Finding Inspiration in Books

You know the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”? Well I would also say that it takes a village to follow your dreams. There are a lot of people that helped motivate me to quit my mundane corporate job. Although I was passionate and ready, when the majority tells you to stay and fit in with society, going against the grain is difficult to say the least.

And though I am not receiving any Pulitzers anytime soon, I have done better than I expected in a surprisingly short period of time. For that I have a lot to be grateful for and a lot of people to thank. So if I was standing on the podium now, giving my, “I’d like to thank the Academy speech,” I’d start off by thanking my husband, my friends and family that support me, my coach Jaqui, fellow freelance writers and all the books that have pushed me from maybe to, “Yes, I can!”  I thought I’d leave a list of resources for those of you looking to take your own leap into dreamville.

  1. A great book for helping you find your dreams and then giving you the courage to follow them: Martha Beck, “Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live
  2. Helped me to discover what kind of artist I was and how that effects the best career for me. Great for other creatives out there: Carol Lloyd, “Creating a Life Worth Living-A Practical Course in Career Design for Artists, Innovators, and Others Aspiring to a Creative Life.”
  3. Strengthens your intuitive muscle: Thomas Moore, “A Life at Work-The Joy of Discovering What You Were Born to Do.”
  4. Helps you to create a plan to escape from the corporate jungle: Michelle Goodman, “The Anti 9 to 5 Guide-Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube.”
  5. This book gave me hope that I can do it on my own, that there were others going through the same ups and downs as me and that we could all come out alive, happy and successful: Kristen Fischer, “Creative Self-Employed-How Writers and Artists Deal with Career Ups and Downs.”
  6. Absolutely loved this book. It was one of the first books I read about helping me rediscover my dream to be a writer: Barbara Sher, “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was-How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It.”
  7. Great book for women entrepreneurs: Lauren Bacon & Emira Mears, “The Boss of You: Everything A Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business.”

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

I just finished a miraculous book. It may be my new favorite read of all time. At over 600 pages, it wasn’t a fast read, but it was an inspiring one. And well worth it. Returning it to the library today, I found myself surprisingly sad to say good-bye.

The culprit?

A spell-bounding biography that made me laugh and cry. Neal Gabler’s Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination astounded me and took my breath away. I have always been in love with everything Disney, but I never knew much about the man behind it. Even more shocking is the fact that I don’t normally read biographies. But after visiting the Walt Disney museum in San Francisco, I was curious. And as luck would have it, I discovered Gabler’s book and I’m really glad I did.

The book is filled with Disney’s inspiring story of financial struggle, hard work, perfectionism and determination, key factors that make up a visionary-someone who would change the world years after he died.

I’m saddened by the fact that I wasn’t around when Disney was alive. But tremendously grateful that I picked up Gabler’s book. Whenever money or rejection gets me down, I recall Gabler’s words on Disney’s life and am inspired to keep going.

In fact, one of Disney’s quotes in the book forever changed the way I thought about finding your dream career. Instead of sitting down, researching and asking myself, “What do I want to do with my life?” I realized that using your left-brained may not be the best way to discover your life’s purpose. Maybe it’s about following what makes your heart skip a beat, what consumes your thoughts and time that you should really be pursuing. Kind of like what Disney says in the book:

“The way to do it is just to go off and get interested in some little thing, some little idea that interests me, some little idea that looks like fun..” Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination (Vintage)

The thing is that we don’t know what our future holds. We can see what we’ve done in the past, experience what we’re doing in the present and only hold wonder about the future. Maybe the hints are in the present moments, the ones that make us shiver in delight. I think that’s what Disney did. And maybe that’s what we need to do too.

A Life at Work

With the economy as it is these days, it is somewhat more difficult getting inspired.  Though I am fortunate to have a job, it is what it is, a job.  Reading during my lunch break is what keeps my hopes and dreams alive.

Recently, I read Thomas Moore’s “A Life at Work” which intertwines ones lifework with values I often neglect such as your soul, spirit, ethics and pleasure.  Who knew that a job could hold so much importance?  This explains why I’ve had trouble in the past staying at a place that ran contrary to my personal values and ethics.

Moore says, “If you work at a job that contradicts your ethics, you are divided, your personal values moving in one direction and your work in another.  Since ethics has deep roots in your emotions and your vision, you will feel divided against yourself. Your work will be disturbing, and you will never get to the point where you feel you have found your life work.  Ethics play a deep and central role in this search…Practical labor without a spiritual base is unconscious, narcissistic, and one-dimensional.  Without the spiritual, work is a mere job.”

