Do you want an inspiring read?
Talking to a coaching client recently he mentioned about aiming to read a book a week, and I put forward the thought that nowadays not all of our information and knowledge comes from books, so I thought I would add into the mix some other forms of getting information and inspiration in this month's Inspire. Also, I met someone networking who is into listening to books on his iPhone while driving and gets through a lot more books than I do. So there are many different ways to access things which might be more suited firstly to your learning styles, and to your pace of life.
‘A happy life is one spent in learning, earning, and yearning.'
I am sure you have already discovered TED talks but if you have not, then you are in for a treat. These talks are on a whole host of subjects from education, science, arts to happiness, comedy and death! And they are less than 20 minutes long, and the speakers are usually engaging and inspiring. Click here to search by topic or speakers. Here are a few that I enjoyed this year:
Susan Cain: The power of introverts If you are an introvert and feel that you are ignored or feel alien in our more loud, extroverted world, or if you know people who are more introverted and can't understand them, perhaps thinking they are not social, strange or even rude, then this will give you a new perspective on the world of introverts: click here.
Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work Click here. Another engaging talk, and listen to the end for his findings about how happiness makes us more productive and how we can simply find more happiness in our lives by doing some of the following each day:
- Writing down three things we are grateful for.
- Writing down one positive experience a day in a journal.
- Meditating – See how to meditate in a moment, click here, or for a more soothing process while sat at your desk: click here which leads you to www.calm.com. I like the ‘do nothing' for 2 minutes because it has the sound of waves crashing on a beach.
- Carrying out one act of random kindness a day.
Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms I've listened to other TED talks by Ken and he has a very different perspective on education and what kinds of adults we are creating through the current educational system. Whether you have children or not, this is of interest to all of us because it is about the workplaces and society which we are creating for the future. I also love the doodling visual aid with this and, although it stops rather abruptly at the end, it is worth having a look at, click here. Also take a look at this talk, click here.
‘Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you.
You are all learners, doers, teachers.'
Richard Bach - Illusions
This book was recommended to me by one of my clients. I've heard and read quite a bit about the Law of Attraction over the years, some of which makes perfect sense, and other aspects, in the past, have seemed a bit too mystical for me. However, there are now a range of books coming out from people who, having read and learned about the original work, have (through their own experiences) devised their own work based on the Law of Attraction. This is a very slim, and therefore easy to read and to use, book, taking you through a step by step process of drawing into your life what you want. I think why many of us steer clear of some of this stuff is that it seems too good to be true! However, I know that when I am feeling positive, thinking positive thoughts, more positive things do seem to happen. On the other hand it can be just because I am feeling positive that I notice the positive things happening around me! Anyhow, I have decided to give it a go and put some of it into action, so watch this space.
Having just read Michael Losier's book I then turn up for a networking lunch to find Alistair Corrie giving a talk on the Law of Attraction based on his new book. Again, it is his perspective on not just the Law of Attraction, but other concepts in the field of personal development. His seven wonders are: Attitude, Gratitude, Goal Setting, Quantum Visualisation, People Skills, Leadership Skills and lastly, Edification and Encouragement. This short book is full of ideas to put into action gleaned from many of the other books you have read over the years, but provides a good summary of those techniques and ideas.
‘Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.'
Sir Richard Steele
– In case you missed July's Inspire on the link between your brain, energy and performance? (click here to take a look if you did), it was based on David Rock's book, ‘Your Brain At Work', subtitled: Strategies for overcoming distractions, regaining focus and working smarter all day long. There is a lot of talk about neuroscience at the moment in newspapers and at conferences, and David Rock has taken the latest research in neuroscience and applied it to the workplace in a really easy to read and assimilate book. He has a case study of a working couple with two children and takes them through the course of one day and the types of problems we all experience at work: email overload, conflicts with colleagues, tight deadlines. He then explains what is happening in the brain when they face these challenges and what simple techniques they can use to master their brain and work in a more calm and effective manner. I have started using some of the techniques and ideas to great effect and have been recommending this book to all my clients.
I've known Kate for many years, since we both belonged to a wonderful working women's network based in Henley on Thames. If you are, perhaps, loving your work, but not your life, as too much energy is going into the former, or hate your work and want to explore how to have a life and work that you love, this book explores the four energies in your life: physical, mental, emotional, purposeful, which you can harness to live life and love your work.
I was reminded of this book, which I have had on my bookshelf for many years, when I was talking to a client about writing down their thoughts and feelings in a journal each day, in order to become more self aware, and start to master their thoughts and manage their mood. I remembered the idea of ‘morning pages', which Julia Cameron coined, and decided to pull out the book and take another look at it. Although it is subtitled: A course in discovering and recovering your Creative Self, I think that if you take the view that we are all creative and creating our own lives, then it is relevant to most of us. It seems that a lot of my new coaching clients are at crossroads in their lives, either because they have been made redundant or taken early retirement and thinking ‘what next', or they are thinking about changing careers. It strikes me that this book would be a good support on that kind of journey. I've yet to re-read it but will be taking it away on holiday with me.
"It is books that are the key to the wide world; if you can't do anything else, read all that you can."
I re-read this book at least once a year – it is a short book and can be read quickly. This time I was sat in a lovely café in Woodstock, needing to take stock of where I was at in my life, and I find that this book helps me to do that. I suggested it to a friend who is juggling family life, with full time work. She downloaded it, read it and loved it, especially the following, which Anne says is equally important for men:
‘You will remind me that unless I keep the island-quality intact somewhere within me, I will have little to give my husband, my children, my friends or the world at large. You will remind me that women must be still as the axis of a wheel in the midst of her activities; that she must be the pioneer in achieving this stillness, not only for her own salvation, but for the salvation of family life, of society, perhaps even of our civilisation.'
I think this quote is also relevant to managers, being the calm axis while the team and activities rotate around them. This book was written in 1955 yet it is even more important for how we live our lives today.
‘Re-reading is much underrated. I've read The Spy Who Came In From The Cold once every five years since I was 15. I only started to understand it the third time.'