I wrote a book!

I have been working on a project that has taken so much of my time that I have regretfully neglected other areas of my life. But I have forgiven myself, am refocused and ready to go!


I’ve done probably the scariest, most personally-exposing and vulnerable thing I have ever done.


I wrote and published a book and the official launch is August 1st!


(OMG you guys, I did it! I’m pretty proud of it and I’m so excited!! I feel like I can do anything now!)


Cover: Close the Gap

It’s called Close the Gap: 7 Transformational Steps to Move You from Today to Tomorrow.

It’s available on Amazon in either paperback or Kindle version.


Within each of these 7 steps are tasks, lessons, lectures and areas of focus to support the work that needs to be done. Some of the steps require introspection, digging into your truth, as well as external actions you need to take to provide yourself the environment to embrace your new future.


It’s non-fiction, will probably be considered self-help, but it ended up going far more personal than I originally planned. I believe that to make any change, you need to establish and accept a starting point. And to do that, some of those needed internal conversations and actions may be uncomfortable.


And the best way to support my thoughts and teachings was to share my personal story and journey of self-discovery.


For example, in Step 6, after you’ve gained an understanding of yourself inside and out, changed your mindset, figured out your future goals and desires, I challenge you to make yourself strong in mind, body, soul, spirit, and physical grounding to provide stability and support for coming change.


And what I want to talk about today is how vulnerable it makes you feel by putting so much of yourself into a book like this. I allowed and pushed myself to be vulnerable - which I’m not necessarily good at - by sharing personal stories that help to explain not only where I used to reside inside of my life and mind, but also to speak to the path I had to take to get to where I am today and to say that if I can do it, you can , too.


The secret to it working in this context is that there is no blame, and no anger, only situational facts. You’ll see what I mean when you read it.What I would like to do, before I share a small excerpt, is to maybe provide a little insight into this exhausting process and to clarify that it’s not always easy.


Let me start by saying that I struggled for weeks on what to include and painstakingly ensured that what I did share was both pertinent to and in support of my narrative.

I added, I subtracted, I changed, I tweaked. I reconsidered and rewrote entire sections and drove myself a little crazy. Then finally decided that my story may just be the catalyst that helps someone else work through their situation and improve their life.

I debated with myself over how much detail to include to make my point clearly without it sounding self-serving, or how it may be perceived, if I was writing only to gain attention. Or to spill dirt. Was I being too snarky? And maybe too personal?


Then I stopped and reminded myself why I wanted to include it in the first place.


My only intent is for my readers to understand, truly hear, trust, and relate to me and what I want to teach them. To know that your past does not dictate your future. That you should feel no shame or embarrassment over your story.


What I haven’t yet mentioned is that I shared some details that some may consider taboo and should just be kept private or at least within the confines of your family unit. And I ultimately decided I wanted to take a step to change that. To change the taboo. To start to end the pain and isolation experienced by many and challenge that it needs to be kept private. So I took my own advice and pushed through the fear of what others may think or how they may respond.


When I made the decision to ultimately include the info, that's when, for me, the book came to life.


But still, I think about it. I had and still have no intent to hurt or embarrass anyone or to expose anything in the name of shock value. My closest friends are already familiar with my past, I fully embrace it and actually celebrate it, because I wouldn’t be where I am without it. I know that some may, well, to put it bluntly, get upset, but their reaction is not my responsibility.


Even now, as I hear myself saying these words, it may sound like I’m apologizing for what I wrote. But I’m not. Not even close. I am just extremely sensitive to the energy I send out that is received by others and am clearly dealing with one of my limiting beliefs, that what I have to say is not important - which will make sense once you read the book.


And these issues, these situations, are not individual to me by any means. People from all walks of life have similar and much worse experiences that I had. But many of them never share their stories with the world, suffering in isolation. And deal with depression, like I did for so long. I don’t want anyone else to suffer.


The only regret I have in life is how long I stayed silent and in submission. I don’t want others to do the same and I consider myself fortunate that I was able to pull myself out of it, no matter how messy it was.


