Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Secret Of My Success ...

Last month, I posted the post I wasn't going to post.

Last night, I watched The Secret, the DVD version of the book. (Marc is cringing right now.)

I've always been more tuned into the universe than a lot of people. I wouldn't say I'm clairvoyant but I sense things others don't. I usually knew who was calling when the phone rang, long before the advent of Caller ID. I get hunches and they usually come to pass. It's not something that I talk about often, but when I do, I explain that at it's core, the universe is energy, and some people are just tuned into finer frequencies of that energy than other people, like a radio: Some people hear nothing but static, others receive stations loud and clear. I'm somewhere in between.

The DVD gave me a lot of food for thought. I spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on all the negativity in the world. I don't think of myself as a negative person (nor do I think of myself as a consistently positive person; I guess I think of myself as a neutral person with positive tendencies, especially lately, and I seem to regularly crack myself up) but I read a lot of news and a lot of news is negative. I spend a lot of time thinking about and talking about the government in this country and there ain't a lot of good juju there, either.

But the past few weeks, since I posted the post I wasn't going to post, have been some of the best weeks of my life. Not because of the holidays, though those were perfectly lovely, but because there's been a whole lot of self-discovery goin' on. I didn't go looking for it, but it found me.

The secret of The Secret for those who might not know is this: The law of attraction is real and it works. What you focus on is what comes to you. Or, more generally, what you focus on is what you see. Everyone has had those days when everything seems to go wrong. But odds are, on those days, that things also go right. But in our frame of mind, we're not prone to notice the good things. We're too busy focusing on the bad things. Does that mean we're conjuring more bad things? According to the law of attraction, the answer is "Yes." (Marc is starting to hyperventilate. Go get a paper bag, dear!)

Some might say that the shift in my life over the past few weeks is a result of my shift in thinking. And I would agree with them. But that's the central tenet of The Secret: Thoughts are energy. When you shift your thoughts, you shift your energy. Like attracts like. If your thoughts are positive, you'll attract more positive to your life.

Now, I don't prescribe using the law of attraction for selfish ends, but that's just me. I'm not going to sit in my house and wish for a billion dollars. I don't think Publishers Clearinghouse would show up with one of those giant cardboard checks just because I wished for the Prize Patrol to knock on my door. But then again, maybe it depends on my intention for the billion dollars. What if I wanted to donate all that money to charity? Would that intention be more likely to attract a billion dollars than if I wanted it to live a life of luxury? I'd like to think so.

But the point of all of this is that in the past few weeks, since I've owned up to the fact that yes, I am indeed good at what I do, opportunities have arisen for me to put my talents to use.

I've always been a big fan of this particular method of finding a job: waiting for the phone to ring. Why bother with all those resumes and job sites and classified ads when you can simply sit at home and wait for someone to call (or, in these more-modern times, e-mail) and offer you a job? It's happened to me several times over the years. And it happened again last month.

And here's the crazy part: I don't need a job. I have a job. But, it turns out, I also have a professional reputation that I wasn't fully aware of. The man who wanted to talk to me about an opportunity wasn't anyone I ever worked with directly, but we knew each other. We worked for the same company, but in different cities.

I might have a job, but I'm not silly enough to ignore an opportunity when it taps me on the shoulder, so I agreed to meet with him to discuss the position. We met at Eno, the wine bar at The Hotel Intercontinental. You know a job holds a lot of potential when the interview of it begins at 4:30 p.m. and cabernet is involved.

Though the setting was casual, I came prepared. "Would you like to see a resume?" I asked, reaching for my purse. (Yes, my purse is big enough to hold a file folder. Leave me alone.)

He waved me off. "I already know I want to hire you," he said. "I don't need to see a resume."

He had brought along a co-worker. She took a look at a copy, as she didn't already know me. But she didn't spend a lot of time reading it.

By the way, in vino veritas? No kidding. The co-worker decamped to sneak in some Christmas shopping which left me alone with my would-be employer/former colleague. We caught up on what we've been up to since our common newspaper days. He also told me about his current budget and that he has to spend every penny of it. "So," he said, holding up his glass, "you might as well have another glass of wine!"

