isabelle thye

The biggest life lesson I learn from publishing a book

I learned to love my imperfections by owning my story.

From the day I decided to self-publish my book until the day the book was launched, I’ve been struggling to figure out the identity of the book. While I talked about my haphazard journey going through life as a millennial, what do I really want to tell the world?

It took me 3 months to conclude that owning my story is about finding myself and being who I am. It means giving myself freedom to try, to be okay with not knowing what to do in life, to quit, to struggle, to fall flat on my face, get back up and keep going.

I felt insecure about my differences
I’ve been blogging on Medium for years even though it is banned in my home country. While I felt comfortable pouring my heart out to strangers on the platform, I was conscious about sharing my story with people I know in the real world.

I was scared to share because I am different.

Even though I put on the hat of a founder and entrepreneur, I felt out of place in a group that talks about product market fit, business model, and taking calculated risk.

I hadn’t got things figured out while the other entrepreneurs were building companies and raising funds, which made me feel like a fraud.

I followed my curiosity, started things before I am ready, used courage and naivety as my currency, and trusted my inner compass when it came to critical decision.

I was constantly finding my way — why don’t I feel fulfilled? Should I go on? What do I want to create? How can I serve others with my strength? Who are they?

Getting out there
Strangely, publishing a book was something I felt compelled to do even though it forced me way out of my comfort zone.

Getting a book out to people’s hand meant that I had to bring my story to the world and engage people in my story.

From a passive observer on social media, I began posting weekly, daily, talking about my story on livestream and events.

I thought I was loud and annoying when I kept posting my works and events on different social groups — what would people think of me?

Then I learned that nobody cares that much about what I said, but the few who did will find their way to reach me.

I got more comfortable talking about my insecurity, rock bottom, and cluelessness. I even came to appreciate having a voice to share my truth.

Inspiration comes from imperfections
After a while, people started telling me that I’m inspiring. I felt like a fraud again, because in my mind I knew that anyone can self-publish a book, there’s nothing extraordinary in what I do.

When the second, the third and more people told me the same thing, I began to question myself, what have I done to warrant that?

It took me some time to realise that people said that because of all my imperfections.

When I was being honest about following my curiosity, starting things before I am ready, using courage and naivety as my currency, trusting my inner compass, sharing my insecurity, rock bottom, and cluelessness, people appreciated that.

My imperfections became powerful when I treated them with love and energy, turned them into words that reach people’s heart.

Having a voice
During the book launch, being at the center of the stage and having a room full of audience who supported our journey, I had a moment of realization that I have the power to give something to the audience.

When I talked about everything that made me felt small and different in the past with pride and gratitude, being broken gives me stories that I can use to help other people.

The moment I crossed the finishing line in launching the book, I realized that it’s not an end but a new beginning.

I have to use my voice to inspire more people to turn their imperfections into a gift they can give to the world.

Like to read?
I just launched my first book ‘The Art of Owning Your Story’ ! Click here to download a bonus chapter!

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