Wow, where did last month go? That was the fastest March in record. As spring is starting to sprout everyone starts thinking about opening the windows, airing out the house, and cleaning out the cobwebs from winter. This month’s theme here at my blog is “Taking Stock.” I have lists galore all month to help you in your life, because they did in mine. So, check back weekly to see what new list I have for you.
This week’s list is about books. Shocker, I know, but I am not talking fiction here. I am talking about business/self-help books. I made a goal of continual
reading of such books. Now, full disclosure I usually buy these in audio versions first and listen to them in my car, while doing dishes, or just sipping a cup of tea in my comfy chair.
After I have listened through it, if there was information I want to highlight or bookmark I may then purchase the kindle version or even the paperback if I want it at my desk. This process has worked out very nicely for me. I strongly recommend audio books if you are finding yourself in your car for a large part of your day.
When I first started listening to audio books, my mother was in an assisted living facility about 40 minutes from my house. The last year and a half of her life, I was visiting her twice a day. Her dementia was such that she often needed to see a familiar face during those transition times in her day. Well, that was 80 minutes each trip, or over 2 ½ hours a day I was spending in my car. Also, the closer we got to her passing, these were not always stress-free trips either way. I needed a distraction. Back then I couldn’t handle self-help anything. I was happy if I could get my kids to school and be home when they got out and get dinner on the table. I wanted straight up escape. It was perfect! Now, I use that down time from my desk to keep up with my professional development, and again it is working out perfectly. Let that inner English teacher that says audio books aren’t reading go and try it. Below are some of the most helpful books I’ve read in the past year in no particular order. I hope you enjoy them.
1. BIG MAGIC, BY ELIZABETH GILBERT:
Yes, the Eat, Pray, Love author for those of you that may be familiar. This book was circulated around the writing world when it first came out and for good reason. As creatives trying to sell our creations, we are caught between two different worlds. The on world where unicorns dance and spray glitter across a field of wildflowers, and time means nothing, and the world where book deadlines, children, and every other thing is vying for our time. This can lead to writer’s block, stress, and other nasty things. My big take away from Ms. Gilbert was that you can straddle both, but you need to look at your writing as a job. That thing you show up for every day.
I was reading this just after my mother had passed away and other things in my life were messier than I had planned in my view of a perfect happy life, so I was struggling to show up. What she says is that no matter if your muse shows up or not, you need to be there. You need to show your muse you are there to work. Your muse can come or not come, but you are writing with or without them. She explains that she feels ideas have a life and they will go to those that they believe will give them life (in this century), so if you are writing, you are a prime target for ideas to appear. (That was my big take away, but there is still so much more to take away.)
2.THE BIG LEAP, BY GAY HENDRICK:
This book was suggested to me by my business mentor. Gay Hendrick has spent his life as a therapist. He worked with couples, leaders, etc. He came up with a philosophy that our brains learn methods to “protect us” as we grow, but as we become adults these methods can hinder us from gaining our highest potential. He calls it an upper limit problem.
For example, if every time your life is going well and seems to be aligning with your dreams something “happens” to derail you. It could possibly be your subconscious holding you back to protect you from failure or whatever your hang up is.
It does sound a bit woo woo, but he has science behind his research, and I have tried to pull back in instances when I was waiting for the carpet to be pulled out from under me. I am able to ask myself if this is actually a problem, block, or issue, or am I just creating a situation to justify not moving to the next level of my goals.
I found this very helpful to remind me to keep myself in check.
3. DARE TO LEAD, BY BRENE BROWN:
The fabulous Brene Brown has done it again. This is a book that is geared toward people in a leadership role in the business world, but as I listened to this book, I kept thinking about how this information would have been helpful as a parent. I learned quite a lot about myself, and also the role that things like fear and shame play in dealing with other people on a daily basis.
She backs her ideas with science and real-life examples, then also give suggestions on how to change your environment to make it a safe place where people want to or fill like they are welcome to put themselves out there. Because we all know in order to succeed, we need to push the status quo, and that is often a dangerous place emotionally.
I highly recommend this book if you have a team or have to “deal” with other humans on a daily basis. You will find insights that you can use in this book.
4. UNMARKETING, BY STEPHEN SUTTEN AND ALISON SUTTEN:
If you are a person who doesn’t like the pushy salesperson persona, or the cold call, lead person, then Unmarketing and really anything Scott and Alison have is for you. I have been beyond frustrated for quite a long time when it comes to marketing. I never worked in retail for a reason. It isn’t that I hate the public (though there are days) or that I don’t want to “deal” with customers. I just hated feeling like I was pushing myself on them.
This book was for me. It assured me that I can run my business around the idea of community building. That it is ok to not feel that I need to “collect” 10,000 newsletter subscribers that may not even want what I am selling. They talk about the basics of marketing in a clear and simple way. They also have a fabulous podcast and often do Facebook live videos on their page.
They hang out on twitter mostly, so go and introduce yourself.
A-GAME, BY DAMON SUEDE AND HEIDI CULLINAN:
For authors this book again is not about the hard sell, or the go, go, go, sell, sell, sell, idea. It is a marketing idea that helps to fit marketing strategies that best “fit” your personality. I read this book on Kindle, I did not listen on audio.
If you are old enough you might remember the “You choose the adventure book” where at the end of a scene you would get two choices. Like, “If he falls off the cliff and lands in the water, go to page 27. If he climbs back up to face the angry bear, go to page 57.” This book is kind of set up like this.
Damon and Heidi understand that not every marketing strategy is going to appeal or come easy to every author. They have created a “test” for you to take on their website to determine your “personality.” Once you know your personality type, you can go back to the book and you have a choice. You can read the book through from cover to cover, or you can read those parts that pertain to your personality. (disclaimer: I only read those parts that were based on my personality type) The Kindle version has easy links to click when you get to a place where you have to jump ahead, or back depending on the topic.
I found their ideas too led the reader to the idea that as an author you are looking to build a community, which does not easily play into the sell, sell, sell mentality.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful, I know I did. Check back in next week for another “taking stock” list. And if you would like to get a sneak peek at the first chapter of my upcoming book, join my newsletter and get it for free! Click here.
Have a great week,