With July 4th looming in the near distance, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to freedom. There’s the practical freedom that’s been fought for and won, over and over again, in this country — most recently this week when the Supreme Court struck down the freedom-sucking Defense of Marriage Act — and then there’s personal freedom.
According to kickass, badass, bestselling author Jen Sincero, the other side of fear is freedom. So this week Bitch’in Suburbia sat down with Sincero to chat about her new book, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life, and cull nuggets of wisdom from this passionate purveyor of sassy self help.
Bitch’in Suburbia (BIS): I loved your book, Jen, for many reasons — chock full ‘o self-help (which I’m a sucker for), lots of swear words (ditto), and a lot of talk about what it takes to live a badass, authentic life. And pretty central to it all is the idea of freedom. How do you define freedom?
Jen Sincero (JS): Ultimate freedom is being exactly how you are. I know that sounds simple, but it really is profound. Because you need to give yourself permission to be whoever you are, and love yourself. That’s full-on badass.
BIS: I’m so with you — I’ve read lot of self help books and done a lot of work on all of that, and I gotta say, it does the deed. But I do have a burning question that I’m sure a lot of my readers do, too. So much self-help advice works best when you can clear the decks, but for most of us, that feels virtually impossible. What do you tell parents, for example, when they can’t exactly ditch the fam to find themselves?
JS: You have to be realistic and know that there are seasons of life, and times where your family is your focus, and that’s fine. But what I speak to is how we like to pretend that we can’t do the things we really want to — out of fear or whatever — and convince ourselves that we don’t really want to or can’t do it anyways. And then we just don’t.
BIS: I hear that. My favorite chapter in your book is called, “The Drama of Overwhelm,” and the title alone says it all. Then you lead into it with my grandma’s favorite quote by Mark Twain: “I have lived a long life and had many troubles, most of which never happened.”
JS: The reality of the world is how we perceive things. We talk ourselves out of moving forward because of the reality we see around us. So if all you see is there’s not enough time, there’s too much to do, and I’m exhausted, then there you are.
BIS: That sounds like my life! And everyone’s I know! But I realized that I’d never be a “real” writer if I didn’t carve out some time to… WRITE! So I get up most every day at 5:00 a.m., and little by little, I have written a couple of books, this blog, and some short plays. And it started by just feeling like I didn’t have any good reason not to do what I love doing.
JS: The biggest danger is thinking more about what we can’t have than what we can. I tell my clients that you just have to Mr. Magoo it. You remember Mr. Magoo — he was deaf and blind and watching him cross the street was hilarious and terrifying at the same time. But he didn’t ever see the danger. He’d just go.
BIS: Of all the great advice you offer in the book, what do you think is most key to setting yourself free?
JS: The Decision — that’s the #1 most important thing. Once you decide that you’re going to do something crazy nuts and out of your comfort zone, that’s it. You’ve decided. And once you make that decision – you are doing it. Past, over. What ifs, done. Deciding is kick ass. Wanting is not.
BIS: What are some techniques you teach to get to that all-important decision?
JS: One of the best things you can do is to visualize what your life looks like if money is no object. And don’t just think about it, really feel yourself IN IT, walking around it, and adding details to it. Work yourself up into a state of holy crap, I want this and I can have this! It’s very freeing.
BIS: Now that you’re on the road promoting your book (click here to see if Jen’s coming to a bookstore near you), what’s the part that people tell you hit them right in the gut?
JS: You mean, the fuck yeah moments? Most say they find them in the money chapter (“Money, Your New Best Friend”).
BIS: I loved that one, mainly because I’ve been one of those people who’s thought that making money and making art are two separate things. That chapter has a ton of ways to kick that theory solidly in the ass. I particularly like the idea you state, “Money is currency and currency is energy.” What else energizes you?
JS: I think coming to the realization that I actually could live that fantasy life. For all of us, when you listen to your intuition and you get a hit on something that’s going to radically change your life, you will know it’s that, because it’s going to be something you don’t want to do. When the thrill is equal to the dread – that’s how you know it’s the right thing.
BIS: Now that’s a very freeing thought. Here’s to being a badass and flying high and grabbing your bitch’in dreams by the balls!
ABOUT JEN & HER BOOK: Bestselling author, speaker and success coach Jen Sincero cuts through the din of the self-help genre with her own verbal meat cleaver. Some of my favorite chapters include, “Your Brain is Your Bitch,” “Lead with Your Crotch” (about a punk band Jen was in — mind out of the gutter, people!), and “Gratitude, the Gateway Drug to Awesomeness.” Full of blunt humor, sage advice, and the as you might have guessed, the occasional swear word, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life offers you new opportunities for growth through exercises, suggestions, and hilariously inspiring stories. Each chapter provides enlightening lessons on how to stop doubting your greatness, how to love what you don’t love about yourself, and how to tap into source energy to live a bigger life than you’ve ever imagined.