Jen Sincero may have written the sassiest self-help book of 2013: "You Are a Badass - How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life." Sincero is a former Angeleno, rock musician and sex advice columnist whose previous books are "Don't Sleep With Your Drummer" and "The Straight Girl's Guide to Sleeping With Chicks." She's frank, funny and sometimes outrageous, and admits that she went through a period of being a loser before finding her inner you-know-what. She'll be at Book Soup on Tuesday at 7 p.m. to read and sign her book. She answered our questions by email.
You say that you were once a loser. What things or incidents would you cite as some of your loser-est moments?
As far as my loseriest moments go, I guess it would have to be the large chunk of time I was so losery about making money. I existed on about $20K a year for more years than I care to think about, scraping by, living in fairly crappy, tiny places, driving rickety cars, always worrying about how I was going to make enough to survive, that kind of thing. I knew I could be doing waaaaaaay better, I just couldn't get out of my own way to make it happen.
You once played in a touring rock band. Now you’ve written a self-help book. Is there any connection?
Absolutely. I think letting your inner freak out of its cage in spite of what anyone else thinks inspires others to loosen up and let themselves do whatever they'd deep down love to do. I know for me, anytime I see some musician or artist or speaker or whatever totally going for it, it inspires the hell out of me. Even if they suck at it, it's still inspiring. Because at least they got off their asses and did it. Anytime anyone does anything that they love love love doing and that is so truly who they are, they become so lit up that they can't help but light up everyone around them. And since I love love loved being in my band, I think it definitely applies.
What’s one of the most common complaints from the clients you coach?
They're all so different really but honestly, no matter what someone comes to me with, be it about not having money or not knowing how to make it or wanting to find love, lose weight, sit their butts down to write a book, quit their soul-sucking jobs to start their own businesses etc., and if they're not out there making it happen it, it usually all boils down to the same two things: "I'm not good enough" or "I don't believe I can truly have what I desire."
Part 2 of your book is titled "How to Embrace Your Inner Badass." Are you sure everyone has one?
We're all born full of badassery. Life is the part where we (hopefully) learn to get out of our own ways and let our badassery take the helm.
Is it possible to be a badass and still have moments of doubt?
The only people who don't have moments of doubt are liars.
Do you read self-help books? Are there any you like?
When I was deeply committed to giving my life a major overhaul, they're all I read. Now I'm reading much more fiction again (hooray!), but I absolutely still read the self-help stuff because I have to keep my muscle strong. It's like working out -- you don't get to stop once you get in shape, you have to continuously work out. So to keep my mindset strong, at the moment I'm reading "Oneness" by Rasha and "The Science of Getting Rich" by Wallace Wattles. I love "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success" by Deepak Chopra also. And "Loving What Is" by Byron Katie. I have a massive list on my website under Resources, but those are some of my favorites
When did you start living an awesome life? How did you recognize that it had arrived?
If I may be so bold, I will say I think I've always led an awesome life. I may have been broke-ass or dating someone who lived in his car, but I always made art, always wrote, made music, had great friends, was kind to animals, was generally happy, said thank you a lot, etc. But as far as stepping it up to a place where I constantly face my fears and blast past them to new levels of reality, I'd say the past five years have been really rocking. I got over my money issues and started making six figures coaching people, which is something I love doing, I started traveling the world on a regular basis, moved to the beach, started hanging out with other people who are kicking ass too, understood that I could really do anything I set my mind to. I'm a big believer that if you say you want to change your life and you aren't a little bit scared by what you're about to do, you're doing something wrong. You can't change your life by doing the same things that got you where you presently are, so you have to change it up and leap into the void. For the past five years, I've been leaping into the void on a regular basis, so I guess that's how I recognize it. Instead of running way from the big, awesome, terrifying idea that pops into my head, I run towards it.
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