These Words Changed Me

I truly meant to have this one up last night, however, I was floating and my eyes were heavy after Benadryl. (You’d think I’m on staff as much as I talk about taking these meds, but really my allergies rule most of my life. Relief is soon, I hope).

So, there were two books I can without a doubt refer to anyone and everyone. These two books changed me when I read them in July; and when I say changed me, I’m not throwing out a catch phrase. I mean, seriously, honestly, tears streaming down my face, time-to-move and rearrange my life type of change me.

The first is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Everyone around me kept referring this book and I’d been rolling my eyes. I thought, “yeah, I know – consistent effort over time makes a difference.” If I haven’t mentioned already, I’m such a prideful person. It’s sad, really, and one personality trait I am working on. So after I beat down my ego, I started on TCE, and wow. Darren talks about our habits and setting goals and becoming a better human being because if you’re not actively becoming better, you’re actually becoming worse. I’m serious, he says that. Not in those exact words, but you’ll get the point. I used TCE to set a purpose for my bootcamps and actually scripted every post for each camp within a few days after devouring TCE.

Without revealing all of the content I use in my camps (you have to be there), I’ll share a few of my favorite quotes:

“If you’re not making the progress that you would like to make and are capable of making, it is simply because your goals are not clearly defined.” I’m pretty much a goal nazi. That’s my only comment for now.

“95 percent of everything we feel, think, do, and achieve is a result of a learned habit!” Your habits define you. So, who are you?

“Never seek advice of someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places.” Ooo, this one. Raise your hand if you’ve been listening to everyone else’s opinion your entire life, and when you take stock of who you are learning from, you realize you would never want to be that person or live their situations. I’m raising both hands. Most often, those I’ve let weigh in heavily on my own life decisions  were on the outside of what I actually wanted to do – who I actually wanted to be. Their advice was an echo of their own thoughts and feelings, whether those feelings were fear, hesitation, cynicism, none of them were mine and none of them mirrored the type of person I wanted to be and would become…!

The second text was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but that doesn’t matter because I’m telling you my own personal opinion and reflection on Strayed’s book.

I’ve found I naturally gravitate to works by artists who are not afraid to be embarrassingly raw. Those who put the fear of soiling their reputation aside and instead rip it to pieces themselves. These artists aren’t hiding a damn thing. They’ve destroyed the filter that stops them from voicing something that Grandma wouldn’t read. They pour all of their life experiences in their art and then unleash it to the public.

I felt for her as she described the trauma that surrounded her numb attitude toward life. Many times, I cried and cheered for her with each step toward her own self discovery. Gah, reflecting on it makes me want to reread it right this minute. I’ll be right back…

Serendipitously, at the start of the year, I’d set my intentions on vacation in Oregon. Many parts of Strayed’s book take place in and around Oregon, so as I finished Wild the week before we arrived in Portland, I felt a strange closeness to her and all of her experience. (This happened again when I began to read Into the Wild and he finds himself in the same area Strayed discusses. All of our stories will always overlap).

While I loved every single bit of text in Wild, it was the few quotes on page 175, Part Four that changed me:

“When I had no roof I made audacity my roof.” Robert Pinsky The idea (for me) of living audaciously was born the day I read this page. I renamed my coaching team “Audaciously Alive,” and will be soon be launching a business self-titled Live Audaciously. Thank you, Cheryl, for this quote and planting the idea in my mind of living bigger and more on purpose as an adult.

“Never never never give up.” Winston Churchill Forever and always, keep going. You were given this life to live it and bring all of your gifts into it.

So there it is. A brief reflection of the words that changed me this summer. These words forced me to ask telling questions. These words pushed me to run away from everything easy and obvious, and start living like the person I truly am inside.

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