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Find Your Muse

Lately I’ve been listening to Lisa Nichols, a powerful speaker and transformational leader who keeps me pumped up to live my best life, but I’m also obsessed by organization, both at work and home. My go to is Nikki Boyd (At Work with Nikki and At Home with Nikki). Yes, I too love labeling containers in my pantry and fridge – it gives me a sense of order and accomplishment.

I also color code the clothes in my closet, just like we do in our Goodwill stores. The rainbow of colors is a story of order and diversity. The palette is joyous and just like my varied choices of literary genres and authors – every different hue brings something beautiful and marvelous to the hunt for treasures.

I bet you have a lot of things that you like to do that keep you motivated and engaged. Sometimes, it’s a hobby that allows you to lose yourself (and your worries) for an hour or two.

For me the trick has always been reading. I have always been an avid reader. At the age of 5, I ferociously devoured 7 board books a week!

That was the limit of the books that you could check out at my small community library. My mother took me to the library every week. I would get the same seven books week after week. At first I just marveled at the pictures peeking over my mother’s lap as she held the books while reading them to me. Then, with practice I began sounding out the words.

While other children my age were just learning their alphabet, I was reading complete sentences. Once I started school I jumped ahead to the 2nd grader books, my favorite book was The Frog and The Toad, a series of books of these two best friends, one a frog and the other a toad. The first of the series, was written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel in 1970. I loved the relationship that the frog and toad had. Sometimes they were happy, sometimes sad, sometimes content and sometimes curious, but always friends. They weren’t afraid to be themselves around each other. It taught me the benefit of building relationships that go beyond the surface-acquaintance level.

I no longer read seven books a week, but you can typically find me reading a book and listening to an additional audiobook in my car, a Tedtalk on my tablet or a couple of podcast per week. Reading, whether it’s via listening to a book or holding a hard copy in your hands, educates and entertains. For executives it’s a key component to growth and innovation. For those with designs on the C-spot leather executive chair it is an absolute must!

I just finished Pound the Stone: 7 Lessons To Develop Grit On The Path To Mastery, by Joshua Medcalf, gifted to me by one of my leadership staff members. Pound the Stone is a fictional story of a young man finding his way to adulthood despite failures and loss with the help of a father-figure mentor who teaches him life’s lessons with a storyteller’s yarn. I think it’s a great book for teens and young adults, but the lessons are ageless too.

I typically choose books that help me to be a better leader, stay on top of my management game and give me tips to share with my staff. I also read for fun. Mysteries with a comical heroine and historical fiction that provides a little levity with the facts of the subject matter –I’ve even written one of those. There are even a few books that I go back and re-read from time to time:

• The 1-Minute Manager by Kevin Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

• The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey

• The Servant Leader, by James A. Autry

• The Dream Manager, by Matthew Kelly

• Leaders Eat Last, by Simon Sinek

What’s on your bookshelf, your tablet, on your podcast list? And, what does it say about you?

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