Today we live in a fast-paced world of comparisons and ideologies. By the minute we are subjected to standards of what we should be, what we should have and what we should do. We have become conditioned to live and measure ourselves through a filter of perfection – the perfect body, the perfect relationship, the perfect Christmas dinner, the perfect everything. We have learned that to have a place in the world as a worthy human being we must be perfect or at least close to it.
As a mentor and organizer of empowerment events, I see first-hand the damage this can do. I see people grapple for “success” and strive to be validated and when they don’t get their “good enough” they start to behave in ways that are soul destroying, not just for themselves but for others. The need to nurture a wounded ego can become more important than life itself for some people. It creates a competitive mindset, and a competitive mindset is dangerous.
Now let’s flip that on its head. Imagine a world where we didn’t feel a need to get validated or compete, a world where we recognized ourselves and others as equal valuable assets to society. Imagine combining all our resources and strengths so no matter what anyone wants to achieve we could make it happen together. To work together makes sense to me, to compete does not. We should be helping each other, not bringing each other down.
Last year I decided to try to make a difference to the competitive reality in which we live, I decided to write a book on the topic of working together for the good of everyone. The book would be called WE Summit Together, which is the slogan of one of the events I run twice a year, the Women’s Empowerment Summit. At the last event, I gave thirteen women the opportunity to share their lives and life lessons in my book, so it could be a life guide, if you like, for readers, detailing all the things that we have found to be effective tools for the empowerment of ourselves and others.
Before pen was put to paper, I personally coached all the ladies involved so their mindsets were aligned with collective empowerment, and then we looked at what it would take to empower readers. We looked at every angle of empowerment and working together, unpacked it and then structured it so it could easily be received and understood by the reader. Each co-author was given a chapter in which to deliver their best lessons, whilst sticking to their chosen theme.
I had already written four books myself and all did very well, so I was confident that I could lead this project, bring everything together and get the desired outcome. I also overcame several difficult challenges in my own life so I was confident the content would be solid, with my guidance. It had to be solid to make a difference.
However, when it came to the book’s publication, I couldn’t deliver it through the standard publication channel I was used to. I wanted to give all the book sale profits to charity, which is this case would be The Christina Noble Foundation. If I went through my regular publication channel, very little by way of funds would be left. The only way the project could work was if I did the entire process myself, from start to finish. On the face of it, it was a daunting task, considering I am not a standard publisher, but my passion for making a difference gave me the drive to make sure I delivered, and the purpose was too great for it not to work.
I rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in. I thought back to when I was at my lowest point in my life and what I had to do to empower myself to get to where I am. I sieved through every ounce of what worked and what didn’t. Being real stood out as the number one factor that empowered me and on reflection with the ladies, it was also for them. That said, if I was to make a real difference with this book it would mean being vulnerable and honest, for it is only when we are vulnerable, honest and real that people see possibilities for themselves. The ladies agreed.
In my experience of the book world, a reader will only keep reading a book if the introduction grabs them, so I took on the responsibility of writing it. I decided, given the theme, that I needed to give the reader permission to be themselves completely and drop any pretence or notions of perfection from the get-go. People see me as a successful woman, so I decided to start by baring how confused and messed up I once was. We all need to see that we are all just the same, messed up perfectly imperfect people. My mother had written a letter to be included in my autobiography but ahead of its publication, I decided to include the letter in WE Summit Together. It’s a tough read in the sense that it is brutally honest, but I felt it was worth including, if it helped someone. Essentially, I wanted to take the reader on a journey, an emotional rollercoaster, because that is how I empowered myself. And boy it is an emotional rollercoaster for the reader!
I worked hard with the ladies to get the manuscript right and when it was completed, I formatted it and refined everything myself to make sure it was the way I wanted. I did the first edit too because, having coached the ladies, I knew their message more than any editor ever could. I wanted to keep it pure.
A few months later and it was in physical form. I published it through Amazon, did a pre-release promotional campaign and released it officially on February 26th. Within 24 hours it became number one bestseller and number one in Times for non-fiction. With WE Summit Together anything is possible! The next event is on April 13th so you never know, I might just write another book!
(c) Donna Kennedy
About WE Summit Together:
Would you like to feel more empowered to be the person you are truly capable of becoming? Have you ever felt that you have so much more potential, yet for some reason you don’t seem to be able to make your goals a reality? Perhaps it’s a confidence issue, lack of focus or motivation or not realising your real value, or maybe you don’t fully understand or appreciate your purpose and significance. Do you put everyone else first and forget to take of yourself, or maybe something in your life seems bigger than you and has been stopping you from having the freedom and clarity to be the best version of yourself. If any of the above resonates with you, this book is for you! WE Summit Together is a collection of motivational and inspirational stories written from the heart by empowered women. With diverse experiences, information and life lessons, spanning across different cultures, ages and expertise, this book can help you find the missing part of your puzzle. Indeed, it could transform your life.Some topics include: dealing with anxiety, increasing self esteem and confidence, overcoming domestic violence, having a disability, marital and relationship difficulties, IVF, emigration, finding a purpose, being a business owner, creating wealth, the importance of self-respect and self-worth, goals , psychology and reaching your potential, the importance of gratitude, how to have peace of mind and becoming happy, and more! WRITTEN BY DONNA KENNEDY AND CO-AUTHORS: Lucy Carty, Melanie Ardoin, Maria Farkasova, Aoife Gaffney, Liz Dillon-Valloor, Jennifer Clarke, Jenny McSweeney, Niamh Duffy, Tracey McCann, Marie Donnery, Martina O’Riordan, Jennifer Byrne and Maria Farrell.
Order your copy online here.
All book sale profits go to The Christina Noble Foundation.