I’m a firm believer in continuing education. It doesn’t have to be formal training or classroom time, but just constantly trying to learn more and better yourself. Whether it’s “self help” or job/trade-specific learning or general knowledge acquisition, it’s so important to keep our minds sharp.
A sharp mind helps you be a better business owner and helps keep your thirst for knowledge alive. If you want to keep growing or improving your business and offerings, you have to keep up with trends, best practices and new ways of doing your work. The world moves pretty fast these days and it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day without looking at the big picture.
This year, I’ve decided to carve out more time for reading and learning. I’ve got a goal to complete at least two Skillshare courses each month (there are SO much variety in the types of classes available – you should check it out) and read at least two books. I’m also making better use of my commute time, finding intriguing podcasts and flipping over to NPR to get the latest current events updates.
With that said, I’ll be doing a monthly roundup of what I’m currently reading and listening to. My goal is to hopefully inspire you to take a listen or read or for you to find something relevant to your business and/or personal goals and make time for self-development.
CURRENTLY READING (OR RECENTLY FINISHED)
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon – I got this one for Christmas and I devoured it in about an hour or so. If you’re an artist of any type, it’s a great way to process through the feelings of competition and self-doubt that may plague your every social media scroll! Basically, no idea is a new idea … it’s a combination of your thoughts, what you’ve seen and how you meld the two. It’s a quick and refreshing read that will surely lift your creativity levels.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green – Another Christmas gift … another super inspiring read. While this one is fiction, I still feel some sort of growth. Just working your mind helps keep it moving and thinking and possibly spark some innovative ideas. I highly recommend it, especially if you’ve liked other John Green novels (The Fault In Our Stars, Paper Towns). It is deep, witty, insightful, heart-warming and simultaneously heart-wrenching. It’s a pretty easy read and the main character is so well-developed. Some of my favorite lines (because I’m one of those people who underlines passages that speak to me, even in fiction novels):
- “Your now is not your forever.”
- “Love is both how you become a person, and why.”
- “Life is a series of choices between wonders.”
- “Anybody can look at you. It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.”
BOOKS ON DECK
Magic and Loss: The Internet As Art by Virginia Heffernan – This book makes a bold claim: The Internet is among mankind’s great masterpieces—a massive work of art. As an idea, it rivals monotheism. But its cultural potential and its societal impact often elude us. In this deep and thoughtful book, Virginia Heffernan reveals the logic and aesthetics behind the Internet, just as Susan Sontag did for photography and Marshall McLuhan did for television. (Description provided by author’s website.)
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero – The author serves up 27 bitesized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word, helping you to: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, Create a life you totally love. And create it NOW, Make some damn money already. The kind you’ve never made before. By the end of You Are a Badass, you’ll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass. (Description borrowed from author’s website.)
IN MY EARBUDS (AND CAR SPEAKERS)
I’ve been digging a few podcasts lately. My genre of podcast tends to switch periodically. Lately, I’ve been finding myself listening to hosts who help navigate the tricky world of entrepreneurship and social media.
Jenn Kutcher’s Goal Digger Podcast as been a favorite as of late. It is aimed at the female entrepreneurs, but many of the tips and resources she provides are applicable to anyone with a small business or who is a solopreneur. My favorite episodes so far are:
099: The Simplest, Most Overlooked Methods to Creating Better Content
I’m all about making the content creation process as simple and streamlined as possible … I bet you are, too! Imagine how much time you can save if you could make your process even simpler? Check this episode out for some great tips.
058: How to Make Facebook Ads Work For You
With the recent announcement about how Facebook will be adjusting the way everyone’s feeds appear, it’s even more important to understand how to make the most of your Facebook Ads and how and where to spend time and energy in that space.
The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes is PHENOMENAL. Not only is he motivating, he also makes the implementation of successful habits and behaviors easy. My favorite episode by far is one where he has another amazing motivator on the show – Brendon Buchard (see above where I have his book on my “Want to Read” list).
538: Brendon Burchard: High Performance Habits
It’s a great listen whether you’re in the car or out for your morning run … they talk about their beginnings and what set them on their paths to “greatness.” It’s easy to listen to and it provides applicable information for both your business and personal lives.
I hope these books and podcasts have given you some inspiration to keep your brain growing and help you focus on making your business the amazing thing you know it has the potential to be! Check back next month to see how I’ve progressed on my new reads and what new finds I’m digging on Spotify and iTunes podcasts!