Month: December 2016

How To Live Life Fully According From Book

Can you even imagine what it must have been like to be a responder to the Columbine shooting? How could anyone move past the horror and sadness of such an event, and go on to continue to do her job through numerous other tragic situations, much less to live a happy and fulfilling life?

Autumn Shields has just about seen it all in her former career as a victim advocate. She has seen tears and pain and senseless violence, but she has also seen the human spirit rise above it all and continue on. Now, in her new book Living Your Life Alive, she shares with us how sometimes it takes tragedy to make us wake up and live the lives intended for us. Hopefully, however, you won’t need to experience a tragedy to have a wakeup call; instead, as Autumn explains, you just have to listen to your “inner nudges.”

Sadly, too many of us don’t listen to our nudges. We allow negativity and self-doubt to hold us back in life. Autumn illustrates this point by explaining how monkeys are captured on Borneo:

“On Borneo, the natives have a unique way of catching monkeys. They use a hollowed out coconut and some green bananas-the monkeys’ favorite treat. In one end of the coconut, they make a hole just big enough for an adult monkey’s open hand. They tether the other end of the coconut to a tree. Then they drop a banana into the coconut and scatter some around to bait the monkeys.”

“When a troop of monkeys shows up, one monkey will invariably find the coconut and stick in a hand and grab the banana. The monkey is then trapped. Not in the sense that the monkey can’t get away-all it has to do is let go of the banana, after all. But when the villagers show up the next day, they almost always find the monkey battered and bruised or dead of exhaustion because it spent its energy struggling to free its hand without releasing its grip.”

Too many people are like the monkeys. As a result, it may take something drastic for us to wake up and live our lives alive. Other times, we just need some guidance from someone like Autumn to help us move past our fears and doubts. Through her book’s pages, Autumn takes readers on a journey that addresses many of the things that hold them back from living up to their greatest potentials. From discussing overcoming fear to how to remove the masks we hide behind, and from creating a vision for our lives to taking steps to making that vision our reality, Autumn leads us down the path to becoming our own success stories.

Autumn also reminds us that success-however we want to define it-will take some work. Not that we should be intimidated by successful people, thinking we can’t accomplish what they have. She uses Facebook to illustrate this point: “We tend only to see the result, the success story, or the perfect life portrayed on Facebook. What if we could see the minutes of someone’s life instead of just his or her title or result? We tend to compare ourselves to everyone else’s success, but we judge ourselves by our minutes.”

We need to take the time to focus on our minutes. We need to realize that in those minutes, one piled on another, are the steps to our success provided we use each minute well. In the end, our nudges will lead to vision and work, and we will have a payoff finding rewards we least expect. Autumn illustrates this by referring to sunsets on Maui, where she now lives. (How she moved to Maui is a story of nudges answered that you’ll have to read for yourself). People often want to watch the sunset, but Autumn has observed that if they see the sky darken or cloud over just minutes beforehand, they figure the sunset won’t be worth watching so they leave. But Autumn knows the sunset still happens and will be beautiful and the sky may clear at the last minute: “But those other people left… right before. Why not wait the five minutes and just enjoy the air or watch the waves crash on shore? Why do we put so much emphasis on the exact time of the sunset and then walk away from it? As my son has pointed out, ‘Who cares about the sunset? The sky is always more colorful right afterwards.’ We make things the point and forget to enjoy the surrounding moments. We forget to enjoy the right before, the point, and the after… the moments.”

Living Your Life Alive is full of other beautiful moments that have important messages for us, but I’ll just conclude by mentioning that at the end of the book Autumn interviews a number of inspiring people who are examples of living your life alive. Among these people is Kimokeo Kapahulehua, a man who teaches others about Hawaiian Culture. In his interview, he remarks that when people ask him how he can paddle his canoe for hours and stay calm despite the unknown things out on the open sea, he replies, “Because they went before us.” Autumn goes on to explain, “Although we might not know our ancestors, they are with us. He [Kimokeo] just thinks about what his great-grandfather must have done with his mind or hands with the resources he had. He knows that many of his ancestors were doing what he is doing, years and years ago. He draws on their strength because it is now in him. He encourages you to draw on the strengths of those who have gone before you.”

