.
Since that first book, Marianne published nine other books and many audio programs. Four of her books have become New York Times best-sellers. Newsweek Magazine listed her as one of the fifty most influential Baby Boomers. Clearly, she has been around a long time in her role as a successful author. After so many years, you may think that she would be tired of talking about her work.
Watching Marianne present a workshop was inspirational and instructive. She used no notes, no power point presentations or props, and held the audience spellbound from 10 am to 5 pm. What was so riveting was her powerful grasp of her material, her passion for helping people understand her message, and her ability to dance with any questions that the audience members put before her with grace and ease. Her presentation was well researched and coherent. She was so well prepared that it appeared that she had not prepared at all.
Even though she was teaching material she developed more than twenty years ago, she was passionate and excited to share it.
What can you learn from Marianne’s example and use in your own work?
Try these ideas:
- Become highly passionate about your message. Only consider writing books on topics that you love enough to talk about for the next twenty years.
- Learn your subject area deeply, even the opposing viewpoints. While Marianne spoke from a certain religious perspective, she quoted holy books from all the major world religions. She is quite liberal in her politics but was able to discuss positive contributions of conservatives as well. Because of her in-depth knowledge of her subject area, she was able to easily manage questions with confidence and grace.
- Present authentically. Marianne shared personal stories of her triumphs and challenges, even a few embarrassing moments. These stories created a bond with her audience and were endearing. While listeners may have felt in awe of her knowledge, the stories she told expressed her humanity and equality with the audience.
- Love the opportunity to serve. During this workshop, Marianne held the attention of the audience with her heart. It was apparent that she enjoyed sharing the material and wanted everyone in the audience to benefit from it.
You may be thinking that Marianne Williamson is far beyond you. However, she was an aspiring author once too and learned to find her way to the success she enjoys today. You can use her example and inject more passion, knowledge, authenticity, and love into your writing and presentations.
Then you will shine and be fabulous, just as you were intended to be.