A big thank you to Zoë Bishop for sharing this.

Every week on my Feel Good Friday show on Yowah Radio I share a life lesson from some cracking books I’ve read over the past few years. Books that have really had an impact on my self-development. In this article, I bring 10 of them together for you in one place and share a valuable takeaway from each one.

I hope you’ll be inspired by my key learnings.

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The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

It was recommended to me by my business and mindset coach Kathryn Moorhouse. As described in the blurb, the author reveals a simple yet comprehensive programme for overcoming our one barrier to happiness and fulfilment, providing a clear path for achieving our true potential. There is a whole chapter focusing on ‘Einstein time’ and how you’re where time comes from and that you need to stop being a victim of time.

I now try not to use time-based excuses (like oh I don’t have time right now etc etc) and tell myself each day “ I’m the producer of time, I can make as much of it as I need.”

It’s been revolutionary and has helped me get more done in less time.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

I’ve always been a positive person but this book takes positivity and optimism to a whole new level. I was gifted a copy by my business associate (and true friend) Natalie Moulden for which I will always be very grateful.

The idea is to switch your thinking to only positive thoughts visualise the outcomes that you want in life and affirm how you want your life to be. It covers gratitude, loving yourself, money, health, relationships, and more.

The results I’ve seen are amazing. I’ve learnt to try and think only positive things and work with the universe regarding what I am transmitting. It takes practice but by using it I’ve been able to grow my business, play better at netball (and win) games, get a car parking space, and even win a competition just by believing the end result I want will materialise.

If you’ve read the book I’d love to have a conversation with you! And if you haven’t I’d highly recommend checking it out.

Why less means more by Cathy Madavan.

This is a wonderful book that invites you to leave your fear and frantic activity behind and discover more space and simplicity.

It’s split into ten easy-to-read sections where Cathy explains how saying no to one thing might mean saying yes to something far better. Each chapter focuses on highlighting something we may want to do less of, alongside something we could replace it with.

The one that resonated most with me is Less success, more significance. I loved the way she encourages us to reappraise what we believe success to be and the importance of setting our own personal benchmarks in life. If you don’t you will inadvertently end up playing somebody else’s game, with their definitions of success. She explores how we can feel fulfilled in other ways and can be motivated by other things which is where significance is found.

The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters.

This book was on a recommended reading list I got from my Mindfulness coach. As per the book’s blurb, the text is an incredibly powerful mind management model that can help you become a happy confident, healthier and more successful person. The author explains the struggle that takes place within your mind and then shows you how to apply this understanding to every area of your life so you can:

  • Recognise how your mind is working

  • Understand and manage your emotions and thoughts

  • Manage yourself and become the person you would like to be.

What I love about the book is that Prof Peters explains how we all have an inner chimp who can come in and hijack our thoughts, feelings and behaviours but there are ways to control them and ‘manage your chimp.’ He even encourages you to give your chimp a name!

It’s certainly made me look at situations differently and consider who’s in control, me or my chimp. Using this approach has helped me to stay slightly more rational.

There’s also a version for children which we bought for our daughters last Christmas! It uses the same approach but is specially designed for kids to help them understand and manage their emotions, thinking and behaviour.

James Clear Atomic Habits.

I think this is one of those books that appear on so many people’s bucket lists of books! I was gifted the publication by a fabulous friend of mine – Eldon Davis. It was funny as I’d been talking about wanting to read the book with my girlfriends on a spa weekend and I came back to find it waiting for me. Love it when things like that happen. The power of visualisation!

Atomic Habits by James Clear

The back of the book synopsis is this: People think when you want to change your life, you need to think big. But world-renowned habits expert James Clear has discovered another way. He knows that real change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions – doing 2 push-ups a day, waking up 5 minutes earlier, or reading just one more page. He calls them atomic habits. Clear reveals exactly how these minuscule changes can grow into such life-altering outcomes.

There’s so much amazing content in the book it’s difficult to pick out just one takeaway lesson but one of my favourite chapters is #16 How to stick with good habits every day. Clear discusses why habit tracking is powerful because it leverages multiple laws of behaviour change. It simultaneously makes a behaviour obvious, attractive and satisfying which he goes into more detail on throughout the chapter. He describes how habit trackers and other visual forms of measurement can make your habits satisfying by providing clear evidence of your progress. I’ve seen this work first-hand through the habit tracker I use in the Inspire Now journal. I’ve been able to get to bed by 11 pm each night, read my morning devotions every day and read a nonfiction book before I go to sleep all because of the satisfaction of ticking a box! They are now all part of my daily routine and I rarely break any of them.

If you’ve read the book what’s the one thing you’ve learnt? It would be great to hear your experiences. If you’re looking to create better habits and you haven’t read the book yet, you really must!

Gratitude Journey Volume 3 Chris Palmore

If you know me or you’ve been listening regularly to the show you’ll know I’m a huge advocate of gratitude. You’ll also know a piece of writing I recently submitted got accepted to appear in the book Gratitude Journey Volume 3 put together by Chris Palmore. It was such an honour to be part of the project and I was really interested to read all the other pieces from my fellow contributors.