In the end, I relied on what I have come to accept as the ultimate personal power: what others think of me is not only none of my business, but it’s also all about them and their personal belief systems. The best I can do, and always will do, is be true to myself.

So I’d like to read a portion of the Introduction to you now:


***


Introduction to Close the Gap (partial):


Life is a continuous series of milestones, goals, dreams, and successes. But outside of basic human developmental and legally required milestones (i.e. first words, first steps, high school graduation, and death), everything else is subjective and up to the individual. Get your driver’s license or ride your bike? Try out for sports, audition for the play, or get an after-school job? Learn Spanish or French? Go to college, or trade school, or join the military, or go straight to work? Get married or stay single? Have a baby or not? Stay in your hometown or move abroad? Get a cat or a dog? Stay stuck or choose to grow?


Some make plans and base their decisions on dreams of the future or even based on immediate need. Everything works out great, there are no gaps, and everyone goes about their lives blissfully happy, without ever questioning if where they are is where they really want to be. And you know what…that’s great! Congratulations! This group is living a life full of certainty that makes others jealous!

Or…

…. you’re a member of another based-in-reality group, the one that has had your a** handed to you by any number of circumstances and you’re wondering how you got here.


Sound familiar? Thank goodness…I’m not alone. I’ve been there and spent large chunks of my life there. And it’s taken me the last almost twenty years and lot of work to finally get myself on track to where I feel like I’m finally where I want to be. Actually, longer than that, but I was in my own way for most of the time before that. I lacked confidence, I had no real goals, and I was under the control of different narcissists. But don’t feel sorry for me, I fully acknowledge now that I played the victim for years and played my part in those situations.


That gap between who you are today and who you want to be tomorrow is a wide chasm of unknown, fear and, quite frankly, adventure. You already own the instruction manual for today, on being in your spot, and continuing the status quo. That gap you’re facing seems wide and impassable, nearly impossible to catapult yourself over. The more you look at it, the bigger and more complicated it gets, until you just turn your head, avert your eyes, and stay put. It’s safe, it’s comfortable, and it’s livable. But is it?


Is a life devoid of new experiences or risk the kind you really want to live? Do you truly desire to remain limited by the status quo, remain in your bubble, and ignore the advancing world around you? Have you reached a level of satisfaction that you can’t imagine expanding even further? And I’m not talking about being thankful for all you have and all you’ve been given and earned - I’m talking about just maintaining your pulse where you are, and not ever again looking at the horizon. If this is you, and you truly don’t want to expand your knowledge or environment, I fully respect that. I do. No one should tell anyone else how to live their life. But if this is you, this isn’t the book for you and you’ll probably grow very weary and exasperated by me.


Again, that’s OK, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I know I can be abrasive, sarcastic, impatient, and obsessed with forward-moving thinking and self-improvement. When I was feeling stuck, I didn’t want to be; it’s not that I wasn’t aware of my options, it’s that I actually thought I had none. That things were the way they were simply because that’s how life was. The idea of actually having a choice in the matter didn’t even exist in my head - yes, I was indeed a victim, but it supported and helped me rely on my victimhood way of thinking.


If you’re in the first group, but yet you picked up this book, I think you do have a little curiosity and adventure in you, and you’re feeling a little something you don’t quite understand. Consider yourself welcomed into the fray with open arms and I believe this guide will help awaken any dormant desires you have. I just ask that you be ready to embrace them.

To the second group, my people, my tribe - get ready to close that gap. Prepare to find the path and the power to narrow the space between today and tomorrow, and to find the will to do it.


***


I hope you enjoy it and I know it will help guide you to reach that next level of your life. Check out the book page and join the “Close the Gap” Facebook group so you don’t miss announcements on challenges and other exciting things I have planned for you.


I hope you have a fantastic week, and I encourage you to reach for the stars.

(P.S. if/when you find typos missed by myself or my editor, I’m OK with it. Not only is it great therapy for me as a recovering perfectionist, but the best literary works in the world have them, so I’m in good company😊).

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© 2020 by KAREN K. BANNISTER INTERNATIONAL LLC.