Write Your Success Story

The Spiritual Voice News Mag July 2006
The Spiritual Voice News Mag July 2006

(Write Your Success Story as it appeared in the TSV News Mag, July 2006)

Marilyn Joyce/Augusta, GA:  Are you a speaker who has survived abuse, tragedy, layoff, crisis, or setbacks? You are a survivor with a success story! Your  experiences have shaped your views and perspectives. No one else is capable of sharing your story with the unique set of concepts and insights you’ve gained from those experiences. We all have a story; but how you got through your personal crisis might be the desperate solution someone else needs. What’s more, your struggle to survive was not about you; it was for all who would need a roadmap to follow on the road you’ve already traveled.

When I talk about domestic violence, I weave statistical facts about domestic violence around my personal story of survival after homelessness, abuse, and scandal. Because of the unique details of my life, I often receive letters from people in prominent public positions who can relate to what I’ve gone through. In other words, people are looking for answers that make sense. So, don’t underestimate how much good you can do for others when you find the courage to write about what you’ve been through. Bad things do happen to good people, misguided people do change their lives, and struggling people do become successful. And many of those same people say they would have done it all sooner if they had known how.

Testimonial books:  All you’ll do here is share your story along with whatever it took to get you through that time in your life; quotes, specific scriptures, words of encouragement from friends, relatives, clergy, or total strangers. Your purpose is to simply tell your story with the hope of helping someone else. People grow tired of hearing the same rhetoric over and over. If your books and speeches are putting people to sleep, it’s time to make some changes. How you survived, bounced back, and got on with life adds a deeper dimension to your speeches and books. Personal experience pieces (stories, books) tend to be the most interesting to the general public. In fact, ‘how to’ or self-help books (which include religious books) are the most popular categories in book sales – bringing in more than 1.5 billion dollars each year.

Just keep in mind that what worked for you will not work for everyone. Even those you help may not benefit in exactly the same way that it worked for you. Focus on your victorious results and prayerfully share your story.

The Combo:  Then there’s the combination of your personal story intertwined with historical facts. This will include statistical data, scriptural references, historical facts, and word studies. Once explored, explained, and expanded the data relating to your supportive references will help establish your credibility. It will show that you have thoroughly researched your subject and will give you the opportunity to share deeper, and more meaningful, life-changing nuggets. The references may be more appealing to more educated readers. Since more books are purchased by people with college degrees, these are readers you want to reach.

Don’t underestimate how much good you may do for others when you find the courage to write about what you know about. For some reason, many believers make the big mistake of thinking that religious topics are all their books should address. But in reality, the answers people are looking for are not necessarily found in religious publications. Most believers work in industries in which they do extremely well. Yet, many of their writing, speaking or other business endeavors ignore the very topics about which they are the most knowledgeable. Training manuals, management guides, money saving strategies, gardening secrets, physical fitness, fashion design tips, and organizational strategies are just a few of the thousands of subjects you might be qualified to write (or speak) about.

I published my first book while serving in the US Army. In addition to being an author, I’m a retired Army nurse and a disabled Veteran. My life has many dimensions as a Certified Domestic Violence Counselor, professional speaker, minister, and radio talk show host. You’re sure to agree that I have a lot to talk and write about and so do you. Don’t limit your horizons. Take advantage of other opportunities to spread your wings and distinguish yourself as an expert by writing about what you know about in your realm of knowledge and in your field.

Ownership Thinking Tips: Before you write your success story, there are you should practice:

  1. Copyright your manuscript or book yourself. As of 1 July 2006, the cost of copyrighting your book increased from $30 to $45.
  2. Protect your IP rights. Your books, tapes, CD/DVDs, manuscripts, voice, and image belong to you as Intellectual Property. This property can be left to your loved ones in your will, but can only be protected if you do the legal (copyright) paperwork. Protect what you got.
  3. You own your story.  If you’re going to write a book, (especially the story of your life) make sure that you legally own the rights to it. Contact the Library of Congress and file copyright Form TX yourself. Fill it out, make a copy for your files and mail it in. Don’t let someone else offer to do it for you for free or a fee. That’s just taking the lazy way out and it allows someone else the opportunity to legally declare ownership of your book. Contact the Library of Congress by phone: (202) 707-3000 or on the internet at: www.LOC.com/copyright.
  4. The same rule applies for those of you who are self-publishing. Make sure that you purchase your ISBN catalogue of numbers yourself. Whoever owns the ISBN numbers, owns the book. If you don’t buy it, you don’t own it. In today’s market, it’s simply too easy to ensure that you own the rights to your own materials.

