My Take on a Book Review #6 – Rising Strong – Brene Brown

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Another fantastic book by Brene Brown!  Read it!  (Should I end the post there?!)

This book is about overcoming adversity and how to “Rise Strong” from these experiences.  Great for anyone going through change professionally or personally…which is pretty much all of us.

Bravery and courage are themes in this book.  There were a lot of quotes I liked in this book.
“If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is they physics of vulnerability”
“Courage is contagious” so true…in light of the recent Bell Let’s Talk Day, I saw so many people sharing their story because someone else was courageous enough to share.
“Once we start being brave we can never go back.  Courage transforms the emotional structure of our being.  It can also reignite our sense of purpose”

There is a process to Rising Strong.  Reckoning, Rumble, Revolution.
1. Reckoning – where we recognize the emotion and how it connects to the way we think and behave.  Where we chose courage over comfort.
“Denying emotion is like never taking your car out of the garage.  It’s safe in there, but you’ll never go anywhere”

2. Rumble – where we have to be honest about the stories we’re making up about our struggle (choose courage over comfort).  Then challenge them to determine the truth and what needs to change.  This is what is the hardest and takes the most time.  She spends the majority of the book talking about the “rumble”.
Topics she covers: boundaries, integrity, generosity, expectations, disappointment, resentment, heartbreak, grief, forgiveness, empathy, connection, judgement, asking for help, fear, shame, perfectionism, accountability, trust, failure, regret, criticism.  Big topics with big emotions!
“Expectations are resentments waiting to happen”
“When perfectionism is driving, shame is riding shotgun”
“Comparison sucks the creativity and joy right out of life”

3. Revolution – writing a new ending to your story based on what you’ve learned.  Transforming the way you live.
“There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fear mongers than those of us who are willing to fall because we have learned how to rise”

Just another great book by Brene Brown.  She is such a powerful person and great writer.  In case you missed my other posts on her books…take a look:
Daring Greatly
The Gifts of Imperfection

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My Take on a Book Review #4 – The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch

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I was interested to read this book because I’ve heard 80/20 beat to death in almost every aspect of life (80/20 clean eating, 80/20 exercise, 80/20 at work, on and on) and was curious what I else I could take away from reading a book about it.

The author claims that 80% of our success stems from 20% of our efforts.  Interesting!

80/20 rule is not time management, it is time revolution.  Time management is how to organize your time more effectively.  Time revolution is about our use of time being the enemy.  We only make good use of 20% of our time.  For the procrastinators in the crowd…you really only use the last 20% of your time to complete a project, right?…so why not cut deadlines in half (or more) since you’re not using 80% of the time for completion anyway?

Find the 20% of your time that gives you 80% of your results, happiness, achievements, etc.  Do the same for the 80% that causes unhappiness, doesn’t give results or achievements.  Act on the 20% and find ways to get rid of the 80%.  He elaborates on this a bit more in the book.

The author’s research showed that for most people 80% of our happiness occurs during 20% of our time.  That’s brutal!  This was by far my favourite part of the book.  He proposes these 7 habits of happiness:
1. Exercise.  MAKE TIME FOR IT!
2. Mental stimulation.  Crossword puzzles, talking with a friend, journalling, anything that requires active thought.
3. Spiritual/artistic stimulation/meditation.  At least ½ hour food for the imagination or spirit.  Yoga, a concert, art gallery, watching the sunrise/sunset, meditation.
4. Doing a good deed.  A random act of kindness.
5. Talking a pleasure break with a friend.  Cup of coffee or a walk with a friend.
6. Giving yourself a treat.  Write a list of pleasures that you could indulge yourself and try to cross off one a day.
7. Congratulate yourself.  Try to accomplish 5 of these a day and congratulate yourself!

And these 7 shortcuts to a happy life:
1. Maximize your control.
2. Set attainable goals.  Challenging but not too difficult.
3. Be flexible.  Accept what you cannot control
4. Have a close relationship with your partner.
5. Have a few happy friends that you have close relationships with.
6. Have a few close professional alliances.  People who you will go out of your way to support and vice versa.
7. Evolve your idea lifestyle.  A balance between work/home/social life.

There were some interesting parts to this book, but I honestly found myself skimming through it as I found it a bit repetitive and the studies he references kind of boring.  I still think it is worth a read….especially for decision makers in a company, anyone self-employed, people in marketing careers, or for anyone feeling like they can never get ahead in their work.  None of those really apply to me, so likely why this wasn’t my favourite book!

 

My Take on a Book Review #2 – Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

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First, if you’ve never heard of Brene Brown you need to watch her TED talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” and her TED talk on “Listening to Shame”.  She is just phenomenal!  She is a researcher on shame and vulnerability, which sounds awful!!  But she’s written about some pretty amazing and powerful things in her books.

I just finished reading this book for a second time…and will definitely be reading it a 3rd, 4th, 5th time too.  What a GREAT book!  You ALL need to read it.  I could write a million words about the awesomeness of this book, but you just need to read it!

Scarcity, vulnerability, and shame are the main themes of this book, something we all experience in every aspect of our lives…career, personal life, and social life.