Book Review: Don’t Waste Your Talent

Several months ago, I received a book from Highlands Company, a publisher who created Don’t Waste Your Talent. I’m happy to say my husband and I FINALLY finished the book, and it was well worth the wait. Here are my list of pros and cons of Don’t Waste Your Talent: The 8 Critical Steps to Discovering What You Do Best. You might want to add it to your library of inspirational reads!

Summary: Bob McDonald and Don E. Hutcheson created a book perfect for the career seeker. If you feel like you are going through a mid-life, quarter-life crisis, or just feel like you need a change, Don’t Waste Your Talent can help you delve deep into what may be missing in your life. Their stance is that most people in society are in a fog, living the life they think they are supposed to be living versus their authentic life. They call it this the Lemming Conspiracy: based on artic animals who jump off a cliff (literally) together without knowing why they do so. People buy into systems like career and family and spend most of their lives working weekends and weeknights to get promoted and make money but feel empty because it is not aligned with their true purpose. The book is based on McDonald and Hutcheson’s program for corporations and there are samples in the book from those who went through this program. Continue reading →

Book Review: Steering By Starlight

In my last book review, I was disappointed by the book’s inability to cause a change in my husband and I. Well, I won’t be saying that about this one. Not since The Power of Now has a book stirred me up so much. A definite life shifter Steering by Starlight: Find Your Right Life, No Matter What!is the kind of read that makes you want to live better and believe that a better life (a more magical, mystical and miracle-laden one) is possible.

This is one of the books I call my “turtle reader” because it’s among my stash that I read super slowly. It’s my wine and chocolate read. This is the kind of book that should be savored, absorbed and appreciated. Frankly, I couldn’t get enough of it and was sad when it came to an end.

Why? Continue reading →

A Special Package: Delivering Happiness

I love receiving packages in the mail. The only thing I love better? Surprise packages!

Imagine my excitement, then, when about a month ago a special delivery came my way without my expectation of it. Who knew the package would beDelivering Happiness?

I graciously accepted Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose for free and his invitation to read and review it on launch date today June 7th.

I’ll admit I was overly excited to read it. It’s kind of like one of the quotes from his book, “When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny.” (Bertice Berry) It felt serendipitous that this book fell into my hands. Hsieh’s sense of passion and purpose mimics those I’ve seen in Walt Disney and I quickly realized that to make it big, you better be ready to risk big.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Continue reading →

Book Review: Click

A few months ago, I had one of those rare serendipitous moments. An exciting gift landed in my email box. An opportunity to review coauthors Rom Brafman, Ph.D. and his brother Ori Brafman’s brand new book Click: The Magic of Instant Connections. Yes. This lil’ blogger was very excited. You may have remembered this talented duo in a past post I wrote about their other page turning book Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior.

Well I don’t know how they found me, chalk up to the powers that be, but they did. And I received my own free copy of the brand new book in my mail a little while later.

So I guess the question is, “Did Click click with me?”

Continue reading →

Spirited Book Review: A Surprisingly Inspiring, Not Spooky Read

This review is a tad-bit left field in comparison to my usual book reviews. But there was something surprisingly inspiring and not spooky about the read (hence the title) and a few gems I thought I’d share here.

Did you ever wonder if you had a guardian angel? And if you did, whether they could help guide your future? Help you make the right decisions? Validate your current path?

Well you could drop a few Benjamins to see a psychic or you could read about ways to DIY. I discovered Spirited: Connect to the Guides All Around You from teaches you how to tune into your own 6th sense, develop it, then get the nudge you need to follow your own path. Continue reading →

A "Shift" in Perspective: A Book Review

This brand, spankin’ new book, published in 2010, was something I hadn’t heard of and written by Peter Arnell, an author I wasn’t aware of either. But the title, *Shift: How to Reinvent Your Business, Your Career, and Your Personal Brand
sounded enticing especially when names like Martha Stewart, Donna Karan and Gwyneth Paltrow backed it up.

So I gave it a try and guess what?

I wasn’t disappointed and I don’t think you’ll be either.

But first, here’s the cons:

While you can’t judge a book by its cover, I don’t think you should judge a book by its first few pages either. If I had Shift and I would have said, “Sayonara” a long time ago. Continue reading →