Crying was not really a thing in my family as I was growing up. Sure, it happened, don't get me wrong. But it was only when things were so painful that my body and mind had no other choice but to release the pressure in this way. I started to eventually wear this as kind of an invisible badge of honor. I'm the girl who you will only see cry maybe a couple of times through the course of a relationship...lucky you, guy-in-my-life! I'm the employee whose tears you will never have to see in the workplace - HR should be so happy to have me on the team, right?! And Friends, don't worry, you won't have to go grab the Kleenex box for me while I cry at your kitchen table.
Instead what you are more likely to see is me flashing quick smiles as I share out loud a painful story with you. I will send you mixed signals about what's going on in my mind and heart. If I force my mouth upwards into a smile, it's very hard to cry right? Can you even do both at the same time? How do I know I do this fake smile thing when I'm super upset? Because I've been called out on my bullshit. More than once. "How is that you're smiling as you tell this painful story about your childhood?," a counselor once asked me many years ago. Of course, she knew I was hiding my emotions, and she was no doubt just holding up the mirror for me to see it too. And more recently, my public speaking coach (I know, a coach for everything!) called me out for the same thing all these years later. "Take off the mask, Britt. Let your inside and your outside match so people can connect with you." Crap. I was still doing it. Ugh, how was that possible? I felt like I had become super authentic and transparent in recent years - that's what self-development does right? You get really clear on who you are and how you want to show up in the world and then you go show up that way and be your badass, actualized self. And I was being authentic... but only halfway, so I realized.
My words were free flowing, genuine and aligned with who I was but that frozen face just wasn't willing to melt into the words coming out of it quite yet. The mask just wouldn't come off. Over and over I practiced with this coach who was trying to show me how to connect with my audience on a deeper level through my presence, and over and over, I kept the mask on. It was as if the mask had embedded into my own skin. This work with the coach was going to be harder than I realized. Damn.
Not long after my time working with the coach on this, things started to really pile up on the emotional front in my life. It's in those giant piles that I can usually get to the point where my body finally gets to unearth its raw emotion. The only problem is, by then I have a pile of things all jumbled together to work through and now it's a full out crying fest. At this point, everything has become mashed together and I'm unsure of what exactly I'm even crying about. Something interesting happened in my most recent dumpster fire-cry fest though. It became super clear what all I am holding. What all the tension is about. As I allowed myself to really go all in and not hold anything back, I eventually got to the center of the web of distressing thoughts- the common denominator in all of it. The thread that was holding it all.
This particular time it was my fears around being alone and feeling lonely. Other times it has been something different, of course. With this new awareness and the mind and body depressurized, I could start to move back to an empowered and action oriented place. I could actually begin to answer the question, "So now what?" I could reclaim my power and know what I needed to do next. Or at least start to think about what might help. But until there's awareness in one way or another, nothing changes.
Did I let it all out in front of someone? No, that stiff upper lip hasn't quite loosened up to that degree yet. And I'm not sure I ever want it to be completely loosey-goosey on the tears. In fact , I know I don't. But allowing myself to fully express myself and hold space for my emotions when by myself, I believe, is a pre-requisite for showing up as authentically as possible in my conversations out in the world. It is the start of establishing a balance between letting the emotion come through my face so I can create deeper connections but yet allowing them through in a way that doesn't cause people to slowly back away from me with a "Get a grip, lady" look in their eyes as my cheeks turn into waterfalls. As I learn to take the mask off more freely at home, I trust it will become easier to take it off in public too in a way that works.
The body knows what it needs, and the brain, of course, does a nice job of keeping us safe. I have gratitude for the parts they each play. Nevertheless, If I could just let the body run the show a tiny bit more, who knows what type of deep human connections might start to show up. Who knows what lives besides my own might be changed for the better by my vulnerability and by my 100% raw authenticity. Authenticity in which my words and and my facial expressions don't compete with each other but instead go hand in hand. I might just begin to chip away at that whole feeling disconnected and alone thing.
Do you let yourself cry it out? Are you able to find the center or heart of the cry? Leave a comment below if you are comfortable sharing your story around self care by way of a good cry, showing up 100% authentic and being able to see the root of the issue.
