I read a lot. Anything that I can get my hands on as a career counselor that can, will and does help you create a career in harmony with the life force flowing through you. Personally vetted.
I’m actually not unlike my dog, Sonnet, when she finds a deer bone or stinky fish remains on the trail to roll in. She just can’t help herself. Only her obsession is usually followed by a bath so that she can be fluffy fresh again.
Okay, okay, and she’s not the only one. I feel fluffy fresh and exhilarated too after I find resources that can help you. Over the last year, these are the five books that I find myself recommending pretty consistently + why.
In no particular order:
Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck + why:
A classic by now. Don’t know what you want to do with your life? Cool! Then it’s time to study yourself the way you watch your favorite nature show. You observe the animal of interest and listen to the narration offered through the lens of observation and curiosity, looking for patterns without judging. Pay attention to, for example, what you can’t help but remember. It’s the stuff that when you “remember” for others, they always practically shout: “I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU REMEMBER I SAID THAT!” This happened to me when I would parrot back career aspirations and goals that people uttered in unthinking moments. It’s when I first had the inkling that I was actually a career counselor after all.
The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss + why:
This book is pretty popular and well-known, but I actually highly recommend it for when you have clarity about what you want to create, and are in need of some strategies and ideas to make it happen. Or it’s also useful if you want to rethink how you currently work and rework your approach to work (say that five times fast). The strategies really do get results: I used the tips in this book and got picked up in US News recently as a quoted expert.
Crossing the Unknown Sea – Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity by David Whyte + why:
This book is full of beautiful, imagination stirring prose by one of my favorite authors whose philosophies influence my work as a career counselor. Redefine work not as something that you have to do, but rather as a process of discovering and shaping the place where you and the world meet. What you think of as part of a daily grind to be dealt with, Whyte puts into context as a slumber we go into to cope with what the collective views as work. The status quo need not be accepted carte blanche. As if that weren’t enough, you are inspired to make your pilgrimage happen with the not-so-secret ingredient: Everyday courage.
The Dip by Seth Godin + why:
It’s a little book. The message is a simple solution to the question: Should I [start this business/study/take this job]? It’s a little bit of genius that you can practice yourself. It’s the book that teaches you when to quit and when to stick things out. In other words, before you embark on a path, you become aware of whether you are acting from courage, stupidity, or maturity. Isn’t this what we’re really wondering at the end of the day, especially when it comes to career decision-making? Because our days walking the earth are numbered, I really valued being able to tell the difference quickly, and helping others to do likewise.
Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton + why:
Fun and credible (based on research), this book comes with an assessment tool for you to identify your top strengths. You might think you know what they are, but you’ll likely be surprised since you can and do get good at things that use a lot of your energy and engage your defenses. I use the premise of this book when I work with clients on a complete resume overhaul to give their strengths center-stage. Because you can do work that wants you for what you are inclined, inspired and not to mention willing to do in the spirit of joy. Hint for if you do read this and do the assessment: Use the information to inform how you speak about yourself and how you present yourself on paper. Then prepare to be amazed!
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