Have Time on Your Hands, Pick up a Book and Read!

An armful of recent books to arouse creativity, spark your entrepreneurial ventures, and uplift your life in new ways.

I can't believe two weeks (or more) has dropped in my lap as a challenge to do what I said I didn’t have time to do:

1. Read more books

2. Write more articles

3. Finish my next book

4. Find calm in the midst of chaos

And now time is exactly what I do have.

As a little girl with big dreams, I was the curly-haired redhead waiting at the corner for the bookmobile during the summer weeks in Monterey, California. I’d end up with an armload of books to absorb over the next week, and I’d read them all.

Books have always been a resource of inspiration, entertainment, healing, and transformation for me.

I love the feel of a book in my hand. I buy the physical book so I can highlight and make notes in the margins. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, I love to be interactive with my reading experience.

Whoever inherits my library will discover a lot about me!

During this free time, I decided to create a bookmobile adventure for you, pulling from my bookshelf, titles that are fairly recently published. I chose some that were new and some that have become a new classic for me.

I’m always interested in personal development, real-life stories of women rising strong, and ideas to make my creative spirit soar. My highlighter is the measure by which I know it was meaningful.

Here it goes…

Everything is Figureoutable

Marie Forleo was one of Oprah’s “New Thought Leaders” for the next generation, and I have listened to her podcasts for years.

Her book title is inspired by Marie’s sassy mom who could figure out the solution to any problem. With this philosophy and potential, Marie made me feel I could succeed at anything I dream of, if I define it, address negative beliefs, use fear as a motivator, and take action.

I love Marie’s style, it’s just as she speaks on her popular Marie TV. She’s a quirky Jersey girl who is relatable and knows what she’s talking about when it comes to women starting businesses, particularly online.

She’s been doing this for more than a decade and she makes more than 7 figures.

Marie is emphatic that at the core of every roadblock, whether it’s struggling to get to the next level of your business, finding that one true relationship, or making dreams come true, it all boils down to beliefs you have acquired in life… and they are not necessarily true. Some of those beliefs can be holding you back from living the life of your dreams.

Her book is a step-by-step, train your brain to behave in a more productive way. In her book, she writes, “You wouldn’t have the dream if you didn’t already have what it takes to make it happen!”

And I believe her. She’s a successful entrepreneur who figured it out and loves sharing it with others. Her book and her work are for the entrepreneur, the artist, and the multi-passionate woman who wants to bring her big dream to life.

Marie has changed thousands of women’s lives and businesses. She’s one I’ll keep listening to.

The Audacity to Be Queen

I’m more impressed with this concept than I expected to be. I remember feeling like a princess when I was a little girl… but my destiny was to grow up and become something more.

Like Gina says, princesses rely on others to hold their court, but it’s the Queen that’s in control of her own destiny.

I’ve followed Gina for many years online. She’s an inspiring speaker, and she has helped many women articulate their dreams, and fulfill them. In her book, she urges us to take the reins of our destiny, a using manifestation coupled with actionable steps to attain our goals.

I love how she “unapologetically” claims her desires for a beautiful life, filled with travel, exquisite clothes, optimum experiences, and a man by her side. She stresses that our actions often get misaligned with our words, and it’s our words that trip us up because our minds sabotage us.

For example, she says we might have a limiting belief that you can’t do what you love and make money. That’s a big one for me. My father always said art/creativity wasn’t a real job, so, I studied business in college, but I never gave up my passion for writing.

Gina says to ask the “Saboteur” (aka your mind) why it shows up whenever you have a dream. “Do you believe you can’t do what you love and make great money?” Then ask it to release you from that belief and summon your inner “Queen.” Ask for help in making choices that will lead the way. What’s the very next step? Remember, as a queen, YOU make the choices for your life.

She stresses that sometimes you need help. Summon a coach, a therapist, a mentor who can help you move forward. She says “have the wisdom to understand that if you could have done it alone, you would have done it by now.

That’s great advice. I’m a big believer in continuing my education towards my goals. I take courses, hire coaches, listen to podcasts, and read as much as I can about my chosen destiny. I have every confidence my inner queen is capable, aware, and strong enough to realize my fullest potential and my best life.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

My creative mind couldn’t have been blown open more than it was when I read this from Gilbert’s book: “I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses but also by ideas. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they certainly have the will. Therefore, ideas spend eternity swirling around us, searching for available and willing human partners.”

What? It’s exactly as I suspected all along. We just have to answer the call to duty and claim that idea is ours to develop! That book, that blogpost, that idea to help entrepreneurs make more money is waiting for you to claim it.

Elizabeth makes creativity a seductive partner. She asks, “Why do people persist in creating, even when it’s difficult and inconvenient and often financially unrewarding?” It’s because those of us who create can’t imagine life without it.

Where would my heart and mind wander if I couldn’t use my creative soul? And I’m not necessarily talking about writing. One would hope you have passion and romance for creating anything that drives you. Whether it’s business, a part-time passion, or a hobby, your creative spirit demands expression. It wakes up your heart, your energy, and your joy. That’s the driving force that makes you, as a creative, succeed.

Daring Greatly & Rising Strong

There isn’t a booklist in this past decade that shouldn’t include these two Brené Brown books, whether you’re a man or a woman. She cracks open the deepest part of us that holds us back… shame.

