Every Breath You Take

When my dying friend came to me and asked if I would write a book about her life, I agreed to do it . . . for her. There was no way I was going to say no. I am so proud that so many people have been inspired by Sunshine’s amazing story of adventure, courage, and resilience.

However, now that she has passed, it’s become clear that writing a book about someone who truly lived in the moment, and who’s life was a series of opportunities she said “yes” to—holding nothing back—to experience life to the fullest, was a lesson I needed to learn.

In the past, I would always sign my books differently—a challenge to myself to be in the moment. Yet for my book about Sunshine I found myself often writing the same inscription: “This is the time of your life, make the most of every moment.” It’s something I needed to remind myself of because by nature I’m a worrier.

From Sunshine I learned that much of what bothered me were things I would dredge up from the past. I know this because she told me, “Lee, you can’t change the past, it’s out of your control. Let it go.” She was right, of course. Her advice was to “F” it. Forgive yourself (and others), forget about it, or find a way to learn from it.

Sunshine could see right through me and often when we would meet to talk about her life and her book she would turn it around and the session would be about me. She would ask, “What’s bothering you?” I would reply that I was worried about this or that—things that were way off in the future.

Here advice was to let go of the outcome (which I can’t control anyway) and focus on the process—the things I can do now. (Basically, my choices of what to do, and how I do them, are what create my tomorrow.) Her take was that fear comes from worrying about the future. Sunshine would often tell me to have hope, believe that things would work out the way they were supposed to, and that the universe would provide if I started moving in that direction now.

My biggest regret is that Sunshine passed away before her book was published. I so wanted to sit side by side and sign books together. To see her smile as she took pictures with people holding up the novel based on her life. I know I have no control over when she died, so I focus on what I can do now to honor her. I do that by living in the moment, and at this moment sharing her wise words with you.

THE POWER OF NOW
Action Items Focus on the Now

If you find yourself slipping into regret about the past or worry and fear for the future, let the thought through and then reset yourself with your next (deep breath). Then refocus on the here and now and resume what you are doing with a better mindset.

Wear a bracelet, put a small sticky dot on your phone, set an alarm, put a Post-it Note on the wall to check in and remind you to be 100% focused on what you are doing, who you’re with, and where you are.

We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it so do something better today than you did yesterday. We can’t control the future, but we can do things today to make tomorrow better. If we let go of the past and let go of outcomes and instead just do the best we can with what’s right in front of us, there is a lot less stress.

Attached is a page with the main points of the article and other ideas related to this topic. I hung my copy above my desk. I hope you’ll use yours.

Also, if you have not read Sunshine’s inspiring life story, here’s a link to the novel based on her life. (Still the best book I’ve ever written.) Let me know if you order a copy. It makes me feel good to know her message is getting out there.

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Every Breath You Take

Worry Free

Living in the Here and Now

Some of you may know the story of how I came to write a book about Sunshine Blake—she knew she was dying and asked me to tell her incredible life story—which I did in the form of a novel. What you may not know—and what I would like to share is—how much our meetings meant and changed my life.

Sunshine was the eternal optimist. She believed that no matter you wanted, the universe wanted you to have it, and would provide for you if you went for it. She also lived without worry because she felt that no matter what happened to you (short of killing you) was supposed to happen, and would make you stronger and better because of it.

Even though I watched her whittle away from week to week due to her illness, she never complained, never asked for anything, and never let me feel bad for her. Instead, she uplifted me each time we met (Wednesdays at her favorite bistro). I learned so much from our time together, but one thing stands out as the most valuable lesson.

Sunshine taught me to not blame anyone else (or anything else) for whatever wasn’t working in my life. Instead, she said to go out there and do something about it. Trust that things will work out, but do the work–control the things you can control. Blaming others for our failures is easy. Owning it, and fixing it is harder, but doable.

Worry Free

You Miss 100% Of The Shots . . .

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take,” said hockey great Wayne Gretzky. For each of my novels I always imagine who would play the characters if the book were made into a movie. For “Sunshine” I imagined it would be Kate Hudson and her mom, Goldie Hawn.

Helen Gray, a reader of this blog (and good friend) suggested I send Goldie Hawn a copy of my book. I tracked down her manager and sent a copy with a long letter. What have I got to lose, right? At least there’s a chance now that something could happen with the book.

You Miss 100% Of The Shots . . .

The Sunshine Factor: How To Handle Adversity

Sunshine Blake was abandoned by her parents, widowed three times, and her home burned to the ground—and that’s not even half of what happened to her. Somehow through it all she was able to remain positive, hopeful, and happy. How did she do it?

Bounce Back Slowly
Sunshine often said it was easier to make one small improvement a week instead of a dozen all at once. She believed action was better than inaction and would stack one positive improvement on top of another—like compound interest—to move forward one small step at a time.

Complaining is a Waste of Time
Sunshine loved the quote, “If you have time to complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.” She would try to find the silver lining in situations and turn a negative into a positive. When faced with a problem she focused on finding solutions instead of complaining or coming up with excuses.

