Never Tell Me the Odds—Getting Your Head Right for Success


I read a lot of books on business, sales, and success. I love motivational books and yes, even self-help. Why? Because so much of success is mental. Study the sports greats and the practice on the field is only one component of their overall performance. The truly great players spend countless hours getting their head right.

And this makes sense if we think about it. Take a horse for example. No matter how large that beast is, man can control the direction that animal goes with ONE thing…controlling the head. Where the head goes the rest will follow.

So I challenge you with this question each and every day…

Where is Your Head?


Granted, there are days, I don’t know if I could find my head. I have been down with a really bad cold for a week and I think I finally found my head in the couch cushions all sticky and plastered in dust bunnies and Cheerios. I am all over the place this morning, still foggy with cold medicine.

And guess what? That is okay…so long as I get my head cleaned off and put back on straight.

This is not an activity we do ONCE. Life is not static.

At times? Our head WILL fly off the wrong direction. It is just up to us to be aware of the fact that it needs to be put back right.

See we need to have a different kind of self-awareness when we decide to go pro at anything. We can’t afford the mindlessness of mediocrity. We can’t afford day after day of being reactive and permitting life to happen TO us.

We need to get our heads on straight.

Now, to do this, we have to adopt habits that are very different to the rest of the world and that might even seen a bit strange. And guess what? They are strange! Habits of the 5%ers are GOING to seem odd to regular people. Being excellent is going to force us where it is uncomfortable. In fact, the more uncomfortable it is, the better the results.

So to make y’all super uncomfortable…

Declare What is Untrue Until It BECOMES True


Did you know that the subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between truth and lie? It just believes what we tell it. Yet how many of us are in a habit of constantly talking about our faults? We are constantly declaring weakness and so the subconscious shrugs and says, “Okay, well if you are disorganized then I will make sure to put that important paper where you will never find it.”

Our subconscious mind dictates our unconscious habits. The mind and the body are connected and we need to appreciate this fact or we are doomed to self-defeating behaviors.

This is one of the reasons my left eye twitches when people declare they are “aspiring writers.” Go look up synonyms for “aspiring” and you will see words like “wishful” or “trying” or “longing” and so is it any wonder that writers groups across the world are filled with aspiring writers who never finish (let alone publish) anything?

By contrast look at synonyms for “professional” and you will see words like “efficient” and “skillful” and “competent.”

When we declare we are professionals, then our subconscious will 1) match our behavior with our words and/or 2) convict us when our behavior is out of line with what we have declared to be true.

We will get that niggling sinking feeling when we don’t do our job.

But guess what? Keep acting like a pro long enough and people see us as a pro and so guess who gets the paying work?

I keep a notepad where I constantly write things that are untrue and it has been shocking to me over the years how often reality has caught up with what I might have written off as a pipe-dream if I hadn’t known this trick.

Almost ten years ago when I was first starting out as a blogger and wanna-be expert, I was living with my mom and writing software instructions for a living *shoots self*. I was a total newbie with two regular commenters on my blog. If I didn’t have spam bots I wouldn’t have had a following at all. But I wrote:

I am the definitive voice in branding and social media for authors.

I didn’t even have a book finished. Now? I’ve written three and Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World is the definitive guide for branding for authors. I had a goal of writing a branding and social media book that would be evergreen and was told it was impossible.

Well, yeah about that 😉 .

I also wrote…

I am regularly invited to speak at conferences.

Then it happened. So I wrote something SO unrealistically big I erased it four times before I finally left it.

I am the keynote for the Romance Writers of New Zealand.

Guess where I am keynoting in August?

I have 55,000 subscribers to my blog.

Looking back? Maybe should have dreamed bigger but I wrote that when my mom was my only fan.

My writing heroes come to ME for advice.

And this still freaks me out when they do, LOL.


Was this some sort of hoo-doo-voo-doo magic? Not really. It was getting my head on straight and focused on where I wanted to go. I listed out the habits and behaviors I needed to support these assertions. I blogged week after week after week even when no one read and there was no evidence to support what I had declared to be true.

This doesn’t mean I just kept posting crap. No, I studied other blogs, read books, read articles, asked questions, tried new things and above all I was consistent. Then once I reached my goals, I didn’t remain there. I dreamed bigger dreams, different dreams.

Now that social media has become part of our culture as I once envisioned, and I have provided the ONE manual necessary for owning that space. I’ve adjusted my goals back to fiction.

