At sometime in our lives, many of us have probably stopped to imagine what it would be like to live with unlimited fortune and much-deserved fame. Well, at least I did when I was young. If you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I probably would have said, “Rich and famous.” A bit superficial? Perhaps. But I’ve always believed in dreaming big and going for it.
Writing Our Life
When I was writing my book Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie, I wanted to bare it all and share with others as transparently as possible my stories of survival from life-threatening health issues, as well as my stories of rubbing shoulders with the entertainment industry’s rich and famous. My wish was that readers would take away something for themselves that would offer them hope of what is possible in their own lives when following their inner guidance.
My book was shaping up to be part memoir and part self-help. Although I didn’t offer a “how to” list of things for readers to do the way self-help books do, I had lived my life making extremely challenging choices no one agreed with, trusting my intuition, ultimately transforming what I was told by many experts, would be impossible to do.
A New Category on the Shelves—Self-Help Memoir
At the time, I had no idea there was a new category in the book world actually called “Self-Help Memoir.” It isn’t a category you find on Amazon or most of the other online players in the book business, but on a stroll through Powell’s City of Books, in downtown Portland, Oregon, I stumbled upon their huge self-help memoir section.
Seeing Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love on the shelves, confirmed for me that this was a legit category and where my book belonged. Researching the category, I discovered the book industry didn’t see these two categories as working together; a book was either a self-help book or a memoir. The two genres, according to this legit literary world, dare not collide. But times are changing and I’d also been told not to write my book in the “never been done” format I did. For the rebel in me, that became an open invitation to do it anyways.
A Serendipitous Introduction
Rather serendipitously, I was recently introduced to someone I have several things in common with. He had a book about to be released, also a self-help memoir. His book is about transforming yourself and your life from the inside out and about living life in the entertainment industry. His book is also about finding your own inner “possible” and taking responsibility for the life choices you make. Unlike me though, he had grown up exceedingly rich, as the son of an uber famous father, his life appearing to have no limits when it came to fortune and fame. Or did it?
Rich and Famous by Birth
Speaking on the phone with Randy Spelling (son of the late iconic Hollywood producer Aaron Spelling), it became clear that being rich and famous really does not guarantee anything in life. In his case, trying to live the rich and famous lifestyle was inauthentic for him and he spiralled out of control, compliments of drugs and alcohol, landing as close to rock bottom as you can get. He had lost himself in a life that was not at all who he is at his core or what he wanted to contribute to the world.
He told me he was always spiritual and super sensitive as a child and at 18 he had taken up meditation: “It was a strong foundation for my spiritual growth as well as padding for me when I later went through some darker moments; my battle with addiction being a major one.”
Hitting Rock Bottom
It was 2006, the year his dad died, that was perhaps the darkest and lowest point of his life. He knew he would die if he didn’t find a way to get back up and recreate a life he was passionate about living. Recalling that period he said,”It was only 3-4 months later, I got clean and started turning my life in a different direction, as my father passing away was like the binding coming off of the book and the pages were flying around. That is how my life and family felt at that time.”
His journey back from rock bottom became the catalyst for his new book Unlimiting You, a self-help memoir of realization and discovery, taking the reader along on his journey of finding himself and his true calling. We talked about the series of profound synchronistic events that led him away from L.A. (where he was living what appeared to be a “successful” life as an actor), to make a new life for himself with his wife and now two young daughters, in Portland, Oregon. A very private life compared to his youth lived in the “Spelling limelight” 24/7.
Looking for a Deeper Sense of Purpose
Spelling has totally changed his life and through his work as a life coach and spiritual facilitator, he’s committed to helping others “unlimit” themselves to unleash their potential to live a bigger, more meaningful life.
During our conversation, it was interesting to hear that about 40 per cent of the people he has worked with had no idea of who his father was and the legendary Hollywood family he grew up in, and the other 60 per cent were drawn to him and feel connected and trust him because of it.
By working with a wide variety of clients, he’s discovered people everywhere have similar themes to his own life. People want to find a deeper sense of purpose and to live a life that reflects this on a daily basis. Curious if most of his clients are women, I was delighted to hear that more and more men are also seeking a more authentic life and are willing to do the work to discover themselves. Whatever that takes.
Randy’s gentle and sincere energy came through in both our conversation and in his writing, as Unlimiting You flows in a warm storytelling style. He offers rich stories, (both his own and of others), learned insights and exercises the reader can take away and work with. We joked a bit about campaigning to get the self-help memoir category officially recognized by booksellers everywhere, as it makes sense that with so many people living deeply transformed lives, there is much to share with others by telling stories this way. We are all like gurus who have something to teach or learn at different times in our lives.
