Book Writing Project – Update 1

I heard everyone has at least one book in them. This year I want to see if that’s true.  In January of this year I decided that writing a book would be my big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG) for 2015. I’ve committed myself to doing this no matter what. When I first got the idea of writing a book, which came from a friend, Farnoosh Brock, I was shocked, scared and intimidated.

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Is Fear Stopping Your Full Potential?

Baby Scorpion we found in our house.
A baby Scorpion we found in our house. The adult ones are scary!

A few weeks ago I asked people in my mastermind group for ideas on business goals I could set for 2015.

But I don’t have a business yet, so I’m still looking for ideas or a path. At this point, I’m trying to find my voice (core message) and build a platform.

Or maybe it’s better to say that while building my platform, I’m finding my voice and core message. It’s not about creating just any business.

It’s about creating a business that complements my preferred lifestyle, personality, strengths, and passions. Some people call this intersection:

  • A vocation.
  • A sweet spot.
  • A professional calling.
  • Living in the Flow

Anyways, back to my story.

So one idea I got from someone in my mastermind was to write a book. As I read her suggestion I could feel my stomach grumble and curl.


Fear!  After the excitement went away I thought:

  • That’s crazy.
  • I don’t have any experience writing.
  • I have three kids and full time job; I don’t have time to write.
  • Stick with your blog for now.
  • I have to learn how to write first.

These are all true to some extent. But…not exactly. This was FEAR! A different type of fear. I was scared and excited at the same time.  

Fear and resistance gave me a one-two combo straight to the gut. Bam! These two are like twin brothers always hanging around– waiting for the right moment to punch us in the face and back to mediocrity. Their job is to stop us from moving forward whenever we want to do something different or outside of our comfort zone.

But they do it in stealth mode.  And sometimes it’s hard to recognize that they are actually the ones stopping us from moving forward.

Since starting this blog a few months ago, one of things I’ve learned about taking action is that we should do it even when the path is blurry and difficult. If it ends up being the wrong move, we learned something from experience. It’s all learning if we take something away from the experience. Thinking back, a lot of the reasons I had for not starting this blog were actually excuses disguised as reasons

The brain is hardwired to create excuses on why we can’t do things. Seth Godin calls this the “lizard brain.” This is where fear and resistance live. Maybe this is what Eleanor Roosevelt was thinking when she said,

 “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Let’s look at the Pro’s and Con’s of writing a book.


  1. I can use the book to help me to uncover my unique voice and my core message.
  2. I can blog my way to a book (creating content for the book and new blog posts).
  3. Writing a book will help me right moe betta. (just kidding…) But, seriously, there’s a lot for me to learn about writing.
  4. I can write about something that will help others and maybe have a positive impact.
  5. If the book does well I can earn extra income. (Side-note: I need about $15,000 to take my wife and kids on vacation to Japan.)
  6. The book can lead to other books, income streams, credibility, and opportunities.


  1. I read that only about 2% of the people who want to write a book actually accomplish it.
  2. I only have about 40 minutes per day that I can devote to writing.
  3. I don’t know anything about publishing or self-publishing.
  4. If I do publish a book, what if it is an absolute disaster?
  5. What if the book is so bad that instead of growing my platform it destroys it?
  6. Isn’t it expensive to pay for publishing, book covers, editors, and advisors?
  7. It’s impossible to write a book in one year! Are you crazy!?

I don’t have much to lose except time.  So here’s my big announcement (mostly to myself) and the one other person who reads this blog. (By the way, if you are reading this, please leave me an encouraging message below. 🙂

THE BIG ANNOUCEMENT: (Drum roll, please)

By the end of 2015, I want to have written and published my first book. Not only that, but I want to sell 5,000 copies by December 31!

The idea of writing a book energizes, excites, and scares me to death. That’s why I’m doing it.

Plus, I checked with my wife and she supports this idea. She’s brilliant! If this were a terrible idea, she would be the first person to warn me. This is still crazy of me because I don’t have a:

  • a topic
  • a subject
  • a title
  • or any experience.

I’m starting from scratch. All I have is a general idea.

That’s it!

I feel the fear and resistance coming so it’s time for a motivational quote. It’s brought to us from the Internet Business Mastery podcast (one of my favorite). One of the hosts quotes his grandma all the time. When he was a kid, she would tell him,

“If someone else can do it, you can do it too. And if no one else has done it, you can be first.”

I heard someone say that the richest place on earth is the cemetery. You know why? Because it’s full of so many brilliant ideas that people took with them to the grave.  Many of us choose, let me say it again; CHOOSE to take our greatest gifts, ideas, and passions to the grave. But why? It doesn’t do the world or us any good there. I don’t want to save anything till end. I’m leaving it all behind.

Keep Going!

