Periodically through the year, Mind Your Business checks in with our members to find out which business books they’re reading and why. Listed below are three more books to add to your reading list.
My Reading List for 2017:
No. 1: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
This is a classic, but should be on everyone’s reading list if you are serious about being successful in life and in business. This book was first published in 1937 and is a compilation of the interviews of more than 500 successful men—including Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford. It is not a quick-fix or feel-good book, it breaks down 14 key focus areas that need to be understood and put in practice to actually see results. One of my mentors shared this book with me and I have not only read it multiple times this year, I have implemented several of the concepts and continue to do so as I grow my business. Here are a few of the things that I have implemented:
- Persistence. The mind is a creature of habit—it thrives upon the dominating thoughts fed to it—control of the mind through the power of will comes from persistence and building habits. I am creating a habit of a daily organizing routine in the morning and a short reflection period at the end of every day. Doing something over and over seems boring—and it is—but the more you do it, the more it becomes automatic and you won’t resist it because it is just part of what you do.
- Subconscious mind. This was a game changer for me. Your subconscious mind will not remain idle and if you fail to plant your desires and the RIGHT THOUGHTS, you will never get the results you want. You need to feed the right thoughts in your subconscious mind—making them positive and repetitive. “Man can create nothing which he does not first conceive in thought”—when you really understand the power of thought, it can change everything for you. Every day I have said aloud my intentions, what I want and what I will give in return for it and it has brought me clients and friendships this year.
- Power of the master mind. He defines the master mind as “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” It seems obvious—get other great thinkers around you to help shape, perfect and grow your thoughts and ideas and the whole group benefits from the energy and intelligence available to everyone in the group. You must pick the right people. I have facilitated a few of these and will continue to do so next year with people who want to grow in areas of leadership—everyone who participates has grown because we love to learn from others versus just a book. I am starting my own master mind for my business as well and in 2018 I know that my group will reap tremendous benefits!
No. 2: Everyone Communicates Few Connect by John C. Maxwell
“According to the Harvard Business Review, ‘The number one criteria for advancement and promotion for professionals is an ability to communicate effectively.’ That means connecting! If you learned to connect better, it would change your life! This book has so many applications from a leadership perspective. It is broken into two parts—the principles of connecting and the connecting practices. When we communicate, we tend to think of ourselves and ask “will we look good, did they like me, did they hear me?”
Here are a couple of my takeaways from this book:
- The power of connecting is thinking of the ‘other’ person, when you realize that it’s not about you—growth really begins to happen. I have used this in my business as I thought about attracting the clients that I am really looking for—what are their wants and needs? What do they care about? What would really help them? Instead of what I wanted them to know about me or what I wanted to tell them. I also use this in my coaching practice. The most common challenge I have seen in leaders is ability to influence and influence happens when we connect with others. It starts with the first connecting practice “common ground”—what does the other person want or need that you have in common with them so they see and feel a connection.
- Tips for connecting to a large group. The use of storytelling is so powerful. Don’t make your presentations death by powerpoint, show a picture and tell a story, our brains light up and we will listen and connect with you. I have used this in my speaking engagements—the most powerful stories are personal and the stories that show you when you were not perfect!
- Use interesting facts and data points to make it interesting as well. One of my coaching and mastermind clients used this for a presentation she was giving and was so successful that one of their largest donors asked for a copy of her speech!
No. 3: Your Brain at Work by David Rock
If you are someone who brags about the fact that they are such a great multi-tasker, then this book is for you. This book helps to break down what we know about the brain and how it applies to becoming a more effective leader by understanding how to:
- Stay cool under pressure.
I have applied this to how I approach my day and get things done by doing my biggest thinking in the morning when I am fresh and making sure that I don’t waste precious cognitive time with reading emails in the morning. I am a reformed multi-tasker and still slip once in a while but I have been conscious of having a “space” for thinking and not taking my phone with me when I am doing this. I have also helped dozens of executives have more effective meetings by doing one simple thing—removing the phones and computers from their meetings. They will end in half the time, people will pay attention and decisions will be better and made quicker!
Another concept I have used here relates to managing change and our tendency to get easily distracted. The anterior cingulate cortex lights up when something is different and in your brain—this novelty gets attention. If there is too much change all at once or over a very short period of time, it can cause anxiety or fear. You might see this in organizations as people “shutting down” and feeling overloaded because their brains really are! I have used this in my consulting practice to help organizations and leaders “break-down” their changes and keep it simple. If you are trying to change 10 things all at once, you will get chaos, but try to change three or four things, with good explanations as to why and help in making the change and you will see much more success.
An overarching principle about the brain is that it is organized to minimize danger and maximize reward. When you apply this principle and the others in this book to your own personal leadership style and how you run your business to be more ‘brain friendly’ you will see great increases in performance, engagement and satisfaction.
What are you reading these days? Let us know on Twitter!
Jill Windelspecht has spent 20 years coaching executives, leading global and regional talent strategies, managing change and developing people. She works with mid- to senior-level executives and business owners to reach their potential and help create organizational climates that lead to lifelong prosperity. Helping executives develop their leadership and communication skills so that they can build a strong, cohesive team and break through any barriers holding themselves and their team back ... and not have to burn themselves out by doing so! View her website by clicking here or contact Jill via email at Jillwindel@talentspecialists.net.