Category Archives: Identity

My Reading List – Summer 2016

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Lots of business travel over the summer meant that I didn’t read as much as I wanted to, but there are a few that I’m really excited to share about. Below are my ratings for them, as well as a brief summary of how each might add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

None

4-Star Reads

Under New Management by David Burkus
Dr. Burkus presents some fantastic ideas that disrupt the status quo, and prompt us to think about business systems and processes that are basically broken but that we’ve allowed to outstay their welcome. His ideas are backed by case studies of companies that are trying new methods and are seeing some great results. This is a must read for anyone in executive leadership and HR.

H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick
Want to be a better leader? Start with the 20 habits that Brad outlines in this book. None of the habits will surprise you, but they are all ones that, when intentionally implemented, are game changers. Don’t let their simplicity fool you, they will take courage and intentionality.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
I’ve never seen an episode of any of the hit shows that Shonda is the writer for, and I didn’t know anything about her before I started her book, but she won me over with her authenticity. She’s hilarious, and surprisingly down to earth and relatable for someone who is famous and a multi-millionaire. I don’t agree with some of her personal beliefs, but the first 2/3 of the book is a must-read for every working mom.

3-Star Reads

Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson
Our culture teaches us that success is only for a lucky few. This perspective causes unnecessary competition, comparison, envy, and jealousy. Sophie’s book is a beautiful reminder for women that we need to come alongside and support one another instead of tearing each other down and telling each other how we should live. She tells us that our “callings complement one another” and that we need to “bless each other.” Amen.

2-Star Reads

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
I am a very organized person and thought I would love this book, but honestly, I found her methodology to be bizarre and bordering on OCD. The one thing that I really did like, and will use personally, and with my clients, is that when the time comes to do some purging of material items, that we go through the process of asking ourselves if each particular item brings us joy, and if we recognize that it doesn’t then take that as the cue that it’s time to let go of that item.

My Next Review

Below are some of the books that are on my current reading list. I will post a blog in January that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

Do Over by Jon Acuff
The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened The West by Lesley Poling-Kempes
Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams
Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday
Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday
The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

What was one of your 5-star books this Summer?
What are you currently reading?

PS: Rather than doing affiliate links to Amazon and putting cash in my personal pocket if you purchase a book from my reading lists, my Amazon links provide a portion of the sale to be donated to one of my favorite non-profit organizations, The Cupcake Girls. I appreciate you making the purchase through my link to support the incredible work they are doing.

My Reading List – Winter 2016

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Reading is my happy place, and the books I read during the first few months of this year packed a punch; some of my all-time favorite reads.

Below are my ratings for them, as well as a brief summary of how each might add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Ann’s poetic way of writing, which is the complete opposite of what I usually read, had me hooked from page one. I am awed and inspired by the way she views life. I actually read this book twice, back to back, and am currently re-reading it again. You cannot read this book without being deeply compelled to become a more grateful person.

Living Forward by Daniel Harkavy and Michael Hyatt
You may be tempted to think that I only listed this as a 5-star read because it is written by the owner of the company I work for, but in all reality, I chose to join Building Champions because I am in complete agreement with Daniel’s philosophy: our lives are more full and rich when we live intentionally. Daniel and Michael’s book walks us through how to proactively live life on purpose so that every area of our lives is as meaningful as we desire it to be. Learn a little more through this interview with Forbes magazine, or through this podcast with Dale Partridge.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Wow! Talk about teamwork and perseverance. This is an incredible story that will not only get your adrenaline pumping, but will remind you that teams that work together are able to truly move mountains, and that victories are sweeter when someone else is victorious with you.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Louis Zamperini’s story is truly the epitome of resilience. My own personal courage was bolstered every time Louis encountered a new, and often more horrifying, situation. When you’re tempted to think that you can’t overcome a certain challenge or obstacle, look to Louis’s example to give you confidence to carry on.

4-Star Reads

Scary Close by Donald Miller
This life is a waste if we’re not going to live it as the person who we were created us to be. Donald’s book talks about his journey of becoming real, of pulling off the mask. His story is an encouragement to all of us to become more self-aware, and to not let fear, shame, guilt, or any other feelings keep us from living life as we were intended to.

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
Of all of the characters in this epic story, it is the life of Tom Smith that intrigues me most. Tom’s ability to help Seabiscuit actualize the potential that only Tom saw in him is a thing of beauty; nothing less than art in motion. It is a reminder that each of us have a gift that we are meant to share.

3-Star Reads

Deep Change by Robert Quinn
Not an easy read, but some good wisdom for those of us who have areas in our lives that we are working on and expecting transformational change. He also has a field guide with introspective exercises that are intended to help facilitate the desired change.

2-Star Reads

The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley
“Choosing the wrong path in life will cost you precious years.” Andy’s book identifies why it is important to follow Daniel Harkavy’s outlined method in Living Forward for how to live a life of intention and purpose.

My Next Review

Below are some of the books that I am currently reading. I will post a blog in July that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

The Power of the Other by Henry Cloud
Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
Do Over by Jon Acuff
H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick
Under New Management by David Burkus
Becoming an Agile Leader by Victoria Swisher

What was one of your 5-star books this Winter?
What are you currently reading?

