Writing for the Love of It

It feels good to be writing a blog post again three months after taking a self-care pause from blogging, working on my book, striving to grow a platform for a book proposal and struggling to build my coaching practice. Although the stressors that precipitated the pause are still present, it has become clear to me that I need to start writing again.

Earlier this week, I finished reading Julia Cameron’s wonderful book, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond. Its effect on me has been profound, and I believe that it is one of the most personally important books that I have ever read. I have known about Cameron’s classic book The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Creativity for years, and, although I skimmed it at some point in the past, I thought her recommendations weren’t really for me. Maybe the time just wasn’t right. I bought It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again about four years ago on Kindle. My reading list is (happily!) long, though, and I just got to it last week. Reading it in the middle of my crisis-induced self-care pause was a fortuitous blessing.

Despite the subtitle, the book is really about crafting a retirement of purpose and meaning. Retirement is still several years away for me, but I am looking toward it and thinking about what I want to create for my future—especially in light of pulling the plug on all my passion projects. Initially, I thought the book might be more applicable a few years down the road, but it is so beautifully written that I kept reading, still thinking that I would enjoy reading it now but would implement the tools in it later, closer to retirement.

While not quite ready for retirement, I recognize that I am at a different kind of crossroads.

Gradually, as I read, inspired by Cameron’s ideas on creativity as a life force, I began to see that I could make her tools my own and benefit from them immediately. On July 5 I began to incorporate my personalized version of her Morning Pages into my life as a writing meditation. Reading and reflecting on her words, I realized that, as a passion, writing is key to my self-care.

Reading It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again, doing my writing mediation and riding my bike over the past week and a half, I decided to resume writing my blog, but with no pressure to keep to an editorial calendar. I will write when I am moved to write. I will write for the sake of writing, because I love it, because it heals me—not to build an audience for a coaching practice or book proposal. I have been humbled by the helplessness I have felt in the face of the still-present issues that led me to the pause, so my writing will be introspective and descriptive, rather than prescriptive.

I will transition my website to a simple blog. My emotional energy for coaching or even for my book is depleted. Maybe I will return to the book at some point. Maybe I will use some of the nearly 60,000 words I have written in that manuscript for something else. Maybe it was just meant to move me part of the way down the road on my journey toward becoming the person I need to be to make the contribution I am charged with making in the world. I don’t really know, and I have decided that is okay.

As I return to my blog and reclaim the power of writing in my life, I plan to break all the rules around blogging and building an audience and internet marketing. I’m out of energy for all that. I will write for the sheer joy of writing. Hopefully, my words will bring some good to the world and will add value to people who read them.

Journalist Cyril Connolly said, “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”

That’s how I feel at this point. I will write because I need to write.

Reading Cameron’s compelling book helped me to see that the things that make me who I am—cycling, reading, writing, veganism, commitment to health, compassion—are my keys to serving the world. Maybe it is much simpler and much more joyful than I have been making it. I have decided to settle in, emphasize my passions and pay attention to ways that I can make a positive difference.

Julia Cameron conceptualizes God as “Good, Orderly Direction.” The more I sat with that description, the more I loved it. I think that is what I have been given toward the evolution of my blog—Good, Orderly Direction—and I am grateful. I have an idea for a way my blog may grow into something more someday (perhaps in retirement), allowing me to serve the needs of our world in a deeper way. But, again, no pressure. I am writing for joy and healing and hope right now.

Starting today, my website will transition to a simple blog. My new title is: It’s Just Wind: An occasional, evolving blog celebrating plant-based pedaling for health and compassion.

I will keep my current web address (https://justwindcoach.com/) at this time, even though it has the word “coach” in it, and I am no longer working to build a coaching practice. Keeping the same website is easier than changing it, and easy is what I need right now.

Gabby Bernstein says, “Obstacles are detours in the right direction.” Although I really, really want to be finished with the obstacles that are constantly looming in front of me at the moment, I can see that the pause they enforced positioned me to make decisions that leave me with a sense of peace.

In this new evolution of my blog, I will write and publish as frequently or infrequently as I feel inspired to do so. Julia Cameron has such a gentle, encouraging way of nudging her readers toward action. I intend to emulate her gentleness with myself.

I highly recommend It’s Never Too Late to Be a Beginner. For me, it is the right book at the right time, a much-needed spark of hope.

So, I initiate this new phase, trusting that I am guided by Good, Orderly Direction. I believe this blog will help me navigate the uncertain roads I am traveling in this season of life, and I hope sharing my thoughts and experiences will help others and add positive vibrations to the world.


Guest Post: Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone

by Dianne Waltner, Author of Evolving into Wholeness: A Journey of Compassion

No matter what kind of growth or change we desire to create in our lives, it is necessary to step outside our comfort zones—whether dipping a toe outside that cozy space or plunging all the way into the scary unknown with a swan dive or cannonball. Today we are treated to a guest post by my good friend Dianne Waltner. Dianne published her first book Evolving into Wholeness: A Journey of Compassion last month. In it she highlights her own dips and plunges outside her comfort zone as she followed her heart and the voice within to evolve into a life of authenticity, sharing her journey in order to help others find courage to live into their own whole selves. We are privileged today to learn from her reflections on stepping out of our comfort zones. Enjoy! Sheri

“The comfort zone is a psychological state in which one feels familiar, safe, at ease, and secure. You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Growing up as a bullied child, I seldom felt comfortable around others and preferred to spend time alone. I often sought refuge in my room, surrounded by books, which were my comfort. I didn’t want to be seen or heard. I never wanted to stand out or to call attention to myself. I just wanted to blend in, to conform, to hide in the shadows. I certainly never wanted to make a scene or cause conflict.

As a highly introverted adult, interacting with others was often draining and difficult.  I never wanted to make waves or challenge the status quo. I would have liked to stay in my comfort zone. Until that itself became uncomfortable.

At various times in my life, I’ve become too uncomfortable to stay where I’m at; times when I’ve felt the calling to change, sometimes for personal health and wellbeing, sometimes out of concern for others. 

