Operate in Excellence with Dr. Cheryl Polote-Williamson (Re-Air)
Have you ever wanted to sit down with a multi-best-selling author and hear straight from them what it takes to succeed — and how to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls? If so, this is the episode you’ve been waiting for.
This week’s Publishing Secrets guest, Dr. Cheryl Polote-Williamson, offers insight and advice for aspiring authors. Listen as Cheryl lays out the keys to her success, as well as mistakes she has made in the past that you can learn from and avoid. Be sure to have a pen and paper handy as you listen – you won’t want to miss this advice!
In this episode, you’ll also hear:
- How Cheryl found 67 authors to partner with
- Why Cheryl says you shouldn’t accept a “no” — even from yourself
- The importance of what Cheryl calls the “Noah Effect,” and how her faith enables her to walk in purpose
- How Cheryl handled a less-than-excellent book launch with grace — and how that response helped establish her reputation of integrity and credibility
- Cheryl’s advice on believing in yourself and in your ability to fulfill your God-given dreams
Commit to Excellence
Dr. Cheryl Polote-Williamson says the inspiration for her book Soulful Affirmations — for which she partnered with a total of 67 authors! — came from realizing how many people struggle to believe in their own God-given capabilities. She wanted to inspire people to unapologetically believe in themselves and relentlessly pursue God’s excellence.
While finding 67 authors to work with may sound like a daunting feat, Cheryl says it didn’t take long at all. She started by writing “I receive 60 people for this book every day,” and then advertised in private groups on social media. Many of her co-authors for Soulful Affirmations had already worked with Cheryl on other books, and she believes they were willing to do so again because she is committed to operating in excellence.
“It’s important that people see what excellence is supposed to look like so they have something to measure it against,” she says. “So having these 67 people work on this book gave me the opportunity to pour into people everything God is pouring into me.”
This commitment to excellence meant Cheryl had to be strict about deadlines and the quality of work produced. After all, books are a business and should never be taken lightly. But the result is a finished product that demonstrates the outcome of having integrity and following through on one’s promises.
When choosing people to work with, Cheryl makes an important distinction between people who are “assignments” and people who are “attachments,” adding that her 67 co-authors fall into the former category.
“Assignments give you life; attachments drain you,” she explains. “These 67 people were specifically assigned to be a part of this project, by God, to me. And I don’t take it lightly. The project that we’re going to place out into the world is a seed… So I’m just the vehicle and the vessel that God used in order for them to gift their affirmations to the world.”
Ask So You Can Receive
When it comes to writing and publishing a book, Cheryl emphasizes the importance of fully committing to the project — because if you aren’t willing to put in the work yourself, you’re wasting money, time, and other resources.
As Cheryl says, “your best marketer and promoter will always be you.” So how much time and money are you willing to put into writing, publishing, and marketing your book? Even if you hire people to do many of those things for you, you still need to take ownership of your project, and sometimes that means doing the legwork and making important phone calls yourself.
Both in life and in business, Cheryl has learned that if you don’t ask for what you want, you won’t get it. But if you conquer your fear of being told “no,” you can achieve far more than you might think.
“As an author, as a business person, you can’t accept ‘no’ — even from yourself,” she says. Too often, we talk ourselves out of reaching for our dreams because we tell ourselves we aren’t good enough to achieve them. But Cheryl has seen, time and time again, that taking a chance, even when it seems impossible, pays off.
“If you don’t write your book, it’ll never be written,” she adds. “If you don’t publish your book, it will never get out to the masses. If you don’t get your book out to the masses, you can hold nobody responsible but yourself.”
Cheryl says her faith has given her the confidence and capability to do things other people would consider impossible. She doesn’t allow anyone — not even herself — to talk her out of what she knows God has called her to do.
She calls this confidence the “Noah Effect”: being willing to follow God’s leading — even when it makes no sense to others, and even if it means she has to do it alone and afraid — and trusting that God will make good on His promises.
“As long as I’m aligned properly with God, I don’t worry about all this other stuff that people are panicked about,” she concludes. “I can’t panic and walk in purpose.”
This is an important reminder for us all: stop second-guessing what God has called you to do and worrying about what could go wrong. Simply follow God’s leading, and let Him take care of the details.
Hire the Right People
Cheryl’s faith and commitment to excellence has led her to great success. But she has still experienced many challenges and learned important lessons along the way about what not to do.
One of those lessons is being careful with how she spends her time. While she’s happy to pray for anyone who asks, she has firm boundaries about not giving away information and advice for free every time someone asks her to. Instead, she offers a (paid) consultation, and doesn’t let herself react when people respond angrily.
“I have a finite time here,” she explains. “I can make more money, but I can’t make more time. So I have to be very conscious of how I spend the time that God allows me.
Another lesson Cheryl has learned is to ask for referrals and carefully vet the people she hires for various tasks. Unfortunately, not everyone can or will deliver on their promises, so if you’re paying someone to build a website, edit your manuscript, or anything else, don’t feel bad about asking for referrals and samples of their previous work.
Remember, as an author, you are a business owner. That means you need to surround yourself with people who are good at their jobs, and hold people accountable for what they say they will do.
On the other hand, another pitfall many aspiring authors often fall into is not hiring the help they need because they’re trying to save as much money as possible. This may seem like a wise decision in the moment, but it can really hurt your business in the long run.
Everything about your book, from the cover to the content, must be of the highest quality if you want it to sell. While it may be easier and faster to do all the designing, editing, and formatting yourself, it’s also very easy to make big, obvious mistakes simply because you’re too close to the work or because you don’t have the right expertise.
Of course, we’re all human, and sometimes errors occur despite our efforts to prevent them. When this happens, Cheryl says it’s important to make the effort to fix those errors. When you take the time and spend the money to fix your mistakes, people will notice and remember that you have integrity and that you care about the quality of your work.
Finally, when writing and marketing your book, always keep in mind who you are writing for and how your book will help them. “At the end of the day, people want to know, ‘How are you the solution to my problem?’” Cheryl says.
When you can clearly show people how your book solves their problems and answers their questions, you don’t have to beg people to buy it — they’ll see the value in what you have to offer, and they’ll come to you.
Believe in Yourself
Fear can be a difficult obstacle to overcome, but you CAN overcome it, operate in excellence, and put out a book that you can be truly proud of.
If you’re struggling to find the courage to move forward with your book, Cheryl advises writing down positive things that you see within yourself. Things like:
- I am blessed
- I am healed
- I am a bestselling author
- I am a filmmaker
- I have no debt
- I attract wealthy donors to the vision that God has given me
- I receive preferential treatment
As Cheryl explains, it all starts with you. You are the writer of your book, the liver of your dreams. You are the person who is responsible for delivering the dream that is in your heart.
“Once you start believing in yourself,” Cheryl says in closing, “You don’t need the world to believe in you.”
Dr. Cheryl Polote-Williamson is an award-winning best-selling author, film-maker, transformational speaker, philanthropist, and certified life coach. Cheryl is the CEO and founder of Cheryl Polote-Williamson, LLC; where her mission is to use her unique talents to assist, support, and empower women. She leads Williamson Media Group, LLC as the Chief Executive Officer of this global media production company and is also the Founder of Soul Reborn, Inc., a certified 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that focuses on transforming the lives of disadvantaged, disenfranchised, and previously incarcerated women. She resides in Flower Mound, Texas with her husband of 30 years. They have three amazing children, Russell Jr., Lauren and Courtney. She is also a grandmother of two wonderful grandchildren. Visit Cheryl’s website here. Connect with Cheryl on Instagram.