I usually keep meticulous records of what I read in a given year. I relish the tracking process, seeing the list of books grow with each passing month.
But this year? This year was a real rollercoaster ride—the highest of highs, the lowest of lows—and my diligent record keeping went right out the window.
As such, I’ve been doing literary forensics all week in an attempt to piece together the books that were the highlight of my reading journey this year. I’m pretty sure I’ve accounted for everything, and taken only the crème de la crème to share with you. And remember, I don’t restrict myself to books that were published in 2018 … I’ll read anything if it’s good.
In no particular order (they were all amazing, and I can’t even rank them), I give you my favorite reads of the year:
My partner-in-crime/best-selling author/host of the delicious Beautiful Writers PodcastLinda Sivertsen and I have been working for months to bring this concept, these practices and this content to life for you… and it’s finally READY!
So, what is Time Debt?
It's the misspending of time—either consciously or unconsciously—in ways that lead to a life half lived.
2017 was a year of indiscriminant literary hook ups… hardly the serial reading monogamy I usually engage in. I attribute this to some really poor book choices I made. But despite abundance of one-nightstand stands, there were some OMG reads scattered in there as well.
These are the OMG Books of my 2017. Some titles are old, most are new, but each one made my heart race, melt or break with their word wizardry, plot twists, and teachings (I effing love a good self help book).
What do Gloria Steinem, Steve Martin, Marilyn Monroe, and Luna Lovegood have in common?
They’re on my Virtual Board of Advisors, and they “live” above my writing desk.
I think everyone needs a Virtual Board of Advisors.
We play so many roles in our lives—mother/father, daughter/son, teacher/student…. We move through our weeks paying bills, shuttling kids to team sports activities and birthday parties, commuting to work—white-knuckling it until Friday, when we can finally relax and binge watch TV.
There’s nothing wrong with these activities, per se.
But if my life were the sum total of only these things, I might lose what few marbles I have.
That’s what the Virtual Board of Directors does for me—they remind me that there is a lot more to life (and a lot more to ME) than just going through the motions of driving, feeding, clothing and emotionally supporting the people around me.
Have you ever been in a conversation, or in a meeting, and suddenly someone says something to you that cuts you to the core?
You start asking yourself questions like:
“Wait, did she/he just say something shitty, or am I imagining this?”
“Am I ok here?”
“Did I just do something bad? Say the wrong thing?”
I’ve found that most psychic attacks aren’t shouty or obvious to the outside observer, but to the recipient, they hurt like hell. And they usually come out of nowhere, catching us completely off guard.
It can feel like a trap door opens beneath you, and down you go, your dignity and confidence trailing behind you. Or maybe your stomach turn to liquid, your throat suddenly feels tight, or your mouth gets dry.
One of my favorite techniques as a communication coach was given to me (albeit indirectly) by my daughter when she was barely 2 months old.
It was 2006, I had just had Stella, and was back to work with almost no childcare whatsoever. I was a train wreck. My identity was wobbly, none of the time management techniques that had worked for me in the past made any sense, and I was chronically exhausted from trying to front like I had it all under control. One night, in a state of desperation, I went online to seek out information on mindfulness, positive thinking, coping techniques for overwhelm… anything to get me through the next 24 hours.
I came across one piece of advice that made me furious:
Tell yourself a story of abundance... No matter what your schedule says, repeat this phrase to yourself:
It was sometime around 1999 or 2000, and I had recently announced my decision to leave my job at Blanc & Otus for the greener pastures of Scient. Word had made its way around B&O that I was moving on, and when I saw our CEO, Jonelle Birney, approaching me in the hallway, I assumed she’d heard the news as well.
As she got closer to me, a pit opened up in my stomach. How would she react? Would she be angry at me for abandoning my clients and the few folks who reported to me at the time? Was I even a blip on her radar screen? I mean, jeeze, maybe she didn’t even know how to pronounce my name!