Books to change your life

Last week I posted the first installment of 10 Books You Wouldn’t Expect that can Change Your Life and I mentioned that while there are a loads of articles out there about books you should be reading, these two posts cover books that lay the foundation for the work we do here at The Gutsy Life: helping women to really go for it in life with a little kick in the butt, and some great resources, tips, and coaching too! Last week I posted the first installment of 10 Books You Wouldn’t Expect that can Change Your Life and I mentioned that while there are a loads of articles out there about books you should be reading, these two posts cover books that lay the foundation for the work we do here at The Gutsy Life: helping women to really go for it in life with a little kick in the butt, and some great resources, tips, and coaching too!

Drum roll please!……Here are the final five books to change your life in unexpected ways!

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6. The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown

How will it help you to change your life? Slap you in the face! Then help you to prioritize your life so you are living wholeheartedly not halfheartedly.

What is it about? Brene Brown is a researcher and personal development guru. She has written countless books on topics such as;

Being brave, shame, resiliency, daring, and vulnerability. They are all wonderful books. I particularly love this book because it is about her personal journey of discovering how to live a wholehearted life which she defines as:

Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. Its’ going to bed at night thinking, Yes I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.

In the book she covers 10 guidepost to wholehearted living with action steps for each. She also has a worksheet that you can download from her website to accompany the book. This is a great book to get started on your personal-development journey!

Why did I include it?

I am still not sure how I feel about this book. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but it made me feel like crap because I realized I was missing a lot about what really is important in life, which incidentally is the reason the author wrote the book as well. Here I thought I was doing pretty well with my achieving and goal setting and then I read this book and realize that maybe my priorities are all out of wack!

Brown called this realization her breakdown/spiritual awakening. She too saw that she didn’t have her life at all inline with wholehearted living and it caused a spiral into darkness and then out into the light and the writing of this book!

Hahaha maybe that will happen with me now that I have read it too 😊 just being honest…I am seriously working on these 10 areas in life…stay tuned for how I emerge from this journey! I hope you enjoy this journey too!

7. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo

How will it help you to change your life? Self-defining and self-realization.

What is it about? This book is about organization and how to de-clutter your life, but it is really about so much more. Many of you may be familiar with Marie Kondo and the Konmarie method from the Netfix series Tidying Up which is based on this book.

The thing that the Netflix series really misses from the book however, is the magic of the whole process and the life transformation that occurs. It is not a simple ‘How To’ book about organization, it is about life, and creating the life you want.

The question of what you want to own is really the question of how you want to live your life

When you pick up an item and ask yourself “does this spark joy?” (this is part of the Konmarie method) you are asking yourself “is this who I am and want to be right now?”

Why did I include it?

THIS BOOK!!! I found this book in 2016 at a point where I was desperately trying to get control of my life. I was spiraling into a depression which, as anyone suffering form depression can attest, meant that I felt like I had a complete lack of control over my life, my life’s direction, my mood…the list goes on and on. How I came to love this book is so random. I am already a tidy, organized person so I was not even looking for this book. I read an article in SUCCESS magazine where one of the staff writers was challenged by her editor to complete the “Konmarie method”, and she ended up transforming her life! Who would have thought that de-cluttering could do that? I had to read it! I was immediately drawn to her explanation of how living a de-cluttered life is actually an act of spiritual and mindful living.

When you pick up an item and ask yourself “Does this spark joy?” you ask yourself “Is this who I am and want to be right now? Or is this who I used to be or hope to be someday?” Asking these questions really makes you focus on who you are right now and what that means to you.

It was a life affirming question for me. I turned my house upside down and got pretty serious with myself about what I needed and who I was at that moment. It was a hard an emotional journey, which I did not expect, and my space and mind felt so much more open and free. It gave me a tiny piece of control back over my life and my circumstances. It did not change my depression, but it was one step of many that eventually helped me to step through the fog of depression and into the sun. Also you may love the laundry origami 😊 (or hate it, who knows!)

(And yes my house is still clutter free, it works!)

change your life

8. The Empowered Wife – Laura Doyle

How will it help you to change your life? CHOICE-it is all yours!

What is it about? This book is designed for women who are in a relationship or who want one. The main fact of this book is that the power to change your marriage and your life lies solely with you, not your spouse, or anyone else for that matter!

This book puts all the accountability on you to make the changes you need to be happy. When you take responsibility for you, and you take the time to honor your needs and desires while respecting those of your spouse or partner, you can create and have the relationship you want. She empowers you by giving you the ability to change your marriage (and your life). She lays out how to do this with Six Intimacy Skills:

  1. Self-care
  2. Respect
  3. Relinquish control
  4. Receive
  5. Be vulnerable
  6. Gratitude

Why did I include it?

This book hit me hard on many levels. One place I knew I needed to make a change was in the control department! In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I am a bit of a control freak, and my husband had been on the receiving end for far too long. By controlling my husband I was disrespecting him. Doyle’s definition of respect was a game changer for me because it pointed to the exact way I was being disrespectful and showed me how to fix it!

