Wow, it’s a day of mixed messages!

I’ve been feeling down because my business as a book coach is just starting and starting a new business is always a slow slog. It will probably take months of really working hard at it to get any sort of response, let alone clients. It would be so much easier to just give up and say, “Well, that was a great idea that didn’t work.”

My book sales have been slowing as well because I was moving and didn’t have time to set up ads or promote my work anywhere and, as I’ve learned the hard way, if I don’t promote my books, they don’t sell.

On the other hand, I just wrote a letter to a coaching client (I do have one—and hopefully after this letter to him, I still will) encouraging him to keep at it and not give up—which is what he was thinking of doing after he realized just how hard it was going to be to get traditionally published. Yes, he was going to give up before he even got started!

I then checked my email to find a Washington Post article on “Toxic Positivity”. Is it bad to be too encouraging? Apparently, it is! Sometimes it’s okay to say “I can’t do this.” Sometimes it’s all right to give up.

So, where should we go from here? Which way am I—or you—headed? Should I be positive and encouraging to myself and my client not allowing either of us to give up? Or should I step back say, “You’re right. Stop working. Stop trying—at least for now. Give yourself a break.”

Yes, we all need a break. And sometimes it is better to step away than to press on with something that’s going nowhere. How do you know when you should do that?

I’ve been praised for being so tenacious in my work. I take the rejections, the bad reviews, the low sales and I carry on anyway. I push all the negativity and nay-saying aside and go on with my work, telling myself that it’s going to get better—either I and my writing will get better or I will catch just the right person on the right day and something will click.

I also know that I’m as stubborn as they come and sometimes that’s not a good thing. I stick to my ideas and I don’t give up even when it may be the right thing to do.

Which is right?

Do you stick with it? Do you continue on pushing, and advertising, and hoping, and working, and praying, and on, and on, and on?

Or do you give up? Shrug your shoulders and accept defeat?

Which one is right?

I don’t know.

I do know that the best way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t. I know the way my mind works—I’m a rebel in Gretchen Rubin’s typology. But is that always right? Is it always the right way to go—to move forward, even trick myself into doing so?

Maybe I can’t keep going. I can’t sell books or be a book coach. Maybe my client shouldn’t write his book because it’s going to be difficult and then once it’s done it’s going to be even harder to sell. Maybe I shouldn’t say that it’s going to be all right, or that you’ll get out of this slump/writer’s block/whatever that’s holding you back because sometimes it’s okay not to be okay.

But maybe I can. I can sell books, I just need to set up some advertising. I can be a book coach, I just need to get the word out there that this is what I do and I’m damned good at it. Maybe my client should write his book because, even though it’s not going to be easy, he very well may change lives with it. Sometimes you need a cheerleader or someone standing at your back saying “you’ve got this!”.

And maybe the answer will change moment by moment, day by day, and that’s okay too. So, today I’ll psych myself up and schedule some ads for my books and work to get the word out there about my author services. I’ll write to encourage my client and together we’ll work on moving forward. And then I’ll back off and take some time to sit under a tree and just stare up into the sky.

What do you think? How have you been doing with your work? Are you moving forward or taking some time off?

As always, Anne R. Allen’s blog (this week written by Ruth Harris) is fantastic this week and talks about the importance of patience and perseverance. Don’t miss it! I found it incredibly inspiring!