No Cliches, I Swear: 5 Things I Learned About Myself from Traveling the World --by guest blogger, Claudia Avalos
This week we have a special guest blogger and fellow solo traveler, Claudia Avalos aka TravelBeachLove, who is here to inspire us to book that trip we have been dreaming of but have come up with all sorts of excuses not to. Claudia's testament to travel is a great reminder of the personal transformation and growth that often comes from travel. Haven't world traveled yet? Haven't solo traveled yet? Read on.
1.) To Travel is to be Fearless
It takes a lot of courage to step out of the comforts of your home, to step away from all that is safe and familiar. From the moment you board that airplane, you embark on an adventure into the unknown, traveling to destinations where you won’t know the language, the culture, or anyone at all. I have anxieties and fears like anyone else, especially when it comes to traveling around the world. But stepping into those fears and making those trips has boosted my confidence, taught me important life lessons, and above all, it pushed me to live a fearless life. I know it all sounds cliche, but I’m here to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and into your fears. Book that trip you’ve always wanted to take, visit that far-off country, travel solo, try the local foods, meet new people, and above all: live in the moment.
2.) To Travel Is to Be Adventurous
Having traveled to over 30+ countries, I have opened myself up to new experiences, new cultures, and exotic foods. I’ve learned to embrace them and appreciate them for what they are. The more I traveled, the more I learned how to recognize the unique ways each culture is exciting. It didn’t always look like what I was used to in my hometown in California, but I realized that by embracing a culture’s way of life, even the things that seem the most bizarre have their own beauty. I never thought I would purchase a plate of bugs for lunch or sit with and chat with a woman from the Karen Long Neck village while touring around in Chiang Mai, Thailand 一but what kind of explorer would I be if I didn’t step into the adventure full-heartedly?
3.) To Travel Is to Be Patient
I am sure you have heard it before: “patience is a virtue.” Nothing will help you exercise this virtue more than traveling the world. I’ve experienced everything from bad weather, missed flights, canceled bus routes, delayed train rides, and even boat trips where I feared for my life. When I was an inexperienced traveler, I fell victim to many of the travel scams, even with all the research I did and tips I took from other travelers. When I travel these days, I confidently say no to suspiciously pushy vendors and have learned to quickly spot anything that feels like a scam.Every time I experienced something that tested my patience, I would take a step back and remind myself that this is what travel is all about: it’s about being uncomfortable doing things I might not normally do. Once I allowed myself to accept that, my patience improved. Today, one of the best compliments I receive from colleagues, friends, and family is how much they value my ability to remain calm and collected, even under the most stressful situations. Traveling the world is what has helped me remain patient at all times.
One time I was in Cusco, Peru at the end of a 24-day trip to South America. I had boarded a plane to Lima that would allow me to catch a connecting flight back home. Once I boarded the plane, it sat on the runway for over an hour before the pilot announced that due to poor weather, the flight had been canceled. Everyone had to de-board, get their luggage, and wait in an insanely long line to secure a flight out the next day. There was a rainstorm, it was after midnight, and I was forced to catch a taxi back to my hostel and hope there was a room available. It’s in those tired moments you cultivate your patience, because what other choice do you have? I made it home eventually and there was no reason to spend more energy being upset about the situation.
4.) To Travel Is to Be Humbled
Humility might be the greatest gift I’ve received from traveling. I was fortunate to be raised with an abundance of opportunities to excel in life, and with parents who provided me with all that I needed. I was lucky to get a college education without having to struggle. I used to take all these things completely for granted.
It wasn’t until a trip to Cambodia that my perspective really shifted, thanks to a local taxi driver. He picked me up from the airport and as he drove me to my hostel, he offered his tour services. I took his information and arranged for a day of exploring Siem Reap. His services were so inexpensive that I booked him for the remainder of my time in the area.
As we spent time together over the next few days he opened up to me about his life as a child, his family, and how Cambodians were still attempting to rebuild and preserve their culture after the genocides under the Khmer Rouge. However, it wasn’t until the last day as he drove me out to visit the floating villages that he told me why he’d chosen a life as a taxi driver and tour guide.
