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Interview with Dr. Ronald J. Frederick, Author of Living Like You Mean It

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Ronald J. Frederick, Ph.D., is represented by Pump Up Your Book Promotion, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion.

Ronald J. Frederick, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and life coach, with over 15 years of experience helping people get the life they really want. A long-time proponent of the transforming power of emotion, Frederick co-founded the Center for Courageous Living, which offers innovative therapy, coaching and consulting. Noted for his warmth, humor, and engaging presentation style, he lectures and facilitates workshops nationally.

Frederick is a senior faculty member of the Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) Institute, as well as the Clinical Supervisor of Park House, an outpatient program at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

His latest book is Living Like You Mean It: Use the Wisdom and Power of Your Emotions to Get the Life You Really Want.  We interviewed him to find out more about his exciting new book and his life as a published author.


Thank you for this interview, Ron.  Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’d be happy to.  In addition to authoring Living Like You Mean It: Use the Wisdom and Power of Your Emotions to Get the Life You Really Want, I also work as a psychologist and life coach and am a co-founder of the Center for Courageous Living in Minneapolis, which offers innovative therapy, coaching, and consulting.   As part of my career, I do a number of different things like speaking, training, and, now, promoting my book.   As far as writing goes, I’ve done quite a bit of it over the years — writing journal articles and book chapters — but this is my first book. 

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

Living Like You Mean It is a self-help book published by Jossey-Bass, a division of Wiley.  Based on cutting-edge science, it shares my proven four-step approach to overcoming fear and becoming more emotionally present in one's life and relationships. 

What was the inspiration behind your book?  Why did you feel a need to write it?

I was inspired to write Living Like You Mean It by my own life-changing experience.  I was in my early thirties, had just finished my doctoral studies, and despite having everything going for me, I hit a wall.  I was in relationship I frequently questioned and found myself filled with trepidation and fear about moving forward.  I ended up in therapy and discovered, rather surprisingly, that the anxiety I was experiencing at the time had so much to do with being uncomfortable with what I really felt deep down inside.  I had become so afraid of my emotions, of listening to and trusting my true feelings, that I couldn’t hear the voice of my deepest self buried somewhere inside me – the voice that knew what I wanted, knew what I longed for, knew what felt right to me and what felt wrong. I might have gone on doubting myself forever had I not gotten the help I needed to recognize what, in fact, I really was afraid of and to learn how to overcome my fears, accept and embrace my emotional self, and really connect with others. 

The experience changed my life.  My anxiety decreased, I stopped doubting myself and felt much more confident and in touch with my personal truth.  I found it much easier to be emotionally present and felt closer to the people in my life.  Ultimately, I found the courage to listen to and trust my heart and move forward, to leave the relationship I was in, and to realize the kind of relationship and life I had dreamed of having. 

When you have an experience like that, when your life is changed in such a dramatic way, you want to spread the good stuff around.  The more people I’ve been able to help, and the more I witness the dramatic changes that can take place when we develop the ability to be with and share our feelings, the more I have felt compelled to spread the word.  I guess you can say that it’s become a mission for me: to help people to wake up to their feelings and get the lives they really want.  I wrote this book to help people do just that. 

What kind of research did you have to conduct to write your book?

A part of the “research” for this book came from my own experience which, I believe, made it possible to write from a very personal place of understanding.  In addition, my approach is solidly based on cutting-edge findings from the fields of affective neuroscience, brain development, and attachment studies.  As a psychologist, I was already familiar with much of this work, but I looked into it more deeply as I sought to flesh out my approach, make sure I had covered all the bases, and to find a way to articulate the main points in a readily accessible way.  As a result, the program I suggest, while easy to understand and implement, is not the kind of anecdotal “quick fix” found in so many self-help books.  Instead, it offers tools that have the potential to fundamentally change the way our brain works and truly transform lives.    

What message are you trying to convey with this book?

The main message I hope to get across in Living Like You Mean It is that when we’re able to connect with and make good use of the wisdom and power of our emotions, we have the ability to transform our lives.  With the right tools and practice, real change can happen.  Your life and your relationships can be better.  The capacity for change is inside all of us, just waiting to come out. 

How do you deal with rejection?

Oh brother, the rejections were tough.  Most of them came in the form of highly impersonal form letters.  It got a little depressing at times and frustrating especially when I got a few in a row.  But, fortunately, there were little bright spots along the way that kept me going.  One agent, Betsy Amster, who I am indebted to, was very kind and helpful.  She took the time to give me constructive feedback which helped me see what I needed to do to move forward.  While each round of rejections was a blow, they also motivated me to work harder, to reach out to others for help, and find a way to crack the code!  But, I will say that, by the time I got to my last round of submissions, I had doubts about continuing.  I figured that I had given about 2.5 years of my life to this project and, if it didn’t fly this time, maybe the universe was telling me it was time to put my focus somewhere else.  Fortunately, it finally took flight. 

Funny story: one of the rejections letters came in the same day I got an offer from a publishing house.  I thought that was perfect timing! 

How long did it take your book to be published from the time you submitted and was accepted to the time it was finally released?

Let’s start at the beginning.  I worked on my proposal for about a year before I tried to get literary representation.  Over the course of two years, I did about three rounds of submissions to literary agents.  After the first round of rejections, I went back to the drawing board and worked on my proposal (which included the first three chapters of the book) with a writing coach for about a year and then tried again.   After the second round of rejections, I decided to hire both an editorial consultant and a marketing consultant, both of whom were recommended to me by colleagues, and that turned out to be extremely helpful.  I then did my third round of submissions and, fortunately, two agents came forward who wanted to work with me.  Interestingly, both of them remarked that my proposal was far better than most things that come across their desk.  I guess all the work paid off!  The agent I decided to go with then began pitching it to the different publishing houses and within a few weeks we had offers from two.  I then had eight months to finish the book.  Nine month after that it was on the bookshelves for sale. 

Can you tell us a little about the publisher who published your book?  How have they been to work with?

I got a couple offers on my book and chose to go with Jossey-Bass, which is a division of Wiley.  It was an easy choice because they have a great reputation and made a solid offer.  Also, I was very impressed with the acquisitions editor who ended up also working with me on my book.  She really “got” what I was writing about and approached the whole process, from my first interview with her to the offer letter to working with her, with such integrity.  It just felt right in my gut and it was.  In the end, I couldn’t have been more pleased with them.  They were terrific to work with. 

Do you have a website?  Do you manage it yourself or do you have someone run it for you? 

Yes.  It’s www.livinglikeyoumeanit.com.  I have someone run it for me who does that kind of a thing professionally.  I’m not that technically savvy to do it myself!  Besides, where would I find the time?  But, I’m in charge of the content and end up managing a lot of the work that’s done on it. 

What’s next for you?

Currently, I’m working on promoting Living Like You Mean It which is pretty much a full-time job.  But, I’m also beginning to develop an audio series based on concepts in the book that will help people experience more joy in their lives. 

Thank you for this interview, Ron!  Do you have any final words you’d like to share with my readers?

Getting a book published has so much to do with being tenacious.  For me, it was four years from start to finish, with many road blocks along the way.  I’m so glad that I persevered despite all the rejection, all the hurdles, all the down times.  That I reached out to others for help and that I stuck with it as long as I did.  I can hardly believe it sometimes when I’m holding the book in my hands that it’s actually come to fruition.  It’s been quite a ride.  So, don’t despair.  Hang in there and keep at it!

And, to learn more about me and Living Like You Mean It, please visit: http://www.livinglikeyoumeanit.com/index.html

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About Dorothy Thompson

  • Thanks so much for profiling my book! I really appreciate it!