Any of these sound familiar?
- Having multiple half-read books on the go?
- Building a “Will Get Round To One Day” reading pile bigger than Mount Everest at the side of your bed, desk, wall, any free space you can find?
- Stacking bookshelves with read books complete with scribbled notes to capture at some future diarised point in time (not) in an awesome note collecting system (not)?
- Creating a “Wanna Buy” list of books?
- Buying books off said “Wanna Buy” list at every opportunity (usually associated with events and airports) to only add to aforementioned Mount Everest pile?
Yes – I was guilty as charged on all counts.
Until January 2018 that is.
At the beginning of this year, I challenged myself to change the above out of control habits and create a new habit – read a business / personal development book every single month. This reading habit had to be on top of all the shorter form reading I do as research for my work via articles, white papers, TEDTalk transcripts, Blinkist etc and on top of the evening wind-down dystopian fiction that I love.
I even broke it down (sad to some I know):
- if you assume most business books are around the 250-270 page mark
- and you read at least 10 pages a day
- a book a month is very achievable
- plus you’ve created a new daily habit.
In his book, Motivation Manifesto, Brendan Burchard states that to sustain motivation over a period of time you need the integration of three things:
- AMBITION – Well I had that. The goal was set (12 books) and the why was very clear for me (personal learning and growth)
- EXPECTANCY – Burchard says that the first spark of motivation kicks in when ambition is met with expectancy that you can achieve it. Again a big fat tick here – I’d done the math and all I needed to commit to was 10 pages a day.
- ATTENTION –According to Burchard this is the critical element. He states that only when you pay attention to the goal, ensuring that you remain steadfastly focused on what you need to do to achieve said goal will you be able to sustain motivation over time. The solution for me here was the creation of my own personal daily progress tick chart in the back of my journal.
So did I do it?
I sure did – I blew my goal out of the water with 20 books read, notes taken and captured.
So if you want some inspiration for your holiday reading here is the list of books I read this year and my key learnings – and yes, I enjoyed and learnt something from every single one.
As Richard Branson said, “The day we stop learning is the day we stop living”
1.Chapter One by Daniel Flynn
Inspiration all the way as the founder of Thankyou water shares his epic journey of having a dream and the hustle and challenge of making daring moves in an established industry of big players. This book was inspiring for it’s overarching vision, the journey from idea through to product development and launch, the openness around fear and determination to push through and the critical element of finding the right people and support network along the way. I’m really looking forward to Chapter Two and reading the next stage of Daniel’s social enterprise journey.
2. High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard
The key take-away for me was around ownership, instilling daily habits that will ultimately lead to your improved performance and achievement of goals. He shares that ultimately high performance requires personal ownership suggesting that improvement starts and ends with you having clarity, maintaining energy, taking the right action and having the courage to keep going.
3. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen
This book reinforced the learnings from High Performance Habits. Olsen says that by focusing on the one or two things you have to do every day, by making that 1% change, you will drive momentum. I particularly loved the stories Olsen shares in this book which I passed on to my teenagers in the hope that they would improve their daily habits this year (still waiting for that!).
4. Emotional Agility by Susan David
I really enjoyed the insight and ideas shared to manage the little voices in our heads that feed our fear, insecurity and self doubt and that ultimately stopping us from taking action. The idea that self compassion actually sharpens our edge is an interesting one. As David says, “People who are more accepting of their own failures may actually be more motivated to improve. Self-compassionate people aim just as high as self critical people do. The difference is that self compassionate people don’t fall apart when, as sometimes happen, when they don’t meet their goals.”
5. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason
A re-read of the classic that I love for its story-telling prowess and overarching message around success.
6. Think & Grow Rich by Napolean Hill
Another re-read of a classic reinforcing the importance of goal setting, mindset, learning and persistence.
7. Unfuck Your Finances by Melisa Browne
Of course I wanted to read my accountant’s latest book. After publishing More Money For Shoes and Fabulous But Broke I knew this was going to be another goodie with the title it had. Awesome book around reframing relationships with money, taking control and why we need to adult up financially.