Going vegetarian (and eventually vegan), quitting smoking (and eventually quitting drinking), and publishing (and promoting) a book all required me to do things I didn’t initially feel comfortable doing. They all involved big steps outside of my comfort zone. Each time, I tried to ignore the inner voice that was encouraging me to make changes or to speak out. But I couldn’t shake it. And it forced me to make some of the very best and most important decisions of my life – decisions which helped me become a better person.

Living in alignment with one’s values often involves stepping out of one’s comfort zone. That was certainly the case for me. It was difficult going against societal norms. However, I found that, once I gave in and listened to that inner voice, I felt a profound sense of inner peace and joy. Although uncomfortable, I knew that I was doing the right thing.

“To be compassionate, you have to forget your own comfort zone and live well because you live beyond yourself.” ― Sunday Adelaja, The Mountain of Ignorance

I knew that I could never make the difference I wanted to make by playing it safe and staying comfortable. I needed to be willing to be vulnerable and follow my heart. It’s not always easy, and I make plenty of mistakes.

Over the years, I’ve learned several important lessons about leaving our safe place and taking risks.

It’s important to be gentle with ourselves, to forgive our mistakes as we learn, knowing that we’re doing the best we can.

We can give ourselves permission to not be perfect. We can be proud of ourselves for being willing to step out of our comfort zones. We can celebrate our successes and our willingness to take chances. And it’s so important to be compassionate with ourselves. We can become our own best friends.

And remember – At the end of your comfort zone is where adventure begins and life dances with trembling joy.” ― Debasish Mridha

You can connect with Dianne on her author website and her author Facebook page.

Her book is available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats.

You can connect with me on my JustWind Coaching Facebook page.

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My Favorite Books in 2020

“ . . . the books we read are more than just things. Somehow they become a part of who we are. A little piece of our soul.” –Mari-Jane Williams

Along with cycling and writing, reading is one of my very favorite things to do. That is why I have enjoyed sharing this annual post with my readers for the past five years. You can check out all of them at these links: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

I read a lot—66 books in 2020. As the quote from Mari-Jane Williams says above, the books I read become a little piece of my soul. I grow and learn so much through reading. It is one of the ways I continue to self-educate. What a privilege it is to be able to do this throughout life!

I read mostly on Kindle these days. While I love libraries and love the cost savings they allow, as well as the look and feel of physical books, Kindle fits best most of the time during this season of life.

My Kindle is not a fancy one, and the cover is certainly showing some wear. This is my second one, after Logan or his friend Dakota stepped on my first one, already several years old, in 2017.

I have been saddened to notice how the apparently irresistible force of Logan’s phone and the Xbox have pulled him away from reading. I notice this in many of my students, too. I wonder how many read anything long form these days. How many adults do? I know I still have reading friends, and, if you are reading this post, you are likely a reader, too. Maybe you will be inspired to check out one of these titles. I hope so, and I hope those who are under the spell of electronics (I know. I read mostly on Kindle, and I am typing this on my laptop, where I have conveniently recorded my favorite books all year.) can somehow regain a love of reading. Logan used to love to read. Until it became too much work. That makes me sad.

But this is meant not to be a lament for nonreaders but an ode to readers and fuel (“Kindling,” if you will) for their fiery passion for books.

I have included in this post those books I awarded four or five stars on Goodreads. I read almost exclusively nonfiction, albeit a wide range of genres within nonfiction. Some of the categories overlap—especially memoir and personal development or psychology. We can learn and grow so much from reading each other’s stories. Your preferences may differ from mine. That is great. The main thing is to keep reading!

Business/Career

Difference: The one-page method for reimagining your business and reinventing your marketing, by Bernadette Jiwa—This was a short, easy read with simple, yet useful suggestions for creating a business based on empathy. This was the gist of the book—lead with empathy for those we serve. If doing work with purpose is important to you, this book can help

The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-to-5, by Taylor Pearson—I debated about whether to give this book three for four stars. Finally, I decided on four because there was a lot of good information, and there were useful questions and exercises in the book. In general, the book is written for prospective or aspiring entrepreneurs, but there is an odd section that feels like it belongs in a different book. It is a long chapter providing details about how to hire an apprentice. The book explains that apprenticeship is a potential path into entrepreneurship, but this section feels like it was written for established entrepreneurs who may hire others to work in their businesses. Still, the book has value and earned its place in this post.


Getting There: A Book of Mentors
, edited by Gillian Zoe Segal—This was a really good book, full of interesting first-person accounts written or spoken (I’m not sure which.) by people who have achieved big things in a variety of careers. I really liked reading their insights and gained some pearls of wisdom.

Health

Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body, by Jo Marchant—This was an interesting and critical look at how our mind contributes to our well-being. It is written from the perspective of a scientist, not a New Age believer, yet she recognizes a place for mental wellness in physical health.

Deadly Outbreaks: How Medical Detectives Save Lives Threatened by Killer Pandemics, Exotic Viruses, and Drug-Resistant Parasites, by Alexandra Levitt—Although written before the COVID-19 pandemic, I read this book during the early stages of our ongoing pandemic. It told an interesting story about the epidemiology behind solving tough outbreaks. I’m sure the “medical detectives” have been hard at work on this pandemic.

Even Vegans Die: A Practical Guide to Caregiving, Acceptance, and Protecting Your Legacy of Compassion, by Carol J. Adams—This book turned out to be different than I expected, but it deals with an important topic. I guess the subtitle should have been a clue. This book acknowledges that vegans may face guilt and shame if we have health problems. I can relate to the expectation (self-imposed or not) that I should have perfect health and stay effortlessly at a perfect weight, in order to represent vegans well. This is the first public discussion I have read of this issue, and I appreciated the discussion of it that Adams presented. Then the book did become the practical guide the subtitle claims, addressing things like wills and advanced directives. While unpopular, these are topics we should all consider, and Adams’ perspective and experience are useful.

Functional Medicine Coaching: Stories from the Movement That’s Transforming Healthcare, by Sandra Scheinbaum & Elyse L. Wagner—This book seems to have been written to recruit coaching students to the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy, but there is still a lot of great information in it. I have already included some of it in a blog post and probably will in the future, too.

