I Made My Hero Cry!
…Back in 2011, I was a struggling alternative healer. My business was plodding along and things were tough.
I’d done a few copywriting trainings, but they were more geared towards me writing for my own “Woo Woo” business. I had a feeling deep inside of me which indicated… I was playing too small.
I had a session with a mentor and when he asked what I “Really” wanted to do… I was quick to respond with… “I want to be a Copywriter!”
He told me not to get my hopes up. Because, in his experience… women never made good copywriters : (
I was a little disillusioned, but the rebel inside me said… “You Watch ME!”
Fast forward several months… a friend of mine, Pete Godfrey was holding an event about copywriting and increasing conversions. And a legend of Copywriting, Ted Nicholas, was coming out to Australia to present.
Although I dearly wanted to attend… I knew I didn’t have enough money for both Rae and myself to go.
So, I approached Pete and offered to be crew for the event. You know… running the microphone, doing registrations etc. (We’d been “crew” for some international speakers before, so we were quite experienced!)
Happily, he said yes, and we were able to be in the room.
Now being crew gave us no privileges, especially when it came to getting close to Ted. We had to wait until all the paying attendees had their books signed and photos taken, before we could approach him.
By then, he was about to be whisked away to do something else.
I was honored though to have a brief moment to have a photo taken and ask him one question.
It’s funny, I can’t exactly remember the question, but I definitely remember the answer…
“I know plenty of female copywriters… and they’re great! If you think you can do it… That’s all that matters! Go and do it!” said Ted.
As I watched the established and wannabe copywriters jockeying for position in the room… Ted’s words ruminated in my head.
I determined there and then… I would be a world-class copywriter. (Even though I didn’t know how it would happen or even start.)
And look at where I am today.
There is a saying… “Small hinges swing big doors” and every door that has opened for me in my copywriting career is directly attributable to Ted Nicholas.
When I saw him in Tampa last week, I went up to him and told him how much he has impacted my life.
Then I presented him with a “limited edition” copy of a book I wrote on my journey out of depression (Ted actually helped me with the title). And it was number 120 out of 200.
He just looked at me and his eyes filled with tears and then he started to cry. I didn’t quite know what to do… so I did what came naturally, I cried too. He reached out for my hand and we held hands for a few minutes, looking each other in the eye and he said “Wow! You’ve really touched my heart. This is exactly why I do this!”
It was a special moment that I’ll remember forever. (As we say in Australia… “This is going straight to the pool room!”)
So this week’s Knowledge Nugget is dedicated to the Legend, Ted Nicholas…
Knowledge Nugget #77 – If You Can’t Cry… You Can’t Write!
Ted talks about how he still gets emotional when he reads his own copy.
There is a particular letter he wrote that still brings him to tears. It’s a letter about a dying boy and the Starlight Foundation.
He’s a staunch believer in “If you can’t cry… you can’t write”… but he’s not only talking about crying as you write.
Ted is talking about being in touch with your emotions so you can empathize with others around you.
When I was a nurse, I was trained to never cry around the patients or their loved ones. It was almost sinful for a nurse to show an emotional weakness. And absolutely frowned upon!
But one day, after one of my favourite patients died… I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer. (I’m not talking about sobbing uncontrollably… just a gentle, respectful cry.)
As I stood opposite his wife… he breathed out his last breath. She held one of his hands and I held the other. His grip slowly loosened as he died and a solitary tear rolled from his eye.
Oh, it was too much to take!
As my eyes teared up… I tried as hard as I could to hold them back… but then one rogue tear escaped.
His wife looked at me and simply said “Thank you! Now I know how much you cared about my husband.”
A few more tears fell as I went and held her hand in comfort. She had just lost her soulmate.
It took a while to composed myself before I left the room. I was fearful of being attacked by the “Nursing Battle Axe” in charge of the ward. (I’ve mentioned this sweat moustache wearing monster in past emails).
It was a raw moment and it changed the way I saw the importance of human emotion… and showing the vulnerability of it authentically.
I’ve seen some copywriting teachers tell people to just “Fake It” when it comes to emotion. But people know when they are being deceived. Especially when it comes to “Crocodile Tears!”
I’m relieved to know that Ted is the kind of guy who cries at Disney movies, because I do too. (Not the “guy” bit… but you know what I mean!)
There is nothing wrong with showing a little emotion. In fact… it’s healthy! Apparently, people who can cry tend to live longer.
When was the last time you cried?
Me… I cried as I wrote this. Especially as I was recalling the story of my favorite patient! He was such a wonderful man and his death was a beautiful, dignified experience. (It may have been almost 27 years ago… but I remember it like it was only yesterday).
Until next week… take care, stay safe and release the tears : )
a.k.a. “The Copy Alchemist”
P.S. Why was Ted so touched that I saved book number 120/200 for him. Well, Ted’s planning a 120th birthday party on a private island and invite a bunch of people to celebrate it with him. The number 120 features prominently in his life.
When he saw the special edition label on the book… he knew exactly why I had saved it for him and he was deeply touched.
P.P.S. I don’t think I have ever been to an event where tears fell so freely and as authentically as the one I just attended. I have been to plenty of events filled with presenters who have perfectly choreographed talks with the obligatory “crocodile tears” used to woo the crowd.
This event was way different! It was worth getting on a plane and travelling for 30 hours and half way around the world for.
Seriously, if you ever get a chance to see Ted Nicholas or Matt Furey speak… even if you “think” you know their material (or if your favorite “guru” says they learned from them… but it turns out they probably didn’t because Ted and Matt don’t remember teaching them at all) … just do it. Don’t deny yourself of the opportunity to hear and learn from the true Masters. You owe it to yourself.
P.P.P.S. I have some terrific insights I’ll be sharing with my mentees over the coming months. I know how much what I’ve learned will influence my own writing and career…and I can’t wait to share it with them.
If you want to know more about my “One-to-One, Individually Tailored” mentoring program… Reply to this email. I can’t (and won’t) accept everyone who applies and it’s not for everyone. But for the people I do accept, they’re in for the time of their lives.