An ironing board is just a surf board that never pursued its passions.
Don’t be an ironing board.
BE THE SURF BOARD!
How, you might ask? With this free resource: 5 Ways to Pursue Your Passions in Life and Work
I’m an avid reader, but I’m also very selective in the books I recommend to others, especially to my clients. I only recommend books that provide something tangible. Like advice that can yield actual results when appropriately applied.
Below I’m sharing with you my list of must-reads I’ve shared with my clients. Keep in mind however, to see results from these books, you have to be disciplined enough to read them and to apply what you learn.
If you don’t like reading, I suggest trying to find the audio version of each book or using a reader app on your phone that converts the book to audio. And if you don’t like spending money on books, several of my recommendations are available at your local library. I’ve included in my list how I personally obtained a copy of each book.
Most of you have probably heard of Simon Sinek, especially if you watch a lot of TED Talks. His is one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time.
Start With Why helped me refocus my business and redefine its mission. It forced me to look at why I do what I do and how to articulate my “why” to potential clients. His point is, people (including potential clients AND potential employers) don’t care what you do or even how you do it until they understand why you do it.
I recommend this book time and time again when teaching my clients how to discover their own “why” and how to develop and articulate their own unique personal and professional brand. While one of the earlier chapters in the book seems to drag on, I encourage you to push through it to the rest of the book because you’ll find it to be a great resource. If you haven’t read it yet, don’t wait any longer!
***Checked out from my local library***
Body of Work shows you how to make sense of all your diverse work experiences and the skills gained from them, and how to tie them all together to create a career portfolio and professional brand. This includes not just your “official” full-time job, but also your side jobs, passion projects, volunteer work, artistic creations, etc. All of those experiences can add up to future opportunities you may have never previously considered.
***Checked out from my local library***
Designing Your Life provides step-by-step instructions allowing you to experiment with different possible careers and roles for your life. These experiments lead to ways to design and build your life the way you want it to look at various life and career stages.
I’ve personally gone through the book myself, reading it twice and doing each exercise at least once. I choose which exercises I think would best suit my clients at their particular stage of career exploration and help guide them through those exercises. I’m also a member of the authors’ Facebook group for coaches and mentors. So, I use this book quite a bit and therefore highly recommend it!
***Purchased after originally checking out from my local library***
I haven’t finished this book yet, but the first half is so good I’m confident in going ahead and recommending it. However, there is a disclaimer for this book. It can get very deep into theories of philosophy, psychology, physics, metaphysics, and theology by numerous pioneers of those fields.
At times in the beginning, Finding True Happiness was a little over my head. But don’t let the scientific and academic jargon intimidate you. There is real-world understanding and application with this book, resulting in true happiness.
***Purchased in a gift shop at a monastery (also available on Amazon)***
This book was actually recommended to me by one of my first clients to recommend to my other clients. It’s perfect for someone who is facing a major transition in their career, whether it be an unexpected lay-off, hitting a career ceiling, a change in role or job function, or an unexpected offer in another industry.
Do Over teaches you how to develop the four necessary elements of a successful career: relationships, skills, character, and hustle.
***Purchased on my Kindle***
In the spirit of this blog post, I’m giving away a signed copy of my Amazon #1 bestselling book Advance Your Image to the first five people who purchase my latest book, SUP: Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a Stand Up Paddleboard ($12 + S&H).
Advance Your Image contains advice from when I worked as an image consultant, and also includes job search advice to make you stand out above the competition. Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a SUP is a 30-day devotional and 100% of the profits go to support missions in Brazil.
To purchase Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a SUP and receive a free signed copy of Advance Your Image, be one of the first five people to inbox me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Advance Your Image.” I’ll also sign the 30-day devotional for you.
What are some books that have made a real impact on your life or your career success? Please list them below so others can benefit from them as well. Thanks in advance!
I’ve viewed this YouTube video numerous times! I find it both fascinating and funny. It’s fascinating because of just how much the human body can be pushed beyond what we originally thought was its limits. And it’s funny to see how much what was once considered excellent has now become sub-par according to today’s standards.
What a difference 80 years makes, right? I wonder what these athletes would think or say if they could see the gymnasts of last year’s 2016 Olympics. They’d likely be shocked and amazed.
The differences between the gymnastics techniques of 1936 and and the ones of 2016 obviously didn’t occur overnight. These were incremental changes that happened over time. They evolved from those coaches and athletes who had a desire to always push the limits and improve.