Never Eat Alone
Sunshine was a people person. First and foremost she preferred to cheer others on and help those who were less fortunate. Many of the good things that happened for Sunshine happened as a result of her helping others—or others wanting to help her. She surrounded herself with positive people who were as encouraging and supportive as she was and when she needed help, she didn’t even have to ask.

Live Your Life
Sunshine was so busy getting everything out of life she possibly could she didn’t have time to watch and worry about what others others were doing with their seemingly perfect lives on Facebook. It’s unhealthy to compare ourselves to others who seem to have more. Everyone has problems and nobody has a perfect life—despite what they post.

Let Go
Sunshine was a big believer that good things were about to happen, and that we are unable to control how or when they will happen. Most things are beyond our control and when we try to control them we fail and end up frustrated. Sunshine accepted things the way they were which allowed her to move on and move forward with the belief that something wonderful was right around the corner.

There is an ebb and flow to our lives and not everything is going to be wonderful all the time, but when we are down we must believe that we’ll be up again. When we’re going through tough times, it helps to know it’s only temporary.

Think about giving the gift of “Sunshine” this holiday season. This inspiring book makes a great gift.
http://www.leesilber.com/books.html

The Sunshine Factor: How To Handle Adversity

Are You A Good Friend?

You’ve Got a Friend

Many readers of my new novel have written me to say what a good friend I was to Sunshine. In a way, they’re right. It’s not every day a friend asks another to meet once a week, listen to all of the stories from their past, and then promise to write a book based on their life–but that’s what I did. So yes, in many ways I was a good friend to Sunshine.

However, before Sunshine got sick and we began working on her book, I think I could have been a better friend to her. At the end of the new novel I included an open letter I wrote to Sunshine. It was very emotional and difficult to write because I admit my failings as a friend. Looking back I realize I could have been better at calling her back faster, thanking her more, and doing more things with her when she asked.

After much reflection I put together a list of things that a good friend does. It’s a kind of checklist to test how you rate as a friend and how others stack up, too. I can’t go back and change things with my late friend, Sunshine, but I can be a better friend to those around me now. That’s my pledge. 

If you would like to read the open letter to Sunshine featured at the end of the book, just send me an e-mail and I’ll send it to you. leesilber@leesilber.com

WHAT MAKES A GOOD FRIEND?

__ They are good listeners and easy to talk to.
__ They return your calls and reply to your texts quickly and nicely.
__ They are fun to be around and time flies when you’re together.
__ They remember your birthday and other important dates.
__ They cheer you on and celebrate your success. They are not jealous.
__ They are supportive and make you feel good about yourself.
__ They are not judgemental and your friendship is unconditional.
__ They have a lot in common with you, or you both have a passion for the same things.
__ They don’t have to live nearby, and when you don’t see them often, it feels like you have.
__ They don’t bad mouth you behind your back. Instead, they sing your praises to others.
__ They find ways to show they care . . .  about you.
__ They’re always there when you need them.
__ They have your back and stick up for you.
__ They are honest and can be trusted.
__ They’re there in good times and bad.
__ They respect you and your time.
__ They give more than they take.
__ They understand you.

Are You A Good Friend?

Passion is the Key to Promotion

I’ve always told people who have a problem promoting and selling their work to choose projects they are passionate about, focus on ideas that bring out their best, and find things that serve others so that it would be hard NOT to talk about what they are working on.

With that, I want to tell you about my new novel, “Sunshine”. My passion for the project came from my good friend entrusting me to tell her amazing and fascinating life story. She did it all and overcame so many obstacles along the way I knew it would make a great book.

When Sunshine came to me with the idea of a book about her life she knew she only had a few months left to live and she said she chose me because she’d read all 21 of my other books and loved them. That gave me the confidence to take on and tackle such a big project.

Although this is a novel that includes Sunshine’s time hanging out with celebrities in Hollywood, working and living in the Caribbean, traveling through Europe in a van, and escaping from Morocco, underneath all the adventures is a very powerful message that Sunshine wanted to get out.

I guess what I am saying is, I am so proud of this book, I know it’s a very entertaining read that is appropriate for all ages, and reading it will make people see things a little differently. So when I ask you to buy the book (or write a review on Amazon) I do it confidently and without any hesitation. You’ll love it.

Here’s How You Can Help With “Sunshine”

Buy the Book on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/hp6mbj7

Write a review on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/hp6mbj7

Tell a Friend About The Book: http://tinyurl.com/hp6mbj7

Visit Sunshine’s Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/leesilber/sunshine/

Request a Free Sample Chapter: leesilber@leesilber.com

Passion is the Key to Promotion

A Novel Tale

The next worst thing to being told you have cancer is to have a close friend or relative tell you they have it.

When Sunshine called me to tell me she was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer I couldn’t believe it. She never smoked and was the most health conscious person I knew. Although she didn’t let on how serious her situation was, she did ask me to come and see her right away.

In our first meeting she asked me if I would finish the book she had started about her life. From that day until she died less than a year later we met nearly every Wednesday and she shared her life story with me.

I am proud to announce that “Sunshine” is completed and will be released later this summer. It’s a novel based on her true story and it is by far my best book yet (and I’ve written 21 others.)

For a limited time I am sending out a sample chapter of the book for anyone who is interested.

leesilber@leesilber.com

A Novel Tale