When you’re the boss, you have to find new ways to motivate your client – who just happens to be yourself.
In the spirit of the New Year, I’ve been going through my collection of self-help books, podcasts, articles and more. I’m a sucker for anything that will give me an edge toward crafting the life that I want, which is one I don’t feel like I need to escape from. Books about habits, self-actualization, girl-bossing, shadow work, enneagrams, Myers-Brigs, perfectionism, codependency, and something about taming a tiger – I read lots of them.
I am not an expert in how to live life. I also don’t like asking other people for help. When at times I find myself stuck in a loop of negative thinking or just can’t get out of my own way, I do what I always do which is look for an answer in a book. I like learning more about why I choose to do the things I do, so maybe next time I don’t do that thing.
Writing, particularly choosing to be an indie writer, means I have more tasks to complete. And as much as the process of writing should be its own motivator, some days it’s difficult for me to justify spending time writing when I also have students, kids, a husband, vacations to take, papers to grade, and other things to fret over. Finding consistent motivation is difficult, especially knowing I am faced with the fact that I must do it all. I conceptualize the story, plot it, shape it, hire editors and copy editors, cover designers, then I paginate, proof, send off the printers, and then promote the ever-loving hell out of it.
I can’t coast and hope someone else in the office will pick up the slack. I am the whole staff.
And I cannot complete all the tasks I must complete if I am self-sabotaging all my efforts. I have to tell myself not only that I can write, but I should write. I have to squash imposter syndrome. And I have to manage my time to get it all done.
So I take in as much advice as possible to make sure I am inspired, motivated, organized, and injecting myself with boosts of confidence.
For the month of January, I am going to provide my self-help book recommendations, particularlythe ones that have given me the best advice.
Why do I love self-help books?
You can always tell whoever wrote it that they are completely full of sh*t. Not directly, don’t be one of those jerks online who track people down just to say, “You suck.” But when you read a self-help book, you can – in the comfort of your own reading space– tell the writer that you are not here for their advice. You can stop reading it at any time.
It’s not necessarily high art. It’s one of the few books that I’m consuming for content instead of analyzing how they have written it. Self-help, while at times well written and lyrical, is more about being conversational and connective.
I can cherry pick the advice. I must admit, I’m actually the worst customer for the self-help industry, because I do not do the exercises. I don’t always read it in the order assigned. And I will pick what I decide will work for me. Any self-help writer telling me I “must” follow all their advice for it to work, should know that my natural response is always, “You can’t tell me what to do.”
But of the writers who can’t tell me what to do, I will always return over and over again to certain books when I get stuck, need inspiration, or am looking for a little boost to get me motivated.
This month, I will be posting about the books that have helped me the most.
Read Books. Wear Boots.