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What Happened When I Saw My Book at a Bookstore for the First Time
I thought it would be extraordinary. It was — but not in the way that I imagined.
Good morning, friends!
My first book, Hidden Genius, will publish in 6 days on June 20! I wanted to share with you the story behind a really cool moment that happened on Sunday.
The day prior, my friend Lawrence sent me a photo of a physical copy of ‘Hidden Genius,’ with the message: “Was pleasantly surprised to see this at Barnes and Noble today. Just picked it up here instead of waiting for Amazon to send it.”
And my first thought was: “I mean, I’m no Prince Harry, but did Barnes & Noble leak my book?! Why is it in bookstores before June 20?!”
I emailed the publisher, and they told me that Barnes & Noble must have received their shipment early, so some store managers made the decision to place it on shelves before the release date.
Although I was 100% not emotionally ready to grapple with my book being out in the wild, I was curious if my local Barnes & Noble made a similar decision.
When we got there, I went to one section of the store, and my husband went to the other. I didn’t see it, and by the way, I didn’t actually think it would be in the store so I just began looking at other books. And then I got this text:
I thought it was a joke because I was looking in the non-fiction part of the store, so I thought he was messing with me. In the video below, you can see me looking back at our toddler daughter to see what books she was attempting to knock down.
When I turned, my eye went immediately to Hidden Genius, and that’s what led to, “Oh my God, this is crazy.”
It’s fitting that one of the most monumental moments of my career is also remarkably mundane. I’m wearing a T-shirt, leggings, and sneakers, complete with a milk bottle popping out of a diaper bag and my husband’s thumb blocking part of the shot. It was a beautifully ordinary moment.
And it’s funny because I don’t know what I was expecting? But I guess when I thought about seeing my book on a shelf for the first time, I thought it would be extraordinary. And it was, but not in the way I had imagined.
I had butterflies in my stomach, my face felt hot, and I was completely absorbed in the moment. It was extraordinary, but also hilariously ordinary.
When I saw a man leafing through the book, I felt like a ghost lurking around him. He had absolutely no idea the hours, the sweat, the tears, the worries, and the excited typing that went into this book that ended up on this exact shelf at this exact moment.
To him, it was just another book on another shelf on another Sunday at Barnes & Noble.
To me, it was everything.
Most of you reading this know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the feeling after you get the courage to quit your job and your head is spinning only to see people mindlessly scrolling on their phones on the subway. It’s bringing your newborn home from the hospital and seeing people strolling into the Starbucks across the street.
You’re bursting on the inside, but the outside seems to have missed the message.
This is what I call the “ghost” feeling — it’s like your entire world has shifted but everyone else is going about their day as if things have remained exactly the same.
It’s extraordinary only for you.
I signed the copies that were on the shelf, and I felt like I was in a movie. Twenty years ago, I was 11 years old strolling through Barnes & Noble with my mom on a Sunday afternoon. Today, I am here with my daughter signing copies of my own book. It was that thought that made me cry.
And that’s the thing about extraordinary moments, isn’t it? It’s that they’re simply ordinary moments laced with context. We can have more of them by simply playing a mental movie of where we’ve been, what we’ve done, and how we’ve gotten here.
Having realized this, I dedicated the book to my daughter, Sofia, with a message I hope serves a reminder to all of you: Never forget that you are the sole creator of the extraordinary moments in your life:
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