Conquer Roadblocks Like Suzanne Somers
Do you remember Three's Company? From 1977-1982, it was one of the highest-rated shows on television and launched Suzanne Somers's career.
But did you know that Somers was fired from the show in 1982 because she asked for more money?
That was the first of many roadblocks she overcame over the next 30 years.
She battled cancer once and a misdiagnosis another time. She reinvented herself after failed sitcoms and talk shows. She changed direction after harsh reviews and low ticket sales cancelled her one-woman Broadway show after only a week.
Through it all, she's written 20 books, including 11 New York Times bestsellers. She was the spokesperson for the ThighMaster, one of the products that launched the infomercial industry. Today, she's still reinventing herself at age 65 with a new show on the Lifetime channel.
Steve Roller here, back for day two of The Writer's Life. I bring up Suzanne Somers because her story fits in well with our theme this week: overcoming challenges, getting out of ruts, and finishing strong.
Today, we're going to explore what happens when you go down the wrong path and hit a roadblock.
What if it's harder to break into your niche than you thought? What if a client fires you? What if you experience a health crisis, an emotional trauma, or the death of a loved one? What if your mountain of debt is preventing you from thinking clearly?
At some point, you might hit a wall with your writing business.
Whatever challenges you face, there are five principles from the life of Suzanne Somers you can use to conquer roadblocks and bounce back:
Turn negatives into positives. When she got fired from Three's Company, Somers found it hard to get work in Hollywood for a while. So she went to Las Vegas to do a nightclub act. Since she had a lot of free time, she started writing every day. Her scribbled hotel notes turned into her bestselling autobiography, Keeping Secrets.
When she turned 40, she did it again. She turned the negative of gaining weight into a positive: her wildly popular "Somersize" exercise and diet program.
- Reinvent yourself whenever necessary. Somers has done it numerous times in her life. "When you hit a wall," she says, "you don't say 'poor me,' you say, 'okay, we've maxed out here,' and go in another direction. It's been an incredible template in my business."
- Find the right niche for you. Don't try to be someone you're not. Live in alignment to your "brand." For Somers, alternative health has been a central theme for 30 years.
- Write for yourself. Whenever you're not writing for a client, write something every day. Before she made it big, Somers wrote a book of poetry. When Johnny Carson discovered her, he took such a liking to her that he booked her on his show once a month, and she always read a poem to him. Of all the things she's done in her career, she says, "Writing is my greatest passion."
- Don't be afraid to start small. Somers was originally going to be a chef, but she got a call for a bit part in a George Lucas film called American Graffiti. She earned a whopping $136.72 for her work, but it was a pivotal point in her career. Soon after, she was making regular appearances on The Tonight Show, where producers for Three's Company found her.
Take a cue from Suzanne Somers and embrace the idea that your negatives can turn into positives. Accept the fact that reinvention is part of the deal.
Are you unsure if you need a slight adjustment or a whole new direction? Feeling stuck in any way? If you don't mind sharing here, ask me your most pressing question, or connect with me privately if it's more personal. I'll do whatever I can to help.
Then read my article "Cleansing and Fasting: Not Just for Health Nuts" for ideas on how a mental cleanse and a media fast can help you refocus and build momentum in a new direction.
Sometimes, it's good to wipe the slate clean before starting anew.
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