"Read, read, read. Read everything "“ trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it." William Faulkner
There are two specific events that that threw my life into a tailspin, where for a while there it felt seemed like I was losing control. These two events were, the sudden and tragic loss of my parents and being made redundant three times in eighteen months.
As a result of these events I have embarked on what I would describe as two journeys. One was a personal journey of healing and the other was a journey of reinvention. Both of which are life long journeys' that I am, of course, still on.
When dealing with grief, the healing process for me wasn't about personal change or transformation. Healing was about understanding the process of grief and how I could best manage it so that it didn't paralyse my life.
With the third redundancy I was at my lowest point in my life. I felt utterly useless.
"I have been made redundant before, and it is a terrible blow; redundant is a rotten word because it makes you think you are useless." "”Billy Connolly
My self-confidence was at zero and I could see no future for me. I am a natural optimist and I like to feel happy and to have hope in my life. So when I started to feel there was no hope for me and I had no personal worth I began to get scared. So what helped me get my self worth and my life back on track?
Well, I started to read books.
I read lots of books, inspirational stories on life, love and happiness. Personal development and motivation books that were full of information, tools and strategies about how you could take control back and change your life.
What I would like to share with you are 10 inspirational messages I got from reading these books. These books helped me to change my life and embark on my journey of reinvention.
If you are facing personal life challenges and you know you have to take action and change but not sure how, then these 10 inspirational books could help you to get started on your journey.
Awaken The Giant Within; Antony Robbins
I refer to this book as the "bible for personal development". It is probably one of the most famous books about personal development in the world.
The main message I got from the book for me was, that I had the power right now to control how I think, how I feel, and what I do. Anything I want or desire in my life I have the power to achieve it.
I hold within me the power and the energy force to achieve all of my dreams – hence the title of the book "Awaken the Giant Within".
Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live; Martha Beck
I really love this book. Its fun, its easy to read and it also has lots of strategies and tools to help you find your North Star. Your North Star is about you finding your passion and purpose in life.
From reading this book I gained a better understanding of how to deal with internal conflict and my feelings of unhappiness, discontentment and dissatisfaction.
The tools and strategies are really good. When I completed the exercises I had more clarity about how to manage my inner conflict and dialogue. I also was able to identify the fears that for many years stopped me from chasing my dream to be a writer, speaker and coach.
Learned Optimism: How to change your mind and your life; Martin Seligman
Do you want to live a happier life? Well, if you read Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman he will show you how!
I refer to Dr Martin Seligman as Dr Happiness! He is an expert on how one can live a happy and fulfilled life.
He talks about the power of being an optimist and gives a load of scientific reasons as to why you should be living an Optimistic Life. Yes, the book is a bit like a textbook, but he writes really well and I just loved it.
According to Seligman an optimistic view of life is a clear winner for all of us to live healthier, wealthier, happier and more successful lives. I certainly got that message loud and clear and so I began my journey to get my hope and optimism back
Screw It Lets Do It – Lessons in Life; Richard Branson
I loved this book because Richard Branson's life story and his life lessons describe the journey of a person who is successful at reinventing himself. This is not a book with a lot of deep and meaningful complex themes. It is a book that is written with passion and enthusiasm by a guy who lives and breathes what he shares and teaches others.
I find that by reading other people's stories about their journeys in life I get a better perspective of what my journey may entail and what the reality of success may look like for me.
If Richard Branson can rise up from his failures and continue to achieve and succeed, then the questions I ask myself are, "why can't I do the same as Richard Branson?" or "Why should I give up?"
This book fuelled my enthusiasm to give things a go and to believe in me. Not to let my fears stop me from stepping out of my comfort zone.
The Art of Happiness; Dalai Lama
There is not a person I know who is not in the pursuit of happiness. The Art of Happiness is a book that does not give you the answers you seek as to how you can live a happy and prosperous life. What the book does however do, is to introduce you to Buddhist teachings and the wisdom of the Dalai Lama, who lives a life that is content, happy, and spiritually fulfilled. There is no better way to learn than from someone who is actually practicing what they teach.