8. Beyond Black Belt by Matt Church & Pete Cook
A little gem of a book gifted to the Black Belt community within Thought Leaders and one that I pick up and re-read every year because there is always a new a-ha moment for me. This year the stand-out a-ha was around creating a Life By Design
9. How To Speak Human by Jackson & Jackson
In a world jammed with busy, jargon and 3 letter acronyms this book clearly argues the case for more human and real speak to maximize attention, engagement and subsequent action. Watch this space as Jen Jackson will be a guest on my Unleashing Brilliance podcast in 2019.
10. The 25 Minute Meeting by Donna McGeorge
I was privileged to read an advance copy of Donna’s manuscript and I so wish I’d had this gem when I was working in corporate. This book is a life changer at turning painful drawn-out meetings into purposeful ones. Jam-packed with tips, hacks and a formula to run more productive meetings that I put in to place immediately.
11. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
I was hooked from the first page of this book as Phil Knight shares the highs and lows (a lot of them), the grit and determination and his personal reflection on his journey – the good and the not so good. I really loved the reinforcement that sometimes you have to play on the edge and challenge the status quo to achieve your goals. The end result for Phil Knight was the mega brand Nike.
12. The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle
Lots and lots of stories and insights in to some of the world’s biggest brands and sporting teams. The key take-out for me was that culture is not something you are, it is something you do.
13. Grit by Angela Duckworth
This was a re-read for me and once again the stand-out message was that it is not always the smartest or the brightest in the room that achieves – it is those with the determination to achieve, who work hard every day, continuously to become better and achieve more.
14. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazi
As a thought leader in the area of networking, connecting and building relationships; I really value Keith’s thoughts in this space. Re-reading this book enabled a deeper dive in to his work. His thinking around conferences, their return on investment and that the real networking happens outside of the speaker sessions and in the breaks and that this is when you have to do the prep, engagement and follow-up work is a key part of strategic networking.
15. Cut the Noise by Chris Hedler
The story telling in this book is awesome as Chris uses part fable and part personal story to share strategies for cutting the noise out of our everyday lives to ultimately achieve the results we want to achieve. I particularly loved the concepts around no guilt, clearing the stumbling blocks that will inevitably get in your way and determining the useful belief that works for you.
16. Stories for Work by Gabrielle Dolan
I have had the privilege of sharing a training room with Gabrielle Dolan and sitting through many of her workshops on story-telling so reading this book felt like another deep dive in to her thought leadership and why she is the master at teaching story-telling. A classic example of how there is always room for improvement as after reading this book again I spent a lot of time this year finding more stories to include in my keynotes and workshops with a focus on the bridge for impact.
17. Leadership Hacks by Scott Stein
Who doesn’t love a good list of hacks to manage the leadership challenge of being busy and managing distraction. The hack for delegation was particularly awesome around mapping actions together, sequencing activities, identifying timeframe and check in dates and the accountability along the way. A hack I subsequently built in to my practice.
18. Think by Matt Church & Pete Cook
I loved reading this book from my personal mentors and Thought Leader Partners as it reinforced for me that mastery is a constant journey. The Pink Sheet methodology developed by Matt is a unique tool for capturing what you know in a way that is efficient, effective and leveraged. Every time I read this book or hear the methodology explained first hand I uncover a new layer to this awesome tool which totally changed my thinking.
19. Winging It by Emma Isaacs
A fascinating and interesting insight in to the ‘just get on with It’ mindset of Emma Isaacs, the entrepreneur behind Australia’s largest community for women, Business Chicks. Emma’s story proves how a single minded client focus, combined with taking action, harnessing collective passion and a personal infectious energy can turn a little something in to a global platform.
20. Dare To Lead by Brene Brown
Yes, yes, yes to the latest from Brene Brown where she argues the need for leaders to develop the human skills of curiosity, vulnerability and value exchange to ensure mutual success. I particularly valued her point around the fact that trust has to come first because only then will people be vulnerable.
So where next?
This has now become a daily habit for me. I am a couple of chapters in to Becoming by Michelle Obama and this will become my first book for 2019.
As this is my last post for 2018 I want to thank all my clients, supporters, readers and friends for the incredible support this year. I am grateful for all the conversations, connections and work we have done together and I look forward to working with you next year.
I am looking forward to 2019, as it will no doubt bring new beginnings, new connections and new learnings.
The office will be closed until 21st January when we will be back on board to answer any questions you may have.
I’d like to wish you all a safe and happy festive season with your loved ones and may all your dreams and more come true next year.