I’ve often felt the same way Kimokeo does. After everything our ancestors have endured, and everything they did to make this world better for us, we have no excuses. We stand on their shoulders and they are cheering us on from a distance to live our lives alive. I encourage readers to honor those ancestors, and more importantly, to honor themselves by living their lives alive. Begin to do so by listening to your nudge to read this book.

 

How To Raise the Happiness Bar

Heightening Your Happiness is a new book by Karen Degen that builds on many positive thinking techniques that have come before it, but it stands out because Karen puts her own spin on how to achieve happiness and she offers practical techniques to make that happen. She teaches her readers, no matter what their situations, how to determine and get rid of the obstacles that are holding them back in life, even if they don’t realize what those obstacles are. Sharing examples from her personal life, from those nagging fears and the mind chatter we all have to a major tragedy she experienced, Karen takes readers through a series of practices that will have them finding new joy and meaning in life, and most of all, a renewed sense of happiness.

While I don’t have room to discuss all the points in this book that Karen makes, for me, her discussion on stress was the most helpful. Karen begins by explaining what stress is and how our bodies can’t differentiate between the stress of a being attacked by a lion or having to meet a deadline at work. It just knows stressed or relaxed. She then makes a point that hit home for me: “The main difference between happy people and not so happy people is that happy people do less and, therefore, have less stress. Happy people simplify their lives.” Karen then gives us multiple tips about how to do less and how to create time for ourselves. She asks us to look deep into our beliefs that we’ve been carrying around that make us try to do too much, such as “It’s up to me to look after my family.” She explores the roles we take on as children, perhaps as the eldest child who has to help mom, or the “good child” who behaves because a sibling is causing mom and dad emotional pain. While those roles may have served us in the past, now they are hurting us so we need to let go of them.

Many of us do too much because we don’t know how to say, “No.” We’ve all heard how we have to learn to say that magic word, but most of us don’t know how. Karen offers practical words and an effective technique we can use in difficult situations so we can quit agreeing to do what we don’t want to do. I found her examples helpful and I am slowly learning to adapt her “No” phrases as my own.

What Karen’s ideas largely boil down to is changing the rules we’ve imposed on ourselves and are trying to impose on others. Too often, we get upset when people don’t play by our rules when they may not even know what they are, plus they probably have their own rules guiding them. Karen explains: “I think of each person as having an unwritten rule book in his or her head. This rule book has all of our needs, wants, and expectations in any given situation or relationship. The relationship may be a romantic one, a parent/child relationship, a friendship, a business relationship, or in fact, any person you interact with. The other person has a rule book in his or her head too. The problem is we often don’t communicate our needs, wants, and expectations to the other person. ‘I shouldn’t have to tell him’ I often hear from my clients. ‘It should be obvious.’ We just assume that other people’s rule books are the same as ours, but very often, they aren’t.” Karen then goes on to explain how we can learn to set boundaries, which includes communicating our rules and perhaps negotiating them with others to come to a mutual understanding. I know from personal experience that setting boundaries is vital to a person’s happiness so I highly recommend her advice here.

I’ll admit I’ve read a lot of self-help books, but if nothing else, two very short sentences in this book had a profound impact on me. The first is my favorite line in the book: “feel the guilt and do it anyway.” I absolutely love that sentence because it gives me permission to do what I want to do. I’ve often tried to learn how not to feel guilty about things, but now I feel freed from even trying not to feel guilty.

The other powerful sentence I found relates to when Karen describes how she can let her fears get the worst of her until she’s convinced her husband who may just be late coming home is experiencing a terrible death or disaster. We all have unreasonable fears that we allow to transform themselves into the worst scenarios. We also know that fear is usually unreal. The way Karen handles this is not just to notice what her brain is doing, but flippantly to say, “I knew it was just my brain doing what brains do.” She goes on to compare this situation to the fable of Chicken Little shouting that the sky is falling because an acorn fell on her head. We wouldn’t listen to a dumb chicken so why listen to our brain when it’s acting dumb? From now on, I’ll just ignore my brain when it goes into crazy worry mode.