What I loved about it was learning how gratitude has impacted so many other people’s lives and getting their take on it. The one theme that really knits the whole book together is the ripples kindness has. I also enjoyed the questions and thought-provoking note sections after each chapter.

The Writings of Florence Scovel Shinn.

The book (as per the blurb) shares real-life stories with us from her many clients to illustrate how positive attitudes and affirmations invariably succeed in making one a “winner” in life.

From her four famous books: The Game of Life and How to Play It, Your Word is Your Wand, The Secret Door to Success, and The Power of the Spoken Word, this one-volume edition of her writings provides the reader with one of the most helpful, anecdote-rich and entertaining books in the entire literature of self-help and metaphysics.

The author really encourages you to use positive daily affirmations to help you believe in yourself and have confidence. This is one of my favourites that I took from the book:

“ I have a perfect work,

In a perfect way;

I give a perfect service

For perfect pay.”

Which I say to myself every day. Over the past two years, I’ve built up a range of positive affirmations to repeat every morning. They have made a huge difference in my life and have dramatically helped to improve a skin condition that I’ve had for the past 8 years. Happy to chat with you on that one if you want the full story!

Do you use affirmations on a daily basis? I’d love to hear from you if you have! Or if you’d like to know more about how to use them please do get in touch.

The Power Rhonda Byrne

I remember reading it on holiday and loving it. Here’s an extract from the blurb: The life of your dreams has always been closer to you than you realised because The Power to have everything good in life is inside you.

What I especially enjoyed was the way it was structured as it includes a section on all areas of your life to consider, for example, The Power and Money, The Power and Relationships, The Power and Health, The Power and You, and the Power and Life.

It’s also full of fantastic quotes that are scattered across the book, which help emphasise all the key points the author is making.

This book has been so influential in helping me to reframe my thoughts and the power that it gives me. Definitely worth a read!

Mindfulness – a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.

The text was recommended to me by the fabulous Christine Bell from Harrogate Mindfulness. I read it shortly after completing an 8-week course with her which I did with my husband. Alongside what I learnt from the specific mindfulness training it really taught me the importance of living in the moment.

The book (as per the blurb) reveals a set of simple yet powerful practices that you can incorporate into daily life to break the cycle of anxiety, stress, unhappiness and exhaustion. It promotes the kind of happiness that gets into your bones and allows you to meet the worst that life throws at you with new courage.

I agree wholeheartedly that it does!

Mindfulness a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Mark Williams and Danny Penman

There are some great exercises in there as well. Two of my favourites were the chocolate meditation and the raisin meditation. Both of these encourage you to fully observe what you’re eating (in terms of chocolate or raisin) and the experience it’s giving you. It’s all about focusing on paying full attention to things and the difference that it makes.

Here’s an extract from Chapter 5:

Mindfulness Week One: Waking up to the autopilot

But once you see the difference that paying full attention can make to the small things in life you start to get an inkling of the cost of inattention. Just think of all the pleasures of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching that are drifting by you unnoticed. You may be missing vast portions of your daily life.

Have you completed either of these meditations? I’d love to hear your experiences

As well as reading the book, I’ve also really enjoyed the accompanying meditations you can access via SoundCloud. My favourite is Mindfulness Movement.

The Boy, the mole, the fox, and the horse by Charlie Mackay

A bit of a different style of book mainly because it also includes the most beautiful illustrations but I’ve still learnt just as much from this text. I actually bought the publication for my daughter’s 10th birthday and it’s a special book because we often read it together. There are so many wonderful life lessons and encouragements for both children and adults to take in.

Set in springtime the author takes you on a wonderful adventure with the boy and animals as they navigate life together. In his introduction, Charlie Mackay says this:

“I hope this book encourages you, perhaps to live courageously with more kindness for yourself and for others. And to ask for help when you need it – which is always a brave thing to do. When I was making the book I often wondered who on earth am I to be doing this? But as the horse says “The truth is everyone is winging it.” So I say spread your wings and follow your dreams, this book is one of mine.

Each page transports you to their world and is full of wisdom.

It’s almost impossible to share a favourite page but one that I think we all need reminding of is this:

“The greatest illusion said the mole is that life should be perfect.”

The Boy, the mole, the fox, and the horse by Charlie Mackay

Gorgeous drawings and a powerful message

I think we all get caught up in sometimes, wanting everything to be just right. But it isn’t is it? As Mole says it’s an illusion.

Add these books to your reading list.

Ten books that have taught me something.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing more about these impactful books. I’d love to know which ones you’ve read and have a conversation about your key takeaways. Feel free to book a chat if you’d like to discuss this over a coffee!

You can also listen to me on Yowah Radio every Friday from 11 am -1 pm when I talk about other inspirational texts. If you’d like to share something you have read together with a life lesson it would be a pleasure to feature your recommendation. Just get in touch with your book choice and a simple commentary on what it’s taught you.

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