Courtesy Jen Sincero
- Writer Jaime Stathis says the book “You Are A Badass” by Jen Sincero helped improve her life.
- One takeaway is having a clear purpose and trusting the universe will give you what you need.
- The book also taught her to stop procrastinating and start doing, and that step got her published.
For many years I was a writer who wrote prolifically but didn’t publish much or make more than coffee money. Now I’m a freelance writer with more than enough regular work to keep me busy.
The thing is, I knew writing was my purpose decades before I made it my profession, but I couldn’t figure out how to get out of my own way. Jen Sincero showed me how.
I was first introduced to Sincero in 2011 through friends of friends on Facebook. It was a couple of years before “You Are A Badass” came out, but Sincero was already working as a coach and on the book that would stay on The New York Times bestseller list for more than five years, sell more than 5 million copies, get translated into 40 languages, and spark a franchise.
“You Are A Badass.”
Running Press Adult
Sincero first branded herself by putting quotes from “You Are A Badass” in bright yellow (which would go on to define her book’s branding, too) and sharing them on Facebook. Her words landed like arrows of hope straight into my mid-thirties heart when she said things like, “If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way. If you’re not, you’ll find an excuse” and, “There’s nothing as unstoppable as a freight train full of fuck-yeah.”
I already had a head full of Jen Sincero’s wisdom by the time the book came out, which coincided with my 39th year, a year that had me, like Sincero, on an extended road trip without a defined end. Listening to the audiobook during the summer of 2013 felt like having an older sister or best friend riding shotgun, telling me everything I needed to up-level my life.
I want everyone to read this book, but in the meantime, I’ve pulled out some of my favorite nuggets.
When you have a clear purpose, you get what you need
One part of the book is about learning to trust yourself, and another is about learning to trust the universe. Sincero wrote that if we love and trust ourselves — if we can connect to our purpose and what feels right to us, quieting the “shoulds” — we can separate from our ego and connect with the universe, or what she calls “Source Energy.” In short, we have to get clear on our goals and life’s mission because if we’re not clear, the universe won’t know what we’re aiming for and won’t be able to give us what we need.
For me, this looked like figuring out how to use my words to help people. I started with a blog, some of which still exists, where I wrote for years without expectation of monetary gains. What I needed at the time, but not forever, was to exercise my writing muscles. I wrote about losing my grandfather and then taking care of my grandmother with dementia. I shared an excerpt from a book I never published (yet!), and I wrote about my adventures with my dog, about a miscarriage, and an extremely long post about the time I discovered my boyfriend had a wife. That last post blew up my WordPress site — getting thousands of hits every hour for days — that until that point had been mostly read by friends and friends of friends. All that writing for “free” gave me something invaluable: confidence.
The more honest my writing was, the more people wrote and told me I was hitting home for them. It took years (and a ton of patience and perseverance) to monetize my words, but I got there because I trusted myself, I trusted the universe, and I trusted the process.
Stop making excuses and start doing
It’s too easy to make excuses about why we’re in our own way and not doing what we need to do to achieve greatness. Sincero encourages readers to “take the first right step” because “most answers reveal themselves through doing, not thinking.”
I’d “what-ifed” myself into too many corners to count, and it always took way longer to undo that damage than it did to get me corner-bound in the first place. “You don’t need to invent your ideal life from scratch, you just need to figure out what makes you feel alive,” Sincero wrote. She tells readers to ask themselves simple, basic questions like, “What have you been saying forever that you’d love to do?” When you figure out what that is, stop overthinking, do the thing, and repeat as needed.
I learned to trust my intuition and to just keep doing the next right thing, which often looks like letting go of attachments to what isn’t working. I started sending my work to small magazines and literary journals, and some of them even got published. I won a WordPress award, which made me realized that readers were listening, and it gave me enough of a spark to keep going.
Loving yourself starts with deciding to love yourself
Sincero ends most of the chapters in “You Are A Badass” with lists of how to do something, like “How to win yourself over,” “How to believe in abundance,” and “How to keep your positive financial mindset strong and unwavering.” The last item on each list is the same — “Love yourself” — but with unique kickers like, “Fiercely, loyally, unapologetically” and “More than you love your drama.”
What I got from this is that it takes courage to love yourself deeply, and I’m not alone in doubting my greatness. The best part: We can fix that, which is exactly what I set about to do. Did it happen overnight? Hell no. But did it happen? Absolutely.