Friday, November 13, 2009

Rave of the Day: Books that Make Me Think, and Help Me Grow

Usually, I stick to one thing at a time with each rave, but today, you guys get a package deal, because I'm just in that kind of mood. I feel abuzz right now, just walking away from a wonderfully smart, warm, thought-provoking conversation with two AMAZING women.  We started the evening as total strangers, but we shared an almost instant connection; these two incredible women each herald from my home state of Wisconsin (holla!) and I met them at a chiropractic business conference in St. Louis, MO. Love how small the world is sometimes, and how serendipitous it can be. They each shared unbelievable stories of triumph and heartache, and I felt like there was SO MUCH we could talk about, share, take in, appreciate, and learn from one another.  We became a sisterhood.

During the course of our conversation, we started talking about one of my favorite personal development books,
Strengths Finder 2.0. Are you familiar with it? It's a really detailed assessment tool that helps people find their top five key strengths, encouraging people to FLOURISH in their capabilities , shining a light on what makes them unique/special, doing the things they have a gift for and enjoy doing, versus focusing on trying to improve their weaknesses, which is important in it's own right, but gets entirely too much attention in our society. Very, very interesting stuff. And it makes perfect sense, right? I mean, it's much more fulfilling to hone your natural skills and center your focus and attention on them, rather than trying to improve an area that you struggle in and don't take a deep interest in. I love their example, "What good is a sundial in the shade?"

After you've completed the looooooong questionnaire, it explains what is most important to someone with this or that strength, what most motivates a person with this strength, how to effectively communicate with them, etc. etc. Compelling stuff.

The authors behind Strengths Finder 2.0 also wrote
How Full is Your Bucket, an equally amazing book that asks you to consider the effect your actions, your attitude, and your WORDS have on those around you, whether it's in the workplace, your marriage, your kids, AND, how your attitude affects YOU, your health, your longevity, and your overall life experience. Primarily, it asks, do you focus on the positive, or the negative? Are your words and actions filling up someone's emotional bucket, or are your words/actions depleting someone's bucket/life experience? (And is your attitude, in turn, filling or depleting your own bucket?) Very simple concept, this relatively new (and growing!) field of Positive Psychology...and very important.

Oh, and a little tidbit...Purchase "How Full is Your Bucket", and you will receive a complimentary code to take the "Strengths Finder 2.0" assessment for free. Boo-yah.

To avoid this blog post from getting annoyingly long (too late?) I'm just going to bulletpoint some of my other favorite self-development/ business-building/team-building books that made me self-reflect and look at things with a new perspective/appreciation. Click the link to learn more about each specific book, and if it resonates with you, buy it, or head to your library and check it out.

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
Top Performer: A Bold Approach to Sales and Service by Stephen C. Lundin, Ph.D., & Carr Hagermann, PSP
Fish! Catch the Energy & Release the Potential! by Stephen C. Lundin, Ph.D., Harry Paul, & John Christensen.
Natural Selling by Michael Oliver

I think I'm going to stop here. I've got other books in mind, but I think they deserve their own post and explanation of why they resonate with me, and how they've affected my life on a more personal level...

And, finally, if you do the Strengths Finder, share your results in the comments! I'll share mine, for anyone interested:
1) Relator
2) Achiever
3) Empathy
4) Positivity
5) Connectedness

You'll have to get the book to see what they mean... :)

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