Tuesday 8 November 2011

The "A" Student by Valarie Budayr

What would you do today if you knew you would not fail?

Many years ago the above question was written on a huge sign hanging above the doorway to my daughter’s kindergarten class. “Wow”, I thought, what a great way to start going to school. The teacher, before even meeting my daughter had already given her an “A” for the rest of her life. She could not fail when everyone around knew her already to be a success.

That was 19 years ago and the young girl has grown up into a beautiful woman and filled with success.

Over the last year I’ve had many creative and financial decisions to make. After writing several successful blog posts about the little fox family living in my yard, I decided to write a book about it. Should I publish traditionally or should I start a publishing house and publish my own book? One of the scariest moments was answering this question. I decided to start a publishing company but that came after I consciously decided what type of journey I wanted to take. I didn’t want to be rejected 200 times, or find an agent, or have my ideas completely rearranged for the benefit of a corporation. Once I made the decision to publish independently and started moving towards the goal of my printed book my fear subsided.

Ah yes, my fear subsided until I was actually holding the book in my hand. After that initial thrilling moment of holding my sweet little book in my hands passed by fear, and I mean big fear set in. The foremost question in my mind was “Who is going to buy this book?” At that time I had a few thousand copies sitting in a warehouse. My stomach lurches just thinking of that moment.

Over the next couple of days I remembered the quote at the beginning of this post and that’s when I decided to give myself an “A” and know that I had already accomplished my goal and I had not failed and I could not fail. Amazing what this little change in perception did for me. No longer did those little bumps in the road seem so daunting, they were merely learning opportunities.

So what next, I still had a few thousand copies of this book sitting around. I wrote a letter to myself stating how I had achieved my “A” in book marketing and sales. Step by step I detailed with great clarity, in the past tense, how many copies of the books I had sold, where I sold them, who bought them, the wonderful people I had met, the inspirations for new books, a community of liked minded authors etc. It was a love letter to my book and to myself. At the top of that letter I dated it 6 months ahead from the day I was writing. Every morning before even getting out of bed I would read my love letter to myself, my “A” letter.

This month is the 6th month since writing that letter. I’ve sold all of my books, ordered the second printing, I’ve met the most incredible people, am working on the 2nd edit of my next book and have been welcomed by many communities. Everything in the “A” letter has come true through my constant efforts of believing I am an “A” student, and doing what “A” students do, I work hard and know that I can do anything as long as I believe that I cannot fail.

What does success look like to you?
  • Write yourself an “A “ letter. What and how did you accomplish your goal?
  • Start with little steps towards reaching your ultimate goal.
  • When something isn’t working, take a step back and ask yourself if there are other ways this could be done.
  • Every time you accomplish one step in your goal, celebrate.
  • Be thankful for everything including the frustrations. The quote says you cannot fail not that you wouldn’t be frustrated. Frustration is a way of giving up resistance, making room for the new to come in.
  • Once you’ve reached your goal set another one. Now you are a master and know how to make your dreams come true.

Here’s wishing you many enjoyable and creative moments along your path.

Valarie Budayr is the founder of Audrey Press and author of the book The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden. She is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and you can find her doing that on her popular blog and website, Jump into a Book. When she isn’t being bookie, she is very happily the mother of three uber creative children, married to a wonderfully patient man who has come to love yarn, and caretaker of one adored cat. Other creative interests are music, travel, knitting (a bonafide yarn harlot), and gardening. She loves living a daily creative practice, where even a good cup of coffee is art.


  1. Such an inspiring post, Valarie! I love these ideas--thanks!

  2. What a great question to post in my office/creative space!