Unfortunately, my answer is not the answer I’d like to give.
I’d love to have been able to answer this question by saying, “I find this topic academically very interesting and have been studying it for yours, and have written the definitive guide that is objectively true according to the strict requirements of modern science.” As someone with a literary, academic, and reader’s heart, that would have been my dream book to have written–at least from the eyes of the 21 year old version of myself.
But the real answer to the question does give me interesting stories to tell in retrospect, but was painful to live through. A lifetime of dealing with difficult clients, with the most demanding standards–and that led to more than one painful experience after another.
Indeed, the stories in the classes are forged by fire in the depths of hell–metaphorically, of course.
More broadly, don’t think I’ve done everything perfectly and teach the stories from a place of perfection. Not at all. Almost everything I advise against in the book, I have done at least once–earlier in my career, many more than one time!–and indeed, the 11 year process of writing the book helped me clarify my strategies themselves. There is a reason why the book is dedicated to my past clients, especially those with whom I have committed the errors I have learned from.