I remember that I hated to read when I was younger. I was a slow reader and pronouncing words was hard for me. (Let’s be real for a second — I still have a hard time pronouncing words. Just ask my first grader.) I was in elementary school when Accelerated Reader (AR) made its debut, ruining the lives of school-aged children. Yep! Reading books to receive points was not my jam and stressed me out. I couldn’t find books I enjoyed reading and the pressure to pass the inevitable test following the book was too much stress….not fun!
Fast forward — I am now 36 years old, and although the dreaded AR is still in my life because of my children, I am now an avid reader. Actually, reading has changed my life as an adult.
About two years ago, I was in a place searching for more. I wanted to become better at nothing more than just being me. I wasn’t in a bad place in life, I was just searching to have insight, tools, and motivation to become a better leader, a better mom, a better wife, oh, and did I mention just a better ME. It wasn’t something I was finding in therapy sessions, talking to a friend, observing a mentor, or even researching. It was when a business/life coach recommended some helpful books that my love of reading exploded.
I was searching, I was reading, and I was changing. Books became not just my guide, but they became my blueprint of how to become the best version of myself. [Side note: I am currently reading a book that details a 29-day blueprint guide to redefine and achieve success, but more on that later.] I became motivated to put into action what I was reading and stop making excuses of why the timing was always wrong.
We have all of these talented, educated authors sharing their journey, their knowledge, their insight on how to be the best through their writing, yet we never open the book. My excuse was that I hated reading and didn’t have enough time in my hectic life to find a quiet place to read. Crazy thing is that there are so many people who struggle in life, always looking for easy way out, the quick fix, the magic pill to make life grand. News flash — becoming the best version of yourself means you have to put in the work. You must open the first page. You must commit. You must make the time.
Because I have been so open about how books have changed my life with the people who surround me, people ask me daily what books I am reading or where they should start. Here is my library of books that I have read in the past few years, that started my journey to being better. They are not rated or listed in any kind of order, but these are my all-time GAME-CHANGING, MUST-READ books!
[Life hack: I have switched from reading to listening. Download the Audible app. It’s a game changer. Listen to the book while cooking, in the car, taking a walk, doing laundry, etc. I now read — well, listen — to one book a month.]
Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
Leadershift by John C. Maxwell
Chasing the Bright Side by Jess Ektrom (could be self-development too)
Three Feet from Gold by Sharon L. Lectern & Greg S. Reid
The Carpenter by Jon Gordon
Exactly What to Say by Phil M. Jones
High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard
The Way of the Shepherd by Dr. Kevin Leman & William Pentak
Traction by Gino Wickman
How to Influence People by Jon Maxwell & Jim Dornar
Good Leaders Ask Great Questions by John C. Maxwell
Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Love & Respect (marriage book) by Dr. Emerso Eggerichs
You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Girl on Fire by Cara Alwill Leyba
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Get Over Your Damn Self by Rome Neustadt
Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Make It Happen by Lara Casey
GAME-CHANGING BOOKS- “MUST READ”
Fear is my Homeboy by Judi Holler
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
Atomic Habits by James Clear
The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs by Hat Elrod
LEAD….For God’s Sake by Todd Gongwer
Currently Reading (October 2020):
Pivot and Go by David Nurse (will be a game-changing book for me)
When I reflected back on this list, I was surprised what happened for me. As I typed the title of the book, I could almost place the moment when I read each of these books and how they impacted me. Then I got excited because of the thought of my reader opening these books and the potential for change in their life. Just open the book! It’s that simple! One other thing I should mention — you have to have the right mindset when opening the book in order for the words to truly change your life. You must have the desire to change, the willingness to do the work on yourself (no one else), and being open to opportunity. I was searching for all of this and that is why these books had so much of an influence in my life. We all have a different journey in our life, so don’t compare my impact to your impact. Let your journey begin! Open the first page…..