When we have an idea for something that excites us we have to go for it. Asking for advice and support is important, but we shouldn’t get surprised when others can’t match our excitement for that idea.

It makes sense. This is your idea, your voice, your gut waking you up.

We can’t expect others to connect with our idea or dream in the same way. Having said that, I’ve noticed that when people are really passionate about something, no matter what,  they can attrack people.  They are so energetic, excited, and fully alive about that one “thing” that their passion becomes contagious.

Or like Howard Thurman said,

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.

At the begining, however, it seems as if we have to prepare to go at it alone. The one consistent trait I’ve found in people who have done remarkable things is PERSISTANCE. Regardles of their support or circumstances, they keep at it. They make adjustments along the way.

But they keep going!

About Me



“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”

Howard Thurman

That’s one my favorite quotes. When I first read this it felt like someone had lit a match to my soul.

I’m Andres Valdes. Welcome to my blog; make yourself at home.


Great question.

I’m on a quest to learn what makes me (and others) “come alive.” Because people who are fully alive are difference-makers. I want to explore this idea that everyone has a calling, purpose, or vocation and see what we can learn.  I wish I picked an easier topic. But this is what inspires me.

And similar to my quest, this blog (and my life) are experiments in progress, so I might change course in a few months.

I have a bunche of ideas to blog about, but I’m trying to focus within these three categories:

  1. Self-Leadership
  2. Self-Development
  3. Self-Awareness

I’m motivated by several reasons, but mainly to figure “things” out, use my writing to explore specific ideas, and to connect with people doing epic stuff.  And by “things” I’m referring to what some people describe as one’s:

  • Calling
  • Vocation
  • Purpose
  • Sweet spot

By this point you think I’m either crazy or your curious.  Well, if you think I’m nuts than this blog obviously ain’t for you, bro. And if you like it, please contact me , say hello on twitter, or show me some love (leave a comment below).


I’m not a guru. I don’t have the answers or a crystal ball, but I’m learning and looking for people to learn from. In fact, I’m a grasshopper, which means I’m still in trenches battling it out trying to figure things out. I’m inspired by my three favorite words: Purpose, Passion and Potential. Actually I’m obsessed with understanding these terms not just for me, but for others as well.

My goal is to inspire and encourage others as well as myself. I know there are tons of folks out there thinking about this stuff. I know you’re there; I see you. 🙂


I’m really fortunate and blessed to have one of the most unique jobs in the world. Many people live to travel, but I travel to live.  I’m a U.S. Foreign Service Officer or diplomat. We are the people who work inside U.S. Embassies around the world. We are the ones you call when you lose your passport, get arrested, or run out of money abroad and need to call home. Actually, we do a lot more. You can learn more about the Foreign Service and diplomacy here.

But this blog is not about my career, foreign policy, or foreign visas. It’s about tackling the biggest and toughest questions about life that most of us have but avoid or just don’t think about.

You can find me working on my blog which I call my “Side-Hustle” between 0600AM and 0630AM. That’s right— 30 minutes per day, so don’t expect me to publish blog posts daily. Between work, family, and diapers I stay busy enough. Everyday day I’m hustling, except Sundays. Even God rested on the 7th day.


My inspiration comes from lots of places:

  • My Christian faith (but this not a religious blog.)
  • Experiences (good and bad)
  • Movies
  • Quotes
  • People
  • Random ideas/events

I love connecting random events with stories of deeper meaning.


The thing that drives me the craziest in this world our people with loads of potential who don’t do use it. I want to do something about this. This reminds me of what Aristotle said,

 Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your vocation.


I don’t claim to be a good writer. In fact, I’m pretty bad. The reason I write is because the mental clarity it produces. Plus, I love the creativity involved. And like you, I have my own unique perspective which I feel can help others. I get more inspiration from regular folks who do awesome things than all of the super accomplished people out there. These are the people I want to connect with and maybe interview for this blog.


Family In Japan

I’m obsessed with living intentionally, investing my time, and making a difference. After my faith and health, my wife and kids come next on my priority list. The most important titles in my life are husband and father. I have a great wife and the awesomest three little girls ever. They are my daily motivation to hustle hard.

I still have student loans, make a lot of typos, and am terrible with math. I’m human. I’m an ordinary guy who wants to live an extraordinary life. And I suspect you might be too.

I also enjoy long walks on the beach. 😉


  • My wife and I trecked thru the mountains in Rwanda to see gorillas in wild.
  • Spelling, math, and calendars are like kryptonite to me. Seriously!
  • I’m an introvert, who loves public speaking.
  • I was kicked out of a Catholic high school after my first year.
  • I have lived in seven countries by now- either as a student or professional.


  1. Braveheart
  2. The Pursuit of Happiness
  3. The Great Debaters
  4. The Matrix
  5. Jonny Q