I am a #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author.

I am a #1 USA Today Best-Selling Author.

Is it true? Not yet 😀 . But guess what? If I keep declaring this it holds me accountable to WRITE THE BOOKS. I can’t become a best-selling anything with NO BOOKS. And since I want to hit these lists, not only do I have to write the books (finish the books), I also am wise to study what sells. When I am not writing, I am very literally reading the best-seller lists.

I have made my MISSION from these declarations.

So even though I might look silly to you claiming, I am a #1 NYTBSA! don’t you think my odds are vastly different because I have claimed this then adopted the behaviors of someone obsessed with this goal?

Head Trauma


I see so many writers out there focused on all the wrong things and they are psyching themselves out. Remember if we declare it to be true then it will be.

There is too much competition. My book can possibly be seen.


People just don’t read anymore. 

As you wish.

No one makes money writing books anymore. At least I can do this as a hobby.

See where I am going here?

I know when people like me start talking about the power of the mind, folks start rolling their eyes but tell me this. When did you ever see a sports superstar who declared, I am the best basketball player in the world who then became successful without shooting any hoops? You know, he wrote out affirmations and went to positive thinking camps and watched inspiring movies and never had to get on the court but he still rose to become an MVP?

Yeah hadn’t heard of him either.

Conversely, show me any super star anything who constantly complained and declared failure who then succeeded. You know, he shot a thousand hoops a day and said, “I’m terrible. Look at all I missed. Why do I even bother? The odds of me playing pro basketball are the same as winning the lottery and being struck by lightning on the same day.”

Hell, I am depressing myself just writing that.

Being a successful writer has a lot of moving parts and is not for the faint of heart. But declare what is untrue until it becomes true. Align your actions with your mission. Yeah discoverability is a nightmare, so learn how to do social media, how to build a brand, how to do what it takes to overcome the odds. Hey, I got sick and had to move up the dates for two of my social media classes, so sign up and let me help you!

In the meantime, just say….

People might not read books, but they DO read MINE 😀 .


What are your thoughts? Do you find yourself getting off track? Focused on all the wrong things and bogging your spirit down? Do you find yourself talking about all the things you aren’t instead of what you could be? Do you feel strange declaring success? Heck, I do. Feel like a loon. It’s okay to be crazy here. Do you find it easier to believe all the bad? Have you overcome being your own worst enemy/critic?

I love hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of JANUARY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).


Remember that ALL CLASSES come with a FREE RECORDING so you can listen over and over. So even if you can’t make it in person? No excuses! 

All you need is an internet connection!

Branding Master’s Class Series with Kristen Lamb THREE social media classes, ONE low price. Only $99. It is literally getting one class for FREE!!!! 

Craft Master’s Class Series with Kristen Lamb THREE craft classes, ONE low price. Only $89. One class is FREE!!!! Includes my new class The Art of Character.

Individual Classes with MOI!

Pitch Perfect—How to Write a Query Letter & Synopsis that SELLS January 28th

When your Name Alone Can SELL—Branding for Authors February 10th, 2017

Social Media for Authors February 11th, 2017

NEW CLASS!!!! The Art of Character January 27th, 2017

Blogging for Authors February 3rd

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on


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    • lisaorchard1 on January 17, 2017 at 12:04 pm
    • Reply

    Love this post! You are so right! Always strive to improve and you’ll get there! 🙂

  1. This is a great post! I see myself cycling through positive and negative thinking about where I want to be. I need to work on making a conscious effort to stay positive!

  2. I think this is an awesome exercise. I’ve had two blog followers tell me that I’m the Erma Bombeck of my generation – an honor I don’t feel worthy of but a goal worth reaching for. I think I’ll put that first on my list!

  3. Always love how reading your posts feels like a friendly, inspiring kick in the @$$. Big stinkin’ Kristen Lamb fan here: recommending Rise of the Machines all over the place and just signed up for your Pitch Perfect class on Jan. 28. Looking forward to it!

  4. I’ve been working on getting my head in the right place and thinking positively. If I don’t think much of myself, why should anyone else? Game on!

    • Bryan Dawe on January 17, 2017 at 12:48 pm
    • Reply

    Holy way to say it, Kristen! Inspiration for today when I am going to the write the very best chapter in the very best book EVER!

