1776 by David McCullough
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Belief was a strong characteristic that enabled George Washington to stay with his task even when discouraged and feeling hopeless. His belief in ‘why’ they were defending the United States gave him remarkable courage and determination to stick out the war. At a time when he may have been the wealthiest person in the US it would have been understandable if at any time he would have backed down.
The book is great and written in a way that keeps your attention page after page. McCullough may be my favorite author.
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I’m going to let you in on a secret.
Depending on the circumstances of us meeting, if we’ve met, there will be two dramatically different responses to this revelation. Very opposing responses.
If we were introduced socially, you’re already in on the secret. If someone were to ask you “did you know this about her” your reply would be “isn’t it obvious, everyone knows that about her”.
Suppose our meeting happened in a professional setting. Revealing this truth about myself would receive a much different reaction. “No way”. “It’s not possible”. “Not her”.
Here’s the secret
I am not just a little bit shy. I am deathly shy. My preferred role in a social setting; wall flower. The thought of having to introduce myself to total strangers and be able to make small talk with them gives me the same pit in my stomach as having just ate some bad sushi. I can’t do it. I won’t do it. I remember being on a bus trip and someone yelled out “why don’t you ever talk”? My valiant hero responded “she never talks”. Shy. So shy. Paralyzed with fear.
In a professional setting a totally different persona comes to life. A hostess with the mostest, A larger than life very social figure. Someone who is outgoing, approachable, even . . . LOUD. Put her on a stage and let her speak to the room and she shines. Who is this person? Where does she come from?
It wasn’t always this way. I remember early on in my career I would have to do morning sales meetings. As I began to speak I would feel it. The burning red creep. It would start on my chest and the warm burning sensation would climb. I would think “don’t be visible, don’t be visible” as I felt it creep up to my neck. “Don’t be visible”, now my ears are on fire. “Don’t be visible”, my cheeks are certainly crimson with the burn. The horror. Complete terror.
What is different now? Competence. Studying your craft, becoming an expert and doing something over and over again until you build competence. Action builds competence. Competence then breeds confidence. Look at the athletes about to take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics. As they are about to begin their event they radiate confidence. It wasn’t always there. There was fear. Confidence came with repeated practice of their sport making them competent.
There are two reasons I decided to share my secret with you. First, you may be holding yourself back because, like most people, you have a fear of speaking. This can be conquered. Be a subject matter expert and keep throwing yourself into situations where you have to give presentations. Eventually, it will get easier and even become enjoyable. Second, as you’re working on yourself at the onset of the new year you may have some limiting beliefs about your abilities that are preventing you from setting certain goals. I can’t possibly give a presentation, don’t you know that I’m shy? Maybe it’s not speaking, perhaps it’s writing. Maybe it’s exercise. Just start doing it. Action builds competence and competence breeds confidence. You can do this.
Ever crush a goal and have a strange sense of emptiness? Make 2018 a year of total fulfillment.
Are you joining millions who are going to the gym this week? Here’s a plan to kick off your next several trips to the gym. Focus on lifting weights with one arm. Each time for the next bunch of visits keep working that same arm. Curls, flies, lift, press, repeat . . . work it!
We all want a toned arm. Actually, none of us want just one toned arm. We would look ridiculous. No one is setting a fitness goal for 2018 to look weird, but many are setting goals in just one or two areas putting themselves at risk of feeling very unfulfilled even though they’ve achieved their goals. When working on your personal plan for 2018 take a look at more than just your job or your financial status or your relationships. Take time to reflect on and plan for your whole self. Gift yourself a year of total fulfillment in 2018 by thinking through and planning in the following 8 areas
1. CAREER: Are you considering a new career or advancing in your current one? Do you have the job you want? What about your job do you love? What can you do to make your job better? Many people think that the employer is responsible for making their job better, but it’s more in your control than you may think. What – if you did more of it or less of it at work would make you enjoy it more?
2. FAMILY: We can be mutually fulfilled in career success and family success when we take the time to decide what is important and how to manage our time.
3. FINANCIAL: Financial planning should include short term, mid term and long term. What are some things on your “want” list? What steps can you take to make those a reality? Are you thinking big enough?
