Intentionally Becoming Different: Coach yourself by Alexander Trost

If you are like me, you are always looking for ways to make your life better. I don’t mean career-wise, although that is important. I don’t mean improving relationships, even though that too is essential. I mean improving myself. If I can improve myself, all other aspects of my life will naturally follow. I believe that so much I even chose the word “improve” as my single focus for this year. 

Intentionally Becoming Different by Alexander Trost provided “provocative statements, transformational quotes, and guided exercises” to help me improve, well, me. As a lover of word origins, I enjoyed how the author illustrated his points with word syntax. For instance, did you know the world develop is the opposite of envelope. So developing refers to an unfolding. What an amazing visual for the process of self-development–an unfolding of self! 

Another imagery that appealed to me was the idea of our lives being a book. The chapters are our life goals. Our life mission is the title. I don’t know about you, but I want a well-written book as evidence of my life, not some dull or ridiculous storyline. In order to do that, I certainly would want to live an intentional life, wouldn’t you agree?

There were a few things that I thought could have been better explained by the author. He discusses the GROW model accredited to Sir John Whitmore in one chapter. I spent some time contemplating this model only to find out that it wasn’t the coaching method that the rest of the book focused on. Instead, the premise of the self-examination exercises is based on the Wheel of Life. The author says that the concept originates from the Buddist wheel of life. However, I’m not all that familiar with that and had a hard time understanding the connections.

Despite the poor understanding I had of the framework, the chapters were clear, the self-reflection questions were useful, and the application/mind shift activities were enlightening. There were explicit examples to help me formulate my own thoughts throughout. Furthermore, I learned quite a bit about the functioning of my own brain and the mechanical, emotional, and rational parts that make it up both through the informative text and the self-exploration questions. 

This isn’t a book you can read through and voila become the person you always dreamed you’d be. Once you have the tools the author provides, it is up to you to chisel away at your own life to discover the deeper meaning of it. Answers to the self-reflective questions will undoubtedly change as you develop (unfold) and you’ll need to reevaluate where you stand regularly. If you are ready for some hard self-examination and soul-searching, then Intentionally Becoming Different by Alexander Trost is the book for you.

I received an ARC of this book from Reedsy Discovery. You can read my review here.

Ultimate Guide to More Joy and Less Stress

In case you haven’t heard, the folks at Ultimate Bundles have just released the Ultimate Guide to More Joy and Less Stress, a self-improvement workbook with 15 video lessons. Each lesson is designed to be completed in less than 15 minutes. These are are simple but effective strategies you can implement immediately to find more joy and reduce your stress. It’s only available from October 5 until October 9, so don’t wait!

Ultimate Positive Mindset Guide 2020

Your Next Chapter: Re-Writing Your Life Success Story by Evelyn Watkins

Click on the cover for a preview.

If the summer of 2020 were a book, I’d be tempted to skip ahead. Not much is happening in my life. I haven’t been able to go out and have adventures. Civil unrest, pandemics, looming financial collapse are not pleasant bedtime reading.  

After reading Your Next Chapter: Re-Writing Your Life Success Story by Evelyn Watkins, I realized that I was doing myself a disservice by trying to speed things along. The story will progress at its own pace, and I am responsible for writing the next chapter of my life. There is no time like the present to begin. 

The author urges readers to create a life mission statement. Then to design a life that is true to that statement. It requires careful planning, a vision board, some sacrifices, perhaps some pruning and a whole lot of patience. The alternative is to accept the life you’ve always lived, which is poor consolation when it could be so much more. 

The book contains small but meaningful actions you can take during this planning period in order to create the life you want to live moving forward. This movement for change calls for you to rethink how you perceive failures, deciding what your core values are, and finding a supportive network. 

What are you waiting for? There’s no time like the present to rewrite your next chapter!

Significance: How to Refocus your Life on what Matters Most by Paul Hannam

Click on the cover for a preview.

I don’t know about you, but COVID-19 has changed how I am spending my time this year. I wake up some days with determined productivity in mind, only to barely manage the essentials that day. Other days, it just seems pointless to try and get anything done. So when I picked up Significance: How to Refocus your Life on what Matters Most by Paul Hannam I was delighted to find how relevant the information in the book was to our current global situation. 

The author extorts the reader to take this time to reflect on where we are and where we want to be in our personal development and life fulfillment. When restrictions ease and we go back about our business again, it should be with renewed purpose, not despair that we’ve returned to the same old rut. 