What’s the best way to improve? To insert new, slightly more difficult challenges into your ordinary routine on a regular basis over time. This requires a little creativity, along with the ability to think just a few inches outside the box.
The challenges don’t have to be huge. They can start off with something as simple as raising the bar just a tad bit higher. Once you’ve mastered that, then you can add a small but new twist to the routine.
Think about the thing you excel best in. Looking back, can you remember when you first started out in this particular skill? Do you now find it funny how your initial efforts that once seemed difficult now seem ridiculously easy? Do you find it fascinating how far you’ve come since then?
Also looking back, when was the last time you challenged your limits, either in your best skill or even with a new skill?
Do you have a desire to improve your best skills or to learn something new? What’s something creative you can do to challenge your limits?
For me, I want to do two things. One, I want to improve my paddle board speed. I can tell my speed has plateaued and I’m overdue to learn some new paddle stroke techniques to help increase my speed. It’s time to challenge myself again by simply taking a paddle clinic the next time it’s offered.
Two, I want to learn to speak a foreign language, something that’s very new for me. This new desire comes from the fascination I had while on my mission trip with my interpreter’s ability to easily switch from one language to another.
This will be a big challenge for me. But there are several creative yet simple ways I can try to accomplish this goal. I can download an app on my phone that provides short, daily vocabulary lessons. I could look into doing some type of immersion experience. Or I could take a language class through one of the many MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) offered by universities like Harvard or Duke (well, maybe not Duke, since this diehard Tar Heel fan has some limits and has to draw the line somewhere).
I’d love to hear how you plan to challenge your own limits, or how you’ve recently done so and the results of your challenge. Please share in the comment box below!
Need help setting goals that challenge your limits? Subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal Achievement Plan!
This post is taken from my answer on Quora to the question “What are the small things you can do to have a good life?”
Pay attention to the daily things that energize you and the daily things that drain you. Be aware of what gives you peace and what stresses you out every day. Incorporate more of the energizing and peaceful things into each day, while reducing the number of draining and stressful things. Don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries to accomplish this if you have to.
One very simple thing I do is I don’t take phone calls from people I know who will drain my energy unless I have enough energy to give them. I usually wait and call them back when I have the energy to do so, but within a reasonable amount of time (within 24 to 48 hours).
De-clutter and get organized! Get rid of clothes you no longer wear. Get rid of devices you don’t use. Straighten up your surroundings. Make your bed everyday. Organize your schedule a few days ahead of time. Having things neat and organized creates a sense of serenity.
A few years ago I reduced my closet down to a capsule wardrobe (about only 30 garments). I got rid of 2/3 of my closet. Since doing this, I don’t have as much trouble deciding what to wear each day, and therefore I don’t get frustrated and don’t waste time trying on several different outfits. This also makes me less moody in the mornings and I get out the door on time.
Treat yourself every once in a while. If you’re the type of person who never puts yourself first, you need this!
One of my favorite ways to treat myself is going out to eat with a friend.
On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who goes overboard treating yourself, find a way to become uncomfortable. This will challenge you and build your character. Step out of your comfort zone by taking a class to learn a new language, or volunteer in a setting that makes you nervous. Do something that seems scary, like speaking in front of a group.
Maintain a balance by rewarding yourself only after you’ve done something productive or something where you’ve served others.
My personal goal each year is learn something new, serve others, and share my knowledge. While I was able to do all of the above in one week while on my mission trip to the Amazon jungle, I’ve found it easier and more manageable to spread these things out over the course of a year instead!
Ask about and learn from other people’s stories. Listen to them. Find out how they got to where they are. What have been their biggest regrets thus far? What did they learn from both their failures and their successes?
Apply what you learn from them to your life in your own unique way. I love having one-on-one conversations like this with people from different backgrounds.
Break out from your everyday surroundings once in a while. Take a drive to a nearby town and be a tourist there for the day. Or go visit an attraction in your own town you’ve never been to.
Every year I drive two short hours away to spend a weekend at a monastery where there is complete silence. They have accommodations and a cafeteria for people to come there for a silent retreat, and it only costs the amount I’m led to give as an offering. It’s one of the most peaceful weekends of my year.
Take time to reflect on what you’re truly passionate about (note: this requires some peace and quiet!). What are the things you lose track of time doing? What are things you’d do without getting paid? Incorporate these things into your life as recreation or find a way to make money doing them.