4. PHYSICAL: I worked with a CEO who would say “get out and run, and if you can’t run, then walk, and if you can’t walk, then crawl, but get up and do something”. We all only have one body. What can you do this year to take care of yours?
5. RELATIONSHIPS: Which relationships do you want to build? Do you have any that are toxic? “Who you spend time with is who you become”. These are great words of wisdom from Tony Robbins.
6. SPIRITUAL: This doesn’t have to be about religion (but it sure can be). What are your beliefs? Your beliefs drive your actions and your actions get your results. Do you have limiting beliefs keeping you from being more, doing more, and having more?
7. INTELLECTUAL: I read that Mark Cuban reads 3 hours a day, Elon Musk ran out of books to read in the library so he would sneak into a bookstore to read more, and that Warren Buffet devotes much of his time to books. Success leaves clues. If these three very successful men devote time each day to sharpen the saw, we all should. If reading is not your thing then find something fun. Ted Talks are entertaining, impactful, and full of knowledge.
8. FUN: All work and no play will make 2018 a dreadful year. What do you enjoy doing for fun? Do you have any interests or hobbies? How will you make sure to take some time for yourself?
Make 2018 your most fulfilled year yet by planning in all 8 areas for a complete you. You can do this!
Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership by Kenneth H. Blanchard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The principle of changing your leadership style to match the needs of your employees is very good; however, the writing style of this book is very distracting to the lessons the book offers. Referring to the main character as the One Minute Manager rather than giving them a name is also very annoying. I would not recommend adding this to your reading list.
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Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I enjoyed reading the difference between Multipliers and Diminishers. I think we have all worked for both and we all can be both. What a great leadership question to reflect on: am I being a Multiplier or a Diminisher right now?
Here is one of my favorite quotes:
“It isn’t how much you know that matters. What matters is how much access you have to what other people know. It isn’t just how intelligent your team members are; it is how much of that intelligence you can draw out and put to use.”
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Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success by Angela Duckworth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book started out great. Her explanation of grit and the examples provided were very interesting. I feel that people will be encouraged to read that perseverance can win over talent or skill. Perseverance puts the ball in my court instead of in my heredity or environment. How badly do I want to be great? How hard am I willing to work for it? Imagine if everyone could get that and get the voice in their head lined up with that thought. Wow!
The book then turned very ordinary and repetitive and even sounded
just like plain common sense over scientific research. There is already plenty written on the 10,000 hours, or as this author calls it deliberate practice (yes, the deliberate part does make it somewhat different, I get it, but not enough different to spend so much time on it). Here was one of the low lights . . . If you keep at something you may eventually get it right, but if you quit you won’t ever get there. Um, duh.
One of my favorite quotes . . .“…there are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time―longer than most people imagine….you’ve got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people….Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it…it’s doing what you love, but not just falling in love―staying in love.”
― Angela Duckworth, Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success
Staying in love is the key.
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The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World by Desmond Tutu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Truly beautiful book. The instruction for forgiveness is really illustrated well with fabulously shared stories.
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This quote was a really eye opening to me and changed how I look at things. Before understanding this I always felt that forgiveness meant letting someone off of the hook. I like this thought much better . . .
“Forgiveness does not relieve someone of responsibility for what they have done. Forgiveness does not erase accountability. It is not about turning a blind eye or even turning the other cheek. It is not about letting someone off the hook or saying it is okay to do something monstrous. Forgiveness is simply about understanding that every one of us is both inherently good and inherently flawed. Within every hopeless situation and every seemingly hopeless person lies the possibility of transformation.”
We did it!
We completed the Whole30
We did this as part of an amazing program sponsored by my employer called The 68 Day Challenge.
Reading the book, It Starts With Food before beginning the Whole30 is definitely the way to go. The authors give you everything you need to be successful.
Even tough love.
One struggle I had while reading it is that each chapter begins with a testimonial on how the program is “life changing”. Not to be cynical, but really, a 30 day meal plan life changing? How can eliminating certain foods from your diet for just 30 days be all that?
at about day 15
My husband and I were both feeling so good that we said “I am never going back”. What does that mean, never going back? We are not going to kid ourselves that we are going to be Whole30 all day every day, but we are going to do our best to be Whole30 80% of the time.
We feel that good.