This man was working to support his brother: his younger brother was living in the capital city of Phnom Penh getting an education. He had graciously given up his own opportunity to get an education, choosing to work in support of his brother. I was profoundly humbled in that moment, not to mention inspired. To this day I will never forget the pride in his face and the joy in his smile as he showed me around his beautiful country.
5.) To Travel Is to Be Grateful
Similarly to the how I’ve cultivated patience, travel mishaps have taught me how to be more appreciative of any given moment. As a more seasoned traveler now, when I come across a situation that would aggravate most and my travel buddies, I take a step back and say, “Let us refocus here and find the positive in this situation.”
While visiting Buenos Aires, Argentina, I went to catch a flight to La Paz, Bolivia, which I presumed would be out of their international airport, only to find out the flight departed from their domestic airport on the other side of town. I missed the flight and was detoured to Santiago, Chile 一 a destination not on my initial itinerary 一 and paid $160 US dollars to enter Santiago to stay for just one night.
After I finally made it to Bolivia, I was forced to take a 14-hour bus ride from La Paz to Cusco, Peru because the indigenous people of La Paz had placed large boulders on the only road leading to the airport. It was a protest to preserve their way of life, and while I later admired that, at the time I was desperate to get out of La Paz. I jumped on the first available bus out of town, which, I was told, was comfortable, included a bathroom, and would stop for breaks. That wasn’t the case: the bus was old, had a toilet that did not flush, and it made only one stop. I was angry I was on this bus. I was angry about the mistake I’d made in Buenos Aires, angry it messed up my schedule, and angry (albeit unfairly) at the indigenous people.
When I think back on that trip, though, I love everything about it. I am grateful I had the chance to see Santiago; I had one of the best meals of my life there. I am grateful that I inadvertently supported the indigenous people of La Paz by being one less tourist to travel through their homeland. But most of all I am grateful for the amount of laughter it brings me when I recount these stories with my travel friends, especially the now-infamous bus ride.
Humility, gratitude, patience, adventurousness: to travel is to live, learn, grow, and become a better human. So get out there! Go explore the world. You never know what amazing things might just unfold for you.
Share your comments below how travel has changed who you are and expanded you in some way!
For more from avid traveler and LA native, Claudia Avalos, follow her blog at www.travelbeachlove.com
Having a big city at your disposal full of just about every opportunity you can think of is simultaneously energizing and draining. I love knowing that on any given day I can find world class arts and entertainment, get connected with some of the most interesting people in the world, learn about any topic I can think of through a class, workshop, talk, lecture, museum....you get the point. Big cities can be a treasure trove for curious types and there's seems to be something and somewhere for every interest and personality. The possibilities are endless.
With that great potential can come a tremendous amount of pressure. Pressure to see it all. Do it all. Be it all. Pressure to keep going and to not slow down and miss out on any of your "glory days" of when you lived in New York. Or Chicago. Or fill in the blank of whatever bustling and vibrant place you live in. A much needed recharge weekend inside can feel great for the introverted spirit but many times comes with a side of guilt and fear around what was missed. What awesome thing did I miss out on this weekend? What amazing things will I find my friends did with their time when I open up social media? What connections did I miss out on? WHY DO I PAY SO MUCH MONEY TO LIVE IN THIS EXPENSIVE ASS PLACE IF I'M NOT TAKING ALL OF ITS GREATNESS IN EVERY DAMN MINUTE? Ok, maybe you all don't let yourself down the rabbit hole quite as much. But, I think you can still relate.
This weekend I was reminded of the third amazing option available to me - one that doesn't involve me being a hermit all weekend and then feeling like I missed out on life. The third option is also one that didn't leave me more exhausted after the weekend ended - like the weekends I jam pack with back to back "living it up in the city" activities sometimes do.
As my Sunday plans got an unplanned makeover, I found myself having an old fashioned, real simple Sunday - focused on food and conversation and nothing to write home about. It was a throwback to my simpler days growing up in a small midwestern town. I even felt a sense of nostalgia - but without the slight heartache that usually accompanies the nostalgia for something that is gone and never can be exactly the same way again. Instead my heart was full. My heart was full when I parked my car out front of my friend's family home and was invited in to come meet her folks. It was full as I sat down with them at the table while they finished up their home cooked dinner together. My heart was full when her Mama, knowing my friend and I would be leaving to go out to eat together soon, brought me a homemade dessert. My heart was full as I took my sweet time to finish it. There was no schedule to adhere to and nothing more important than enjoying the dish and exchanging small talk with this friendly family.