Is there a Book Inside you?  Lucinda Clark (706-855-8920) and I (877-650-2141) will be hosting an ‘Is There a Book Inside of You’ seminar on Saturday, September 30 from 2-4:45 pm at the new Columbia County Library. Learn how to write your book in 15 minutes and so much more. Keep reading The Spiritual Voice’ for the details.


Are you a speaker, writer or coach who has a story of survival from abuse, tragedy, layoff, crisis, or setbacks? Join me “In The Purpose Zone with Marilyn Joyce” where straight talk about abuse collides with success strategies to survive, get a life and Do Your Destiny!

Success Strategies for 2016

Marilyn Joyce Maze/Augusta,GA:  Success strategies are often the result of a natural process of reflection. The result of these reflections can be quickly forgotten as the months slip away. How easy it is to find yourself at the beginning of another season of reflection – wondering if another project will be worth your time.

George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) once said: “It’s never too late to be what you could have been”. How true; and through the years, I’ve had the privilege of coaching a lot of people who felt this way about their purpose. Having the desire to Do Your Destiny is the essential first step to achieving your purpose, but there’s more. Allow me to share a few important success strategies with you.

*     Keep doing what you’re doing

There’s so much excitement generated by the desire to get started that it can sometimes override good judgment. How many times have you heard someone complain about the fact that their husband or wife is no longer contributing to their financial obligations because he or she quit their job (prematurely) in order to start an MLM (multilevel marketing) type of business? Maybe they started a ministry, or a ‘real estate in a box’ business. Perhaps they’ve gone into debt to invest in exercise equipment, a gym membership, diet foods, or computer equipment they’ve never actually used.

Avoid making drastic changes that will create too much immediate chaos with those you love. Too many people give up on their goals when they don’t have the support of family and close friends. Alienating them from the onset may cost you more than you’re willing to pay in the long run.

*     Legitimize your credentials

Are you starting a business this year? Writing a book? Setting up an office from which to run your operation? Whatever you plan to do, make sure that you are qualified to do it. Many times people have a natural talent or ability to provide products or services to the public: sewing, painting, selling items on Ebay, or event planning may fall into that category. But there are some fields of expertise that require a license or special certification. If that’s the case, you should pursue your purpose by taking ownership of the process. Instead of renting office space, invest the time, money and energy into training for credentials that will qualify you to be a legitimate competitor in the industry.

*     Market your credibility

The success of doing your destiny may depend upon a creative marketing campaign. The internet offers advantages that have become as traditional as radio, newspaper and television. Whatever services you’re selling, your website and other materials should reflect your credibility. For example, if you own a car lot, when potential customers visit your website there should not be 3 pages of preaching and scripture before they see the first car for sell. If you own a cleaning service, your website and brochures should tell potential customers about the services you offer, prices, and contact information. You may be a very devout Christian, but that’s not the product you’re selling. If you do have a ministry in addition to a business, separate them. Set up separate ministry products (brochures, websites, etc) from your business products.

Through the years, there have been a number of business scams done in the name of religion and people no longer assume that doing business with a religious person will be a better experience than doing business with another organization. Being a Christian doesn’t tell the public that they’re going to get a better deal because you advertise your faith in connection with your business. Let your business advertising reflect your business credibility, experience and the advantage of doing business with you. For example: 18 years of experience, ranked #1 in the state, or we open earlier and close late for your convenience.

If the pursuit of your purpose has nothing to do with business this year, don’t cast your pearls before swine. In other words, work on your destiny quietly. It’s really not anyone else’s business what you’re working on unless you can deal with the criticism that it may bring. Everyone is not going to celebrate you. And if you’re not strong enough to be your own cheerleader, we may be meeting here at this same time next year to talk about this same thing. It is time for you to pursue your purpose and Do Your Destiny!

In The PZ where we explore rising above the challenges of setbacks and equip you with information so that you can create recovery strategies, and have the resources to Survive, Get a Life, and Do Your Destiny!  So tune in, read on, spread the word, and post your comments here on the blog.