So I did. But I don't drink much anymore, so halfway through the second glass, I could really feel it. We had a good conversation. I didn't say anything too personal, but whew. I gotta keep an eye on that grape-juice consumption and its loosening effect on my tongue.

But the coolest development of my three-week journey came today.

In the post I wasn't going to post, I talked about reading the first couple chapters of my friend's book.

This morning, I made a pot of coffee and read the whole thing.

Well, not the whole thing, as he's not done writing it yet, but I read the manuscript as it stood as of yesterday, the version that all the bigwigs at his publisher are reading this weekend. I'd written to him last night to ask if he was letting people read it before the deadline, and he responded this morning.

In the e-mail to which he attached the manuscript file, he wrote that I could skim it if I wanted to, that I didn't have to read it all, that I didn't have to edit like I did before.

"I know I don't *have* to line edit," I replied. "But if I did, would it annoy you?"

Happily, he's not that kind of writer, the kind who believes his every keystroke is sacred. He's always willing to consider comments and corrections.

"Thanks for the green light," I replied. "Cuz your friend here is anal and obsessive and it would irk her to no end to see something misspelled or otherwise wonky and not fix it."

So I read. I laughed. I cried. (I really did.) I sent him a note when I was about a third of the way through and told him that I was loving it. I finished my read (and edit) and sent the doc back to him with my notes.

The phone rang a few minutes later.

After he pronounced that his publisher should be paying me a million dollars for my editing, he, as he has in the past, praised my skills and suggested I consider becoming a book editor. We talked about the book and I tossed off some ideas for how he can accommodate his publisher's wishes while staying true to the book he wants to write. It was a good discussion. I was reminded, yet again, that I have good ideas, that – gasp! – I am very good at what I do.

He very sweetly told me that he'd put me in the acknowledgments if he's allowed to include acknowledgments. I can't imagine that he won't be allowed, but time will tell. I'm touched at the thought, regardless. It's worth a million dollars. But if his publisher wants to pay me, I'll take the cash.

8 Comments:

Blogger Mercurie said...

It would be really cool to be acknowledged in a book, even if you don't get a wad of cash. But then I must confess I just like seeing my name in print...

12:28 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Yup, people dig seeing their name in print. L.A. Dave tells me that at Medill, if you misspell someone's name in an assignment, you automatically get an F.

My first book acknowledgment, interestingly enough, was from the same friend who's writing this book. That one was waaaaay back in 1990. Since then, I've had two more, one of which from the aforementioned L.A. Dave.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious why you would extend yourself to edit a book manuscript without a commission in hand and pecuniary remuneration for your time and effort. I guess I'd question how much you truly value your work (not to mention your time) if you're willing to do it for nothing more than the promise of a mention on the acknowledgements page.

I edited the book manuscript of a friend of mine, and he was highly professional about it: working out an hourly rate with me in advance and paying me promptly. When his book was published, he gave me a copy. I opened it up, and that was when I saw he'd mentioned me in his acknowledgements. Now, THAT was classy.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I've edited friends' stuff for money in the past.

In this instance, this friend didn't ask me to edit his book. I asked him if I could read it. I don't want money from him. And I didn't do it so he'd put me in the acknowledgments. He's the one who mentioned it yesterday, not me. I thought it was sweet of him. Appreciative.

I greatly value my work and my time.

I also greatly value my friends.

Not everything is about money.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Note to "anonymous":

What Beth said. It's called "friendship". Look it up. You're obviously fond of looking up terms, as your showy use of the term "pecuniary remuneration" indication. Wiseass.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at anonymous's post. I have edited things for friends and not expected any sort of payment, not even an acknowledgement in print. It is what friendship is all about. It would not have occurred to me that someone might actually expect payment from a friend for what, at least to me, is more a pleasure than a chore.

Speaking for myself, I did find anonymous's post a bit scurrilous (see, the rest of us can use big words, too...).

9:43 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I meant to say "indicates," not "indication," in my previous reply. Just wanted to point that out to show that I'm not a complete doofus. Just a partial one.

10:23 PM  
Blogger Doreen said...

I think the secret to all this is anon has no friends so he/she haven't a clue as to what all this means!!

F.O.B. Doreen :)

10:25 AM  

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