History

Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer, by Margalit Fox—I finished this book on New Year’s Day 2020, and I knew I already had the first addition to My Favorite Books of 2020. Fox does an excellent job of providing general information about Arthur Conan Doyle. I learned that he was much more than the creator of Sherlock Holmes, although that is remarkable enough. This is the true account of his two-decades-long quest to free a wrongly convicted man. I was so fascinated that I decided to purchase the book for my mom for Mother’s Day. She enjoys classic mysteries, and I knew the British element of this story would be of interest, as well. This was a great book to carry into 2020 to start my new list.

Facebook: The Inside Story, by Steven Levy—This was a very long book, and there were times I wondered if I should stick with it, but Levy presents an extensively researched account of Facebook’s history, including his personal exclusive access to inside information and happenings. Part of my reason for reading was to decide how concerned I should be about my privacy in Facebook. To be honest, I haven’t changed anything since reading this book, but at least I feel like my use is less naïve. The origin story and evolution of the company really is quite amazing.

Memoir

Becoming, by Michelle Obama—I read this book for the WSU Common Read Book Selection Committee, and it just happened to come in the midst of the social unrest that followed the killing of George Floyd. Obama covered so many topics—gender, race, socioeconomic status, education. She also shares details of the Obama family life very openly, including what it was like to live and raise children in the White House. It was very informative, and I admired her authenticity.

Contact Wounds: A War Surgeon’s Education, by Jonathan Kaplan—This is the second book, after The Dressing Station, by Jonathan Kaplan, that I read. I think I liked it even better than the first. It chronicles Kaplan’s fascinating career before and after the stories he covers in The Dressing Station. Kaplan chose an unconventional medical career, and he is open about the sacrifices involved, but it is clear that there are also many benefits.


Counting Backwards: A Doctor’s Notes on Anesthesia
, by Henry Jay Przybylo—I learned a lot about the world of anesthesiology. I didn’t realize there was as much potential for self-advocacy with anesthesiology as there apparently is. Dr. Jay, as the author is called, feels deeply that his mission is to alleviate all pain for all patients, to the greatest extent possible.


Cracked, Not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After a Suicide Attempt
, by Kevin Hines—I gave this four stars because the story is so important and told so honestly. The writing is not the highest quality, but it is genuine and told with passion. I heard Hines speak at WSU a few years ago and was quite moved. After surviving a suicide attempt via jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge, Hines has continued to struggle with bipolar disorder with psychotic features, but he is a passionate mental-health and suicide-prevention advocate. His story is important. I highly recommend attending a speaking event where he presents if you have the opportunity.


Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening
, by Manal al-Sharif—This is a very powerful book that shares the story of Manal’s coming of age as a Saudi woman. She transitioned from a traditionally raised Saudi girl to a fundamentalist Muslim to a bold and courageous woman who fought for women’s right to drive. This book touches on many challenging issues and can be hard to read at times because of her history of abuse that she shares, but it is compelling and important.

Downhills Don’t Come Free: One Man’s Bike Ride from Alaska to Mexico, by Jerry Holl—I loved this book. It represents my very favorite genre—what I call personal-growth adventure memoir. Even better, it was cycling specific. Holl’s story of his solo cycling trip from Anchorage to Mexico was so much fun to read and very interesting. His accounts of riding past grizzly bears makes my dog encounters seem pretty mundane. The simple daily journal style was easy to read and rolled readers along on his journey.

The Dressing Station: A Surgeon’s Chronicle of War and Medicine, by Jonathan Kaplan—This is an amazing account of Kaplan’s assorted adventures as a doctor who traveled. He shares his experience in everything from war medicine to cruise ship physician. Quite a fascinating life!

Educated, by Tara Westover—I am late to the party on this one. I purchased this in 2018, but I just read it in May 2020. This is a wonderful book, with so many rich layers of social topics. Westover and two of her seven siblings overcame incredible odds, as members of a Mormon extremist family, to earn PhD’s, despite never having been sent to school as children. Learning to think for herself had a steep price for Westover, but her story is one that can benefit many, through the thought-provoking way she tells it.

E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality, by Pam Grout—There were a lot of good reminders about the power of abundance thinking and the Law of Attraction. She proposes nine experiments, and, honestly, I gave them up because I didn’t achieve “success.” Still, there is a lot of good stuff, and I liked reading this book by a fellow Kansan.

The End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe—This is a beautifully written book about a topic that could have been depressing but wasn’t. Schwalbe shares his mother’s last years and their journey together through the books they read and discussed. Not only was it a lovely testimony to the power of reading to shape and enhance lives, but it was a wonderful tribute to his mother and almost a guide to facing end of life with grace. A powerful book.

Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, by Alex Hutchinson—This was a fascinating treatment of the psychological and physiological aspects of endurance. The author shares his personal experience, as well as the stories of many other athletes, plus hard science.

Enemies: A History of the FBI, by Tim Weiner—Weiner presented the history of the FBI and a fairly extensive biography of J. Edgar Hoover in this exhaustively researched book. It is long and dense. To be honest, I skimmed parts, but it was not difficult to read. It was particularly fascinating to read more recent history that I remembered in order to attain a better understanding of what really happened.


Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Stop Learning
, by Leslie Odom, Jr.—This was a quick, easy and worthwhile read. Odom’s story of his rise to play Aaron Burr in the musical Hamilton is inspirational and instructive. I’m not sure the title really fits, but there are some good lessons in this interesting memoir.


Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running From Madness
, by Suzy Favor Hamilton—I’ll be honest. The writing is not spectacular in this book, but the story is truly unbelievable, and the intention behind the book—illuminating the extreme behaviors that unmanaged bipolar disorder can cause, while removing the stigma and shame associated with mental illness—is a good one. Hamilton’s story is one I will remember. I probably bought this book because I love reading memoirs by endurance athletes, and I did enjoy reading about her running career, but the second half—her life as a high-end Las Vegas escort—was astounding. I can’t imagine how her husband stuck by her through it all. It is one that made me think.


Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It
, by Brittany Gibbons—I went back and forth about whether to give this three stars for four stars. I ultimately decided on four stars because of Brittany’s transparency and positive message. She tells the story of how she became an internet celebrity advocating for body acceptance. It is an entertaining, poignant and quick read.

Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer, by Heather Lende—This is another one where I found myself teetering between three and four stars. I settled on the higher side because, although somewhat depressing, I believe so strongly in Heather Lende’s core message to find the good in every life and situation. She uses the lives and deaths of members of her small Alaska town to illustrate the various lessons she has learned from them, and I like that. Her writing is not depressing. I think the heaviness I felt while reading it was my own.

Girl Unbroken: A Sister’s Harrowing Story of Survival from The Streets of Long Island to the Farms of Idaho, by Regina Calcaterra & Rosie Maloney—What an incredible story! I wasn’t too sure about it at first, but it quickly grew on me, and I loved it, although there was plenty that was hard to read. A family of five kids suffered unthinkable abuse at the hands of their mother. Rosie suffered at the hands of a stepfather and other men, as well. Two of the five teamed up as adults to share their story. It is brave and hopeful and deserves to be witnessed.

The Grace to Race: The Wisdom and Inspiration of the 80-Year-Old World Champion Triathlete Known as the Iron Nun, by Sister Madonna Buder—What an inspiration Sister Madonna is! Like Downhills Don’t Come for Free, this book falls into my very favorite category, personal-growth adventure memoir. Sister Madonna, who is now 90 (https://triathlonmagazine.ca/personalities/sister-madonna-buder-turns-90-today/), shared her fascinating story of personal growth and her unique brand of ministry and mission in this wonderful book.

Notes from a Young Black Chef, by Kwame Onwuachi—I read this for the WSU Common Reads Book Selection Committee. Onwuachi tells his courageous story of breaking away from gang life to “hustle” (to use his word) to make it as a chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America, who has worked at, and briefly operated, some of the most exclusive fine dining restaurants in the U.S. His perspective is an interesting one worth reading. In the unrest of summer 2020, it was timely.

What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City, by Mona Hanna-Attisha—I also read this one for WSU Common Reads Book Selection Committee. Dr. Mona was the driving force behind breaking open the Flint, Michigan water crisis. In this memoir, she tells the story of the fight against institutionalized racism that had created the problem and threatened to keep Flint in danger because of lead in the water.

Personal Development

Badass Habits: Cultivate the Awareness, Boundaries, and Daily Upgrades You Need to Make Them Stick, by Jen Sincero—I love Jen Sincero’s work. I listened to this one on Audible because I have listened to one of her previous books, and she is just so funny. Humor aside, there is a lot of great material in this book. She has designed it to function like a course, and it makes adopting new, or losing old, habits very manageable. Jen tells it like it is and has a way with words that is uniquely her own.

Beginner’s Pluck: Build Your Life of Purpose and Impact Now, by Liz Forkin Bohannon—I read this for the WSU Common Reads Book Selection Committee and probably wouldn’t have chosen it, based on the title. The title just didn’t speak to me, although I can see why it might to college students. However, I was pleasantly surprised. It turned out to have a lot of relevance for any age, and it was very well written and quite funny in spots.


Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
, by Chip & Dan Heath—This was an enjoyable read with lots of good suggestions for making better decisions. I gleaned some tips that I have already put to use and will in the future.

The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms, by Danielle LaPorte—There were quite a few good ideas and inspiration in this book. Any time I find inspiration to grow in some way, I get excited.


Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be
, by Rachel Hollis—This is another book where I was late to the party, reading it long after the hype settled, and I accidentally read her subsequent book first, a while back. I wasn’t thoroughly convinced with my four-star rating, but I ultimately settled there because I did pick up several good quotes. Hollis shares 20 lessons she has learned through life. It’s good, but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would, based on the hype or on Girl, Stop Apologizing.

Psychology

Cringeworthy: The Value of Awkwardness in a Put-Together World, by Melissa Dahl—The best gift of this book was the feeling of “It’s not just me!” that I got when I read about cringe attacks and mind pops. Until that point, to be honest, I was feeling disappointed in the book, but that chapter elevated the book to four stars for me. I wrote a blog post inspired by this chapter because reading that others share these experiences was such a relief to me.


The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better
, by Gretchen Rubin—Although I have read Gretchen Rubin, used her Four Tendencies in my coaching practice and had this book on Kindle for years, I didn’t actually read the book until November 2020. There is so much that makes sense here, and it is a helpful way of trying to understand ourselves and the people around us. I confirmed that I am an Upholder. Only one of the Rebels with whom I live would take the quiz. The other is too much of a Rebel for that. Understanding tendencies helps to depersonalize some behavior.

Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis, by Ada Calhoun—This book is hard to categorize. Personal growth? History? Psychology? I’m not sure where it belongs, but I did appreciate it. It left me with some questions. I had not previously thought of myself, as a GenXer, as really being part of a community because of that—one with a unique set of challenges because of when we grew up. I’m still not sure I do. However, it did make me wonder if the angst and searching I have felt so often is generational or if it is just me, as I have always assumed. Maybe it is a little of both. This was an interesting discussion of GenX women at midlife.

True Crime

The Crime of the Century: Richard Speck and the Murders That Shocked a Nation, by Dennis L. Breo—This is one of the best true crime books I have read. It was so thorough in its coverage of a horrific crime and the exhaustive investigation and legal proceedings that followed. The investigators, prosecutor and star witness were clearly the heroes of the book, rather than glorifying the murderer. The victims were treated with respect, and their story was told with dignity. I had heard of this historic crime for years, but I didn’t really know the details until I read this book.

Deliver Us: Three Decades of Murder and Redemption in the Infamous I-45/Texas Killing Fields, by Kathryn Casey—This was a fascinating examination of three decades of murders along I-45 in Texas, between Galveston and Houston. Casey examines these murders from a compassionate perspective and in the hope of generating interest in cold cases.

“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.” –Annie Dillard

I hope this list of my favorite books from my 2020 reading inspires you to pick up some of them. What was the best book you read in 2020? Let us know in the comments.

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Discovering Courage & Community in the Written Word

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”

–James Baldwin

While I certainly don’t think my pain and heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, a couple of recent books have awakened the realization that I’m not alone in certain experiences that, admittedly, I had previously believed were unique quirks. This has caused me to think about the many ways that we can find both courage and community through the written word.

