There’s no doubt that through reading books, listening to podcasts, and attending conferences, we invest in our personal development in immeasurable ways.
Being a life-long learner is critical to success, which is why we’re all about encouraging our team to be avid readers.
One of the ways we inspire and encourage personal development at NOW is through our Quarterly Level-Up Challenges where Jessika rewards team members for reading specific books in the personal development and marketing fields.
Since we know that you, our community, are also avid learners and future leaders, we figured you’d love to know what we’ve rated as some of the best-read books as part of our NOW Book Club.
If you have any suggestions for books to add, you know we’d love to hear from you!
Here are our top 5 personal development books for feeling inspired and motivated:
Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...and Maybe The World, By William H. McRaven
Make your Bed was a quick but powerful reminder that we all have the capacity to make a change in this world.
Our top takeaways from the book:
- “Start your day with a task completed.” Changing the world can start with one simple task. It’s the idea of checking off small tasks and how that leads to checking off big tasks. How you accomplish those tasks sets the tone.
- “You cannot paddle the boat alone… Find someone to share your life with. Make as many friends as possible and never forget your success depends on others.” Pride is a very powerful thing and it’s sometimes the one thing that holds us back from being successful or opening up to building connections with others. We are part of a greater whole. Regardless of role, having a tribe of people who are there to lean on - and in turn, have you to offer support - will help you through difficult moments.
- “...get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.” Tough stuff happens. Period. Life doesn’t hand you a smooth ride. Life hands you lessons and opportunities to grow. We all fall short, no one is perfect, but what is important to note, is that sometimes we may not be the best >> but if you don’t compromise on giving your best, learn from disappointments, failures, and challenges, and keep pressing on, you’ll be better for it. From failure comes strength.
- “Who dares wins.” You can’t succeed if you don’t try. We are all capable of more than we think, it’s anxieties and insecurities which get in the way. Trust in your abilities and then push outside of them. Without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life.”
- “...don’t back down from the sharks.” Clearly define what goal you want to accomplish and believe in yourself to move forward, don’t let the bullies or naysayers veer you off course. Bullies are all the same - regardless of if they are in the workplace or playground, they thrive on intimidation. Stand your ground, fight for your position and give your best. Only YOU can let yourself be intimidated.
- “...be your very best in the darkest moments.” When all is right with the world, it’s easy to move forward. But we will all find ourselves in moments that can completely destroy our spirit; no one is immune from some form of loss or suffering. It’s there, when it feels the darkest, when faced with what seems like insurmountable challenges, you need to dig deep to be your very best. Pulling yourself up over fears and doubts and the “darkness” is what separates you from everyone else. It’s there where you can find your true self.
- “...start singing when you’re up to your neck in the mud.” We can’t summarize this better than Admiral McRaven, so here’s his lesson: “Hope is the most powerful force in the universe. With hope, you can inspire nations to greatness. With hope, you can raise up the downtrodden. With hope, you can ease the pain of unbearable loss. Sometimes all it takes is one person to make a difference. We will all find ourselves neck-deep in mud someday. That is the time to sing loudly, to smile broadly, to lift up those around you and give them hope that tomorrow will be a better day.”
- “Never, ever quit!” Quitting will NEVER make anything easier. Life is filled with difficulties, but there will always be someone facing a hardship worse than you. Sitting in self-pity and blaming your circumstances on others will guarantee the rest of your days will be a struggle. However, if you stand up, press on, and never compromise on your dreams, that “promised land” will be found.
10% Happier By Dan Harris
This book is all about helping us realize that the pursuit of happiness can easily turn into the source of unhappiness. When we live life in a way that is all about “just finishing this one thing,” we put happiness on the other side of life circumstances.
Our top takeaways from the book:
- Take moments of pause. Making an effort to be present and mindful helps us respond vs. react to situations.
- Disconnect from expected results. We want to push and play to win, but don’t crumble if things don’t go our way. High intention, but don’t be attached to the outcome.
- Let go of what we can’t control. So much anxiety comes from the desire to control things that we can’t. We burn so many brain calories by obsessing over variables outside of our hands and influence, and it only leaves us feeling frustrated.
- Balance the zen. By being too passive, we run the risk of being taken advantage of. By not being zen enough, we’re an asshole. Find a balance of giving and taking.
