Excerpt from feedback notes on;
Conceived as a handbook to be used during
motivational seminar presentations and it draws upon a variety of self-help
principles for marshaling inner resources in order to realize any life goal.
I like the idea of a crisp, snappy handbook or field guide that offers down-to-earth, practical promises for change and that can be utilized as a quick reference source for your seminars.
There's always a need for such material, for so many people sink into familiar patterns that don't serve them; yet they remain stuck in order to maintain their comfort zone. Yours is a guide that offers a method to reinvigorate and energize. It will no doubt be useful during seminars where participants can use it as their workbook with lots of space for written exercises and notes, allowing them to become interactive with it as you present your material.
Based on the material in your transcript and in the completed chapters, I would keep your book limited to handbook size, rather than a full-length self-help volume. The later would involve many months, perhaps even a year of work, with extensive fleshing out. Research and the addition of anecdotes and stories. But even as a shorter volume, what you've produced to date is really just an OUTLINE of a book with great ideas and the beginning of great content, as most of the chapters still need a considerable amount of fleshing out.
Some of the content seems derivative or reminiscent of Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, and others like them. Following is a variety of suggestions that would give your book a unique voice.
Preface: In its current form, the Preface is too short and abrupt and needs to include at least one or two examples of the way so many people get “stuck” in life–into familiar, safe patterns that don't serve them. There should be some reference, perhaps, to the forces that STOP most of us from effecting change–procrastination, fear, and the illusion that we're victims rather than volunteers.
I like the idea of chunking your work thematically into an 8-step program. The idea that each of us has staked out the “territory” of our lives and planted land mines and booby traps is quite vivid. I'd flesh this out more and explain what you mean. How can we, for example, MARSHALL our forces, expand our territorial range, and bypass those familiar booby traps (negative self-talk, fear, pessimism) to prevail? I so heartily believe that the “one tiny shift” you mention can impact the world. The use of language here, however, could be improved. For instance, that one tiny action, you could say, has “a rippling effect,” or “a domino effect,” demonstrating that every action has a consequence. Also, this guidebook assumes that people want CHANGE, that they're not currently fulfilled in their life. I would flesh this point out more. They will be encouraged to read that opportunity doesn't knock once...that it's always knocking.
I would avoid general phrases like: “a fresh approach to clarifying things in your life...” “Things” is too vague. And rather than “We've figured out how to handle things.” Better: “We've strategized techniques for facing any challenge–and so can you!”
Chapter Two has a MUCH STRONGER opening than Chapter One, but again it's way too short and doesn't really flesh out the excellent themes. You really nail the idea of how life begins with infinite possibilities. I'd expand the lovely notion that a child is emotionally open to adventure and variety–whereas as adults we become stuck in routine, our playing zone or field of engagement getting “smaller and smaller,” the comfort zone immense. The writing here is quite good. You give two great examples delineating what feels safe and what feels dangerous, depending on our “personalities and value structures.” I'd give at least three more examples, taking in more people. I'm not sure how long you want your book to be–but many of the good points you raise would need more expansion to be really effectively made.
For example, if you're going to mention FEAR, you need to say a little more about it. Also, there has to be some understanding of WHY this happens...and how it can be corrected. As you know, Tony has a 5-step “transformation of change” process that requires one reaching a level of “satiation” with the old way of doing things. Is this applicable here?
I like the idea that one goal of the book is RECLAIMING that infinite territory left behind in childhood. How do we do it? What prevents us? I'd give a whole list of BOOBY TRAPS we invent to keep us back. You talk about “reconstructing your field.” This is actually a very profound concept, the idea that we've decided how wide our territory will be. I think this needs more expansion. What kind of land mines are you talking about? What can we do to defuse them? Perhaps these questions will be answered in later chapters.
I LOVE the analogy of the Invisible Fence for Dogs! It's a fantastic visual. Your point that we all have our internal electronic shock systems really rings true. We keep ourselves hidden behind those fences–largely out of fear, rarely out of ignorance. Pushing through this fence to freedom sounds quite liberating!! Excellent point.
I like the theme: Experience Your Emotions and Act on Your Commitments. When you discuss the elusive quality of emotions, I'd add that FEELINGS ARE NOT FACTS, that so often we are too REACTIVE, allowing momentary moods and emotions to affect our strategic decision making. If I were writing this book, I would add passages like this: You might feel worthless, but it doesn't mean that you are. You might feel like killing somebody, but it doesn't mean you should. You might feel that it's hopeless, but it doesn't mean it is! Feelings are subjective, variable, most often temporary, and like clouds, they will pass by if you're patient enough. Don't let them distract you from your mission.
Remember: Illustration rather than explanation is always a better teaching tool. That's why the best self-help books use so many stories and clinical examples. You have very few stories but lots of rules, lists, and exercises– but they should be balanced with good examples.