In our modern world where the mantra has been “the faster the better,” people are looking for quick fixes. I get that. Yet there isn’t a one-size-fits-all cure for what ails you. Through other people’s stories, we often uncover insights for ourselves. For me, life is a journey of discovery, finding what works for you to unlock the door to what is uniquely yours. As Randy said to me, “Giving yourself permission to be you and trust yourself is the ultimate validation, the biggest pat on the back, the assurance that it is okay to be exactly who you are, unapologetic and unyielding.”
What Really Matters?
As human beings, or as I like to say human “becomings,” knowing that others, (even the rich and famous), have moments of weakness and despair just like we do, can offer us hope we’re not alone, showing us there is always another way out of whatever darkness we are currently experiencing.
Thanks to Randy for his honesty and vulnerability in sharing his often-wild roller coaster ride, as his intention is as filled with integrity as he is. One powerful takeaway from his book, something I’d recommend everyone do, is ask yourself the question, “What really matters to you?” It’s a great question to uncover what is truly important to you and your life. As Randy offers, “Truth matters. Anything that isn’t your truth distracts you from your deepest parts and from what you truly want.” This is what “Unlimiting You” is ultimately all about; getting to the core of your truth and living what matters to you most.
This is just getting too strange how much alike we think. I’ve often thought of writing a book as a self-help memoir but never really seeing it done before… I’ve started but have not progressed with it too much. I still have a tinge of the feeling that if I write my story it’s just to get attention. I suppose I should get over that.
I am looking forward to reading your book.
Monna Ellithorpe recently posted…Common Scams To Avoid When Self Publishing
One thing that really helped me get over many of the same concerns that you have, Monna, is going to the writing retreat I talk about in the book. It was a breakthrough as far as getting the story down (I wrote longhand) and not analyzing the whys or hows of it. It is interesting that somehow you were led to me and how much we do have in common. I love when that happens. I you would like any information on writing or the retreat, please feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to help in any way I can. Appreciate you stopping by and reading and commenting too! Look forward to you “book review” once you read “Confessions” too.
Very interesting post. Thank you so much for sharing.
Thanks so much Vicky! Glad there was something of interest in this post, for you! Appreciate it.
I have always had a very comfortable life and never taken any of it for granted. It saddens me that so many rich and famous people lack the self-control required to make good choices in life but fortunately Randy figured that out before it was too late…good for him!
Beth recently posted…Technology IS The Devil…And The Reason For Vodka!
That is the great part of this story, Beth. Even though Randy was as far down as he could get, he did get back up and transform his life. For me, this is very admirable indeed. It’s wonderful to hear your gratitude for what you have, and how conscious you are of the importance of the choices we make in shaping our lives.
It is a common knowledge that rich and famous people are very contented with their established living due to their financial securities and their worth or popularity in the society. However, wealth and fame do not result to better perspectives of life if one is overwhelmed with alcoholism, drugs and other factors contributing to one’s bad outlook in life. Such reality epitomes the life of Randy Spelling. Have a stand in life in a positive tone of voice. Strive to exert hard work and perseverance as they play a role in enjoying life to the fullest.
Lorii Abela recently posted…Top Signs He’s Not Into You
Thanks so much for your insights, Lorii. Yes, Randy did have fame and fortune from birth, yet it took hitting rock bottom for him to turn his life around so that he now can help others live their truth! He definitely epitomizes what transformation is all about.
Self help memoir … what a unique and telling new genre. We live in an age where people are going back to discovering that the stories we tell and the ones that we hear can not only impact us greatly, but help us make the changes we need to make in our lives.
Interesting article – who hasn’t dreamed of being rich and famous, privileged … the truth is some of us will go through our lives, trying to find something else to get out of life.
Katrina Moody recently posted…One-Minute Geek Note: New Site Setup – The Domain
Glad you like the new category, Katrina. Yes to self-help memoir as a genre that can tell personal stories that impact others positively by virtue of telling them. I also believe that we are all mirrors for each other, so it makes sense that reading or hearing someone else’s experience can help us to see ourself in a new way and to make changes we may need to make.
Yes, I imagine many of us have dreamed of being rich and famous and the truth is, it doesn’t guarantee anything in life. We make the life we live by the choices we make and the experiences we choose to have. Appreciate your thoughtful comments!