PS: Rather than doing affiliate links to Amazon and putting cash in my personal pocket if you purchase a book from my reading lists, my Amazon links provide a portion of the sale to be donated to one of my favorite non-profit organizations, The Cupcake Girls. I appreciate you making the purchase through my link to support the incredible work they are doing.

My Reading List – Fall 2015

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Below are the books I read in Q4, with my rating and a brief summary of what I learned, as well as how I think it might add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

I didn’t have any 5-star reads in my Fall reading, but the best book of 2015 for me was Essentialism by Gary McKeown. Every single one of us would like to have more time in our lives, and Gary does an exceptional job of walking through how to make that happen.

4-Star Reads

For The Love by Jen Hatmaker
Life is difficult, and Jen gets real with her readers making sure that we know it’s ok to let our real lives show, and to not get caught in the trap of trying to make our lives appear perfect and easy. She is hilariously funny and her message will resonate with everyone who has ever tried to make their life look like it’s straight off of Pinterest.

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst
Akin to Greg McKeown’s book, Lysa’s overall goal and intent is to help us determine where our time is best spent and how to say no without disappointing people. She presents us with practical filters to use for our decision-making. I found much wisdom in her easy-to follow, and implement, approach.

People over Profit by Dale Partridge
Our economic, and general societal, well-being is still recovering from the effects of people in the finance world sacrificing their convictions for greed. Dale does a great job of showing us what leads to poor decision-making in organizations, and provides us with seven core beliefs that, when acted upon, will bring health, vitality, and sustainability. One of my favorite quotes is, “Fire others the way you would want to be fired.”

3-Star Reads

QBQ! The Question Behind The Question by John G. Miller
Through some simple questions and disciplines, John teaches us how to take personal accountability. He reminds us, “We can’t change other people. We often can’t control circumstances and events. The only things we have any real control over are our own thoughts and actions.”

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
“There will never be anyone exactly like you. You were given special gifts and talents to share with the world, and even though everybody has special gifts and talents, nobody will use theirs quite the same way you do.” If you need some inspiration and reminders that you are strong and capable, this book will definitely provide you with that pick-me-up.

The Prince of the Marshes by Rory Stewart
A fascinating look at life in Iraq during the years following the ousting of Saddam Hussein. Rory, a British diplomat, shares his story about the time he spends in Iraq trying to help the country unite and re-build with its own government and culture. I preferred Rory’s book, The Places In Between, about his year in Afghanistan over this one.

2-Star Reads

Money by Tony Robbins
I had high hopes that a multi-multi-millionaire would bring some great insights in regard to personal finances, but I was pretty let down. The book is nearly 700 pages, but was extremely repetitive; it could have been 200 and retained the few valuable elements. The section about 401k investments was helpful, but overall I’ve learned far better financial wisdom from Dave Ramsey and my uncle.

1-Star Reads

Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy Behary
This is the only book I read in 2015 that I would say is not worth reading. From my research on this topic, there are more helpful articles on the internet. Bummer!

My Next Review Will Include

Below are some of the books that I am reading or re-reading over the next few months. I will post a blog in April that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

Do Over by Jon Acuff
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Living Forward by Daniel Harkavy and Michael Hyatt
H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick
Deep Change by Robert Quinn
Scary Close by Donald Miller
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

What was one of your 5-star books this Fall?
What is on your reading list this Winter?

(Here are the links to my other 2015 reading lists: winter 2015 and spring & summer 2015.)

PS: Rather than doing affiliate links to Amazon and putting cash in my personal pocket if you purchase a book from my reading lists, my Amazon links provide a portion of the sale to be donated to one of my favorite non-profit organizations, The Cupcake Girls. I appreciate you making the purchase through my link to support the incredible work they are doing.

My Reading List – Spring & Summer 2015

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I needed a break from business books, so most of what I read over the last six months was light reading. Below are the ones I read in Q2 and Q3, with my rating and a brief summary of what I learned, as well as how I think it might add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

Love Does by Bob Goff
I had the opportunity to hear Bob speak last month and he is as loving, funny, inspiring, and authentic as I expected him to be. After hearing him speak, I knew I needed to read his book again; it’s that good. I love this quote; “There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I’m tempted to turn it down all the time. I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does.”

The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
Ryan’s writing is masterful, and his beliefs about our ability to choose how we respond to trials and adversity are spot on. His words buoyed me more than a few times while I was training for a race and had moments of wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into. These words of his hit me like a ton of bricks, “We spend a lot of time thinking about how things are supposed to be, or what the rules say we should do. Trying to get it all perfect. We tell ourselves that we’ll get started once the conditions are right, or once we’re sure we can trust this or that. When, really, it’d be better to focus on making due with what we’ve got. On focusing on results instead of pretty methods.” Ouch! You can watch an interview of Ryan talking about the book and his philosophy with one of the founders of Quest Nutrition here.