The biggest a-ha moments occurred while I was reading Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness, by Melissa Dahl. I was drawn to this book because I hoped it would help me to understand and release certain experiences of embarrassment and shame that have continued to haunt me. Initially, I was disappointed, and, I have to say, I struggled to stay focused reading it. I even skimmed some parts. Then, I encountered Chapter 8.

“Cringe attacks” That’s what she called them. As soon as I read the words, I had the thought, “So, it’s not just me? Other people do this, too?”

Cringe attacks are the name that Dahl gave the experience of suddenly, out of the blue, being blindsided by a memory of an embarrassing or shame-filled experience. It is something that I have never discussed with anyone, but it has nagged me for as long as I can remember. Certain memories have been perennial pests, popping up time and again, year after year. The time in 2001 when I made a poor choice about what to wear to work. The time when I was about 15 that I still can’t bring myself to state publicly. The cringe attacks come in vivid flashes, utterly unbidden, usually causing silent or out-loud exclamations and shaking of my head, in an effort to quickly usher the thoughts away.  

In recent months, my biggest tormentor has been an experience of mistaken identity at the beginning of fall 2019 semester. At a University social event, I saw someone from the back and thought it was someone else who I knew had fairly recently started working at the University. She’s someone I like and was happy to see. I think I called her name (well, the name of the person I thought she was) and touched her on the back. She turned, and I continued to talk to her, as I looked at her face. I knew this other person, too, but, for some reason that I still don’t understand (and, believe me, I have analyzed it ad nauseam to try to figure this out), it didn’t register until she said something, clearly trying to signal politely that she was not who I thought she was, about the location of her office. This woke me, and I made a hasty and ungraceful exit. Immediately, I wondered, “What is wrong with my brain? Is this early-onset dementia?” Was I spaced out from the stress of being in a social, mingling setting, which I hate? Whatever it was, I couldn’t believe that I didn’t immediately realize, when she turned, that I was talking to the wrong person. If I hadn’t known the woman in front of me, it would have been embarrassing and awkward, but not as mortifying as this was, since I knew her (and, worse, she knew me), too. For months it has popped randomly into my head. There does not have to be a trigger. Seemingly out of nowhere, the memory will barrel back into my consciousness, and I will feel a visceral clench of shame in my stomach, in my face. A cringe attack!

Reading about this phenomenon, I felt a sense of community with the unknown others (Does everyone do this? Even if it is just some of us, knowing that it is not just me helps.) who are tormented by cringe attacks. Until reading this, I thought I was the only person who suffered such attacks. More than anything else I have done to try to dampen the shame and embarrassment I felt around the mistaken identity, knowing that others have cringe attacks and witnessing their courage in sharing them, has helped me find both community and courage. I have had more healing and release since learning this and since starting to think about sharing my story in my blog than in the preceding months of trying to banish my negative feelings through Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or tapping), meditation (not just for that reason, of course) or any other strategy, like hard intervals on my bike. Although finding out that I was not alone in the cringe attacks did not change the original experience, it seemed to normalize the whole thing for me—at least enough that I could write about it, further diluting some of the poison. It may seem silly, but the anguish has been real.

“Mind pops” are cringe attacks’ benign cousins. These aren’t particularly bothersome, but, again, I thought this regular occurrence was just part of my weirdness. A mind pop describes the sudden, apparently random, appearance in our conscious thoughts of less painful recollections. They aren’t upsetting, but they have often left me wondering, “Where did that come from?” A common form of mind pop for me occurs in the middle of something entirely unrelated. For instance, during my yoga practice on Thursday morning, I suddenly found myself mentally at the intersection of 151st W and 109th N, north of Bentley, Kansas, on my bike. Why? I don’t really mind, especially when it is a cycling mind pop. It’s just puzzling. There is nothing particularly unusual about the locations that show up as cycling mind pops. Why there? Why at this particular moment? I could understand if I had experienced something emotionally significant, but they usually just represent routine bike rides. Odd. But maybe normal?

My mind pops don’t only happen around cycling. That is just one of the more common forms for me. While reading about mind pops in Cringeworthy didn’t provide the same emotional release that learning that others have cringe attacks did, but I felt a little less alone, a little less weird. Others have mind pops. Interesting.

Listening on Audible, Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis, by Ada Calhoun, gave me a different type of feeling of community. As a Gen X (roughly those born between 1961—or 1965, depending on the source—and 1981) woman, I have never really thought about myself as part of a generational community. You hear a lot more about Baby Boomers and Millennials, and I never really gave that much thought, which was part of Calhoun’s point. I have always thought that the angst I have felt over my path in life and over some of my choices were uniquely mine, unrelated to my position in history. And they are, in the specifics. But Calhoun pointed out that a lot of women my age experience this existential angst to a greater degree than some other generations, and that this suffering has often gone without recognition. While hearing many stories from other Gen X women who grew up with similar messaging, in a particular, shared historical context was a bit depressing, it also helped me recognize that my generation is one form of community for me, beyond just having grown up listening to the same music or, on a micro-level, gone to school together.

That’s the power of the written word—recognizing that we are not alone in experiences that we may have believed were exclusively ours and because of which we may have felt lonely.

Our own writing can be a place for us to find and express courage and, by sharing our stories bravely, to help others find courage. I have a dear friend who is writing a memoir. Sharing our stories in full honesty requires forging through pain and shame and guilt and many difficult feelings. I have been privileged to read some of her early chapters, and she is taking on all the pain courageously, baring her feelings and her memories because she believes (and I do, too) that her story can make a difference in the world.

That is also the power of the written word.

There are so many ways, these days, that we can read and benefit from learning others’ stories and realizing that we are not alone. We can heal and gain courage and feel a kinship with others who have gone through similar experiences. We learn that other people have gone through the trials and torments and embarrassments that we have. We feel a sense of community. That gives us strength.

We learn so much from books. Books (albeit mostly Kindle, for convenience) are still my favorite form of the written word. There are other ways, too, that we can find courage and community in reading and writing. Blogs and social media have opened up whole new avenues of expression and connection through the written word. I think this is a particular benefit to introverts, like me, but we can all grow through our interaction with these forms of writing.