Very interesting story about Randy! Goes to show you that being rich and famous doesn’t mean life will be easy and without tragedy! Lots of people think celebrities have it easy but not all handle it the same.
Glad you enjoyed reading Randy’s story, Michael. And you got the point, that having fame and fortune bestowed on you from birth, really does not mean anything. What Randy has created in his life, is very admirable and I believe through his life experiences he is now helping so many other people.
You certainly don’t have to be rich and famous to go through hell, right? I think everyone has a story — and an inspiring one at that. All we need to do is ask. Good article.
Thanks so much Jackie! Yes, we all do have very interesting stories and the value of sharing them, is that other people have the opportunity to see something they can take from it! Appreciate you reading and commenting too!
Everyone has experiences that make them feel crummy at times, and it feels like they last forever. Being able to live through them and share your victory with others is super important. Love your ideas!
Stacey McCoy recently posted…A Simple 21 Day Fix Schedule
Agree with you Stacey! We all have ups and downs and we all have both light and dark in our lives. The key is to rise above and like you say “share your victory with others” is a key way we all can learn and grow from each other. Thanks for reading and for your support here too!
Your writing continues to draw me me in, Beverley.
In fact, the phenom of self-published book authors continues to fascinate me. I started to see efforts emerge about 12 years ago when a vanity publishing house took people’s $4G to print their efforts. Trouble is the company owners went to jail for forgery.
There may be something tied to media mandarins losing control over whatever was said and heard. So many millions of people needed to have a voice, too…wanted to write their own story…in their own words…and share their wisdom.
Thanks so much Sharon. Delighted to hear that my writing draws you in. And yes, the self-publishing industry seems to be the way to go for those who have a story to tell and some money to invest. The self-help memoir is a new category and now that it is easier to get your story out, it seems that more people can share their experiences, with the hope of helping others just by virtue of living their lives.
The world is rapidly changing and the opportunity is now there for everyone who wants to, to find their own way and get their story and message out to the world! Appreciate your thoughtful comments here!
Yowza! What an AMAZING story Beverley! I too had the fantasy of having more money, not necessarily rich, but not struggling or not to have to worry about how to pay the bills or to actually go on a vacation just for the purpose to have a vacation. I often felt sorry for the rich in that they just didn’t seem to have the same good fortune. I also think money changes people and I wanted more to make my life easier, but to make other people’s lives easier too. Anyways, I like self help books.. but I actually like ones that are stories and that within the story it is helpful w/o having to say.. step 1, do this.. or here’s your homework. blah. Great read
Kristen Wilson recently posted…Your Business and You are Valuable â Take Advantage
Glad you enjoyed this one, Kristen! I was amazed at Randy’s story as well and how regardless of the money and fame, his life still was a disaster. I love how you get that it is what the reader takes away from a self-help book that is most important, not what the writer “tells” you the takeaway is. I see how each of us has rich experiences in our lives and by virtue of sharing them, we are helping someone else. I’ve often been curious what it would be like to be rich and famous (a lot) and see that it does not guarantee anything in life, unless you are happy and giving back to others as well. Thanks for your great comments and adding your voice to this conversation!
I have to say, that the part about hitting rock bottom really resonated with me. Rock bottom doesn’t have to be drugs/alcohol; it can be just plain unhealthy habits in general – which is exactly where I landed.
Hitting that rock bottom will AWAKEN you and force you to search high and low for your passion… I’m thankful for that darkness, because it ensures that I appreciate the light 🙂
Coach Natalie Palombi recently posted…Depression vs. Fitness: Let your HEALTH win!
Yes, I agree with you Natalie! Rock bottom shows up in a variety of different ways. Health was my “rock bottom” too. And it is an awakening for sure, of the most acute kind too. We do get messages from our body and our soul and it is really all about how long it takes us to “wake up” and listen and make the changes needed to rise again. Thanks for sharing your story here too!
It’s interesting how you explained the “self-help memoir” was a new genre for books. I guess I’d intuitively thought that memoirs were designed to be ‘helping’ in nature. It allows the author to purge & share what they learned from their life choices and hopes the reader can connect with some part of it (shared experience) and learn from it as well.
Liz daRosa recently posted…[Graphic Commentary] Achieve More Success #TweakUrAttitude!
I love how you intuitively knew that memoirs have a “self-help” component to them Liz, as honestly so many people do not get it. Of course, just by virtue of living life, our experiences become mirrors for others in their lives. And we all have something to learn and to teach as well. Writing a memoir certainly can be cathartic and does help re-look at where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. I was personally delighted to find the category “officially” on the shelves and think it is about to become the hot new book category of the future.
