Expand Your Mind – Best Reads of 2013

Last week I was giving myself a hard time because I hadn’t finished a single book in 2013. Gah. I have been given books. I have been lent books. I have bought books. YET, NONE READ. {None finished would actually be more accurate. Been working on Steve Jobs’ biography for like 10 months}. I am the kind of person who gets super caught up in a book. I love reading and once I get started, I usually can’t put the book down. I’m often hesitant to start a book during the work week as I always have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to affect how much sleep I get. And hell, I’ve needed all the sleep I can get this past year.

A few days after I was getting all mental on myself for not reading, I arrived back on planet earth. It only took a quick browse through my Evernote and Twitter favourites to remember that I read ALL THE TIME — just not books. :) Articles, posts and random doses of inspirations fly through my social media feeds every moment of every day {often in a somewhat overwhelming way}. Every now and again, I’ll click a link and be swept away. Whether it be a post that completely resonates with where I’m at today {or where I want to be tomorrow} or a big reality check in the face or something that gets my creative juices flowing… I read, re-read and share it with anyone I think might love it.

While I’ve been reflecting on 2013, some of my favourite posts of the year have come top of mind {in no particular order}:

If you’re keen on being a better human, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, thinking outside the box and drilling down on what’s most important, than you’ll likely enjoy some of these reads.

“A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility what human nature is of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.” — Susan Sontag

Do you have a favourite post {or book} from last year? Spread the love. Share it with me.

PS – Since last week I’ve finished 2 books — “Doppler” by Erlend Loe and “Start” by Jon Acuff. Hurrah! Books {and sleeping} will be a part of my 2014. Setting that intention right now.

A Little Escape

I know that you’re not supposed to run away from your problems… or feel a need to run away from your life.

These days many in the self-development world — “experts,” say… if you need a vacation, you need a new life.

It in it’s simplest form, the statement makes sense to me.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been guilty of saying… “I  just need a moment to breathe”…”I need to get caught up on email”…”I need time to just think”… and before you knew it I had booked a trip to the hot hot heat.

I just need some time in a beautiful place to clear my head.

Regardless of what category you put ‘needing a vacation’ into… I know I need it. Yep, need it.

I need to be able to walk away from my current life and reflect on what’s working and not working. I need to think about my constant state of being busy and overloaded {for a great post by Danielle LaPorte on being overwhelmed… click here} — and determine what changes needed to be made. I need to gain clarity on what’s truly important. I need a little Eat : Pray : Love.

If all this means I’m running away — c’est la vie. If it means — I need a new/revised life… well I’ll be the first to admit that maybe I do.

Looking forward to some time with my head. Looking forward to moving into 2013 with a little bit more focus.

Run Away and Hide

When I’m overwhelmed, the #1 thing I always want to do is run away and hide. I want to curl up in a ball, with my head under the covers and wait for the overwhelm to pass.

Last week was a bad week. My 27 years on this planet have taught me that — bad happens. Every week can’t be perfect. With bad and good — comes learning. And learning is the goal right?

Regardless I defaulted to my comfort zone — the little girl that gets overwhelmed by bad — she runs away and hides.

On Thursday I walked away from social media. Yep, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram. On Sunday I flew to Palm Springs. I put my iPhone on airplane mode and off I went to the land of hot.

I left the world behind me with hopes of figuring life out.  I wanted to gain clarity on what was important, who was important and most important of all — why.

I learned a few things:

  • You can’t figure out life in 4 days
  • You can’t figure much out running away from your problems

When you head to the land of hot, you generally — sun, sleep, read, eat, drink and do nothing. Well that’s exactly what I did. The 40 degree heat filled my lungs and brought me peace. I spent my days in Palm Springs calming the hell down and taking a moment to myself. One might call it a — ME-cation.

Surprise surprise I returned home just as lost as when I left…! There’s gotta be some good tho — Right? Right? Yep, I was rested, brown, tackled 3 books {Crush It – Gary Vaynerchuk, Linchpin – Seth Godin, Fire Starter Sessions – Danielle La Porte} — and no more damn tears.

It’s been 11 days… I thought I would be ready to be back. But I’m not.

Shit Got Real

Late Night Working = Bad Habit

When I left my corporate job, I took a major pay decrease… major… and all of my {ridiculously comfortable} job security, to give entrepreneurship a shot.

Why? Because I wanted to.

I was ready to take a jump. I needed a change.

{My mother surely thought I was crazy.}

I entered into the land of solopreneurship completely unprepared.  Totally my fault by the way. I knew I wasn’t ‘corporate’ but I had no idea if entrepreneurship and small business was for me.

I started a notebook called ‘how to be a business’ … Every time someone gave me advice, I wrote it down. Every time I found some sort of magical piece of information online, I wrote it down.

I have definitely learned that it’s way easier to ask people {who have been around the block} for help, rather than search for an answer for 6000 hours.

I have become very aware of what I spend time doing and how long I spend time on tasks. {Perfectionism can be the devil.} I have begun to learn what I enjoy doing and what I should be outsourcing.

I went from working every day, all day long {with absolutely no boundaries} to a reasonable amount of hours in 6 days a week.

I am more organized {but not in a ready for tax season kind of day} and this week I achieved Inbox Zero in all email accounts. The very first time in over a year. Hooray!

I learned how to invoice {both correctly and incorrectly}, manage a budget {most of the time} and keep my clients happy.

I still have a long way to go and a lot to sort out, but I am moving forward. And finally it all feels real.

Guess what? I left corporate. And didn’t die. 

It’s been 10 months and it took me until today to feel like a business.

Today I figured out what I am worth.

A few online peeps I have learned from:

Thank you to Judy, Val, Pete, Jill, Scott, Tod and Glenn for the love — and of course, the hand holding.