I’m so thankful for my literacy, my vision, my drive to read, my call to write, the countless authors and writers I have read—and will read 😊–in my lifetime.

Courage and community. Compassion is my highest core value. Courage and community help us grow in compassion—for self, others, the animals, our planet.

What are some of the books that have made the biggest difference for you? How have you discovered courage and community through any form of the written word? How can you use the written word to make a difference?

I sincerely hope that my writing—whether in this blog, my in-progress book, my social media sharing, my soon(ish)-to-be-published essay or any other writing I do—will speak to others, at least occasionally inspiring courage and growing community.

Writing really is a superpower. Reading really is an amazing gift. I am grateful for both in my life.


My Favorite Books of 2019

I am thankful to have enjoyed many great reads in 2019. This is my annual post highlighting those books I gave four or five stars on Goodreads during the year. Goodreads shows my entire year in books here. As always, nonfiction is my preference.

It is always fun to reminisce about my literary year as I write and refine this post. As I read the brief reviews I wrote about each book that earned a spot on this list, I remember where I was and what I was doing when I was reading each book. In some cases, I recognize evidence of my evolution from who I was when I read a book to who I have become with exposure to additional books and new life experiences. It is nostalgic, enlightening and exciting.

I am almost finished with a book right now that I know will go on next year’s list. I also plan to give it as a gift. (Tune in next January to find out what it is. 😊) That is the wonderful thing about reading—there is always another terrific book waiting to be read and more to learn and discover.

I am making good progress on my own book, and I look forward to completing the writing and learning the publishing process in 2020. I have submitted final revisions for my essay to a forthcoming vegan cycling anthology, edited by Carol J. Adams and Mike Wise. I am not sure of the publication date, but I am hoping it will be during 2020. Writing, editing and revising my essay has been a tremendous learning process. As I work on my own book, I am grateful for the experience.

These are the best books, alphabetical by category, that I read in 2019. This year, maybe more than most, some defied straightforward categorization. In those cases, I went with my gut instinct on where to place them. Please excuse any funky formatting in this post. I’m trying to correct it, but I want to get on my bike, so I don’t plan to spend too much more time dealing with it.

Here’s to another great year of reading! I’m so grateful for my literacy, my vision and my access to wonderful books.

I hope you find some of your next reads in my list below.

Business/Career

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future, by Chris Guillebeau—This book was encouraging and helped me believe that I could really make my coaching business thrive. It offers practical business advice as well as many case studies from successful entrepreneurs. If they can do it, I can do it! I was at a different place with my coaching practice when I read this than I am now. I have determined in the last month that I will be evolving to a different model and taking an approach that more fully resonates with me. Still, this was a very good book, and I like the author.

The Answer: Grow Any Business, Achieve Financial Freedom, and Live an Extraordinary Life, by John Assaraf & Murray Smith—This book inspired me in several ways, including a modification to my daily mindfulness practice, which was meaningful to me. In some ways, it is two books in one—the first part devoted to putting Universal Laws (Attraction, Gestation, Action, Compensation) into action in our lives and the second part spent detailing business practices. I found value in both parts and have implemented actions from both.

Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do, by Chris Guillibeau—As I mentioned above, I really like Chris Gullibeau’s writing. This book may be even better than The $100 Startup. Guillebeau provides both advice and inspiration for finding and/or creating work that is the right mix of joy, money and flow, the combination he believes creates the work we were born to do.


Wellpreneur: The Ultimate Guide for Wellness Entrepreneurs to Nail Your Niche and Find Clients Online
, by Amanda Cook—The more I read, the more I realized how well-organized and information-packed (in a manageable way) this book is. I used her suggestions to create a more regular schedule for my blog. I utilized some of her other recommendations and still find them to be very good. I think they would have worked more effectively for me, if the model I was pursuing for my coaching practice had been right for me. I have since figured out that it is not, but I do recommend this book.

Health/Nutrition

The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons From the World’s Happiest People, by Dan Buettner—I am a fan of the Buettner’s Blue Zones work. This book examines happiness, which, of course, is an aspect of health. Buettner gives information and practical tips from what he has learned from the happiest places on the planet.


The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People
, by Dan Buettner—Here, Buettner elaborates on the dietary aspect of health in the Blue Zones. The book has recipes, as well as information about these locations.

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by John J. Ratey–I listened to this on audiobook and really liked it, but it was so loaded with information that I think I would have preferred a hard copy. This is a comprehensive resource for using exercise to enhance so many aspects of brain health across the lifespan.


What the Health
, by Eunice Wong—I watched the documentary a couple years ago and really liked it. This book provides greater depth, detail and context. It covers the range of health, social, political and economic issues associated with our country’s obsessive consumption of animal products. Experts in the field of nutrition and medicine are consulted, and compelling case studies are presented. If people will watch a movie, but won’t read a book, show them the film. If they want more detail, this book should convince uninformed consumers of animal products of the harm they are doing to themselves, the animals and the planet.

10% Happier, by Dan Harris—This is an interesting discussion by a skeptical news correspondent and anchorperson of his journey to becoming a meditator.


14-Minute Metabolic Workouts: The Fastest, Most Effective Way to Lose Weight and Get Fit
, by Jason Karp—Karp presents a large menu of several different types of high-intensity, efficient workouts, covering all aspects of fitness. The menu can serve as a mix-and-match strategy for increasing fitness, while minimizing boredom. I have incorporated some of his workouts into my off-season training program.

Inspiration

The Awakened Woman: Remembering & Reigniting Our Sacred Dreams, by Tererai Trent—More than a memoir, this book is so full of inspiration and encouragement. Tererai bravely tells her story of courage and perseverance. The odds she has overcome to accomplish what she has accomplished are truly unbelievable. When I doubt my ability to accomplish something in the future, I will remember Tererai.


A Survivor’s Journey: From Victim to Advocate
, by Natasha Alexenko—This is Natasha’s courageous account of being victimized by a rapist in 1993 and struggling with PTSD ever since. She also shares the startling news that there are many thousands of untested rape kits in the US. Her own rape kit sat untouched for over nine years, while she believed the rapist hadn’t been caught because of her incompetence. When she learned the truth about the rape kits, she founded a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating the backlog.