Surprisingly this revelation and advice was not what really changed my marriage or my life, it was skill #1, Self-care. I was in the middle of a self-awakening when I found this book. I had an 8-month-old baby and was beginning to come out of the new parent fog to realize that I had lost myself somewhere along the way. I had just realized that maybe it was time to start honoring my needs a bit when I decided to start reading this book.

What I realized through following the Six Intimacy Skills was that along with not getting in enough self-care, I was not honoring my desires, I didn’t even know what my desires were. I had moved so far away from myself I didn’t even know what I wanted anymore! Crazy right!? Is that a new mom thing? I don’t know…I’m new to this!

Once I started focusing on me, defining my desires, speaking them, and honoring them, everything changed in our house. I really think that honoring myself was the turning point for me in my depression. To think that a relationship book could help me change my own life!

I realized I needed help. I got on anti-depressants. I made time for myself. I started being creative again. I started saying no. I realized that now was the time to have the life I wanted not later, not when it was more convenient or less risky, NOW and so I changed careers, just like that, and here I am writing this blog and coaching. I am a new person because of this book, or really, I just found myself again.

9. Personality Plus – Florence Littauer

How will it help you to change your life? Identifying your strengths and areas to improve.

What is it about? Understanding how and why people behave, speak, or respond in different ways allows you to be more effective in communicating, helping, loving, and interacting with them.

Okay so this book is going to rub people in all kinds of ways I know. First, she is a Christian writer and mentions God, but it is not part of the premise for the book, it is merely her background. Second, some people hate categories (my husband is completely opposed to the idea there are only four personalities in the world). Third, the book is a bit dated and a bit cheesey. BUT this book is amazing.

If you know anything about personality types you know there is a lot of info out there and a lot of ideas, though most of them agree on the four major personalities, they call them by different names, or colors, or animals, and it can be a bit confusing. What I love about this book is it is so simple, straightforward, and the examples are so good that you immediately start thinking of people who fit into each group. I remember having so many moments where I exclaimed out loud while reading this book. People in your life start to make so much more sense!

Why did I include it?

Have you ever been in a job interview and they ask you what are your strengths and weaknesses, and you are at a loss for what to say?

“Hahaha, I’m too organized” awkward laugh….

Understanding the personality types is the perfect tool to understand yourself, your limits, your strengths, and your weaknesses, or as I like to call them: areas for growth.

It is also the perfect way to understand how to effectively work as a team, either in work, family, or in love, by identifying where your weaknesses hold you back and where other’s strengths can move you forward.

By taking her test and reading the book you will enlighten yourself to your many fine and admirable characteristics as well as your not so desirable ones. You will be able to see how you can use those strengths and weaknesses to help you grow and accomplish things in life instead of hold you back.

You will also gain a whole new appreciation for the people who drive you crazy because you will see yourself in them, and/or understand a bit more why they drive you crazy and how to appreciate that difference.

10. Loving What Is – Byron Katie

How will it help you to change your life? Surrender

What is it about? This book focuses on four simple, yet profound, questions which Byron Katie calls “The Work”. It is a simple shift in the way you think. Asking these four questions allows you to take back control in any situation by allowing you to surrender.

Doing The Work centers around asking these four questions:

  • Is it true?
  • Can I absolutely know that it is true?
  • How do I react/what happens when I believe that thought?
  • Who would I be without that thought?

By asking these questions you can take a situation and turn it on its head, look at it from many different angles, and see what is true and genuine. Byron Katie States:

This Work is a meditation practice. It’s like diving into yourself. Contemplate the questions, one at a time. Drop down into the depths of yourself, listen, and wait. The answer will meet your question.

What is amazing about The Work, which is a bit more involved than just 4 questions (check out her website for more) is that you begin to realize that you are only in control of YOU and everything else is out of your hands. You must surrender, let go of any thought of changing or controlling anyone besides YOU and your own thoughts. When you have to turn your own thoughts around on themselves you begin to realize that all you can do is Love What Is.

Why did I include it?

Surrendering is the thing I struggle with the most in life and so I had to include the ultimate book on surrender here. It is so important to understand how to let go of control, and how to understand and realize what we do and do not have control over in our lives. The Work is ongoing for me and I think it will always be ongoing, but I know that I have the tool to help me learn how to surrender, and that tool is The Work.

I listened to this book on audio which I highly recommend because the majority of the book is recordings of her in sessions with people doing The Work. In the hard copy this is in transcript form which is powerful, but hearing it helps to make sense of the process.

In conclusion…

All of these books have had a profound effect on the way I view myself, my life, and the role I play in having the life I want. These books have inspired me to be Gutsy and embark on this next chapter in my life. I hope that these books will inspire you too, and bring some new insight for you and your personal journey to a gutsier life!

Leave a comment and let me know what books you would add to this list and why! Have you read any of these books? What insight have you gained from them?

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And for more posts related to Changing your life check out my post on 10 Quotes to Live Your Life By Part 1 and Part 2

books to change your life

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Amanda Richey