The New Book

I don’t talk much about the book I am writing. It’s not that I’m secretive or hiding anything. From long experience, I know that if I talk about it too much, I’ll pull the wind out of the sails. The ideas will shrink.

Without memory, there would be no books; without books, we would have no memories.

Without memory, there would be no books; without books, we would have no memories.

This week, I’ve been having a hard time with the book. I keep writing around the issue at hand. Finally, early this morning, I sat down and wrote a very hard section. A section that did not cast a flattering light on my own Story. Or me.

And that was the whole point. I did dumb things. I still do. But I am no longer making them the heart of my Story–the reason for my mistakes. The excuse to continue making the same mistakes. Once you own your mistakes and admit them, you take away the feeding frenzy of your Inner Critic.

We love our Stories. They are the meat and marrow of the decisions we make every day. Unfortunately, they are also the main meal for our Inner Critics.

“My parents never encouraged me,” we sigh, feeding the Inner Critic the “you can’t be enough because you weren’t nurtured” broth.

“At home, the boys got all the attention,” we complain, spooning the sweet accusation that we aren’t worth the effort of love, attention, or praise into the mouth of our Inner Critic.

“No one ever loved me enough,” we say, giving the Inner Critic a meaty bone of self-doubt to chew on for years.

The saddest (and funniest) childhood comment I’ve heard as a coach came from



the client who said, “My parents gave me everything. They encouraged me and praised me. No wonder I never learned how to deal with disappointment. I don’t have the ability to be self-critical. It was my parent’s fault, really.”

Poor childhood. It can’t win. If we’re treated badly, it ruined our life. If we were treated well, that’s wrong, too.

Yes, I take seriously the grim stories of childhood I hear–stories of abuse, abandonment, loss. No one can take any of those stories lightly. They cause terrible damage. But not irreparable damage.

The sign of growth, the sign of change, the sign of reinvention is the willingness to admit that we can’t go back and change the past. It happened. Blessedly, it is also over, and in the past. The next step is yours to make and live. And that’s what the book is about.

-Quinn McDonald is writing a book. Again. It’s turned into a habit.


10 thoughts on “The New Book

  1. Yes, the IC finds it hard to hit a target that is continually on the move in the opposite direction, seldom stopping, heading towards a goal. Live now, look forward, my mantra.

    And yes, sometimes shining even a dim light on a goal in public makes nurturing it difficult . . . I have a secret one that I whisper about inside where the IC doesn’t have access. I love your metaphor of pulling the wind out of the sails.

    Kia kaha!

    • I have to be careful about book-content talking. Too much and I feel I’m done, too little and I don’t get questions answered. And the IC is along for the whole ride–I’ll have to make sure he doesn’t get a life jacket.

  2. I can’t wait to read it Quinn and do the writing exercises! The past is what makes us who we are today. If we enbrace it we will love ourselves and realize we needed that experience to become who we are today.

  3. I can’t wait! Coming from you, it will be right on target. This will be a read and read again and again book. I love those.

    • It will be a book you can use again and again. The exercises are developed from those I use with coaching clients, and I know they work–but it’s not like taking a pill and the headache goes away, it’s a learning process.

  4. It’s going to be a wonderful book, Quinn. A good book for all! So true that everyone has some of all of that in their past, whether it’s from home, friends, schoolmates, fellow workers, and it can go on and on. You’re right – it happened and it’s in the past. It’s a new day!

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