Where There’s Hope: Healing, Moving Forward, and Never Giving Up, by Elizabeth Smart—I read My Story, by Elizabeth Smart, several years ago. In this book, she weaves aspects of her own harrowing kidnapping and rescue into a series of interviews with a wide range of people who have experienced trying (and sometimes tragic) times in their own lives. Her own healing is evident, and she brings out the lessons others have to share from their own stories. While some of the stories are horrific, the overall tone of the book is uplifting.

Language

Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language, by Gretchen McCulloch—The volume of research that must have gone into this book is incredible. Honestly, I debated about whether to award three or four stars in Goodreads, because the detail was so minute at times that it became a bit tedious. Still, I was so impressed with McCulloch’s broad scope of coverage and her obvious enthusiasm (I listened to the audiobook.) for all things language, especially informal language, the category to which she assigns internet language, that I decided the book deserved four stars. She presented a great deal of fascinating data on the many ways that the online world is changing language worldwide.

Memoir/Biography

Almost Anywhere: Road Trip Ruminations on Love, Nature, National Parks, and Nonsense, by Krista Schyler—This memoir is one of my favorite styles—a journey of personal introspection, written from the perspective of a physical journey. In this case Schyler travels for nearly a year in a car with her dog Maggie and her best friend Bill, trying to make sense of life after her boyfriend succumbs to metastatic testicular cancer at the age of 28. She tries to figure out what her future will look like, while traveling, hiking, appreciating natured and discerning the nature of her relationship with Bill.

 

Alpha Docs: The Making of a Cardiologist, by Daniel Munoz—I learned a lot about the world of cardiology by reading this book. I did not realize that the field contains so many subspecialties. Munoz tells multiple stories of patient encounters during his first year as a Cardiology Fellow at Johns Hopkins. Within these interesting case studies, Munoz shares what he likes and dislikes about each type (interventional, preventative, echo, etc.) His descriptions helped me to understand more about what each one meant.


A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal
, by Jen Waite This was an interesting story. More than anything, I liked it because it encouraged me that an average person still had a message to share that would sell books. Waite determined that her ex-husband was a sociopath, and that very well may be true. I’m not sure the evidence was always clearly laid out to support this, but she had an interesting story to tell of shock, survival and post-traumatic growth.

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, by Amy Ellis Nutt—This is a very well-written biography of a transgender girl and her family. Nutt documents the family’s journey from Nicole’s birth as Wyatt, an identical twin to Jonas. The family was supportive of Nicole throughout her many challenges and heartaches. The story is both fascinating and touching. I learned a lot.


The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster
, by Jonathan M Katz—This one was hard to categorize. It is a memoir because Katz lived through the Haiti earthquake and relates his personal experience, but it is also a meticulously-reported account of the earthquake and its aftermath. I found the detailed explanation of Haiti’s political more in depth than I wanted at times, but it is a legitimate part of the story, and the whole picture would be incomplete without this background. Among other things, this book is a reminder of how very fortunate I am.


Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected
, by Nnedi Okorafor—Okorafor shares her inspiring story of going from a college athlete to someone who had to overcome paralysis to learn to walk again, after the scoliosis surgery that was supposed to ward off future serious health problems went wrong. In her suffering, she found a way to make meaning and, as she says, become more than she would have been without it.


Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope into Action; A Memoir
, by David Fajgenbaum—In a similar vein to Broken Places & Outer Spaces, Fajgenbaum’s story is one of suddenly becoming deathly ill to finding meaning in his suffering. His story is different than Okorafor’s, though. I learned about Castleman disease, which has an incidence similar to ALS, but of which I had never heard. Fajgenbaum became afflicted while he was a medical school student, and the journey he shares of recovery and hope and perseverance is truly inspirational.

Climbing With Mollie, by William Finnegan—This Audible Original audiobook struck me with Finnegan’s obvious devotion to, and awe of, his daughter. They started rock climbing together when she was a teenager. She developed a high level of skill. His was not comparable, but they have enjoyed many years of climbing and travelling together. His discussion of their shared language reminds me of the language I share with fellow cyclists.


Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen
, by Hannah Howard—I really liked this book. Howard honestly and courageously shares her story of recovery from disordered eating and a series of unhealthy relationships. It was so enjoyable that I was sad to finish it because I will miss it.


Find Another Dream
, by Maysoon Zayid—This audiobook was wonderful. Maysoon’s story is inspirational, and her delivery was entertaining. I loved listening to this courageous memoir, sprinkled with Zayid’s comedic comments. I did not know who she was, although she has had a long career in stand-up and TV. She is a terrific advocate inclusion of all people, regardless of ability, health status, religion, gender, etc.

Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir, by Amanda Knox—Although I was aware of who Amanda Knox is, and I knew that she had been accused of murdering her British roommate in Italy, I really didn’t know much more. This is Amanda’s side of the story, and it is fascinating. She describes her decision to study abroad in Italy, her early days there and how she became entangled in the murder investigation and trial. She was imprisoned there for four years before being exonerated, but the mess didn’t end there. I really enjoyed this book.

Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom, by Ken Ilgunas— Besides being a fascinating and entertaining story, there are many lessons in this book. Ilgunas has chosen an unconventional path, and while it is not one I would follow precisely, his ideas about freedom, the value of higher education, debt, adventure and purpose gave me a lot to ponder. His adventures cover a wide range and vast geography—from lodge cleaner to AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer to tour guide to Arctic ranger to grad student living in a van to writer. I hope to read more of his work in the future. I am eager to see where his very interesting and unusual path takes him.

Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way, by Jimmy Wayne—This book contains an important message about the difference loving support can make in the life of a young person. Jimmy Wayne tells his poignant story of an unpredictable and dangerous childhood, abandonment by his mother and the critical intervention of a loving older couple who inspired him to walk halfway across the US to raise awareness for foster children, after becoming a country music star.