 

All About Public Speaking Books

Participants in my public speaking workshops have often asked me to recommend some great books that they can read to take their mastery of public speaking to the next level. Indeed, reading is a great way in which you can gain new ideas and novel perspectives on speech delivery.

Here are 5 books I highly recommend that you can read to improve your public speaking skills.

Book #1: Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun

A book that divulges the secrets behind what great speakers and communicators do, and how you can emulate the success of these speakers through highly practical tips.

Book #2: Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo

The ideas presented in this book are current and cutting-edge. If you want to learn how to sell yourself and your ideas on stage, this book is for you.

Book #3: Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets of History’s Greatest Speakers by James C. Humes

Great leaders like Churchill and Lincoln are not only remembered for their heroic leadership, but also for their mesmerizing and captivating speeches. If you want to learn how to deliver inspirational speeches that captures the hearts and souls of your audience, pick up this book right away!

Book #4: Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds

Garr Reynolds is going to change the way you deliver presentations using PowerPoint and Keynote. This book presents noteworthy ideas that transform the way you prepare, design and deliver your presentations.

Book #5: The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speakingby Dale Carnegie

A classic book of public speaking by the guru of communication, Dale Carnegie. This book discloses the fundamentals of how you can influence minds and win hearts through effective speaking. Another book not to be missed!

Conclusion

While I strongly believe that the best way to learn how to deliver exceptional speeches is to do the real thing itself (yes! keep getting stage time to practice your speeches and hone your craft), reading books for new ideas and novel perspectives can put you on a highway to success and accomplishments in this arena. So go forth and pick up a book right away!

 

When You Need To Read A Book

There are a number of books that accumulatively have changed my life, together with life’s experiences. Sometimes a particular book will provide an answer or training in a specific area; sometimes it is an on-going growth sequence. There are times when a suitable book can be a great inspiration or comfort and help to drive you forward. Here you will find a brief description of books that have had an impact on me, are they books you have read or would they help you?

Years ago there were a few books that were instrumental in my sales success:

“The One Minute Sales Person” by Spencer Johnson and Larry Wilson, they also wrote “The One Minute Manager” Their message was – Give people what they want and you will get what you want.

Tom Hopkins, “How to Master the Art of Selling”, and “The Official Guide to Success” was also a favourite. At the age of 21 he made his first million in sales – I can’t say I achieved that but it is an informative book!

A book perhaps everyone could benefit from is “How to Get Your Point Across in 30 seconds or Less, by Milo Frank.

On a personal development level, “Awaken the Giant Within” by Anthony Robbins, teaches you how to take control of your life mentally emotionally physically and financially.

“Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susanne Jeffers, offers suggestions for overcoming fear and procrastination.

“Do It! A guide to Living Your Dreams” by John Rodgers and Peter McWilliams, takes you from where you are now to what you want to achieve in your life through 6 stages and in great detail.

If You need help in believing you can, read “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy. He also cured himself of a life threatening illness, a truly inspiring, confidence building book.

“Creative Visualization” by Ronald Shone will teach you how to visualise your goals to reach them faster, I have used visualisation for years in achieving goals, and recently discovered how well this book illustrates the use of visualisation, (once I got through the first few pages).

If you are looking for an inspirational story “Ask for the Moon and Get It” by Percy Ross; through his efforts he became a philanthropist and gave away money and gifts for the rest of his life. If you want to look up his further details of his life Google his name, he gave away all his money before he died, (not too long ago) plus hundreds of bicycles to needy children because as a boy he had longed for a bike.

There are inspiring classics that still carry a powerful message like Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” and “Keys to Success” and I’m sure I could name many more I have enjoyed and found helpful.

I will just mention a couple more “Thank God It’s Monday” by Charles Cameron and Suzanne Elusorr. A book with great messages if you find yourself in work you hate. It offers advice to make your job more tolerable whilst you find a job or career that suits you. Plus a book I have recently found helpful in building my current online business “99 Ways to Flood Your Website With Traffic” by Mick Macro.

So whatever your needs are at the moment there a millions of books out there that could help or stimulate you. Maybe you feel you are in a rut and need a new hobby or career, whatever your need I wish you well and hope I have shared some reading that will interest you.