Do a Google search of “Lucinda Cross” and you’ll find a name synonymous with success. Her accomplishments go on for pages, with words written both by her and about her dripping with inspiration. With five books authored, appearances on BET, The Today Show, and more – not to mention a Lifetime Achievement Award from former President Barack Obama – it’s hard to highlight just one thing when it comes to Lucinda Cross.
Her story is compelling and one of triumph in the face of challenge – specifically 4 ½ years of her young life spent in prison at the age of 18 for a crime she accepts full responsibility for. She would be on probation for another 5 years before turning her hardships into a vehicle for female empowerment.
Lucinda’s first publication was in 2009 under the guidance of her mentor, who instilled in her the importance of having a book. Through her words, she experienced self-healing and catharsis. But more importantly, she discovered that “sharing tips, advice, personal challenges and obstacles helped many other women to self-reflect and change their own perceptions.”
In tandem with her budding writing career, Lucinda formed her own company Activate Worldwide and non-profit Activate Your Vision. Her books and business endeavors worked in synchronicity to further her goal of providing solutions to “women who are stuck in procrastination and perfectionism.” She wanted them to forget dotting every “i” and “activate” them into movement and productivity.
With two businesses and a handful of books, awards, and TV appearances under her belt, it’s no wonder Lucinda learned to do what many successful entrepreneurs do really well: listen. After leading numerous conferences, workshops, and coaching sessions, she noticed a common thread among her clients. She remembers:
“Many of them did not pursue opportunities because they either were fearful to ask or not sure who or what to ask. They often times wanted to avoid the fear of asking.”
Their anxieties activated something inside Lucinda as she began to recall her own personal struggle:
“This was also a challenge for me in my entrepreneurial journey where I would not ask for the rate I deserved for the services rendered. Often times it left me broke, frustrated, and overworked. I missed out on a six-figure deal in my early stages as an entrepreneur because I simply did not ask.”
What began as an observation on career challenges morphed into an interactive exercise that Lucinda hosted at her women’s empowerment conferences and workshops. As an activity, women shared their “big ask” – something that pushed them outside of their comfort zones. Next, the other participants performed a “stand with her,” which consists of helping askers achieve their goals or keeping them accountable in a variety of ways. Lucinda says,
“We have had great success. The testimonials from the women who participated and activated the Big Ask has been phenomenal.”
So phenomenal that she turned it into a book: The Big Ask, her fifth and most recent which was released in August 2018.
The book took Lucinda six months to write – a lightning speed for many authors. We had to find out her secret.
A self-confessed “former perfectionist and procrastinator,” Lucinda prefers to free-write vs. outline. She says, “it gives me the freedom to journal write… It’s important to make my writing as free flowing as possible to avoid writer’s block.”
Unshakeable purpose, check.
Experienced mentor, check.
Direction for days, check, check, check.
So what else is in Lucinda Cross’ toolbox for literary success?
In true “inspiration and activation” fashion, Lucinda gave us an actionable list of things writers (or aspiring writers) can do RIGHT NOW to get going (and keep going!) on that novel, script, or memoir:
Create a personal timeline of milestone dates to complete certain tasks.
Get an accountability partner or a team of people to keep you encouraged and focused.
If necessary, get a writing mentor.
Share the process of writing with your audience to build excitement and anticipation. Once you put it out there, you will want to keep your word and finish.
Write often and in the nooks and crannies of your day.
And in those “nooks and crannies” of her day, where can we find Lucinda Cross? Her favorite place to write is either on her couch or at her computer, preferably at night. Cue an audible sigh of relief from authors who’ve heard the dreaded: “you’ll never finish your book unless you write first thing every morning … like brushing your teeth!” Bleh – some of us would rather have a root canal than wake up before the sun does.
Now that she’s got us all revved up, we’ve got one more “big ask” for Lucinda: what can we look forward to in 2019?
Her answer: “The Big Ask book tour in several cities starting February 2019. As well as my non-profit venture, WE Nation.”
It sounds like Lucinda is already maximizing and living up to her full potential in the coming year. Now for another big ask:
Guess you’ll have to buy the book to find out.
Cover Photo Credit: RayAndra Nairn