Specifically, we both experienced these benefits:
- Better sleep. This one matters most. It’s amazing how many other parts of your day are better when you get better sleep. Better sleep = better performance.
- Wake up easier. Definitely a result of the first benefit, but it is important to point out.
- Running and workouts became easier, Tiger blood is a real thing and we really experienced it. Once your body adjusts to burning fat instead of sugar – look out gym!
- No afternoon slump.
- Better looking skin. Smoother and brighter.
- Weight loss. The incredible part about the weight loss is . . .
The dirty details, I lost 10 pounds and my husband lost 15. To be completely transparent, some of that was holiday excess and would have dropped off anyway. Or, maybe not.
There was only one negative to this program, and no it wasn’t going without our wine for 30 days. If you go pastured, organic, grass fed, all natural, etc.
This is what writer Eric Gillin had to say about that in Epicurious
IT HELPS TO HAVE TONS OF MONEY AND FANCY GROCERY STORES When did tree nuts and almond butter start to cost as much as uncut cocaine?
Our tips for your success:
- Do it with a partner. It’s so much easier when you’re not the only one passing on dessert.
- Cook once and eat many times. Making things like a beef brisket made meal planning for an entire week much easier.
- Learn to love eggs.
- Journal what you eat and how you slept. This will give you small celebrations throughout the 30 days.
- Don’t give up on yourself – you can do this. Our mantra was . . .”It’s only 30 days”
Feeling like a rock star!
They call this stage of the Whole30 Tiger Blood and I know why. For two weeks I went to spin class
and felt a diabolical force resisting the movement of my legs and feet. The harder I tried to pedal the more resistance there seemed to be. Like I was getting sucked in by quicksand. I’ve gone to class after, well, let’s just say more than a few glasses of wine and done better, felt better, rode better.
This week; I owned it. There was no quick sand holding my legs down. In fact, it felt like there was no gravity. Like I was spinning on the moon and could spin forever. It was awesome!
We are in this very strange place in the Whole30 process.
We count down every day like it’s a victory. Day 11 – defeated. Day 12 – defeated. Day 15 – we are 1/2 way there. And at the same time, we keep telling each other I’m never going back. I feel too good. I like how I feel. I want to feel like this every single day. Sure, I’ll have ice cream and treats and wine, of course we’ll have wine, but I’m never going back.
Last night we cooked cilantro lime shrimp. I would say this was my favorite meal of our Whole30 journey, but OMG – it did not compare to the leftover shrimp and spinach omelet I had for breakfast today. I felt like I was having breakfast at a Ritz Carlton in someplace very exotic (1/2 of that was how good the shrimp was 1/2 was the Michigan winter blues). When you make this recipe be sure to make enough for your omelet the next day.
Cilantro Lime Shrimp
- 1 1/2 lbs. deveined shell on shrimp (15 to 1 pound)
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbs cilantro, minced
- 1 lime
- coconut oil
- Toss shrimp, garlic, cilantro, and juice from the lime in a bowl
- (If you are prepping other dishes do not add the lime until you are ready to cook the shrimp)
- Salt and pepper the shrimp
- Melt the coconut oil in a skillet on medium high
- Carefully place the shrimp in the skillet so that they are in a single layer
- Flip after the first side turns pink (about 3 minutes)
- Remove from heat when the second side turns pink (about 3 minutes)
Days 10 and 11 are the biggest quit days for people on the Whole30. We are on day 10 and are feeling too good to consider quitting.
My husband had a business introduction meeting this week. I thought for sure he would cheat. No way was he going to be introduced to new business contacts at a restaurant and tell them about the plan. He surprised me. He had no problem telling them about the plan, in fact, it was a great icebreaker. Ordering compliant from the Italian restaurant they were at was no problem too. The server was more than ready to help. Awesome!
It’s funny, but not surprising, that our keys to success with this plan are pretty much keys to success for anything:
- Open communication – tell people your needs and vision and they will help get you there.
- Look for ways to make it work – sure you can find a million reasons why you can’t, but focus on why you can.
- 80% planning 20% execution – don’t get caught unprepared. Plan!
- Try new things – if you keep doing what you’ve always done you will get what you’ve always got
We are doing the Whole30
as part of the 68 Day Challenge. Join thousands of people looking to make 2016 their best year yet 68 Day Challenge