When my friend and I did finally leave, we took our time at the restaurant. I appreciated every bite of the food. We listened to each other. We let our iPhones have a nice long nap. I let myself be comforted by the sleepiness of the restaurant and the simple decor (I love a restaurant with fantastic energy and high style ambiance, but there's something so comforting about the low key place that hasn't made any changes for at least 10 years). After our Sunday dinner, we walked the tree lined neighborhood and admired the beautiful houses. A few giant trees that looked to be hundreds of years old stopped me in my tracks and begged for a picture. We took in each sight and pointed out things we liked about each house in between our ongoing conversation about everything going on in our lives. We imagined what it would be like to own one of those homes and to be neighbors. We were still in no rush to get anywhere and took the long way back just to admire more houses. No agenda, no rushing, nothing to brag about at work the next day...just a couple of women acting 10-20 years older than their age, doing nothing specific or special to living in this part of the country.
As the weekend wraps up, I have no regrets. I also have no regrets knowing I'll likely fill next weekend with big Instagramable adventures or that, really, I will just do whatever it is my soul asks for next weekend. Big or small, simple or glamorous...I'm learning to live my best life with both and everything in between.
The whole thing might crash and burn. My business, that is. I might continue to spend countless hours and my personal savings trying to fully bring my dream to fruition and it might not ever get to that vision I have in my head for it. You know, The BIG Vision. In fact, it might not even come close. I just don't know. How could one know something like this for sure? Be weary of anyone who says they for sure know you can get somewhere you want to be in the future. Can they feel confidently you can? Absolutely! Can they believe in you earnestly? Wholeheartedly, indeed! Are they sometimes so comfortable in their predictions of your success that they'd be willing to bet money? You bet your bottom dollar. But 100% guarantee, they can not. And you can not be positive of that for yourself either.
Here's what I do know for sure, 100% guaranteed:
This entrepreneurial journey I've been on has been the most rewarding and exciting one I've ever been on in my life. And I've done some cool shit in my life. The journey ahead toward your highest purpose and your deepest and scariest dreams will likely be one of, if not the most, rewarding for you too. And I know you've also already done some cool shit in your life. What's different here is that truly saying yes to the dreams that are the more difficult ones - the ones that take grit and endurance and hard work and determination - they're the ones that change you the most in the process of going after them. Sure, we can be changed and bettered by all the easier to achieve dreams we've accomplished and the various bucket list items we've checked off the list but this is a whole new level. If those other dreams were like climbing to the 20th floor of a skyscraper, these dreams are like climbing to the sky deck of a 100 floor building. There's supposedly a great view from that observation deck level but unfortunately no elevator to get there. Just thousands of steps in a seemingly endless stairwell.
My business venture is testing me in countless ways - many of which are brand new to me - and giving me the opportunity to prove myself on so many levels. Here's what is happening to me and what's likely to happen to you too when you fully commit to your biggest dreams:
1.) You will get really clear on what you want and the vision for your life and why. Without this vision and the why behind it, you will end up throwing in the towel.
2.) You will surprise and delight yourself by figuring out things you never knew how to do and didn't think you could do. Your confidence will ebb and flow but ultimately be on an upwards trajectory.
3.) You will start to realize that it's ok that you don't have all the answers upfront - that the path will keep revealing itself as you walk further down. When you look back at where you first began, you will be amazed at how far you've come, even if you're still very far away from where you want to be.
4.) You will start to recognize how much you need others - mentors, champions, coaches, industry colleagues, friends, God, The Universe. It will be humbling and will help you appreciate other people and their unique gifts and experiences more.
5.) You will become painfully aware of your bad habits and how they aren't going to fly anymore if you're going to truly step into your highest power and potential.
6.) You will start attracting new people into your life with your excitement and energy around this dream you finally committed to. You will become more magnetic and people will start to notice you more and be curious about you. Some will even be inspired to begin the journey to their own big dreams because they see you doing it and a life well lived is contagious.