Marilyn Joyce: Defining your process, Inspiration for progress, Vision for success, and Adding momentum to the pursuit of your purpose. www.ThePurposeZone.com


Stress Tips: Guys vs Gals

It was at least two in the morning when my boyfriend called to say the engine had blown up in his brand new Maxima. He had taken what was supposed to be a quick trip out of state to visit his parents before leaving the country for the goodwill games. How does an engine catch on fire in a brand new car? I’d asked. ‘I’m a boxer, not a mechanic’ was his reply. Now, there was no way he would make it back to the gym in time, and of course, the coach was going to be furious. I have no idea how he worked it all out; but he managed somehow and I didn’t hear from him again until a week after everything was resolved.

Ironically, that same week my car broke down just a few feet from my driveway. This was not good as I was in the middle of chemistry finals. Fortunately, a classmate agreed to pick me up. As we started off to the university, her car broke down as well. While we were pushing the car out of the road, it started to rain and we were drenched in the downpour. That was the start of my day. By 7pm, I had picked up the phone and soon my three best girlfriends were in my living room helping me drown my sorrows in huge bowls of ice cream.

Studies have found that a woman’s response to stress is not the same as it is with males. Much has been made of the typical ‘fight or flight’ response. Fight or flight is an immediate response to acute (sudden and short term) stress and researchers feel the similarities with men and women both began and end there.

With episodes of acute stress both men and women release ‘stress hormones’, primarily adrenaline. This substance causes the physical responses associated with fight or flight: rapid heart beat, rapid breathing, pupil dilation, blood pressure and blood sugar elevation, and muscle tension. As long as the stressful event is resolved quickly, these symptoms subside. However, when stress is prolonged or recurrent, men tend to withdraw and women call their friends. Researcher Shelly Taylor, Ph.D. calls this stage ‘tend and befriend’ as opposed to the withdrawal so well demonstrated by my boyfriend.

Taylor’s research indicates that these responses are also hormonally controlled. However, under stress, males produce more testosterone and cortisol and have a tendency to exhibit aggression and withdrawal; while women release oxytocin, which is associated with feelings of affiliation or ‘tend and befriend’.

Tend and befriend is what makes Mom stay when Dad walks out. It’s what makes a daughter take care of a disabled parent in the home instead of a nursing home. It’s what helps a woman manage a busy household and a career. Tend and befriend is what made me call my friends and what caused them to end up coming to my rescue in my living room.

Prolonged and recurring episodes of stress do contribute to medical and emotional problems. So people, now that we have a better understanding of our differences here are some practical stress management tips designed with you in mind:

  1. Schedule some ‘Me’ Time

‘Me Time’ is simply a change of pace and consists of things like solitude, meditation, exercising, or reading a book. Time is a precious commodity. Toss in the schedules of your 2 children and a spouse and even your ‘To Do’ list needs a list. It never fails that one of the kids screams, cries, or skins his knee every time you’re in the shower. You must schedule time to escape.  Plan when you’ll take that short trip, start a hobby, go to the movies, or the spa.

  1. Monitor your self-talk

Women have a little lady perched on their shoulder whispering things like: you’re neglecting your family, or you need to lose weight. When the voice becomes negative, turn off that tape and evaluate. Negative self-talk is usually a sign that you’ve got too much on your plate. Eliminate tasks that you really should have delegated to a child or spouse long ago. Are you really neglecting your family or hearing the voice of a well-meaning relative? Put your thoughts in perspective. Only wonder woman can do everything that little voice demands of you.

  1. Relax your mind

Keep a journal or a small tape recorder with you. In this way, you can update your ‘to do’ lists or record business strategies. Do you really want to lose weight? During your ‘Me Time’ design a realistic plan, write it in your journal and get it off your mind once and for all. Take one thing at a time, it relieves tension and replaces stressed out feelings with a feeling of accomplishment.

  1. Pity party networking

Call your girlfriends, get out the ice cream, order a pizza and get your talk on. Talk things over with friends who are understanding, creative problem solvers. Take time to ventilate but don’t let the party end until you and the girls have defined the problem and looked at very real solutions.

Most of us have taken some variation of the stress self-test that was developed in 1967 by Dr. Holmes and Dr. Rahe. It’s a simple test that assigns a score to a series of life events like: marriage, moving, the death of a spouse, or going back to school. Your total score indicates the potential impact stress may have on you for an extended period of time. If you would like to take the Holmes and Rahe stress test, you can take it online right here: Online stress test.

By the way Ladies, the answer to your question is: Yes. I dumped the boyfriend.


Have you survived abuse, tragedy, layoff, crisis, disability or other setbacks? Join me In The PZ where straight talk connects with success strategies to help you Survive, Get a Life and Do Your Destiny!