When Steve and I launched our first book, Peak Performance, we were on the East Coast doing a lot of media and speaking there. Neither of us have much in the way of community in New York or Boston, but we were told it was the best way to get the word out about the book. The trip was super successful. The book had a solid initial launch from which it gained prominence in the public sphere. We started a no-nonsense discussion on peak performance. The only issue is that, at the end of that week, I felt like I was coming down from a bad drug high. I was guilty of getting caught up in the hype machine of launching a book. Alone on the east coast, on trains and planes and in cabs and hotels, Steve and I spent a lot of time checking our sales numbers and thinking about and hoping for sales and publicity. When I got back a week or so later, though the book was doing great, I felt somewhat hollow and kind of gross. Steve too.
Fast forward to this time around and the launch of The Passion Paradox. We decided to do things differently. Rather than travel, we’d do our entire launch from Oakland, CA, where I live and Steve has strong connections too. The intensity which we brought to our days was the same as two years ago. We had the same kind of focus, time spent on the internet, and events too. The only difference was that each night ended with dinners with family and friends. And each event was hosted, facilitated by, or done in partnership with someone in our overlapping communities. We weren’t just internet celebrities during launch week (that’s a vast overstatement, but you get the point), we were celebrities amongst our friends and family and local community. The time that we spent obsessively checking and thinking about our sales was replaced with in-person connection. It was replaced with wrestling with my son. With walks in local parks. With Steve and my wife Caitlin making fun of me for pretty much everything I do.
And let me tell you, this made all the difference. No emptiness. No hangover. No needing to take a hot shower at the end of launch week. It was a much more grounded experience.
I share this story because it’s perhaps the one thing I wish we would have emphasized more in The Passion Paradox: Community is really, really important. It serves both as a base to catch you when you are falling and a ceiling to keep you grounded when you are flying high. Modern technology has made it easier than ever to abandon real community, because you can convince yourself you’re connected digitally and chase virtual stardom. Don’t fall for this trap, especially not during intense times when your emotions are bound to run high in either direction. Instead, put yourself amidst the people you trust and then trust them to keep you exactly where you need to be.