  5. Been doing a lot of soul searching lately and you are always an inspiration. I just put up two sticky notes in my office. “I have a wonderful agent!” and “I am a #1 New York Times best selling Author!” Thank you 🙂

  6. Really needed to hear this today.

    • theveganstoryteller on January 17, 2017 at 1:10 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you for this post. Your posts are always on point but this one in particular really hit close to home! I’ve only just stopped thinking of myself as an “aspiring” writer recently but it’s been hard to keep my focus. It’s good to be reminded that I need to “put my head back on”.

  7. Just about all the writers I know go through periods of doubt that bog them down. I’m bouncing out of one, thinking positive thoughts to start 2017.

  8. This post hit home for me, too. I’m great at applying these rules to my personal life, but haven’t always done it in my writing life. It’s one thing to be modest about your work, its another to keep downplaying it in your own head. Thanks again for all the encouragement.

  9. This is exactly where my head has been lately (in the clouds, not up my ass)! I don’t think my dreams have ever been big enough. Now that i have finished writing eight books (several more in process), I know that I can write books. My dreams now involve self-publishing and marketing!

  10. I spotted in the middle of reading this article to change the text in my blog header. It didn’t say what I knew to be true–now it does. That’s the worth the price of reading. Thank you, Kristen.

    • Paulla Hunter Schreiner on January 17, 2017 at 3:06 pm
    • Reply

    I have a Japanese “wishing jar” my daughter gave me and I put small bits of goals/wishes in it. Writing them down is important and reading them once in awhile is essential. To Dream The Impossible Dream from Don Quixote has always been one of my favorite songs. You should hum it in the shower.

  11. This post inspired me SO much! Thank you writing it, and congratulations on the successes you’ve had so far in your life.

  12. Love this post! So important to get our heads right first. Thank you for this ??

  13. Man, I totally needed this kick in the pants today. I’m off to write a few positive statements about myself and then get back to those beta revisions on a women’s fiction novel you will see at the top of Amazon someday soon. (Sorry, NYT and USAToday seem a little much at the moment, but I’m adding them to the list of affirmations.)

  14. Truth! This is downright neat. I’m going to quote you on Twitter.
    I’m a believer in the Power of Words! As a writer, I should hope so. But, not just writing them. Speaking them! What we hear, we believe.
    Thank you!

    • AuthorKelleyGriffin on January 17, 2017 at 5:15 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you Kristen! Once again, timely information I can use! I’m going to write my affirmations now and stop letting negative comments rule my writing! Thanks for all that you do!!

  15. Time for me to get my head right!!! Thanks, Kristen.

    • susanfaw on January 17, 2017 at 5:28 pm
    • Reply

    Reblogged this on SUSAN FAW.

  16. You’re coming to New Zealand? How exciting! Are you going to be anywhere near Wellington?

  17. Reblogged this on Mystery and Romance and commented:
    I lost about three hours worth of work yesterday because I got distracted, caught up in something silly, and wasn’t thinking clearly! So instead of beating myself up for hours and moaning about lost work, I pulled my head out, and got back in the game. Was able to redo the work because I told myself I could… So reading Kristen’s blog today made me grin. Especially that one picture!

  18. This is an interesting exercise. I’m going to try it.

    • Celia Lewis on January 17, 2017 at 7:14 pm
    • Reply

    Oh my you are so pointedly perfect. You/your post reminds me of a mentor I had in my previous life: warm hug from the side as we looked at my work… plus a sharp finger in my ribs – both at the same time with a loving smile
    Sigh. Another reminder to dream MUCH bigger. Merci!

  19. Reblogged this on Write Thoughts.

  20. As a former working statistician figuring the odds is admitting defeat before you start the battle. Odds, or more properly the Probability of Success, are only knowable when you are gambling ( think Dice, Cards, rigged slot machines, etc). In any real world situation only Losers figure the odds and check horoscopes.

    Winners figure out where the moving parts are in the system, grab hold of them and keep jiggering the system until they get the result they want. As they say in the Military, “If you ain’t cheating, you’re not trying hard enough.”

    That’s what the whole million words thing is (and the hundreds of ding letters). That’s figuring where the moving parts are and how to jigger them to make them work for you.

    Persistence and having a goal worth reaching whatever the cost is key. Kind of like have a call from God to write. 😉

    Write on all, be a winner whatever it takes.