- Take a moment to consider why we always jump to the worst case. Instead of worrying about the worst possible outcome, can we flip the script and imagine positive scenarios? It’s worthwhile considering why our tendency is to always jump to the worst conclusions.
The Four Agreements, By Don Miguel Ruiz
This book is an easy read and all about four simple agreements that when followed, can change our lives drastically. This book inspires us to stop hiding and pretending to be someone we are not but rather, take our mask off and be our authentic selves.
The Four Agreements are:
- Be impeccable with your word: Words are so powerful. It’s through them that we manifest everything. Being impeccable with our word means taking responsibility for our actions and how we speak.
- Don’t take anything personally: While it’s easy to let our ego try to run the show, it usually gets us into trouble. How others behave and treat us is much more a reflection of them than us, so don’t take things personally. When we stop taking things personally, we see that anger, jealousy, envy, and sadness become a lot less prevalent.
- Don’t make assumptions: A lot of drama is created because we make assumptions rather than ask questions. We need to start to have the courage to ask questions until we are as clear as we can be so that we avoid miscommunications and misunderstandings that result from assumptions.
- Always do your best: It feels good to do our best! Not to mention, it’s impossible to be able to withhold the first three agreements ALL of the time, but we can do our best all of the time.
The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod
This book will have even the biggest night owls reconsidering the beauty and importance of establishing a morning routine.
Hal’s inspiring story truly makes you think about making the most of every day and showing up as the best version of yourself.
A morning routine is truly what sets the tone for the day; when we are intentional about our days rather than letting them just happen, we live happier and more fulfilling lives.
In order to do that, Hal inspires everyone to create their own SAVERS program:
- Silence: Start the morning with some quiet time to truly tap into yourself.
- Affirmations: Create some affirmations as a way to start the day with a positive mindset, priming your brain to feel motivated and determined.
- Visualization: Visualize what you want to see happen in the day, week, month or year.
- Exercise: Move your body in some way to get those endorphins and get out of your head before diving into the rest of your day.
- Reading: Take some time to read every morning. Whether it’s a fiction book or your favorite industry website, it will help spark some creativity and get your wheels going.
- Scribing: Finish the routine with writing. This could be making a gratitude list, doing a brain dump, or just writing down some feelings or thoughts about your day or to-do list.
Unf*ck Yourself by Gary John Bishop
This book teaches us that change will not happen if we don’t take action. Getting up and making things happen is the only way to claim our greatness AND work past our self-imposed and created limits.
Our brains are hardwired to win if we prime them to celebrate accomplishments, find the food and start pointing ourselves in the right direction.
Our top takeaways from the book:
- Optimism is our greatest asset: Let’s stop letting one tiny mess ruin the entire day. So often, a little misstep in the morning paints the entire day black and it’s the lens through which we see the rest of the day. We have the ability to take an optimistic approach to challenges and shape the script of how we want to change our day. Everything is solvable, so let’s remember that and make it part of our story!
- Embrace uncertainty: Don’t let an aversion to risk keep you from actually living. We all want safety and security, but there can’t be complacency! Success doesn’t come without a degree of risk.
- Be relentless: This doesn’t mean blasting into the room, guns blazing but it means taking focused and determined action repeatedly. It means pressing on and not quitting when we get discouraged or down. It’s recognizing that the road might be hard, but we have to keep moving forward.
- Release expectations: Expectations can keep us trapped in an unhappy mind, especially if we’re trying constantly trying to meet these specific ideals in our head and not enjoying our reality. We all have these areas in our lives and implied expectations of how things were “supposed to be,” but by releasing them and coming to terms with the unpredictability of life, we feel so much better.
- Deal with your reality: Life is going to change and we’re going to need to pivot. We have to be able to adapt and shift when necessary. It’s time to stop putting things off until tomorrow and deal with the things right in front of us that matter most.
Putting It All Together:
One of the takeaways that we got from The Miracle Morning that we feel truly resonates with us is that a lot of times, we say that we don’t have time for personal development.
The reality is, we make time for crises because we don’t have a choice. By failing to make time for personal development, we are forced to make time for pain and struggle. We have to commit to ourselves to make time for positive changes in our lives.
Investing in ourselves will never be wasted time, but it’s up to us to make it a practice to commit to it consistently.
Does your team do any personal development challenges? Have you read any books lately that inspire you to invest in yourself?
We’d love to hear them!