For me, The Art of Happiness was a book that encouraged me to think, to self reflect and to look deeper into my soul so that I could truly understand what happiness really meant to me.
The Four Agreements; Don Miguel Ruiz
When I began my journey of reinvention, I realised that for me to stay strong and committed to challenges of the journey I needed to seek the advice and knowledge of others, particularly those who had been on similar journeys.
Don Miguel Ruiz is one person I sought out "“ his depth of wisdom, his spirituality and knowledge about life is insightful and inspiring. The Four Agreements are Don Miguel's code for life.
The Four Agreements provide an inspirational code for life, for the way you handle your relationships, how you behave and how you communicate with others.
Without these Four Agreements in my life I am sure I would have not had the inner strength and courage to take on this challenge of reinvention.
The Magic of Thinking Big; Dr David J Schwartz PhD
This book is an oldie and a classic. It was written by Dr David J Schwartz in 1959 and has been recommended by many famous people such as Antony Robbins, and Richard Branson as a "must read book".
To create change in your life and to attain all that you desire the key thing you need to do according to Dr Schwartz is to change your thinking and your attitude.
Reading the Magic of Thinking Big the key message for me was, how it important it is to start preparing your mind and your thinking for the journey of personal change.
If you are going to run a marathon, you need to train and get your body in shape. This is the same concept for taking on the challenge of personal change. If you want to chase your dreams you need to train your mind to dream big.
What Should I Do With My Life? Po Bronson
This book is not going to give you the five steps to finding your Life Purpose. It does not give you any tools or strategies to help you answer all those questions about life that are swirling around in your head.
It will not guide you through how you can change your life or your career. What Should I Do With My Life? "“ Is definitely not a self-help book.
What this book does do, is to present real peoples stories about how they tried to answer this key question "“ "What Should I Do With My Life?"
When I read the stories about how ordinary people took action and changed their lives, the tough times, the good times, the fears, the self-doubt, the struggle and the rewards "“ it seemed to make my own journey of personal change more real and attainable! There were no famous peoples' stories such as Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey or Richard Branson. It was just ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
This book gave me a reality check as to how tough and complicated it can be when you decide to change your career and your life. It was also very inspirational as these were ordinary people taking action to change their lives.
Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: How to Create A New You; Deepak Chopra.
Deepak Chopra believes the concept of reinvention and personal transformation not only involves the mind, but also your body and soul. According to Chopra you cannot transform your mind without transforming your body and soul.
Chopra says:"The key to transformation is that you create the change you want to see in yourself."
This is a deep thinking book and to be honest I did struggle with the intricacies of spirituality and some of the concepts such as subtle energy, the invisible or non physical world which were discussed by Chopra, however the advice and information he shares in the book certainly made me contemplate the energy and power I have when I am connected and aligned to my mind, my body and my soul.
This book I keep on bedside table so that I can refer to it when I need to reconnect to the 3 essential parts of me "“ my mind, my body and my soul.
Mojo: How to get it, How to keep it, How to get it back if you lose it; Marshall Goldsmith
I found my MOJO when I read this book. Marshall Goldsmith, for me, did exactly what the title says "“ he guided me through practical steps and provided me with tools and strategies that helped me get my mojo back.
Marshall Goldsmith defines Mojo as "the moment when we do something that's purposeful, powerful and positive and rest of the world recognises it".
After reading this book I started to write articles, I set up my blog and began my journey of reinvention and I have not looked back since. A must read book that will change your life as it did mine.
These 10 books were key to helping me on my journey of healing and my journey of reinvention. I rediscovered hope for my future, I found my courage and strength and I started to believe in myself. I hope that by reading these 10 books you too will find the same inspiration to embark on your journey to living a life you love.
"To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries." A.C. Grayling