  21. The power of visualization is incredible. Before soccer matches I would mentally run through all the basic things I needed to be successful during the game. Everything from the smallest detail about footwork to the larger strategies we had to beat the other team. It was amazing how doing so helped me prepare, and when I didn’t get to do the mental run through, I could physically feel it during the game.

    Same with writing. I picture myself with a wonderful novel, and I’m getting close, but I also picture all the details that will lead to the success.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  22. Thanks Kristen. I was really “feeling it” today.

    • Debbie Johansson on January 17, 2017 at 10:15 pm
    • Reply

    Thanks for this inspirational post Kristen! Now I’ll need to make my own notes and start focusing on the positives. 🙂

  23. THIS…. This is what I needed to read tonight. Thanks for the push and reminder. I need to speak out what I want to see happen in my life. You are so encouraging and that is why you have done so well!!

    1. I have always tried to live my life by Zig Ziglar’s words. I can get anything I want in my life if I help enough people get what THEY want. Love always pays dividends we can never imagine (((HUGS))) I am so thrilled I could help you refocus. Stay inspired!

    • Liz on January 17, 2017 at 11:41 pm
    • Reply

    So timely and on point for some of the things I’m struggling with right now – that is, how to make a fundamental change in how I think (from reactive to proactive), and then in how I go about setting and working toward life goals. Thanks for the inspiration!

  24. I very much needed this today. Thanks Kristen!

  25. This is the heart of my problem…

  26. Love this! So few people seem to understand the principle of speaking your future into existence. I just recently finished revising my goals and dreams for 2017, and I’m reading and speaking them every day! Thanks for the encouragement and the reminder to keep on keeping on!

  27. Fake it till you make it. Some call it faith. It does work.

  28. Reblogged this on Jeannie Hall Suspense and commented:
    Advice from the fabulous Kristen Lamb!

    • Nan Sampson on January 18, 2017 at 4:58 pm
    • Reply

    BRAVA! BRAVA! I’m printing this out and sticking it up over my desk. (And although it might be a bit creepy, I’m singing “We Love You Conrad” from Bye Bye Birdie, but substituting Kristen instead of Conrad. And *there’s* your ear wig for the day!

    • Maureen on January 19, 2017 at 1:20 pm
    • Reply

    Thanks for this. So true.
    Over the past several years friends have had to deal with cancer. Some, not all, recite statistics. “There’s only a fill-in-the-blank rate of survival.” I tell them, ‘those are numbers. You are a person.’

  29. Dear Kristen, In all kindness, please, steam your head! Put a saucepan of water on the range until it is steaming. Take it off the range. Put a towel over your head and breathe in the steam through your nose for ten seconds. Do this twice a day. You get far too many colds. Breathing in the steam kills the rhinoviruses in your nose and throat. With a small child in the house, and a sport that involves lots of body contact with others, you need to steam your head every day. Did you not have a grandmother who taught you this necessary fact? Consider this your grandmotherly advice from me.

    1. I appreciate it. This is the downside of having a first grader. We are in the Cootie Vortex, LOL.

  30. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Great advice.

  31. Thanks for the great idea! I need to try writing my goals down. I have a ton of anxiety and I’m constantly trying to get my head on straight. Maybe this will help!

    • robintvale (Jessica) on April 16, 2019 at 5:39 pm
    • Reply

    ROAR! Not this article has me all excited.

    I will publish my book on Amazon and sell it.
    I will publish many books on Amazon and sell them. I will make mine and my family’s life better.
    I will finish writing every book.
    I will save us (family) from this poverty.
    I will send my son to college. I will buy and own a three bedroom house.
    I will listen to kind Kristen and take her advice, even if I don’t always like it.
    I will stop using a stupid pen name and (slowly) switch over to my real long azz name.
    I will skip more sleep, drink too much coffee and *own* this.
    I’ve shared too much but going to post it anyway. I need a smoke now. ;-;

  1. […] Source: Never Tell Me the Odds—Getting Your Head Right for Success […]

  2. […] this off of Kristen Lamb’s Blog, which, if you’re a writer who wants to sell what you write, you ought to […]

  3. […] « Never Tell Me the Odds—Getting Your Head Right for Success […]

  4. […] featured a quote from Tim Notke about hard work and talent that I borrowed from Kristen Lamb’s blog post earlier that day. As I said then, if you’re a writer that intends on publishing their stuff, […]

  5. […] Kristen Lamb says, never tell me the odds—how to get your head right for success. […]

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