Best Reads of 2018

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:

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The Curse of the Super Smart Person

“I’m like a bad doctor … No patience.”


(My father was the king of one-liners. And this may be one of his best.)

Pretend it’s 4:25pm and you’re sitting in the 9th meeting of the day. The pace of this meeting is decidedly more tortoise than hare, and it’s beginning to work your very last nerve.

You know you should be patient.

You know you should wait for everyone else to see what you already see so clearly.

You know you should wait for him to get to the point.

You should sit quietly as she asks a question that will hijack the conversation and guarantee that absolutely nothing gets resolved. 

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Episode 7: Tell the Truth... Memorably: An Interview with Dan Benaim

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be that speech writer that flies around the world with folks like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton? Well, you're about to get the real scoop from former White House speechwriter/foreign policy advisor Dan Benaim. I loved Dan's take on the craft of speechwriting, and he offers some incredible tips and insights for anyone hoping to take complicated ideas, and express them in memorable, repeatable ways. Listen now >>

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Fear, Loathing & Public Speaking

As far as I can tell, I only have two real talents in this lifetime: teaching and singing.

And oddly, the bigger the audience, the better.

Don’t ask me to do basic math, handle any kind of detailed logistics, or point out the state of Ohio on an unmarked map of the United States.

But give me something to teach or sing, and I will get on stage and rock that mic.

There’s just this one problem: I am gut-twistingly terrified of being on stage—teaching or singing.

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Episode 5: The Curse of Perfectionism

If left unchecked, perfectionism can undo us as communicators. Episode 5 encourages the practice of replacing our drive to be *perfect* with the drive to truly *connect* with an audience. Communicating well means telling the truth of what you know as clearly as you can, in a way that helps people... it means connecting with the needs of an audience. In this episode, you will learn how to move out of the tyranny of perfectionism, and into the flow of connection. Listen now >>

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Episode 1: "Just Be Yourself!" Worst Advice Ever?

Ever been offered this not-so-helpful piece of advice just before a big speech or job interview—"Just be yourself!" Which "self" are they talking about? We play many different roles during a given day, and we communicate differently based on the situation. What is it about authenticity that is so damn difficult when the pressure is on? In this episode, we talk about which "self" is the highest possible expression of You, and how to make sure that you've created the conditions for this self to shine through. Listen now >>

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Are You "Too Much?"

Have you ever been on the receiving end of feedback that you are “too much?”

Too what?

Too authentic?

Too passionate?

Too energetic?

And what on earth are you supposed to do with that information?

Behave with less authenticity? Passion? Energy?

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FRIENDS!!! I am beyond excited to announce a brand new, 8 week online course called… drumroll...

 

Time Debt: Reclaim Your Life, Live in Flow

 

My partner-in-crime/best-selling author/host of the delicious Beautiful Writers Podcast Linda 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.

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Best Reads of 2017

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).

 

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Who Are You Lookin' At?

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.

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Surviving a Psychic Attack

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.

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The Scarcity Trap

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:

‘I have plenty of time, and all is well.'

I wanted to punch that writer in the neck.

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The Life-Changing Magic of Encouragement

I remember the moment very well.

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!

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“Why do I always do this to myself??”

 

If my thoughts were audible, you’d hear this message with steady frequency.

 

This thought is always accompanied by a set of physical sensations: butterflies in the stomach, a dry throat, and my heart beating fast and hard.

 

It’s the thought that crashes through my mind just before I do something that scares me: like standing in front of a microphone, either to teach or to sing.

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Best Reads of 2016

My Favorite Reads of 2016

It’s that time of year, friends… it time to take stock of the year, and report back on what we read that was worth reading.

Normally, my list is dominated by fiction. But this year? Of my 10 favorite reads only ONE is fiction. It’s not that I didn’t read fiction, I did. I read plenty. But only one of them passed the “OH MY GOD… you HAVE to read this book…” test.


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Ah friends. We come to it at last…

the final installment of Manterruptions, Mansplaining & Bropropriations.

To the men who have followed this series… two words:

THANK YOU.

It takes a lot of courage to go into the belly of the gender imbalance beast in our culture. It takes even more courage to take on the perspective of someone else, and these pieces were definitely written from a woman’s perspective for a female audience. So I honor you and thank you.

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