Finding significance to our lives doesn’t have to be complicated. We already intuitively know what it is that makes us happy. However, we’ve been conditioned to put that aside, and instead, take up the yoke of employment, marriage, and responsibility. What if we could break free from what no longer serves us? Imagine what we could accomplish!

Because our mortality has been thrust before us like no other time in our lives, it really is the time to reconsider what it means to be fully, wonderfully alive. Significance: How to Refocus your Life on what Matters Most by Paul Hannam can help you do just that.

Success Redefined: Travel, Motherhood, & Being the Boss by Monique Alvarez

Click on the cover for a preview.

Although the borders remain closed, and nomadism is at a standstill, there is still the opportunity to change how you’ve been doing things up until now. Success Redefined: Travel, Motherhood, & Being the Boss by Monique Alvarez can help you do that!

The focus of this book is how to create an unlimited version of yourself by setting goals and tapping into your adventurous side. Personal narrative alongside practical guidance make this book a timely read, even if you won’t be traveling out of the country this year. 

There is no reason to stop dreaming about a different sort of life. Success Redefined can help you find work online, foster a rule-breaking mindset, and create a support network now so that when the time comes for you to hit the road, you’ll be ready.

In 2020, COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we think about school. The heated debates on whether it is safe or not to open in August need not concern you if you start making adaptations in your life now to accommodate homeschool, unschooling, online schooling or whatever combination best works for your family. Success Redefined: Travel, Motherhood, & Being the Boss can help with this process too!

If you are searching for a better way to live, then you’ll want to pick up your copy of Monique Alvarez’s book and start your planning!

The Thinking Game: A Winning Strategy for Achieving Your Goals by Kara Lane

Have you made goals that you haven’t met yet? Do you have a vague dream that you want to accomplish someday? Are there things you want to try but are afraid of failure? It’s time to buckle down with The Thinking Game: A Winning Strategy for Achieving Your Goals by Kara Lane and catch those rainbows!

Kara Lane wrote The Thinking Game with the objective of helping you (that’s right YOU) achieve a goal, any goal. However, there are some rules to the game that you need to learn first.

Once you’ve understood the rules, there are things you can do to prepare yourself to meet your goal. You wouldn’t just wake up one morning and decide to run the Boston Marathon now would you? Kara Lane provides some exercises to help you manage your unconscious mind, develop a thinking mindset and strengthen your thinking skills.

The Thinking Game also gives a brief summary of several critical thinking techniques for you to choose from. When making a goal, a decision or pondering the future, you could make a pro/con list, comparisons table or a checklist. You could also use the +1 Solutions, 5 Whys or the Six Thinking Hats methods of analysis.

A goal can never be realized without a little creativity, so Kara provides several creative thinking techniques for you to utilize as well. Meditation, visualization, affirmations, brainstorming, mind mapping, and brain mining are all proven methods to aid you in thinking outside the box.

My favorite chapter was Chapter 6: Questions to Frequently Ask to Improve Your Thinking. We all have aspects of our life that we want to improve. Asking questions like the ones suggested for success, relationships, money, personal satisfaction on a regular basis will help you (and me) stay focused on those long-term goals.

The good stuff doesn’t stop there. Part 3 is all about applying conscious thinking to achieve your goals. In order to get from here to there, you need a plan. This section helps you narrow your goal into something you can reasonably obtain, or if your dream still seems unobtainable, how to make smaller goals that take you in the direction of your dreams. And if you fail, well, what did you learn to make the next plan better.

The Thinking Game is a must read for EVERYONE (seriously). The title belies the seriousness of the book. Yes, thinking can be a game but it’s so much more than that.

I enjoyed the challenges the author included to help the reader move out of his or her comfort zone. Our lives are not meant to be wasted with mindless tasks and passive entertainment. I admit to having a fondness for this type of self-improvement book. In fact, I have a whole shelf of books designed to bettering your situation. This is a book that I gladly added to that shelf.

After all, we all want something. And reviewing the advice and activities in The Thinking Game, you (and I) will be able to move closer to obtaining those goals.

I received an advance review copy from Reedsy Discovery. You can read my review here.

Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins

real artists

Everyone is familiar with the idea of the starving artist, but have you heard of the thriving artist?  Using the life story of Michelangelo Buonarotti as inspiration, you know, that guy who painted the Sistine Chapel, Jeff Goins debunks that starving artist myth and presents a new paradigm in which would-be starving artists become thriving artists.  