4-Star Reads

Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas
“There is great freedom in how we can meet with and enjoy God. This is by His design and according to His good pleasure.” I’ve wrestled for years with not encountering God in seemingly normal ways. Gary’s Nine Pathways To God showed me that I was created to commune with God in a unique way, as are each of us. Truly very freeing.

Not Fade Away by Rebecca Alexander and Sascha Alper
This beautiful memoir was one that I simply could not put down. Rebecca’s story is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. We could all learn from her resilience and positive attitude.

Big Burn by Timothy Egan
Timothy weaves together two fascinating true stories to create a history lesson that feels like an old western tale. His awe-inspiring research brought facts to light that had been hidden for over 100 years, and caused me to be even more grateful for our national parks.

Chess Not Checkers by Mark Miller
Mark outlines a simple, straightforward methodology for being a strategic thinker in the workplace. He articulates how business really is a sport where winning results from good decision-making, “High performance is not a matter of circumstances, luck, or DNA. High performance is about choices.”

Values, Inc. by Dina Dwyer-Owens
It’s pretty evident that our culture is no longer going to put up with companies that aren’t living by values and ethics. In fact, Dina asserts that lasting success comes from having values that are shared by the entire company, meaning that every employee is not only aware of them but is measured against them in performance reviews.

3-Star Reads

Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber
This is the second is Mary’s trilogy. Candidly, these books are meant for teenagers, but since I enjoy a good fantasy book every now and then, I’ve enjoyed escaping to her made-up world with its fanciful characters and elaborate landscapes.

2-Star Reads

The Code by Shaun Tomson
A good book of principles to live by; it’s a must read for every teenage boy.

My Next Review Will Include

It was an enjoyable season of light reading, but I’m ready for some good meaty books this Fall. Below are some of the books that I am reading or re-reading over the next few months. I will post a blog in early January that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

People over Profit by Dale Partridge
Do Over by Jon Acuff
For The Love by Jen Hatmaker
Secrets of Dynamic Communication by Ken Davis
Time Traps by Todd Duncan

What was one of your 5-star books this Summer?
What is on your reading list this Fall?

(Here are the links to my summer 2014, fall 2014, and winter 2015 reading lists.)

What Are You Expecting This Lent?

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Last year, I wrote this post about my newfound discovery of the true meaning of Lent and how it is applicable to me as a normal average woman who believes in Jesus Christ.

Coming to learn the purpose of this season as being one of preparation added a depth of understanding of Lent that I had never had before.

Similar to last year, I am entering into this season with my focus being on how I can grow and be prepared for whatever God has planned in the coming season. This year I am joining author, teacher, and speaker, Margaret Feinberg’s #LentChallenge of reading through the Gospels (the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). If you’d like to join in, this post from Margaret provides the reading plan for these next 40 days.

I am expectant for God to use this season to purify my motives, solidify my backbone, and clarify my calling.

What are your expectations for this Lent season?

How I Let Ugliness Into My Life

In December 2012, the owners of the company I was working for chose to replace the Chairman of the Board, the CEO, and the CFO. At the time I worked directly for the CEO as his Chief of Staff and right-hand woman. Because of that, when the CEO was let go, my position was eliminated. I was given the option of remaining with the company, but in a different role and capacity. Ultimately, I chose to leave. I felt it was a divinely orchestrated event and that it was time for me to move on.

I left the company with some resentment, particularly because of how I was treated by the owners. Truthfully, my feelings were hurt. I had devoted significant time, energy, and effort to help their company succeed and their response to my blood, sweat, and tears was nothing more than what they owed me; no handshake or pat on the back, not even a thank you.

The experience was a difficult one, but what was even more difficult was dealing with my own response to the situation and the ugliness that crept into my life.

As the days and months moved forward I found myself being in a place where I was wishing for their failure, not so much the failure of the people in the company, but the company as a whole. I wanted their failure because to me that would signify that they weren’t able to make it without me, that my contribution to the company was literally what made it successful. Now, I know that’s pretty grandiose thinking, especially considering that I was just one of 3,500 employees. But, I wanted to believe that my significance to the company was that great; that I was needed that much.

As I started to recognize and process this ugliness, I realized that it stemmed from my sense of belonging being founded on shaky ground, and it was creating insecurity in me. It donned on me that I had been looking to this company and its owners to meet my need for belonging; that a part of my identity had become rooted in who I was as a result of who I worked for and how much I was relied upon to keep the ship afloat.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that receiving satisfaction from a job well done is wrong, I’m simply saying that we shouldn’t place an expectation on other people to meet our basic needs, like belonging. John Maxwell says that it is God’s responsibility to provide for those needs, not another person’s responsibility.

In my reading today for the #LentChallenge, I saw what insecurity looks like when it’s out of control. Herod, King of Judea, was so threatened by the birth of Christ, the King of the Jews, that he had every male child under the age of two, in Bethlehem and its surrounding areas, put to death. Herod’s insecurity caused him to use his power to serve himself and to only be concerned with his image and his livelihood.

Though I’m sure I’ll continue to battle with insecurity from time to time, my experience taught me that true peace is found in relying on God and finding my worth through who I am, not what I do.

When have you faced insecurity?