Four of the Best Career self-help Books
No matter how successful people appear, one thing I’ve learned, especially in my job as an agent, is that no one has it totally figured out. The insecurities people share with me about their careers are surprisingly common. And the answers to many of their issues are also remarkably similar.
These are four of my favorite books for career motivation that address some of the common issues plaguing people and keep them from reaching their full potential. If you relate to any of the feelings below, one of these four books can help.
1)You feel stuck and unsure of how to pursue something new or different. You might even be making excuses about why you aren’t up for the task. Read:
THE OBSTACLE IS THE WAY by Ryan Holiday
I learned about this book when I met author Ryan Holiday out with Rams and Seahawks General Managers Les Snead and John Schneider. Holiday spoke at the NFL owner’s meeting earlier in the day and team GMs were tapping into his leadership ideas which are rooted in Holiday’s research and passion for philosophy. After we met, he gave me a signed copy of his book. It is such a smart, engaging, and motivating read. The premise is about embracing obstacles to create opportunity. Here are a few of the points that have stuck with me.
- Failure puts you in corners you have to think your way out of. It is a source of breakthroughs.
- We choose how we’ll look at things. We retain the ability to inject perspective into a situation. How we approach, view, and contextualize an obstacle and what we tell ourselves it means determines how daunting and trying it will be to overcome.
- Our perceptions determine, to a huge degree, what we are and are not capable of.
- When you are frustrated in pursuit of your goals, don’t sit there and complain that you don’t have what you want or that this obstacle won’t budge. If you haven’t even tried yet, then of course, you will still be in the exact same place.
- if you think it’s simply enough to take advantage of the opportunities that arise in your life, you will fall short of greatness. What you must do is learn how to press forward precisely when everyone around you sees disaster.
- We don’t control the barriers or the people who put them there. But we control ourselves and that is sufficient.
2)You don’t know what you want or you let others determine your career path. You focus more on company goals than your own. Read:
YOU ARE A BADASS by Jen Sincero
I picked up this book one day from the shelf next to the dressing rooms in Urban outfitters while my daughters were trying on clothes. I was just a few pages in when they came out of the fitting rooms ready to go, but I was already totally hooked. I bought this New York Times bestseller and spent the next 48 hours underlining and circling phrases that resonated with me, which was pretty much the entire book… Here are a few of my favorites:
- You need to have the audacity to be honest about what you really want to do, not what you should do, believe it is available to you regardless of any evidence otherwise, and go for it.
- Surround yourself with people who think the way you want to think.
- What you choose to focus on becomes your reality.
- How you do one thing is how you do everything.
- When we’re in fear, we hold on to what we’ve got because we don’t trust that there’s more.
- People act poorly because they are in pain or confused or both.
- The trick is to not only deny the criticism any power over you but even more challenging, to not get caught up in the praise.
3)You hesitate and worry about what people will think if you ask for what you want or speak up. You might believe your talents or contributions are not as important as others. Read:
THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK by Mark Manson
This is the first anti-happiness self-help book in the “think your way to positivity and you deserve to be happy at all costs” era. Author Manson’s message is refreshing…you don’t always have to smile and be happy all the time. It’s not normal. Here are a few of the book’s nuggets:
- The more we choose to accept responsibility in our lives, the more power we will exercise over our lives.
- Life is about not knowing and then doing something anyway.
- Uncertainty is the root of all progress and all growth.
- The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.
- When people measure themselves not by their behavior, but by the status symbols they’re able to collect, then not only are they shallow, but they’re probably assholes as well.
4)You feel overwhelmed with all you juggle and struggle to find work-life balance. Read:
LEAN IN By Sheryl Sandberg
My copy of this book has pages folded, words underlined, and paragraphs starred and highlighted. It was the first book that put words to the many frustrating feelings I had about being a working mom and trying to balance it all. I nodded in agreement and sometimes even got teary-eyed when words would jump off the page and conveyed I wasn’t alone in my fears and frustrations. If both men and women read this book, it would help the workplace soo much. A few of my favorite ideas from this book that apply to both family and work-life:
- Being aware of a problem is the first step to correcting it. It is nearly impossible to know how our actions are perceived by others.
- Sharing the burden of the mundane can make all the difference.
- If a relationship begins in an unequal place, it is likely to get more unbalanced when and if children are added to the equation.
- Authentic communication is not always easy But it is the basis for successful relationships at home and real effectiveness at work.