Rewriting Failure: Part One

I’m not writing a book. This book is rewriting ME. When Reid Tracy asked me to write a book, I had no idea what I was in for. Maybe my unconscious mind knew, because I pleaded with him that I wasn’t an author. I had never done this before. And I couldn’t guarantee it would be any good.At which point he said, “Neha, are you trying to talk me out of giving you a book deal? Because no one has ever done that.”A little startled, I said, “Yeah, I guess I am. I’m afraid I’ll disappoint you. What if I fail?” Reid’s persistence and steady confidence gave me the courage to say yes. I now know why I resisted – because this wasn’t going to be me writing a book – this was going to be the book rewriting how I relate to myself and my life.

  • Rewriting my belief that I’m a speaker, not an author.
  • Rewriting my relationship to books and studying.
  • Rewriting my relationship to creativity & structure being mutually exclusive.
  • Rewriting my relationship to the meaning of productivity.
  • Rewriting my relationship to self-care.


The truth is engineering and medical school felt easier than this. Maybe that’s because academics played along with my adrenaline-junkie self. These programs were structured and divided into a clear process of what needed to get done. Nothing lasted more than a semester or one rotation. There was no ambiguity. Maybe school seemed easier because I had a community. We were like a herd of cattle going from one class or lab to the next. I felt safe. There were people I could lean on when I wasn’t sure. I liked school because I knew how to use my head to override my body. That was my definition of consistency – consistently using my head to override my body to get to the finish line. When I took on this book project, initially I thought I could power through it. Not so much. For several months, I had writer’s block. It manifested as the stereotypical experiences I had heard about from others.

  • I gained 15 lbs.
  • I felt low energy, isolated and depressed.
  • I told myself I was a failure.
  • I put myself in a corner.
  • I’ve made this experience miserable and hard.
  • I’ve quit multiple times.
  • I’ve even said, “I may not have kids, but by the amount of weight I’m gaining it feels like I’m literally birthing this book.”

I’m finding out that this creative process is about being, more than it is about doing. It’s about creating structure and consistency and within that space allowing for the flow of creativity. It’s about healing myself as I document my heart’s message to the world. It’s about spending weeks writing, and realizing that it’s good material, just not for this book. It’s about asking other people what the right way to write a book is – only to realize that there are no shortcuts or cliff notes they’ve been hiding from me. What they share is their way to their heart, not my way. Recently I was reminded of a great quote from one of my mentors, Kris King. She said, “There are two kinds of people in the world; those who are afraid and climb mountains and those who are afraid and don’t. Which one are you? Everyone’s afraid.” What I know for sure is that I’m afraid and I climb mountains. Thank goodness I signed a contract, there’s a deadline and I have a supportive, loving community encouraging me regularly. Thank goodness I’m finally admitting what a painful process I’ve made this. That’s how I know this book will get done (even though I’m still not exactly sure how). I’ll keep you posted. What about you?

  1. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
  2. Who reminds you that you are someone who climbs mountains?
  3. What’s one step you can take toward making your goal a reality?


Join the conversation on the Doctor Neha Blog. Tell us – What mountains are you climbing? It’s a great place to share and get support from the TalkRx Community. Kudos to you for investing in your communication, your relationships and your good health!


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