7.) You will start to wonder what else is possible and start to push the boundaries of believing in a more vibrant life than you ever imagined before.
8.) You will figure out how important self-care of your body, mind and spirit is. You will start to take thought management seriously, as well.
9.) You will get insanely curious and almost crazed about trying to absorb as much information as possible all because there is an urgency to learn as much as you can and because it's fun to learn about it.
10.) The work of your dream will start to weave itself throughout most all the hours of most all your days. You will start to realize the world is full of inspiration to continue to support and grow your big ideas and it's also full of the resources you need to bring it to life.
I don't know when my dreams will blossom and fully become the gifts I want them to be for the world. I look forward to that day. But in the mean time, the personal growth I've been experiencing and the lives I've already been able to positively impact with what I've built so far is deeply meaningful. While the bud continues to develop, I appreciate that the gratification from this journey is not instant like so much else we humans tend to seek, though I would be lying if I didn't have to remind myself "patience grasshopper" on a regular basis. It's in the becoming. Enjoy the ride!
What are your biggest, scariest dreams? What are you waiting for?
The Universe Wants to Show Me the Damn Milky Way and I'm Settling for a Few Stars Peeking Through a Light Polluted Orange Tinted Sky
The other day I realized something crazy I've been doing my whole life.
On the morning of that day, a series of minor but obnoxious things went wrong and I decided the whole day was shot. I was surely in for a bad day, not just a bad morning. You know those days - you overslept, stubbed your toe on the bed, got toothpaste on your shirt and then leaned against a wet counter for good measure, forgot your cellphone at home, missed the train by three seconds and had to let the people you're having a meeting with know that you're going to be late...that kind of morning. At some point on days like this, my mood inevitably sours and I prepare for more things to go wrong. And by doing so I basically invite them in. Or dare them in. It often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sometimes I can shake off the feeling off the bad day, other times I continue to fan the flames of my mental dumpster fire - consciously or subconsciously. Regardless, more minutes [hours] of my day than necessary were spent with a cloud over me....all because of these dumb things from the recent past that were still under the surface of my current mood.
The other day as I could feel myself losing my patience, I realized that I was letting these minor things that had already happened (and had finished happening within a matter of a few seconds or minutes) impact thousands more seconds and hundreds more minutes of my life. This was my chosen flavor of crazy.
But then I had another thought before the downward spiral began.
I started thinking about how much time I spend seeking out a few moments of pleasure on any random day. And how much money. I could easily drop $200 on a relaxing trip to the spa, $50 for a night of laughs at the theatre, or $10 for a few minutes of tastebud bliss from a chocolate cake slice. The list goes on. What I wouldn't pay for a few minutes of happiness. And how quickly that happiness fades as I swallow the last bite, the curtain goes down and the massage therapist lets me know the 60 minutes of pampering has come to an end. And yet, here I was letting a few seconds or, at most, a few minutes of inconvenience and minor suffering cause me a hundred times the suffering it needed to.
I believe God and His Infinite Universe want me to move fluidly throughout my day, not stuck on grievances big or small of the past. To move freely, be present and to find joy with what's in front of me. There is a whole universe out there packed so full of stars and wonders that the human mind can't even fathom them all. An entire Milky Way to be seen. And more. So much more. Layers upon layers of beauty and goodness and wonder and awe. And here I am walking around under an orange tinted cloudy night sky, flooded by the city lights, looking for a one or two stars to peak through. A few moments of utmost joy and bliss. Those few stars I am able to spot are great - those few moments of intentional joy I work to find - make no mistake. BUT what if there were millions more stars to be seen above the cloud cover and away from the city lights? What if there were just as many joyful and awe inspiring moments to be had throughout the day if I could only get to a place where I could see them? Or even a fraction of them? What if I didn't have to scan the whole sky to find some stars but rather the sky itself were made up of stars?
What more is possible for our lives than we can currently imagine?
I first learned what a life coach was about 6 years ago when I was living in Chicago. I had gone to a workshop that looked at all aspects of people's lives via a long questionnaire we filled out. The woman who was running the workshop was a life coach. I found myself judging her to seem a little..."out there." But I was intrigued. The workshop ended up being really beneficial and at the end she offered the students in the class a free coaching session with her.
