These days, it seems so easy to focus on the negatives. To be unsure of yourself. To doubt yourself. But I’m facing those negative beliefs and fears and letting the good come out. Here’s one example.

I just finished the first major edit of my book due out later this year (hopefully). When the editor sent the first round of edits to me, she put an “emotional warning” in bold in the cover email. I thought to myself, “How bad could it be?” Then I opened it up and almost had a meltdown. I was ready to throw it in the trash. While this isn’t my first rodeo, it sure is different from the press releases, magazine articles, testimony, technical documents, reports, and history book that came before.

But, here’s the thing. I hired an experienced editor to take my thoughts and words—my  manuscript—and turn it all into an amazing book. So after the initial shock, I dug into the edits. Line by line. I moved sections around. Got over things like ending sentences in prepositions, because according to her, even though it’s not grammatically correct to do so, that’s the way people talk. I get it, but my hubby (known as the grammar Nazi) will definitely have a meltdown. Let’s just keep it our secret for now.

I spent four weeks reworking the manuscript after her first edit. It’s finally back in her hands.

Am I excited? Yes. Am I scared? Yes. But this is where I get to heed some of my own advice. My ego is on overdrive right now telling me that I don’t have what it takes to be a published author, that no one will want to read my book, and that I’ve just wasted my time. That I’m a failure.

I know that’s just not true. It’s just baggage I carry around.

As the great jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker said, “Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.” And it’s the same with your dreams. They are based on your own experiences, your thoughts, your wisdom.

To pursue your dreams, you have to truly understand and accept who you are to the core but be mindful of the baggage you’ve accumulated and are now carrying around with you, including your fear of what others think or fear of failure.

You owe it to yourself to pursue your dreams and live them. Let them come out your “horn.”

So once I decided to focus on the positive instead of the list of negatives I’d collected, I began to going to worry less about what others thought and stopped agonizing about how I might be judged.

I’m living a new chapter in my life and it’s exciting. I’ve done a lot of self-reflection and I’m learning to face some of my fears and untruths.

I’m letting go of all that baggage and letting the good come out my “horn.”