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Turning over a new leaf: Books to start 2020

As I prepared to start into 2020, I reflected back on the amount of reading I had done in 2019. Ten books or so later, how much wiser was I and how much time had I spent deliberately improving myself. When I lounged on the poolside in Bulgaria last July, I consciously worked my way through two of those as my toes faintly tanned. This reignited a like for the past-time that I’d left after me more recently.

Reading is a massive part of my self-development plan, see? Apart from the fact that it takes my ever-busy mind away from multiple screens and social media, it allows me to learn from people who have been there, done that.

Last Christmas, my team bought me a book voucher which actually, helped spark such a keen interest in building my reading. Secondly, the personal and professional life change I saw in 2019 spurred me on to strengthen my knowledge in whatever way possible. Finally, in order to become a better writer, it’s true that aside from actually writing, it’s important to build ideas and vocabulary from absorbing other writer’s content.

This year, I’ll work through at least twenty books. Here’s to hoping it’s doable and well, I’m off to great start so far.

Books I’ve read so far in 2020 (kicked off at the end of 2019) are ‘Everything is figuroutable’ by Marie Forleo, ‘What would the Spice Girls do?’ by Lauren Bravo and ‘Who moved my cheese?’ by Spencer Johnson M.D.

My top recommendation is ‘Everything is figuroutable’ by Marie Forleo. Picked up while rummaging through Barnes and Noble in Utah at the end of the year, I spotted this read. When I started as a freelancer in 2011, I watched a lot of Marie’s videos as I wanted to learn how to be the best marketer and entrepreneur possible. Fast forward to when I bought the book, it’s been a nice reminder of her brilliance.

Marie Forleo is a self-made, self-motivated life coach who quit her high-paying job to embark on a ten year journey to successful entrepreneurship.

Her book covers the fundamentals of how to reach her definition of success. This includes time management, managing your inner critic and tangibly working towards your goals with tips and examples throughout. It’s practical with actual written work you can partake in after each chapter. As I worked to adopt new habits, it is a book that is super motivating and will drive you to take action towards what you want right NOW.

‘What would the Spice Girls do?’ is not only entertaining but as a 30 something year old, it resonates deeply. As a young teenager, I was a huge Spice Girls fan and can relate to the influence this girl band had on my peers and I. They not only founded the concept of girl power, they also showed young women that they could be what they want (especially if that related to being a Pop star). Lauren Bravo writes about how the Spice Girls impacted our generation and generations thereafter.

Thirdly, my manager gifted me ‘Who moved my cheese’ which is a best-seller and has sold over 1 million copies. As I mentioned it to a few friends, they were mostly surprised that I hadn’t read it due to its popularity.

It’s a short read which I completed in a day and a half (as a slow reader) and keeps things simple. When navigating through change, we have two choices – either to stay where we are and not adapt or to move forward and accept that we will be forced out of our comfort zones. Spencer uses a straightforward analogy of mice looking for cheese. When the cheese is moved, the mice have two choices – to stay and hope the cheese returns or to move on in the hope of finding more, to potentially even better cheese.

Moving throughout 2020, I’m looking for further recommendations. Feel free to share yours across in the comments field below or by reaching out to me.

Reading Is Believing: Five Books To Change Your Life

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They say that we should always try to read something that if we died in the middle of reading it, we’d look good. That is, it would be a reflection of what we think and who we are.

They say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ however there’s nothing said about not judging a reader by the book.

I’ve never been much of a reader, at least not since my primary school days. The teacher would ask us to read a book per week, do a book report and then move onto the next. I can remember finding this a little annoying as a child and therefore, recognised it as taking the fun out of it so it turned me off reading for pleasure. Apart from the compulsory school assignments, I didn’t do it. Fast forward to 2016 and here I am with a list as long as my arm of books I cling to on my night-stand: reading for pleasure with (thank god) no book reports. Joyously, I often celebrate the fact I’ve got overly-packed book shelves and some instagram posts to reflect upon.

I read nowadays not for entertainment or for the laugh but rather, to better myself, learn from others and develop particular skill-sets.