A life coach? Someone who is going to let me talk about anything and listen to me deeply? And it was NOT therapy? I had to give it a try. The whole concept of coaching was strange and foreign to me and I didn't know what I could really learn from this eccentric woman but I eagerly set up my call.
I can still remember sitting on my red couch in my living room having the intro call with her - a mix of nervousness and excitement inside my heart and mind. What was this conversation going to bring up?
At that point in my life I had my anxiety much more under control thanks mostly to therapy but still felt like I was floating to a degree - or could be carried away if the winds were strong enough. I told her this. And through her support and empowering questions, out of my own mind and heart came a metaphor that would serve me for many years to come. It was really about the only thing I can remember from that phone call. I said that I metaphorically was a boat ready for the sea. I wanted the freedom that the boat brought in addition to the openness and awe that the ocean offers. But I also wanted a place to be able to anchor. Freedom, excitement, adventures and new challenges, yes, but also security, calm, safety and rest. A place to anchor my mind and soul when they were not co-captains at sea.
The image of an anchor took on huge symbolic meaning for me and ended up being somewhat of a guide as I checked in with myself, made decisions and decided how I wanted my life to look. Just thinking of the anchor had a certain calming effect on me. I even wondered if I should get an anchor tattooed onto my body as an everyday, obvious reminder. But then I thought better of it and remembered how much I don’t like needles. Instead, I settled for a necklace that I found in a seaside California town. The necklace had a large, silver anchor charm hanging from the chain. I put it on immediately after I made the purchase and wore it often - sometimes hiding it under my shirt. I loved being able to grasp it and feel its shape and its weight.
Fast forward to present day and I’ve found that I haven’t thought about the anchor as much in recent years. It had been years since I wore it. Had I become the anchor? Had I started to embody it so much that I didn’t need to think of this outside object? Or did I no longer want that same sense of ever being tethered anymore? It’s hard to say. But I do know that in my recent work with my own coach, a new powerful visual has emerged. And I must say, it’s one that reflects my even more empowered, even more badass self these days rocking out this chapter of life I'm currently in.
My new metaphor is that the perpetually burning flame inside my heart and soul is no longer a weak, flickering candlelight on the verge of burning out but rather it is a strong, powerful torch of fire. Not the type of fire that is angry, scary or dangerous. But the kind that has tremendous strength, heat and light. It’s passionate, it’s bold and it’s productive. I made an image to represent this new me - a simple picture of a body outline with beautiful flames in the chest cavity. The flames soar up from the core and through the throat and voice box. I think it means my soul and authentic self wants to speak through my voice and share my true self with the world.
Something else happened recently. I decided to clean out my closet and organize all my jewelry. I pulled out the old necklace of an anchor, part of it now turned green from tarnish. I wore it for the first time in years and it reminded me of that zany, skillful life coach I met all those years ago who from a simple 30 minute sample session came such a powerful metaphor that helped carry me through as I sailed through the adventures of the next several years. I love that I have this necklace still that served me well during that time and is now a reminder of that period in my life. It holds extra special meaning as I am now a life coach. I love that it is a throwback to when I first learned there was such a thing as a life coach. Do you know what else I love? I love that the anchor is not tattooed onto my body. :-)
Do you have an image or metaphor that describes your life right now? How about one that describes the life you desire?
I have to admit. It wasn't until my 30's that I finally admitted to the full value in life coaching. And then it would be some time beyond that until I finally gave myself permission to invest in myself in this way. I was stubborn. I wanted to figure it out all on my own through books and various workshops and classes around town. That stuff undoubtedly changed my life and definitely put me on the path to self actualization. But it took about ten years to do - and of course, the process is never fully done. Coaching can accelerate all of that. It can make miracles happen and big changes can happen within a fraction of the time.
But I get it.
Coaching is pricey. It's time consuming. It's even scary sometimes. It's fast paced. Maybe faster than you're ready for.
For those of you not ready to take that leap of working with a coach yet - or even if you are working with one - here's my current list of book recommendations for getting closer to being your best, authentic self.