My own passions include helping others pursue their passions, writing, and stand up paddling.
If all these ideas sound a bit overwhelming, just choose one or two to try for right now. Give them a long enough chance for them to become habits. Once they do, then try a couple more. Before you know it, you’ll see a major impact on your life. You’ll have more joy, peace, and positivity.
If you need help setting these goals, subscribe to my newsletter and you’ll receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.
Do you have answers of your own for the question, “What are the small things you can do to have a good life?” Please share in the comment box below!
When I decided to focus my career coaching skills on helping people pursue their passions, it was with the belief that passion yields purpose. The passions divinely instilled in each of us give us the ability to carry out our unique purpose on this earth, despite the challenges that come with our pursuit of purpose. And every great purpose will always include challenges. Passion is the spark that ignites our purpose. It’s also the grit that keeps us moving in our purpose despite obstacles or the temptation to give up.
When I started promoting paNASH’s services, I got a lot of followers on Instagram from those who assumed I was doing similar work to theirs. But they were promoting something different. Something writer Tom Kuegler refers to as:
“The digital nomad/laptop millionaire infomercial of the hot couple sitting on the beach sipping Mai-Tai’s and checking their PayPal account every 3rd drink only to find thousands of dollars rolling right in.”
They promised if I followed their cute little finger-pointing emojis to the posted link, they’d tell me how they achieved the “easy life” and how I could too. I could follow their cookie-cutter formula and spend the rest of my life laying around on a beach chair. As much as I love the beach and enjoy much-needed relaxation, I think I’d get bored doing that every day. Just like how the newly-retired 65-year-old discovers playing golf everyday gets pretty boring after a few weeks.
Eventually we long to be productive. And there’s no cookie-cutter formula to help us discover our unique purpose or know how we should be productive. There are various methods to figuring it out. Some are more tried-and-true than others. But we each have a different path to discovering our purpose.
One of my clients described the coaching I provided her this way:
“Going through our coaching sessions is like taking my car through the car wash. The car wash gets all the dirt and bugs off the windshield, making it clearer to see what’s ahead of me. I’m the one who still has to drive the car in my own direction. But at least now I can see where I’m going and feel refreshed. I have so much more clarity about my career path and my path in life.”
Last week, I got to witness true passion and the universal desire for purpose. I found myself in the middle of the Amazon jungle gathered with pastors from small villages situated along the vast Amazon River. These pastors have a deep passion for providing care to the forgotten people of the Amazon. Their purpose is to show God’s love to their fellow natives and to share the Gospel, regardless of the challenge or the sacrifice. Through their actions, they let their people know that even though they’re isolated from the rest of the world, they’re not forgotten.
To fulfill this purpose, they traveled by boat, many for days at a time, to the annual jungle pastors’ conference to learn things they can take back to their villages and their churches. The team I served on also had a long journey to the conference center in the Amazon jungle. We gave up the comforts of home such as air conditioning, hot water, and standard plumbing to teach them. But our sacrifices were unlike the sacrifices I heard of from the pastors and their wives.
Through those with the skill for translation, I heard the story of one woman who traveled nearly 36 hours to attend the conference. Her husband had to stay behind in their village to work his other job. She told us of her and her husband’s vision to build a new church in a poor far-away village. When we asked her how far away, she responded in thick Portuguese, “A seven-day boat trip.”
This is no seven-day river cruise on a luxury liner like the ones you see in those “don’t-you-want-my-life?” Instagram posts. She and her husband will soon take this long and treacherous journey in piranha-infested waters. It will require them to leave their grown children, perhaps never to see them again. This is real passion. Real purpose. Real nobility. With real challenges.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking the efforts of the passive income tribe. I’m sure they’ve faced struggles and challenges of their own because we all do in this lifetime. And perhaps their approach to work frees them up to pursue something more than just a lifestyle of permanent vacations. Something meaningful and purposeful that for whatever reason they choose not to share on their Instagram account.
The problem is when we start playing the comparison game. On one hand, If we compare our lifestyle to the glossy Instagram lifestyles, we can easily become jealous. On the other hand if we compare our contribution to the world to someone else’s greater contribution, we can experience feelings of worthlessness.
The goal is to focus on your own unique gifts and how they fit with your purpose. Don’t worry if your purpose seems small. In fact, one thing I kept hearing over and over last week was:
“You may never get to see or know the bigger impact your small role on this trip has made. But it’s much bigger than you think.”