She asks that we shed the light on our secrets that fester self-doubt and hold us back from living our lives wholeheartedly.

She challenges us to turn failure into an opportunity to be “braver in your life.”

I don’t know about you, but I wanted to stand up and cheer when I read both Daring Greatly and Rising Strong. She makes me feel invincible.

She inspired me to write my own “Woman’s Manifesto,” and put it out there for the world to share.

The Beautiful No

Because I love all things Oprah, I couldn’t wait to order this book, written by a woman who had the career of her dreams as Oprah’s producer. She had dedicated her whole life to this dream job, only to ask, now what, as the show ended its 25-year history.

She writes a beautiful exploration of a woman finding a way to resurrect her life after Oprah. Sheri gets deeply personal about her struggles with weight, dating, and the challenges we all face as we approach midlife and beyond. She said, after producing thousands of shows, watching top experts like Dr. Memet Oz and Dr. Phil, along with the spiritual leaders like Deepak Chopra and, Wayne Dyer. She didn’t have an easy solution for herself.

She writes,” We often don’t know we are in the midst of some truly glorious days until we grow older and more reflective, and then we gnash our teeth but good. Why didn’t we know how great we had it?”

I am struggling with tears as I typed that quote because I know it to be true. As a writing coach, I ask my clients to do a timeline of significant moments in their lives. When we go over it together, we laugh, we cry, but most of all, we are in awe of the life we’ve lived.

I won’t do a spoiler and tell you what the “Beautiful No” actually was in Sheri’s life, but when you read it, you’ll recognize there are times in your life that exactly the same thing happens.

And one last juicy, thought-provoking quip from Sheri: “It’s never, ever, ever, ever too late to make the rest of your dreams come true.”

Do your girlfriends a favor if they are in a “now what” midlife crisis or transition. Send this book to them. Her message is this, When you thought you had it all, and now it’s gone… don’t give up. Every day is a new opportunity to make life matter.

The Nightingale

No book list is complete without an inspirational work of fiction. Please read The Nightingale before you see the movie (filming has begun, starring Dakota and Elle Fanning).

It’s a profound and compelling story of two sisters struggling to survive during World War II in France. The two French sisters are in stark contrast to each other, as one fights the resistance while the other fights for the survival of her family.

What a perfect example of the potential of women faced with adversity. It’s a story that is historically horrific and incredibly awe-inspiring. You’ll drop your favorite Nextflix series, and this book will be your new binge. It will keep you up in the wee hours of the night.

I mourned when I finished it.

Writers, you’ll appreciate how it is well researched and beautifully written. Kristin Hannah turns words and sentences into irresistible delicious bites of deep emotion. She made me strive to be a better writer.

The War of Art… Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Even though my intention was to focus on female writers this time around, I simply cannot write a list of inspiring books for creative entrepreneurs without this one showing up.

I have read this a dozen times or more. I have referred to it in my blog posts, I recommend it to all my clients. It’s been my muse, my spirit guide, my accountability partner… all in 165 pages.

Here’s why… it asks at the beginning of the book, “Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.” (and yes, he uses a capital R)

Powerful eh? Did it hit you the way it hit me? I had to read more.

His concept is that Resistance is a force of nature. We all experience it. It’s a battle we must win every day.

I know I’ve felt it, even though I love writing as much as breathing air, I often fight it.

This book is a big reason why I committed to making my writing and entrepreneurial ventures the most important part of my day. No more wandering around the house to clean a closet or take a bite of food from the fridge before I work. Pressfield commands, “Sit your butt in the chair and do the work.”

And so I do, and I’ve never been more prolific as a writer than I am now.

You don’t have to be a writer to appreciate this book. It’s for any person committed to a project, creative or otherwise.

As an entrepreneur, it will ignite the fire to dream big, get a strategy in place, and do the work.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I just couldn’t believe how happy this book made me; and yet I hate cleaning and organizing my home. Marie Kondo’s system made it fun.

I started with my office, giving away years of office supplies I thought I “might” need someday. The construction paper in primary colors, popsicle sticks, and stickers have been in the cupboard since my kids were small (yep, they’re adults now).

I loved her approach to defining what stays and what goes. Kondo appealed to the woo woo in me when she asks, “Does it bring you joy?” Then keep it. If it doesn’t, give it to someone who will love it and renew the joy it once held.

My closet is ever so much happier since I’ve “Kondo’d” it. I bought boxes and boxes of those thin black velvet hangers from Costco and with each outfit I asked, “Do I love this?” If it still makes you feel as good as the day you bought it, then put it back in the closet. If it doesn’t, there’s a woman out there who would love to have it… donate.

Five large trash bags later, my closet is clean, organized by type and color, all on those lovely black hangers. Now, it feels like I have my own boutique!

She suggests doing the decluttering category by category instead of room by room. She also believes each category should be done all at once. Doing “a little at a time” gets you nowhere.

What did this do for my business? Ahhhh it feels so good to sit at my desk in my organized office typing this now on my very clean desk. It has made me more efficient and productive.

Declutter with this magic little book and enjoy a more calm and peaceful environment… and a beautiful life.

Amen sister.

I’d love to know your thoughts on other books that have inspired you in the past several years!

**Originally published on Publicious on Medium**

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