She talks about scarcity – we’re never enough.    Think about it…your thoughts of “not enough” are always first in your mind (“I didn’t get enough sleep” or “I don’t have enough time” etc etc etc).
The opposite of scarcity isn’t abundance, it is “enough”.
Three questions to ask yourself to see if there’s scarcity in your life:
1. Shame.  Is there fear of ridicule?  Is your self worth tied to achievement?  Is blaming the norm?
2. Comparison.  Has creativity been suffocated?  Is there constant comparison?
3. Disengagement.  Are you afraid to take risks/try new things?  Is it easier to be quiet?  Is it a struggle to be heard?

Her definition of vulnerability is – uncertainty, risk, emotional exposure.  It sounds like the truth and feels like courage.  It’s where courage and fear meet.
Think about it….when someone else shows vulnerability we think they’re courageous.  When you think about being vulnerable yourself you are scared to death!  Our biggest critic is ourselves.

Shame – anytime you’ve been afraid to speak up or share an idea….that’s shame.  Being afraid of belittled or being wrong…that’s shame.   Shame is not the same at guilt… Shame = I am bad.  Guilt = I did something bad.
There’s a whole chapter on how we feel shame.  How men feel shame, how women feel shame, bullying, etc.  Read it twice.  Great chapter!

There’s a chapter on shame in the workplace…and important one for any leaders out there.  “Shame can only rise so far in a system before people disengage to protect themselves.  When we’re disengaged, we don’t show up, we don’t contribute, and we stop caring”.  NOT GOOD!

There’s also a great chapter on parenting and shame, perfectionism, belonging, modelling who we want our children to be.  READ IT!

Some of my favourite quotes from this book:
“Shame resilience is key to embracing our vulnerability.  We can’t let ourselves be seen if we’re terrified by what people might think.  Often not being good at vulnerability means that we’re damned good at shame”.

“A sense of worthiness inspires us to be vulnerable, share openly, and persevere.  Shame keeps us small, resentful, and afraid”.

“If you’re not in the arena with the rest of us fighting and getting your ass kicked on occasion, I’m not interested in your feedback”….so if you’re not showing vulnerability but like to criticize me, I’m not interested in what you have to say.  Even more important in with all the social media critics out there!

There’s so much more in this book, but I promised myself that I’d keep these reviews short (so that you’d actually read them!).  Just go buy this book and read it.  Over and over and over!

My take on a book review…

Ever since I finished my degree in spring of 2017 (BEST FEELING EVER!!!), I was excited to start reading for ‘fun’ again and not because I ‘had to’ for school (even though most of my classes were quite interesting).  I read probably half a dozen “fun” books as I call them…aka fiction.  When I was about ½ way through the one I thought to myself….what am I doing, why am I reading this useless book.  Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy fiction…but I’d obviously read one too many of them!

So, after a few conversations with people I compiled a list of non-fiction books to read and started on that list!  Nerd alert….I decided to make some notes on these books for myself so that I could reference back to my main takeaways from them without having to re-read them (I’m not against re-reading, it’s just that my list of books to read is getting longer and longer so I don’t have time to re-read right now!).  Then, with more discussions I was encouraged to blog these notes…sort of my take on a book review I suppose.

Some of the books I’ve read (& will blog/write a review about in the future):

Daring Greatly – Brene Brown
The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown
The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman
Make It Stick – Brian, Roediger, McDaniel
The 80/20 Principle – Richard Koch
The No Asshole Rule – Robert Sutton
The 4 Hour Workweek – Timothy Ferris
How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F@#$ – Mark Manson
You Are a Badass – Jen Sincero

On my reading list (and growing daily!):

Rising Strong – Brene Brown
Braving The Wilderness – Brene Brown
Option B – Sheryl Sandberg
The School of Greatness – Lewis Howes
On Fire – John O’Leary
Girl Boss – Sophie Amoruso

Would love to hear of some other must read books out there!
Stay tuned for my first unofficial book review….is there a book you’d like a review on first?

 

Olympics…Do They Inspire You?

The Olympics just finished and I’m kind of sad!  I wait anxiously for the 2 weeks every 2 years when I can watch the Olympics on TV and watch sports that I would never otherwise watch!  There’s just something about thousands of athletes giving it there all for their country after training so hard for that one moment.  I find it amazing how hard these athletes train all their lives for one potential opportunity to compete once every 4 years.  They give up everything (jobs, family time, maybe some friendships) and they may not even make it to the Games.  But it is so exciting watching the passion these athletes have for their sport and the drive and determination to perform their best.  It breaks my heart when someone fails or falls or  injures themselves…they are so devastated having worked so hard and then not being able to show that off.

Even more inspiring could be the Paralympics!  Those athletes have overcome some amazing obstacles to get where they are.  I sure hope there is decent coverage of the games (They start next week!) with some back stories of these phenomenal athletes!

It often makes me wonder…how much passion must you have for that one sport or skill that you are willing to sacrifice so much in order to make it that far!  Are any of you that passionate about anything in your life that you can become that successful?  Are you that passionate about your career, your family, your hobbies?  I can think of a few people who are.

I’ve always thought that entrepreneurs must be that passionate about their idea in order to take that big of a risk in opening a new business.  Or new authors who write their first books hoping that people will like their stories.  Or anyone with that much passion that they will put themselves out there with the risk of failure!

So, for me there is more to watching the Olympics than just watching the Olympics!  It makes me think about the many people in my life who have that drive and passion to do great things!  Hopefully you can find something in your life that makes you feel like an Olympian!