Although Michelangelo is the primary artist featured in this book, countless other artists, both past and present are included.  The author has compiled these fascinating rags to riches stories through research and interviews with artists and entrepreneurs. Each story supports the claim that in order to be a successful artist, one need not starve.

Before you can create great art,you first have to create yourself.--Jeff Goins

Now that doesn’t mean every creative soul should quit his or her day job just yet.  There are a few hurdles you’ll have to vault. The conflicting beliefs of the starving artists and the thriving artist are nicely outlined in 12 chapters. Some of these beliefs might be surprising.  Did you know that the thriving artist steals his or her ideas from others?  Would you believe that it is essential to cultivate a patron in order to succeed?  Are you aware that you should receive monetary recompense and esteem for your creative endeavors?

At any point in your story, you are free to reimagine the narrative you are living. You can becom.jpg

There were some truly inspirational sections in Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins. When I had finished reading, I felt encouraged and hopeful while at the same time realizing how very far I have yet to go to become one of those thriving artists. Fortunately, just like Michelangelo, I’m as stubborn as a donkey, so perhaps one day I’ll get there.

four star

Read more about the book here.  Pick up your own copy here.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Selfish Plan to Change the World by Justin Dillon

selfish

Changing the world is not as altruistic you might think.  Most movers and shakers have multiple motives for what they do.  Author Justin Dillon takes us through his personal journey from musician to founder and CEO of the Made in a Free World organization which focuses on disrupting human trafficking trade worldwide.  Citing example after example, he explores the reasons why each one of us should make an effort to change the world, what keeps the world from changing and how we can actually change the world.

The key point for me was what the author called “finding your riot.”  Although that seems a bit aggressive, what he refers to is finding what you are passionate about and using that for social change. Combine that riot with the desire to “contribute to a larger narrative” and your unique abilities, and you have the recipe for world-changing work.

Much like the author, who began with his belief that changing the world was only attempted by selfless and sacrificial people, I often feel that perhaps changing the world was beyond my abilities even though I’ve made some effort at do-gooding over the years. I can’t say that I’ve been successful in changing the world even one iota despite my efforts, but I know people who are, and I haven’t given up yet.

A Selfish Plan to Change the World provided some food for thought and is well worth your time.  Read more about this book here. Get your copy here.

four star

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Immediacy: Our Ways of Coping in Everyday Life by Fred Emil Katz

“They could not believe it. They could not believe they would be stripped of their citizenship until it happened. They could not believe their houses of worship would be destroyed unti

How do ordinary men and women find themselves complacently or even passionately supporting mass murder?  How can people transcend their immediate personal suffering yet succumb years later?  How can society prevent such atrocities such as the Holocaust or the Spanish Inquisition from reoccurring? What causes people to willingly sacrifice their lives for a national or religious rationale? How can these things be measured empirically and studied? Author Fred Emil Katz discusses these questions and more in Immediacy: Our Ways of Coping in Everyday Life.

The topic presented is complex.  Immediacy: Our Ways of Coping in Everyday Life is a series of essays and articles written by the author during his distinguished career as a sociologist that have been compiled and updated. The book has 5 principal sections, each with an introduction that explains how these chapters relate to the idea of immediacy. I found these introductory chapters to be extremely helpful in my understanding of the material.

It may seem to some that society as a whole has evolved beyond the incidents discussed in this book, but has it?  (List of genocides by death toll) A call for national unity in an effort to make the country great again which becomes the justification for national purging of undesired and unassimilated residents, never mind the cost to human lives, sounds eerily familiar.  Although Katz has more questions than answers for us, at least he is presenting this topic for our consideration and if we were wise, we would ponder them carefully.

I especially found the chapter on societal denial to be eye-opening.  Sometimes, humanity turns a blind eye.  Sometimes we just can’t see.

“They could not believe it. They could not believe they would be stripped of their citizenship until it happened. They could not believe their houses of worship would be destroyed unti

The examples the author uses to illustrate each aspect of immediacy are well-known.  He uses some unorthodox punctuation, dashes rather than commas or parentheses, but it did not detract from the overall readability of the text.

four star

While I believe that the message is one that everyone should be made aware of, I’m not sure that everyone would benefit from reading this book.  Its tone was scholarly even when discussing the fate of the author’s own parents and elder brother.  Sociology as an applied science is still in its infancy.  We just may not be able to think of our immediacies as something we can change.  

“They could not believe it. They could not believe they would be stripped of their citizenship until it happened. They could not believe their houses of worship would be destroyed unti

This book was an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day.