“Looking for a Deeper Sense of Purpose” – everyone needs to know that they have a purpose, and I think the most satisfying purpose is to help others. That may be one-on-one or by the product we sell or service we offer.
Kristy Klenk recently posted…Free budget tool!
I agree Kristy! We all are here to help others and that is what I believe at the core of our human beingness is our purpose. Each of us does that in our own way and I guess the reward comes from knowing we are being of service. Appreciate your voice in this conversation. Many thanks!!
Wonderful story! Finding what really matters to you and then not being afraid to live it is key!
Thanks Carol! You really got the essence of this story and how important Randy’s message is. Yes, to us all finding what really matters to us and then living it!
I’ve never heard of a self-help memoir book, but after reading your article it seems to make perfect sense. It’s notable that an increasing amount of people–whether they be of celebrity status or a regular plain Jane–are searching for authenticity and truth. In a world where so many people seem to be sharing, it seems almost contradictory that so many would feel more isolated and lonely. Yet it seems our society is really lacking the relationships we need–with others as well with ourselves. Life’s definitely a journey. I really enjoyed this article and look forward to reading more of your posts.
Thanks for your thoughts here, Meghan. I agree with you, that more and more people are searching for authenticity and feeling part of some community to share with and yet, it does seem that there is more looniness and isolation than ever. This I believe is because people are staring at screens and doing much of their life on technology instead of engaging person to person in the real world. I am optimistic that we are moving back to understanding how essential community is to us and how maybe even our survival will ultimately depend on it. Glad you enjoyed the piece and I’m happy I got to share this story of transformation with others.
I love the category, “self-help memoir” you talked about. I’m looking forward to reading your book because I totally agree with your philosophy and the fact that we all go through darkness. Half the fun is coming out the other side and shining in the light.
Love the category as well, Christie and actually only learned about it on a walk around Powell’s in Portland. I’d love for you to read my book “Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie”, as I also believe we all come through our own “darkness” and by virtue of living our lives we have much to experience and then share with others. Appreciate your lovely insights here as well!
Thanks for a very interesting story and info behind Randy Spelling. Coming from a not rich background, quite the opposite, I am quite dubious about rich people coaching others back to a normal life, it probably helps when it is people with similar problems. Coming from a context and family where you can have your low moments, but you work hard and stay positive knowing that you can, if you want to, and to get somewhere you have to make it yourself. Then I think it would be hard to not be dubious… But as I said the contexts are different, and people need different things too.:-)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this post, Katarina, and I have to say, generally I might be dubious as well about people coming from a privileged background now coaching others. In this case, having talked with Randy and really getting his sincerity and integrity, I say he authentically is wanting to use his experience to help others. He had really hit rock bottom and there was no lower to go. He found his own way out and transformed his life. In the work he does now, many people do not actually know who he is and the other half do know. They make their choice, I believe, based on him and his energy. And I agree with you, everyone does need something different in their life, and as I’ve learned, go with what resonates and what speaks to you. That way, there is more chance it will actually help!
Very interesting article. I’m a few hours away from Portland. 🙂
Love Portland, Bobbi and I think Randy picked a great place to move and do the work he is now doing. Glad you enjoyed the article as well!
I enjoyed the read. I especially love how Randy found himself. Im learning about the empathetic part of my life I know I have and how it works.
Thanks so much Margy! Yes, understanding who we are goes a long way in living life authentically and then being able to help others. I also love Randy’s story of how he found himself and now is able to truly be of service to others as well.
So has SELF-HELP/MEMOIR become a category? Perhaps you can create it as a hashtag- your very own & tweet about your book, Randy’s, Gilberts, etc using the new #.
Thanks for the idea Roslyn! The only thing is very few legitimate book sources acknowledge the category other than maybe Powell’s who does its own thing and is big enough and independent enough to not care. Might just try this when I post a book review and create the hashtag you suggested! Love it!
What a great category, self-help memoir! I’ve read a number of those by famous people but one certainly wouldn’t have to be famous to be able to write a meaningful one. These stories can be very helpful in helping us to transform our own lives.
Beth Niebuhr recently posted…5 Reasons You Need to Know Your Ideal Client
Glad you like this new category and I agree Beth, it definitely makes a lot of sense. We all can grow and learn from other people’s stories, so even if they are not written as a traditional self-help book, there is something in each of our stories that can help others to look at their own life and take something that might help them!