Update: The Variable Life One Year Later

As we all settle into Christmas and ramp up for the New Year, I want to share a brief note with you.

Two weeks ago, we uprooted and downsized big-time: no more house in South Carolina, no more two car convenience, no stable career moves or any guarantees for a safe landing. It’s a strangely peaceful space, despite all the swirling unresolved details. Kati and I are in Minneapolis and Rochester this month, visiting with friends and family, taking a deep breath before running uphill into 2018.

This kind of leap reminds me of all the risks people take, big and small, and it makes me wonder about the risks we could take, the ones that never turned out the way we hoped, and how those failures teach us more than our successes ever could.

A year ago today, 165 other people were part of something really special. During the Kickstarter campaign to launch The Variable Life, they showed up and proved they weren’t just some of those people who talk about something; they do it. They didn’t passively or vaguely say “my friend wrote a book,” or “I’ll get one later” (but never did). They jumped into the fray with a little or a lot of money, spread the word, and cheered on the project until the end.

Together, we raised $9,175 in 23 days to successfully fund The Variable Life on December 24, 2016. The book officially launched on March 7, 2017 and was available for purchase on Amazon.com, Kindle, and in a local Greenville, SC bookstore.

How has the book done?

If it sells 8 more copies, The Variable Life will surpass the average lifetime sales of self-published books: 250. [Update: Only six more copies to go!]

With no marketing budget, no publishing house support, and a ragtag group of friends and family and acquaintances, that’s a pretty amazing feat.

Yes, this is my success as a writer, but it’s also our shared success because of you who helped make it happen. The book wasn’t just a fun crowdfunding campaign, but it’s been something that actually provides people help and joy—the whole point of writing a book. Check out some of the feedback it’s received:

  • “This book has challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and live life with a little more courage. It showed me that in the end, taking risks and doing hard things is worth it.” — Hannah, Amazon review
  • “As a person in a weird season of transition and uncertainty, The Variable Life has been a beacon of hope. The pages of this book have encouraged me, made me evaluate my goals, relationships, and faith, and it will do the same for anyone that dives into this book.” — Amazon customer review
  • The Variable Life is an inspiring testament to [the author’s] search for meaning, belonging, and understanding that will resonate with a generation of frustrated Millennials looking to reset their expectations for what a life well-lived can be.” — Upwrite Magazine
  • “If you are looking for a read that is wildly encouraging, thought provoking, and honest, The Variable Life is for you. And yes, this book is better than anything on Netflix.” — Tanner, Amazon review
  • “A wonderful book for those at a crossroad in life (i.e. high school and college graduates). An even better book for those who, like me, have “settled” and have stopped dreaming.” — Patrick, Amazon review

To summarize:

165 people showed up. Those contributions brought something new into the world. Because they pitched in, people are better equipped to embrace life’s challenges with clarity and confidence.

For those who were a part of it, thank you.

See what we can do together? See how a bunch of people taking small steps can make a bigger difference?

Which brings me to this:

You will do something new.

What is it?

How will you start 2018?

What leap will you take, not knowing whether people will show up to support you when you need it most?

How will that risk shape you and the direction of your life?

How will that help so many more people than you realize?

Nothing is guaranteed, but some risks are worth it.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and an adventurous New Year to you and yours.

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