The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and A Life-Changing Journey Around the World
, by Kim Dinnan—I really enjoyed this book, although I felt like the story was more about the introspective journey than about the Yellow Envelope. I found myself impatient at times with the author because of her unsettledness and indecisiveness. I realized this was probably because it triggered anxiety about my own feelings of unsettledness. The story was very interesting, however, and it felt like a great escape to read.

Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman’s Quest for Balance, Strength and Inner Peace, by Kathryn E. Livingston—I found the first half of this book to be rather slow, and I wondered how I could be only 50% finished, according to my Kindle tracking. However, it became more interesting at that point, and I felt like I drew quite a bit of inspiration, including adding some Kundalini yoga to my own practice. Ultimately, I did enjoy the book, and I also felt like I grew through reading it.

Nature

Wildhood: The Epic Journey from Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals, by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz & Kathryn Bowers—I listened to this on audiobook, and it was fascinating! As the mother of a teenager, it was very interesting to understand that the adolescents of all species share common tasks and behave similarly as they strive to accomplish them. The authors explore how humans and other species approach status, safety, self-reliance and sex as they work toward becoming adults. It was enlightening.

Personal Development

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, by James Clear—This book begins with a powerful, attention-getting story that sets the stage for James’ interest in habits. He has many good suggestions and explains the habit cycle (Cue-Craving-Response-Reward) a bit differently than several other authors.

The Best of the Happiness Project Blog: Ten Years of Happiness, Good Habits, and More, by Gretchen Rubin—I have read several of Gretchen Rubin’s books, plus an occasional blog post over the years, so much of the material in this quick read was not new. Still, it was enjoyable, and I found new tidbits of inspiration.


Everything is Figureoutable
, by Marie Forleo—I am a big Marie Forleo fan and had been looking forward to this book. At first, I was a little disappointed because it felt like I had already heard a lot of it. However, the ideas are so good, and Marie presents them so simply that I really did find value in the book. Essentially, the book is a collection of many of her lessons all gathered in on place, which is useful. I have a lot of respect for Marie and look forward to learning more from her.

Creative Calling: Establish a Daily Practice, Infuse Your World with Meaning, and Find Success in Work, Hobby, and Life, by Chase Jarvis—I first learned about Chase Jarvis when I heard him on Lewis Howes’ podcast. I was fascinated by his story and bought his audiobook. During the time I was listening to the book, I heard Jarvis on Marie Forleo’s podcast. His message is encouraging, inspirational and heartfelt. Probably the idea I most liked in his book was toward the very end, when he said, “The best antidote to negative feeling is creative doing.” I can relate to this, and I agree with it. In my own life, I feel most alive when I am taking some form of creative action. Starting my book and making it public enhanced my well-being. Jarvis provides both practical ideas and motivational stories to encourage creativity in every person.

The Genius Habit: How One Habit Can Radically Change Your Work and Your Life, by Laura Garnett—This is another audiobook that I feel like I need to purchase in hard copy because there is so much I want to review. Garnett gave me a lot to consider in this book. One of her key points is that we each have a particular “genius” that allows us to excel in particular types of tasks. She challenges us to find that and then to apply it, along with our purpose, to our career paths. Her method for considering “purpose” is different than other approaches I have seen or taken. I need time and space to give her ideas deeper consideration.

Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals, by Rachel Hollis—I accidentally listened to this audiobook before I read or listened to Girl, Wash Your Face, because I got confused about which one came first. It didn’t hurt anything, although I wished I had done it the other way around. I still plan to read the other one. Rachel narrated this book and really made it come alive. Honestly, I was not familiar with her prior to listening. I feel like I know her now. She is very honest and very motivating. She speaks directly to women and gives us the pep talk and tough love to push us to pursue our dreams. I’m not sure I want to put in the hours she seems to have invested in her brand, and I don’t want to scale my business to the size of hers, but I did pick up a lot of good inspiration, as well as practical ideas for achieving certain goals. She talked a lot about her experience as an author, and I found that useful.


How to be Everything
, by Emily Wapnick—I learned so much from this audiobook! I listened to it at just the right time, when I was already in the midst of making some important changes.  This book emboldened me to own my power and my uniqueness in a deeper way. It helped me to honor my multipotentiality and to see it not as a source of wishy-washiness, but as a source of strength. I have a new definition of my professional self. I am grateful for finding this resource when I did.


The Leap of Your Life: How to Redefine Risk, Quit Waiting For ‘Someday,’ and Live Boldly
, by Tommy Baker—I listened to this on Audible and found good inspiration in it. I felt like the ending was a little weak, compared to the rest of the book, but I liked it. Essentially, the message is one I have come to believe is critical—We must live now. If we put off living or doing things that matter, we may miss our chance. Tommy Baker provides both inspiration and practical suggestions for making those things happen.

Someday Is Not a Day in the Week: 10 Hacks to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life, by Sam Horn—Having recently refocused my coaching practice as a No Regrets practice when I listened to this audiobook, I found that Sam Horn’s book (to which I listened during my commute) resonated deeply with me. Her wisdom is apparent as she shares her personal stories and the lessons she has learned around living and being happy right now, rather than waiting for someday. She has an apparent affinity for quotes, like I do, and she shared so many in her book. I purchased a hard copy of this book, not just for quotes (although that, too), but because there are many terrific exercises that I want to remember. I was so moved by this book that I emailed Horn and ended up having a phone conversation with her. Although it was not specifically about my writing a book, her words provided some of the encouragement I needed to decide that this was the time to do so. She also helped me to own and honor my unique message.


You Are a Badass Every Day: How to Keep Your Motivation Strong, Your Vibe High, and Your Quest for Transformation Unstoppable
, by Jen Sincero—I really do love Jen Sincero’s style. This is the third one of her books I have read. This one is more quick bites of motivation, but she says that from the start. Rather than just read a chapter a day or turn to pages randomly, I chose to read it through. It was a very quick read, but there are lots of good reminders there.

Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals, by Michael Hyatt—I was surprised how inspiring and valuable I found this book. Besides gleaning many great quotes from it, I found quite a few strategies that will enhance both my personal life and my coaching practice. Really good stuff here.

Let me know if you have read any of these, and please share your favorite book or books of 2019.