I am a self-help junkie. I'm constantly looking for tools and information that will bring myself and my clients to the next level in our lives. A few of the books that have been influential in my life are these. I will give my take away for each. There are many more that I can recommend based on what area of life you are trying to evolve so if you are looking for something that I haven't mentioned send me an email and I'll try to be helpful.
Starting at the bottom of the stack...
The Enneagram and The Road Back to You are both about the Enneagram. This is a personality typing system that I am slightly, actually completely, obsessed with. There are 9 personality types in this system and learning your type is extremely insightful. If you are intrigued but not sure that you want to read a whole book you can go to The Enneagram Institute website and take a test and read about your type. The Enneagram is a bit technical and long. This is written by Richard Rohr and if you know him you know that nothing he writes isn't extremely deep and slightly complicated. It is phenomenal though if you want to learn a lot about this subject. The Road Back to You is a quick easy read and a great introduction to the Enneagram. One of the things I love most about the Enneagram is that by understanding the different types we tend to lose our judgment of others. We are all different and that is a beautiful thing.
Inner Compass is my favorite book for connecting with God in an experiential way. It is not long or complicated yet it is a deep dive into contemplation if you engage it the way it deserves to be engaged with. I highly recommend reading a chapter a day or week and really experience this book. It will change your life and help you pay attention to the inner workings of you.
Wired for Joy is about rewiring your brain. I loved this book but will admit that if you are extremely left brained it will be an oversimplification of neuroplasticity. I personally like when things are oversimplified if they get me results. This book gave me results. When it comes to neurology sometimes we can get information but I want tools. This book gives a great tool for training your brain. Overly simple or not, the tool works!
Giving Church Another Chance was recommended to me by my spiritual director because he was probably tired of hearing me complain about organized religion and why I don't like church. Well truthfully I love church, I just don't love the idea of church. Well actually, it's just really complicated. This book helped me redefine church for myself. I loved it.
Perennials is one of two fiction books I read in 2017. It was written by my friend Julie Cantrell and if I'm honest I only read it because I felt obligated. Fiction is not my thing, at least not right now. In reading this book I was able to slow down and relax simply because of the process of reading. Consequently, this story unveiled to me that my drivenness was blocking my ability to connect with some of the people that matter most to me. I tend to be extremely close with the people that live in my house but sometimes forget how important intentionality with extended family is. When I finished this book I wanted to move beside my parents and have coffee with them every morning. The story is beautiful and if you read one fiction book this year let it be this one.
Tattoos on the Heart is a book that you will need a highlighter for. There are so many lines you will want to quote all penned by Gregory Boyle, a Catholic priest that serves the gang community in Los Angeles. He is a representation of what unconditional love can look like and his writing is absolutely beautiful. I don't think I made it through a chapter without crying. The stories are incredible. READ THIS!
Essentialism.... if you are thinking about making changes to the things that occupy your space and time, this book is great. Written very practically by Greg McKeown with no "fluff" which we all know I have a tendency toward. Straightforward advice on making the changes that will free you up to live the life you truly want.
The Miracle Morning is a book of practices that truly transformed my year. The one in the stack is for writers, my regular one is loaned out. Both are great. Even if you don't read the book you can find my post from last year here. Do these practices! During 2017 I saw an amount of personal growth incomparable to any year of my life and it truly was because I used these practices.
Turning Pro is a book I read recently that was super short, easy read but profound and eye-opening. It's about living a life of intention. Turning pro, not at something specific but turning pro at life. Living on purpose.
The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd made me more uncomfortable than any book has ever made me. It challenged everything. It opened my eyes to patriarchy. It opened my eyes to things I have accepted my whole life as normal that shouldn't be. This is her story of coming into her full feminine self without apology. I cried so hard reading this and taking an honest look at my own story and marriage and belief system. My faith was challenged more than ever before. I am not going to recommend this book to you unless you are ready to be shaken and miserably uncomfortable. If you are PLEASE write to me and tell me your thoughts. I would love to have a conversation about this one. The only person I could talk to about this book and them get it was my therapist. She held space for me to process through the intense emotion this book created. My husband was pretty incredible. He looked at me like I had turned into a unicorn but he never tried to squash the process. He was present. That was a huge gift. I don't know many men that have the ability to do what he did for me. Be careful with this book, it will rock your world.
An Altar in the World is best described in this way. I gave a highlighted copy to my son, Jackson, when he graduated from high school and told him that when I die he can read this and it will explain what I want him to know about God and spiritual things. I made notes in the margin. I will do the same when Corbin graduates. Barbara Brown Taylor is one of my favorite authors of spiritual things. She writes beautifully and this book was the first that introduced me to the idea that all things are spiritual and that I do not need to continually judge things as less spiritual than others. If I were allowed one book to own besides a bible it would be this one.
Learning to Walk in the Dark is another by Barbara Brown Taylor that will help anyone experiencing difficulty in life. We have a tendency to deem dark as bad and light as good. This book will show you that you cannot have one without the other. Both belong.
Greater Health God's Way by Stormie Omartian is a book I read for the first time over 10 years ago. I'm not even positive if it is still in print but it should be. I have read more diet and weight loss books than I can count and I always come back to this one. It is simple, very well balanced, focuses on lifestyle as much as diet. The concepts are ones that will change every person's health for the better. The cover is hilarious, there are two women in 80's workout attire, but the recommendations are perfect. I think after studying so many different weight loss tools this year since I have been coaching on the subject and coming right back to this book I will throw out the rest and settle on this one, once again.
The Four Agreements is a book I just discovered this year. This is a book I would have avoided in the past because it would be considered "New Age", which is a label that once scared me to death. Thankfully I have managed to let go of fear and trust that I have enough wisdom to take what is for me and leave what isn't. This book was definitely for me. I have read it twice and will read it many more times as I try to use the tools it gives. There are four tools here that, if actually put into use, will transform your experience of life on this Earth. It's short and super simple but far from easy.
As you can see from this stack my year has been about growth. I have spent the year focused on personal development with the hope of helping others as a coach. I refuse to be inauthentic and I know that working on myself is where great coaching comes from. I have spent a great deal of time developing personal practices, retraining my brain, and developing a healthy lifestyle. One of the things I have spent the most time on is my spirituality. This has been more of a deconstruction but the reconstruction is pretty amazing. I have never felt more connected to God and Jesus, it just looks really different than it once did. For that I am profoundly thankful.
I am entering a new phase of training during 2018. I will be in a year long coach training focused on sex, love, and relationships so next years book list will be very different. I may be a bit less engaged online as I learn and work through the process myself, but I'll be back stronger and more equipped. I dream of helping couples and individuals connect with each other and themselves in a different and deeper way. I can't wait to see what this year will bring. I am planning to show up and be totally present for whatever it is. I look forward to my personal growth and leading others towards more of their own.