Narrowing a list down to a mere five is a difficult feat however one that must be done.

*Susan Jeffers: Feel the fear and do it anyway.

After going through a difficult time with my post-teenage mental health, my sister gave me a Susan Jeffers book that would go on to change my thoughts forever. ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ is still the best book in self-help I’ve read. It’s simple, straight to the point and has some inspiring stories including Susan’s battles with illness, divorce and her own self-doubt.

*Paul Arden: Whatever you think, think the opposite.

Having spent years working as the Creative Director at a famous advertising firm in London, Paul narrows down a bunch of short case studies of business success. He also points out the fact that often, making decisions differently to everyone else is inevitable scary however life-altering in every way. It’s short, sweet and will get you moving in all the right directions.

*Louise Hay: You can heal your life.

We are what we think. Therefore, if we become ill, have pains and are not enjoying our lives then it makes sense that this is because of our thoughts, right? This is Louise Hay’s take on life and she goes through her own life experiences that demonstrate this fact while supporting the reader on a journey of self-love, affirmations and living a real life.

*Mitch Albom: Tuesdays with Morrie.

So technically, this is a story. It is truly heart-warming, inspiring and will make you feel all warm (and sad inside). This tale of an ill man telling his past student of what he’s learned along his journey will remind any reader exactly what life’s all about. We’re here for a good time, not a long time and as such, we can make a difference to everyone we come into contact with. A must-read.

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*Sophia Amoruso: GIRLBOSS

It’s one of those you’ll have heard loads about. It’s funny, motivational and will get you moving towards your goals faster than you can hashtag the words #GIRLBOSS. This is one of the only books I’ve ever read in less than three days and the reason is that it’s super compact, straight to point and incredibly addictive.

Any recommendations similar to these? Pop them in the comments field below or comment on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and #jointheconversation.

Dealing With Your Inner Critic Right Now

Some give it a name, others tend to pretend it isn’t there. Meanwhile, I prefer to be constantly aware. If you don’t acknowledge what’s happening, how can you deal with it? We all look for support. This can be from family, friends or work colleagues. How about ourselves?

Sarah Doyle recently launched a book called ‘Be your own best friend’. This short interactive journal encourages self-love and acceptance. It involves focusing on self-support rather than self-deprecation. Activities in the book encourage celebrating wins and successes and what seems like, combatting the inner critic.

In the book, ‘The inner game of tennis’, author Timothy Galwey addresses the relationship with the self. Internally, there’s a voice that we engage with and which influences who we are, what we do and most significantly, how we view ourselves. They say that mastering the relationship with the self is the most relevant of all. If you don’t love yourself, how do you expect someone else to love you?

That niggle that pops up when you’re exercising and thinking, I’ll quit. That’s the inner critic. The one that tells you you’re not good enough when you so clearly are, that’s the inner critic. When there are positives about yourself and your performance in any given situation and yet, there’s a voice from inside picking out the negatives – yes, that’s him/her again. They say that your own thoughts are what influence your life so why put up with the negative ones?

When flicking that proverbial negative angel off your shoulder, here are some ways that can help you get on track and feeling more positives overall.

*Don’t hate on it. Just like scrubbing a sore wound won’t make it better, neither will berating your inner critic. Be sound, understanding and have a gentle influence on it. Start by sharing three successes with yourself if a negative thought pops up.

*Remember where you started. Things change and maybe you’ve come a long way. There are going to be days where we’re harder on ourselves than others. Give yourself a break every now and then!

*Be aware – this all comes from you. No matter what, you have the power. If you’re not happy with your internal thoughts, then change them. That starts with loving yourself and celebrating your successes. After that, it’s about acceptance. Here’s my list of books that might be helpful.

*Use physical reminders. Stick up quotes around your apartment, listen to the relevant Podcasts (Try Model Health Show or Oprah) and journal. It could be a blank book or a specific self-focused journal. In any event, recording your thoughts and positives in a particular place will help encourage your self love and acceptance.

Support yourself first.