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Top Life Lessons from Books I've Read in 2018

Call me human, but as we approach 2019 - I can't help but reflect on 2018.

In 2018 I read - and listened to - a lot of books.

Listening to books was an excellent way to fill time that would usually be wasted such as my commute to work.

In particular, the books I took up focused on self-development, motivation and business.

To pay it forward I've summarized 10 lessons for you.

Here are the top 10 lessons I've learned this year from 10 books

1. You can be a strong leader and also be nice!

Last year, I was told by a would-be mentor that it's lonely at the top and to expect a life of loneliness if I pursued leadership. You can read about my experience here.

In Fran Hauser's The Myth of the Nice Girl, the author details her experience as a growing leader. Initially she followed her mentor's advice and went against her naturally nice personality to increase her status. This backfired. Ultimately, she found being nice was actually her strength. It was what helped her rise through the ranks of her career initially and what has ultimately continued to propel her success.

Nice doesn't have to be a bad word. It doesn't need to mean you are weak and a push-over.

2. Care More about the Right Things

If we gave everything in our life equal weight we would be eternally weighed down.

Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a surprisingly intellectual piece on caring for your mental health by placing attention only where attention is due. I was pleasantly surprised to find the catchy title was backed up with great advice. For those of us who take life too seriously or worry too much this book gives a great reminder of what is truly important.

3. You Can Only Really Do One Thing at a Time

Multi-tasking is a myth and so is work-life balance.

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller encourages readers to create a singular focus to pursue goals and tasks one at a time.

Pareto's principle suggested that 20% of the effort produces 80% of the results.

Gary Keller recommends putting your full effort and attention toward one goal for 4 hours a day.

4. You Only Have Today

You are always living in today.

Gary Keller suggests focusing on conquering one goal for success.

In Own the Day, author Aubrey Marcus suggests your one thing be conquering one day!

In the book, the author breaks down the day piece by piece. Your morning routine, your work, your physical pursuits and so on. Once each piece is conquered, you own your day and therefore own your life!

We are often anxious or depressed from focusing on the past or the future. The path to happiness may be to simply focus on owning the now.

5. If You Want the Extraordinary You Need to Do the Extraordinary

Think of your biggest goal. Aim high.

Hold the image in your mind. Now imagine how you would get there.

In The 10x Rule, Grant Cardone recommends aiming high. In fact, he recommends aiming 10 times higher than that!

Most of us limit our imaginations and our goals to what we think is possible for us. The belief in what we are capable of and the actions we should take to get there might be framed by beliefs instilled in us as children or the opinions of our peers.

If you aim low and don't reach your goal you will be disappointed.

If you aim high and don't reach your goal you will not live with regret that you did not try and are likely to land higher than your easy goal.

You can learn to goal set and aim high in my 2019 Goal Setting Guide here.

6. Invest in the Right Seed

If you don't start with the right raw material and make it extraordinary you won't get the result you want.

The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz encourages readers to think big and different!

Regular pumpkin seeds come at the cost of your Jack-O-Lantern, but a giant pumpkin seed can cost in the thousands of dollars!

I can attest to the lessons in this book! At the end of high school I when I was trying to decide between nursing programs I didn't understand the difference between a 2-year College diploma and 4-year University degree. To me, one was expensive and the other even more expensive. I came from a home where there was only one bread-winner and money was tight.

College looked attractive to me at the lower cost and only a 2 year investment. In fact, I was discouraged to pursue University education by my father who held a belief that University education wasn't necessary for women.

To this day the only reason I went to University was to continue the path I was put on by my advanced courses in high school. As the first person in my family to gain a University degree I did not know the significance until well after starting the program. Over 10 years later I am grateful I invested in the giant pumpkin seed to start my career.

7. What Other People Think About You Has Nothing To Do With You and Everything To Do With Them - Jen Sincero

Most people are not dissatisfied with you, they are dissatisfied with themselves. After all, as the title of Jen Sincero's book says, You Are a Badass.

When someone gives me negative feedback it is through their lens. I then have to decide if the feedback is valid or not. If it comes from someone yelling and shouting who I have only briefly met I can nearly guarantee the feedback is more about them than me. This is a common experience for those in health care or customer service.

Developing a thick skin of self-confidence and self-awareness is essential to managing high emotions and strong opinions of others.

8. Start with Why

Not only is self-awareness important, but so is social awareness or emotional intelligence.

Figuring out someone else's "why" or motivation is an essential in every day social situations, in sales, in influencing a patient to get up and exercise despite chronic pain or in convincing an elderly person to drink water despite having incontinence issues.

According to Simon Sinek in Start With Why, great leaders inspire action by connecting to the individual and collective "why."

Start with why and reverse engineer the how and what.

9. Stop Being Busy

I am guilty of frequently being busy.

I take on tasks that should be delegated instead of insisting on my priorities.

In Erin Falconer's book How to Get Sh*t Done, the author encourages women to stop pursuing goals according to an unrealistic patriarchal view.

Expectations put on women to keep the household running and build their career while looking like a million bucks is not realistic and certainly not when done alone.

Stop weighing yourself down with responsibility at your own peril.

Take control.

Delegate and outsource so you can focus on the things that really matter.

10. Write Down Your Goals and Revisit Them Four Time a Year

I serendipitously stumbled on a book signing in Yorkville in downtown Toronto at 6:30am on my way to work.

Lululemon founder Chip Wilson was handing out copies of his memoir Little Black Stretchy Pants. Much of the book resonates with my experience as a business founder.

He quotes a class study at Harvard that found only 3% of the students had written goals. 20-years later, the same 3% were wealthier than the other 97% combined.

Hand written goals have been a key part to my success through out my life. The power of writing down goals is incredible. I've revisited goal lists I'd misplaced for several years and found I had accomplished a great many even though the list was long forgotten.

You can get my 2019 Goal Setting Guide here.

Share Your Book Recommendations!

What books have you read this year and what lessons have you taken from them?

Comment below to recommend a book for my 2019 to-read list!

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