When I am new to something, feel out of my depth or unsure about how to take action or make a decision I look for inspiration.
The following 10 books played a big part in my personal transformation helping me process past traumas, find my purpose and informing our business culture, strategy, products and services. Here’s how they changed my life through changing my thoughts, feelings and actions:
#1: Start with Why
Featuring the ‘Golden Circle’ – this book started my journey of self-discovery helping me to connect with people at a contextual level instead of getting caught up in the detail. It also helped with defining my personal brand and positioning, overcoming my fear of ‘selling’ – you don’t need to sell when you ‘Start with Why’!
#2: Eat that Frog
This inspired me to focus on the important tasks (not necessarily the urgent) which had a big impact on achieving the results that were important to ME as well as my energy levels. I love the brevity and simplicity of this book and the use of the metaphor of energy-draining tasks being ‘frogs’. I can’t count the number of times I have recommended this book to clients who have also reported great results – one client even found some frog post it notes – each day she would write each task on post it and have the pleasure of throwing it in the bin when she’d eaten it!
#3: Talk like Ted
This book helped me enormously with creating and facilitating workshops that were more creative, engaging and easier to deliver. Based on insights from neuroscience research the book recommends using short stories and emotions to help people connect with your message, retain the information and enjoy the whole experience more. From this point on I used far more visuals, personal stories and far less writing which had more impact and was much more fun!
#4: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
Whilst I have never been a ‘procrastinator’ I have often been crippled by ‘pleasing people’ pattern, always feeling the need to maintain harmony and avoid conflict at all costs. Through acknowledging the fear associated with upsetting others I am able feel it, and not let it stop me, from being the person I want to be. This might sound daft but this has been one of the hardest patterns I have worked on!
#5: The Handbook for Highly Sensitive People
This book made sense of my zealous ‘people-pleaser’ trait & intense over-reactions to sensations in particular noise, smells and visual incongruence. It helped me engage with what is probably my greatest gift, being able to feel what others feel (quite literally). A word of caution to other HSPs – at first, when I stopped suppressing emotions & started tuning into them, I often found myself crying in client sessions and feeling exhausted afterwards – this rarely happens now!
#6: Living Nonviolent Communication
Being highly sensitive, anger & aggressive behaviour are an absolute ‘NO, NO’ triggering fear & anxiety that’s off the scale – it often lead me to literally ‘shut down’. Whilst this was a classic ‘flight’ response, these shut-downs could last for weeks accompanied with bouts of depression, poor sleep and an inability to connect, at anything other than a functional level, with others. Learning more about anger, why it arises and how to work with it more effectively has enabled me to face conflict, keep communicating and resolve situations far more effectively – wow, life is so much more fun now!
There are lots of books that explore the Mind Body connection but this one struck a chord as it felt more accessible in terms of highlighting the key things that we need to focus on to optimise our physical and mental health & wellbeing.
I have used the insights from this book with the methodology of Tiny Habits to improve my health. It’s fascinating to see the subtle changes in my physical symptoms that, for me, have clearly been linked to suppressed emotions, stress and poor lifestyle habits.
#8: Heal Your Body
This is more of a reference book for pinpointing what emotional stressors could be influencing physical symptoms. I listed all significant physical symptoms experienced during my life to raise my consciousness of how my typical ‘patterns’ are contributing to my symptoms. Not only have I got the chronic symptoms, such as eczema, IBS and migraines, under control, I have also been able to accelerate my recovery from acute symptoms such as foot, knee and shoulder issues. It really challenged my own beliefs on healing, but the results speak for themselves!
#9: The Molecule of More
This book helped me to recognise the slippery slope of being a ‘dopamine addict’, addicted to achievements, ticking off tasks on my to do list and never allowing myself to just ‘chill’ or enjoy the moment. Learning the art of ‘savouring’ and enjoying the ‘here and now’ has made an enormous difference to me as well as my family. My drive to always be busy and doing something productive impacted their enjoyment too as they couldn’t relax or pursue their ‘joys’ when they sensed my impatience, irritation or stress. Bizarrely I actually achieve more now than before – partly because I’ve let go of things that didn’t actually need doing.
#10: Tiny Habits
This book pipped the post as my favourite one for habits due to its simplicity and easy to implement strategies. Without this methodology I would have struggled to make some of the changes I’ve made. Behaviour change only happens when we have sufficient motivation and ability to make the change – the smaller the change the easier it is to do and the less motivation is needed. In the last few years I have introduced several very small changes that are starting to yield enormous impact in my personal and business life. It won’t surprise you to know that my best habit is reading – at least one book a month. It fulfils my dopamine habit as well as enabling me to continue on the journey of self-discovery to become ME!
Are you inspired to work on your personal transformation? Follow your energy – select books that peak your interest and curiosity, take action to embed what you have learnt and track your progress.
And most importantly – enjoy the journey!
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