A few months ago I submitted The Adventures of Kenzie-Moo into an international book contest with Reader’s Favourite – an online platform that offers reviews, an annual book award contest, articles and services for authors and readers. The book received five 5 star rating reviews through the same platform so I threw caution to the wind and entered.

There’s something all warm and lovely about your work being recognised. It’s one thing to back yourself and have the support of your family, friends and interweb of incredible people that are cheering you on from the side lines. But to see “FINALIST” listed under the title as part of a large international competition, it was pretty sweet.

But the sweetness of recognition is less about me as an author. It’s less about what talent I do or don’t have for writing. It’s not about fluffing my ego. This shiny silver stamp feels like a recognition of a calling to something more, something different, and being brave enough to follow that instinctual desire to do life a little differently.

Nothing about who I am, where I come from, my upbringing, my academic education or life situation suggested I’d ever be a published author, and certainly not one with a little shiny silver stamp beside its title. But I believed it was possible. And I never doubted it. I had unshakable belief in the vision of creating this story, and fumbled my way through to its birth. I didn’t know what I was doing. But my heart was leading the way, and when you lead with your heart, you don’t need to know the directions.

I hold great value in vibing with souls who live life beyond perceived limitation, and have let myself be magnetised towards them. I surround myself with a community of movers and shakers. I am deeply inspired by creators, dreamers, writers, musers and people doing unusually cool and far-out things. Nothing brings me more satisfaction than reading carefully articulated words of a friend in a powerful, thought provoking post – I know he’s a an incredible writer but I still feel an element of surprise when I digest his words. Nothing makes my heart sing more than a ‘once-upon-a-time overweight mother of four struggling to pay bills’ rise above an abusive work environment, gain control of her health and become a renowned artist – she never meant to do that. She was just doing something she loved and it turned out to be loved by so many others. Nothing makes me feel more proud than seeing humans drop the veils of illusion to shine brighter than they ever thought possible. Nothing empowers me more than another special needs mum who smiles in the face of adversity and sees the light in the dark. Nothing gives me shivers up my spine like people who go against the grain and do the thing they say they’re going to do, even when it seems impossible, especially when the nay-sayers are out in force to minimise their potential.

It’s all about mindset. It’s about the power of self-belief. It’s about the will to do the hard stuff so the good stuff feels overwhelmingly reassuring and delicious. It’s about flicking the bird to the unlikely and staying up late at night with that internal knowing driving you towards the outcome (even when the darkness tells you it might not work). It’s about courage and surrender. It’s about putting the vision out there and then not being attached the way it unfolds. It’s about realising we don’t have control, but knowing we can make a difference. It’s about trust and deep internal faith, even if you don’t believe in something more powerful or bigger than you. Maybe it’s just about having faith in your Self and utilising your strengths to guide you along the way.

I’m celebrating all the people out there smiling themselves to sleep because they did the thing they said they’d. I’m celebrating the brave, the hurt, the misfits, the creatives and the seemingly odd doing magical things to keep this earthy experience feel special. Because if it doesn’t feel special, and it’s not being celebrated, then what the hell is this all for anyway?

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Tanya Savva