#10: Braving the Wilderness - Brené Brown.
Who doesn't love a Brené Brown book? There are a lot of them and sometimes it's easy to get Brene-d out. But she's a queen and this book is everything right now in a divided country. Be brave and be willing to stand alone in your truth.
#9: Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message - Tara Mohr
Wow! Get the Audible version and you have your own personal coach on demand! Well kind of. Of course it's not going to be exactly custom to you BUT so much of what Mohr talks about is relevant to many of us - especially young professional women! The future is FOR SURE female if Tara Mohr has anything to do with it.
#8: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life - Jen Sincero
Many of you have already read this book - I'm sure of it! But if you haven't, do it. Now. So practical. So funny. So real. I recommend her other book You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth too for any of you who ever ever said things like "money corrupts", "I am terrible with money", "money doesn't grow on trees", etc., etc., etc. Basically there's a real good chance you are carrying around your parent's beliefs about money...which may or may not be a good thing.
#7: The Wisdom Of Sundays: Life Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations - Oprah & Others
Ok, so basically anything Oprah does, I'm pretty much an automatic fan. That being said, this book transcends so much beyond her. She, being the queen and genius she is, got a whole bunch of modern sages and premier thought leaders on spirituality, social justice, self actualization, psychology and more together for her Super Soul series. This book is the best of the best of her Super Soul. Do yourself a favor and get the Audible version so you can hear Oprah and other thought leaders speaking. Then do yourself another favor and get the full length books of all these people you fall in love with in this compilation.
#6: Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy - Sheryl Sandberg
So much realness here. So much rawness. Whether you're dealing with grief over the loss of a loved one or the loss of a job, a house, a dream...this book is worth your time. Sheryl Sandberg is like the older sister we wish we all had.
#5: Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives - Gretchen Rubin
From the same author who brought us the gem, The Happiness Project, Rubin uses this book to first teach us about four personality types that exist when it comes to habits. By learning your personality type, you will know better what sets you up for success in habit creation. It turns out I'm a "questioner" - you'll have to read the book to find out what that means. Check out her new book which expands on this concept even more: The Four Tendencies. Rubin and her sister also have an excellent podcast much worth your time.
#4: How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living - Rob Bell
We can always leave it to Rob Bell to give us quirky stories, compelling analogies/metaphors and just an all around entertaining ride anytime you hear him speak or read a book of his. It was this book that I first learned the term "ikigai" or your "reason for being". And, well...I now have a business centered around the concept. You just never know where your next piece of inspiration that might change the course of your life will come from.
#3: The Four Agreements - don Miguel Ruiz
This is such a gem of a book. So simple and yet so profound. Why are these four agreements so difficult to follow? They should be so easy right? Nope. But I can tell you one thing: I write these "four agreements" down in my calendar every single week because they are so important and I want to be reminded to live in this way everyday. What are these "four agreements" you ask? Read the book. :-)
#2: Loving What Is: Four Questions that Can Change Your Life - Byron Katie
OK, I'm not going to sugar coat it. This book is challenging. The concepts are tough. It feels like I am in The Twilight Zone sometimes with the concepts. Or like it's Opposite Day at school. If you want to rewire your brain and completely challenge your worldview, check out this book or Bryon's other resources. "Is it true?" will start running through your brain constantly.
#1:Self - Therapy: Transform Stuck Parts of Yourself Into Inner Resources of Strength, Love and Freedom
Hello, Inner Critic! Hello, Inner Child! Hello, parts of myself I didn't know existed. Whoah! The brain is a complicated, beautiful thing and you're going to learn a lot more about it and yourself in this book. If you find yourself saying, "A part of me wants this, another part of me wants..." then this book is for you.You'll want to get the Audible version of this one as it's packed full of guided meditations.
And that is my list! I realized recently I reached "scholar" level on Audible which means I have spent 14 days, 4 hours and 18 minutes of my life listening to Audio books. You saw that right -- over 14 DAYS. And I'm well on my way to "Master" level (in addition to the stack of hard copy books I am reading). Stay tuned for more lists to help you in your self coaching - you know I will come up with plenty more for you!
What book changed your life? Leave a comment below.