I just had to do what I was equipped to do. And trust it was making a far-reaching difference throughout the Amazon whether it felt like it or not.
It took me up until a couple of years ago to fully understand my own purpose and how my God-given talents and past experience fit into that purpose. I realized my overall purpose is to increase productivity by helping people answer the call of their purpose. This is true in both my career and my volunteer service.
Sometimes this means helping people get “unstuck” in their fear of what they’re being called to. Other times it means helping them realize their talents and skills because they can’t see in themselves what others see in them. Oftentimes it means encouraging and cheering them on as they take their first wobbly step outside their comfort zone. All while providing them various tools to give life to their vision and accomplish their mission.
My purpose is not the same as yours or anyone else’s. Therefore, I have to focus on my own journey and not compare it to anyone else’s.
I was able to take what I do in my work here in the US and tweak it to fit a different audience in the Amazon jungle. (Something I never dreamed I’d be doing!) While what I was teaching didn’t require me to step out of my comfort zone, where and to whom did.
I went to the jungle to teach local pastors the importance of having a vision and a mission statement for their churches. While most churches in the US have such statements, this was a new concept for several of these pastors. I showed them how the mission statement can be used to help them make tough decisions their churches may face. I also showed them how to teach their individual congregation members to do the same for themselves. This is so they can make God-honoring decisions when facing the daily struggles of jungle life.
This class evolved from the tools I use with my clients in my coaching efforts and from the on-demand program Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.
And those tools and programs all evolved from my previous work with recording artists in the music industry. When helping my young artists develop their image and brand, many of them couldn’t tell me what made them unique from other aspiring artists. Therefore, before we could create an authentic image and brand for them and their music, we had to back up and figure out what made them unique. Since this happened so many times, I had to come up with a process for not only helping them figure this out, but also how to articulate it to their fan base and potential labels.
I no longer work in the music industry. But being able to trace back where my teaching came from confirmed that God doesn’t waste anything. I NEVER could’ve dreamed in a gazillion years God would take what I’d created in my previous role all the way from Music Row to as far as the remote villages of the Amazon jungle!
When you’re faced with challenges, instead of running from them or becoming paralyzed by them, learn to embrace them because they can lead to a greater purpose. Don’t be fooled by all the “life’s-a-beach” Instagram posts. And certainly don’t compare your life to the carefully edited lives displayed on social media.
Don’t get discouraged if you feel like you’ve reached a dead end. In fact, one of the pastors leading the Brazilian team of missionaries said this last week:
“Airplanes don’t lift off until they reach the end of the runway. When it seems like you’re at the end of your road, that’s when things are about to take off!” Pastor Filipe Santos
Be open to the ways your interests, talents and strengths can be used to fulfill your purpose in life. Let’s face it. We’d all be good at sitting in a lounge chair on a beach. But what kind of contribution would we make in this world if that’s all we did? How would we truly know what our purpose is on this beautiful earth if all we did was soak in its beauty without ever getting our feet wet or our hands dirty?
paNASH is now donating 45% of the sales from the the on-demand program Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic to Justice & Mercy Amazon. Your purchase of the on-demand program will help pay for a pastor’s expenses to attend future conferences.
The conference provides these pastors with the training and education they otherwise would never find in the Amazon jungle. It fills the gap caused by a lack of opportunity for formal education. It also gives the pastors renewed energy and hope as they return to their villages where they wear many hats. Not only do they serve the spiritual needs of their village. They also oftentimes serve as the only provider of medical care to their people. And some also serve as farmers to provide agriculture and food to their people.
The pastors have limited financial resources to make the long trip to the conference, but once they arrive, they learn many new things to take back to their villages to better the lives of their communities. The jungle pastors’ conference is the centerpiece of all the work Justice & Mercy does in the Amazon. This includes medical assistance, child sponsorship, emergency food relief, support for special needs kids, mission trips and training, and school construction.
Therefore, when you purchase this on-demand program, not only will you learn how to better your own life by creating a purposeful mission statement to live by, you’ll also help Justice & Mercy accomplish their mission and achieve the above results.
You can also help by purchasing a copy of my second book, SUP: Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a Stand Up Paddleboard for only $12. I personally will donate 100% of the profits from book sales to Justice & Mercy Amazon and mission trip expenses.