The lizard almost killed my book

The lizard almost killed my book

The lizard almost killed my book

The lizard almost killed my book – Mitch Matthews.

So… we launched “IGNITE – 3 simple steps for re-sparking your buried dreams and building a plan that finally works,” and it has been a pretty incredible experience!


Thanks to the help of an AMAZING team and YOUR incredible support, we unseated Oprah and Eckhart in our first week on Amazon.  Plus, I got to hear from people from all over the world who were downloading the book and already re-sparking dreams.

AND… we’ve had a lot of fun in the process too!

I’m so glad I did it.  I’m so glad I said, “go.”

But I have to admit.  I almost didn’t.

In fact, I was seconds away from saying, “stop.”

So today, I need to share a little story with you that I’m kind of embarrassed by.

I don’t really want to… but for the good of some of YOUR big dreams (and mine too)… I need to.

Here’s the back story.

A few months ago, while we were driving to the Badlands in South Dakota for a family vacation I got an idea.  Everyone was sleeping and I was listening to some NEEDTOBREATHE, just enjoying the time on the open road and dreaming a little along the way.  I was thinking about what might be next for our business and the idea of a book popped into my head.  (I don’t know about you but I’m always thinking about writing books.  Some I’ve started… many I haven’t.)  But then I started to think about the infinite possibilities of Amazon, the Kindle and self-publishing.  I dreamed of reaching more people and inspiring them to dream bigger and live bigger.  I’d dipped my toes in the water but I’d never done a CANNONNNNNNNBALLL!!! leap into those wild waters.

But as I drove… I thought about “What if?”

Then I started to think about taking my book IGNITE and learning to navigate these whitewater hazards to get it out to more people.  As I drove I continued to dream.  My heart started to race at the possibilities.  I started to think through steps.  I started to mentally select a dream team of people to help.  I started to get excited.

While we were on our vacation… visiting favorite places like Mnt. Rushmore, Little Devils Tower and Sylvan Lake, I just had this big goofy grin on my face.  Partly because of the beautiful landscape and amazing history of that area… but that grin was also due to this idea of finally going “ALL IN” and going for it on Amazon.

I’ll admit that I sent some initial emails out from our little cabin in the Black Hills but I mostly just thought through strategy.  But once we returned home, I started to reach out and assemble an amazing team of people to help me (the total newbie) through this process.   I reached out to Chandler Bolt, who is a genius in the ways of AMAZON and an all around great guy.  I reached out to David Nadler who is a long time friend, business partner and online strategy ninja at black belt levels.  I found Lise Cartwrite to be my Amazon tour guide and project manager extraordinaire to run the who book launch operation from her home in New Zealand.  I enlisted the help of design wizard Ida Svenigsson to give our cover a fantastic look, and design rock star Marian Voicu to guide us on layout.  Plus, of course, I asked for ideas and contribution from Jocelyn Wallace... the best-selling visual author of IGNITE.

So we all started to work together to make it happen.  Design conversations.  Marketing ideas.  Networking suggestions.  Planning, scheduling and implementation.

And then it all came down to the Thursday night before “launch week.”

Our plan was to upload the book to Amazon and then begin our full onslaught of marketing on Friday.  That was our plan.  (A plan we’d worked weeks to create and prepare for.)

But… due to some last minute “issues,” the book wasn’t uploading.  There were complications.  Things were close but not quite there.

And… the team looked to me to say, “Do we still launch?”

If I say “go” then it starts a cascade of events.  Waves of emails going out to over 40,000 people.  A social media strategy that starts to spread the word slowly and organically.  A list of interwoven activities to spark awareness so that things would (hopefully) peak when we finally “officially” launched it on the following Tuesday.

But there we sat.

I’d gone to take our first step and it felt like I’d tripped.

And… all I wanted to say was “STOP!”

Now, in hindsight, I’ll admit that I didn’t want to say “stop” because the electronic document wasn’t ready.  Sure that would have been my easy excuse.

Nope.  The REAL reason why I wanted to say “STOP” was to play it safe.  To bow out.  To avoid potential embarrassment. To not take the risk… at all.

Successful authors Seth Godin and Stephen Pressfield both talk about the “lizard brain.”  It’s that part of the brain (the amygdala to be more specific) that tries to keep us safe.  It’s that part of the brain that keeps us from walking into a dark ally late a night… or from taking free candy from that guy in the old van (seems legit)… or from saying something stupid to your boss.

Yeah… the lizard brain.

It’s job is to keep us “safe.”

The problem is… that in moments like that Thursday night… my lizard brain was screaming… “STOP!  Don’t do it!  Don’t take the risk.  You’re fine without it!  You don’t need that aggravation.  Sure… it might be nice to get your book out there to more people, but what if?”

“What if the tech doesn’t work?”

“Or worse… what if it flops?  What if it stinks?  What if people leave bad reviews?”

“What if?  What if?  What if?”

If I really analyze my thinking on that Thursday night… I wasn’t weighing out whether to just wait a week.

I was deciding if I would EVER publish the book.


Well, I realize now that if I’d said, “stop” or “let’s wait,” I would have given myself an out AND I would have given my lizard brain another full week to work on me.  Heck, my project manager was on the other side of the globe.  I could pay her invoice and just start to trail off in our communication.  Same goes for my design team.  I could just switch gears and move on.

Never risking.  Never launching.  Never needing to say, “GO!”

It would have been easy.  It would have been safe.

And yes, in the moment, it would have felt SOOOOOOO good to just say “stop.”

But by the grace of God, a good convo with my bride and some great advice (and encouragement) from the team…

I decided to say, “GO!”

When I did, my heart was racing and I threw up in my mouth just a little bit.

But I said it.

And the wheels were set in motion.

The team kept uploading.  (And by Friday morning things were working.)  Emails started to get sent.  Appeals for help started to quietly be made.  The wave started to build.

And… within a week… we bumped Oprah and Eckhart… if even for a day (that ain’t bad for a team of newbies) and we were number 1.

Now, are we done?  Nope.

Do we have this all figured out?  Not quite.

Have we sold a million copies?  Not yet. 🙂

Do I have a big advance offer from a publisher on my desk.  Not quite yet. 🙂

But we… at least… started.

And that feels good.

Has my amygdala yelled at me a bit since I said “GO?”  Yup.  Ohhhh yes.

But… I’ve decided I’m going to do my best to listen to my lizard brain when it comes to dark alleys and guys in vans, but I’m also going to keep working extra hard to tell it to “shut up” when it comes to pursuing big dreams.

Who’s with me?

What’s something you’re needing to say “GO” to?

(If you need help figuring this out, just ask yourself where your lizard brain is yelling “STOP!”)

What’s something you need to take a step towards today?

What’s a small but significant action you need to say “GO!” to… today?

When you do… let me know how it goes!

Keep bringing your awesome.  The world needs YOU,


PS – If you haven’t grabbed a copy of IGNITE… you can do it by clicking here.  Oh and help me to punch my lizard brain in the face by leaving a kind review on Amazon.  THANKS!!!

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