I’m a paperback reader, always have been, always will be. Sorry Kindle, you just don’t do it for me.
The act of reading allows us to experience life in a way that few mediums can truly impact us. When you find a great book it often has the power to uplift you from the present taking you to a far off place where you completely forget about time or the actual place you’re curled up in. Books can give off the feeling of hanging out with a new friend or the excitement of a first date. They can thrill us and keep us on edge for days on end as the story itself becomes a part of our life.
When I hear people talk about books like this they are almost always referring to some sort of fiction based book, often times written by larger than life authors like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, John Grisham, Dean Koontz and even Nicholas Sparks, to name a few.
What if you could find a book that had this same type of impact but actually made a difference in the way you live, both personally and professionally? Of course, there are endless options to choose from but which ones are truly great. So great that these books stand on the shoulders of the other books which typically receive all the fanfare. Could such a book exist?
With this very thought I began a quest to find some of the greatest books out there, searching for a lifetime of impact within a couple hundred pages.
I started asking others about the books they’ve read which changed their life or the way they viewed themselves and their surroundings. I sought to understand why they loved the book and what change it brought about. My quest took me to read all sorts of different books, some living up to their recommendation, many falling far short of it, in my opinion. I didn’t want books that were just touted as great reads because they appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers list. I wanted book recommendations from people I trusted who shared with me these nuggets of knowledge based on their earth shattering experience.
The following 10 books have impacted my life in a way that I didn’t think was possible before I set out to read each book. They changed me for the better professionally and personally, as a leader, as a friend, a colleague, a husband and father. They changed the way I care for others and how I show affection, they helped me with my vulnerability (let’s be honest this can be a tough thing for most men) and of course my thought process.
For information on each book including author and a short write up on my experience with the book click here. In no particular order these are the 10 books that positively changed the way I live, work and think:
Personal & Mindset:
1. The Go Giver (my #1 book)
2. 4 Seconds
3. Finding Ultra
4. Season of Life
Professional/ Business Reading:
5. Good to Great
6. Authentic Leadership
7. The Answer
8. Start With Why
9. Spin Selling
10. Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Each of these books has allowed me to transform myself into a better me, perhaps you will have a similar experience. I still have a long way to go as it’s not about the end result but the journey along the way. I have a lot to still learn and much more to read. I’m forever grateful to the people who recommended these readings.
Thanks to the cult classic movie, Office Space, many of us now have a name to apply to that feeling of waking up on a Monday morning overwhelmed about what lies in front of us – a whole new work week.
Having a “case of the Mondays” can be a real mood killer and certainly doesn’t lead to starting a day or a week off on the right foot. In 2014 the online career company Monster produced some staggering numbers on this subject as a result of a survey they did with their millions of job applicants and employers. The facts – upwards of 78% of people suffer from some form of the “case of the Mondays” aka ‘Sunday Fear Syndrome’.
Like many Americans I also dealt with it for years. I woke up, not just on Monday mornings but on most mornings, dreading the responsibilities that waited for me in my 7AM – 6PM job. (I didn’t even know what 8-5 meant and still don’t but that’s another story altogether) As my “case of the Mondays” continued I started paying more attention to what was causing it and how it affected my attitude and outlook on the day.
I wasn’t doing anything for myself to start the week or morning off on the right foot. Like the saying goes, “you woke up on the wrong side of the bed”, when we start the day with negative energies we allow that to carry us through the rest of the day. Starting a day in this fashion produces all sorts of unfortunate outcomes, many of which we aren’t even aware of but all of which negatively impact our experience in that day and week.
Then I discovered the cause of my morning blues!
Most people blame their job as being the culprit for the “case of the Mondays”. As it turns out I was it wasn’t my job after all, the reality was that I liked my job very much.
My discovery led me to realize that it was my mindset that was negatively impacting my mornings. I was struggling to stay focused on being positive and doing things that aided me in keeping a positive outlook with the start of the day.
As a result, I embarked on a mission to see if I could proactively change the way I greeted the world each morning.
The result of my little mission to fix my morning funk produced some amazing results. After making some minor changes I began to wake up eager to greet the day with lots of natural energy and optimism. I also found that my general outlook on things that were work related was much more positive which allowed me to deal with tough situations better. The best part was I started sleeping better because I didn’t have the stress of the coming day weighing on my mind.
Here’s how I did it with four easy to implement steps:
Give these four steps a try for five days to boost your morning mindset and be sure let me know how it worked.
When we choose to be in control of our life experiences, rather than allowing them to control us, we begin to experience life in a whole new way…the way it was meant to be.
About the Author
Travis Smith is the founder and managing director of Square-1 Engineering, a life sciences consulting firm, providing end to end technical project services to companies which design, develop and or manufacture products in Southern California. He successfully served the life sciences marketplace in SoCal for over 15 years specializing in engineering services, consulting, project outsourcing and leadership development. In 2019 he was recognized as a ‘40 Under 40’ honoree by the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce as a top leader in Orange County, CA.