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Three words for 2013: Fearless, Imperfection and Storytelling

Red button labeled with the word GO.I was going to post this on New Year’s Day, but then productive procrastination set in. I’m in good company. Not everyone publishes their New Year’s resolutions on Jan. 1st. In fact, just this week New York Times columnist John Tierney wrote about the power of positive procrastination. It was supposed to be his New Year’s column.

But I digress. Here it is mid-January and I’m ready to announce my theme for 2013. It’s based on three words: Fearless, Imperfection and Storytelling.

The three-word idea comes from Chris Brogan. But many others, including Jonathan Fields, use it. For the record, my three words for 2012 were Alignment, Quiet and Compassion. I hope my riff below will be useful and inspiring for you. It helps me to go public with it.


Three words for 2013Am I really fearless as we start 2013? Er, no.  That would be a lie. My goal is to start by fearing less.  And end up closer to fearless by the end of the year. What do I mean by that? Both big stuff and little stuff.

One of my favorite writers, author and non-conformist entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau, does an Annual Review each December. He looks back at “what went well” and “what did not go well.” As I’ve reviewed Voxie Media‘s first year, I realize that being fearful was a problem in 2012. And it contributed significantly to things that didn’t get done.

I mean things like not creating and posting short videos to my blog because I’m not sure exactly how to make them. I worry that I won’t know what to say as I gaze at myself through the built-in camera on my 27-inch iMac. Stupid stuff.

Or not launching a mini program on How to Launch and Promote a Kick-Ass eBook because I don’t have all the information perfectly planned out. Or not… well, I’m not going to tell you everything.

IcarusDeception300-200x302You get the idea: I am fearful because I worry too much about perfection. Thanks to Seth Godin for addressing the fear factor in his newest book, The Icarus Deception. I keep it on my desk because I love the cover, as well as the message. Which brings us to the second word for 2013.

Takeaway: look for more video from me in 2013.


Fear of imperfection is tied up with procrastination, of course. But accepting imperfection is a necessity in order to grow a business. I understand that intellectually. But it’s hard to put into practice. (See Entrepreneurship Is a Practice by Jonathan Fields.)

It means accepting imperfection in order to ship (announce, post, launch) more quickly and consistently whether it’s less perfect blog posts or e-newsletters (examples here). It means getting them posted, public and out the door, even if they’re not 100 percent perfect.

Eegads. Did I really just say that? One hundred percent perfect sounds ludicrous. Yet I have this inner Lizard Brain voice that insists on perfection. Choosing imperfection as a word for 2013 is my way of announcing: Shut up, Lizard Brain.

Will Attention! How to Launch an eBook be perfect the first time I run the program? No. Does it matter? No.

Takeaway: look for new programs and services and more consistent emails with useful content in 2013.


On the less motivational side of things, I am going to explore and learn a lot more about a specific genre of book for Voxie Media authors: business novellas.

In other words, short narrative nonfiction that presents a business problem, and solution, in the form of a story. Well-known examples include Built to Sell by John Warrillow (this is probably my favorite) and The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann.

Narrative nonfiction (or creative nonfiction as it’s sometimes called) is a genre perfected by authors like John McPhee, Susan Orlean and Atul Gawande.

As we all know, there is something seductive about a well-told tale. It’s fun to read and easy to digest. And makes a business message, whether it’s about communications or insurance, much more compelling.

As it happens, a handful of the authors I’ve worked with over the past year have written their short books in the form of a  novella.

Beta Author Sue Johnston completed and published a business novella about effective communication: Talk to Me: Workplace Conversations That Work. Vishwas Lele turned a boring topic (the new version of Office™) into a compelling story, The App Economy: Coming to an Office™ Near You.

And two Beta Authors currently working with me are writing novellas. Is this a trend? If it is, Voxie Media aims to be out in front.

CI_Jacket_v34_121218_TMFinally, Robert Phelan‘s book, the first to be published under the Voxie Media imprint (!), is a riveting tale about a lesser-known form of insurance. Look for The Cost of Ignorance: What You Don’t Know About Performance-Based Insurance™ Can Save Your Company Millions (both eBook and hardcover) in February 2013.

Click the cover to see it full-size. Cover and book design by Alex Miles Younger.

Takeaway: look for a new module on How to Write a Business Novella in the next session of Beta Author Boost (it starts March 7, 2013).

 Useful Resources

The Three R’s of Narrative Nonfiction by Lee Gutkind (Dec. 17, 2012)

Storycraft: the Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction by Jack Hart

Definition of and links to books about narrative nonfiction from

Goodreads’ list of popular narrative nonfiction books

Joe Konrath’s (2012) Resolutions for Writers


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