Here’s the stack of books I’ll be reading in the coming weeks

What’s on your reading stack, and why?

stack of books to read

Warning! Reading books is a mind-altering experience! Ralph Waldo Emerson knew as much when he wrote, “The Mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”

Indeed. That’s why leaders, who are responsible for solving difficult problems and challenging the status quo, would do well to become voracious consumers of books, for books, as Seth Godin brilliantly put it, are “souvenirs of ideas.”

And leaders need all the souvenirs they can get!

So, I thought I’d share my big fat stack of books to read.

Maybe some of the books on my list are of interest to you. I hope they are.

I’d also love it if you could share your insights on great books you’ve recently read and/or books you can’t wait to read.

Let’s get started…

How to get more confidence in your personal and professional life

A guide to controlling negative thoughts and overcoming fear and self doubt

Image The confidence gap

photo by Joshua Earle via Unsplash

“What if you had all the confidence in the world, how would you behave differently? What sort of person would you be? What sort of things would you do?”

These are absolutely critical questions asked by Dr. Russ Harris in the first pages of his important and excellent book, The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt.

A College Degree is Nice But Not Enough

Here are 6 super affordable resources for lifelong learning

photo courtesy of Viktor Janacek via pic jumbo

photo courtesy of Viktor Janacek, via pic jumbo

In a Gallup study conducted last year, 66% of adults with a Bachelor’s degree said that they learn and do something interesting every day—but so did 63% of people who had only earned a high school diploma, or less.

Although this is not encouraging news for colleges and universities (and their graduates), it does underscore the importance of lifelong learning, not so much as an ideal, but as a practical component of what Gallup calls the currency of a life that matters.

Curiosity. Love of learning. Continuing education. These are beautiful things available to every human being at every stage of life, regardless of past academic achievements, or the lack thereof.

This is the currency of the new economy and 4-year degrees aren’t required for admission.

Today, colleges and universities are not the only way to ensure that you are learning and doing something  interesting every day. There are countless ways that we can weave learning into the tapestry of our daily life.

In fact, there are so many options for learning and upgrading our skills and experience that the issue is (1) knowing which resources represent the best opportunities and (2) getting committed and intentional about using these incredible learning tools.

To make it a little easier, I submit for your consideration 6 amazing resources that I have no compunction in recommending. I have personal experience with most of them and I can happily report that they have served me very well. Best of all, they are incredibly affordable (if not FREE) and have the power to change your life.

Give them a try! Won’t you?

Are You Fit for the New Freelance Economy?

4 ways to get ready for the employee to freelancer transition at work

photo courtesy of Ales Krivec via Unsplash

photo courtesy of Ales Krivec via Unsplash

There are now 53 million Americans, or 34 percent of the U.S. workforce, working as freelancers. By 2020 the number of freelancers might exceed 50%. Are you ready for this massive change?

If it hasn’t impacted you or your household yet, it will. And the bottom line is simple: One day, soon or late, you may have to go out there and fend for yourself!

And though this trend is not new, it seems to be approaching the tipping point—the point at which we all look up and take notice.

Maybe you’ve already noticed the new crop of digital platforms designed to give you a great variety of choices about how to earn a living. These include AirBnB, Uber, Care.com, Handy.com and HourlyNerd.com, just to name a scant few that come to mind.

Maybe you thought about them as curiosities or as potential services that you may one day choose to procure (if you haven’t already). But what if you were on the other side of the equation and chose to offer your services on these platforms yourself? Or you built your own platform to get clients?

What if you chose to become a freelancer, today?

Well, you don’t have to wait. You can be proactive about it right now.

Here are 4 very practical ways you can start getting ready for the Freelance Revolution, even if you currently have a job and you have no intentions of leaving it.

What did the Primatologist say to the Chief Marketing Officer?

Go sleep in their nests!

photo courtesy of Fiona Stewart & W.C. McGrew via LiveScience.com

Perhaps I should explain…

Primatologists are scientists who specialize in the study of primates, usually of the non human variety. For almost a century they have been studying the nesting behavior of  chimpanzees in an attempt to understand why they build nests every day and sleep in them every night.

The way it’s always been done is to stand on the ground with notebook and binoculars in hand and observe, as astutely as possible, the behavior of their subjects. That’s the way primatologist Fiona Stewart had always done it but then she went further and did something remarkable, taking our understanding of primate nesting behavior to new heights in the process.

As told by LiveScience:

For six nights in 2007 and 2008, Stewart climbed 5 to 29 feet (1.5 to 8.8 meters) into the trees, either crashing in pre-used chimp nests or building nests using chimpanzee techniques. She spent another five nights sleeping on the bare ground.

By having the guts to do this she discovered things that ground-based researchers might have never understood.

Here are some of her discoveries:

How you can make this an exceptional year (Part 2)

More strategies to create outstanding results

photo courtesy of Kat B.

photo courtesy of Kat.B

Continuing with our theme of specific strategies that may help you to create breakthrough results this year, here are the remaining 6.

Strategy #8: Get in shape

Like Strategy #7, this is another no-brainer so I don’t need to go into the details of the health benefits of slimming down and achieving a healthy level of fitness, not to mention the boost to self-esteem of a positive body image.

I’m also no health and nutrition expert, nor am I a medical doctor, so you should consult with experts and look into this yourself.

That said, however, I am a guy who was walking around weighing 240 lbs who, over the course of about a year (give or take), managed to lose those 40 unneeded pounds and get to a much healthier weight.

And with only moderate effort. No diets. No gimmicks. No craziness.

Two HUGE insights helped me to achieve this.

How you can make this an exceptional year (part I)

13 success strategies to improve your results

Happy First Monday of 2016!

photo courtesy of Anita Ritenour

Welcome to a new year of opportunities and possibilities!

While there’s nothing we can do to change our past, we can, however, stake a powerful claim on designing and creating our future. To that end, I hope you’ve arrived at this point in time with a hopeful heart. I hope that you can gaze upon the bright white canvas before you, and smile. Fearless. With eyes…wide…open.

Yes. It WILL be a year of opportunities and possibilities for all of us.

But there’s no free lunch, my friend. You’ll have to get ready and then do the work. Achieving breakthrough results is nearly impossible without a dramatic change of perspective and massive action.

To seize the opportunities before you, you may have to upgrade your thinking and upgrade your habits. I think I can help. After thinking about this a great deal, I’ve compiled 13 strategies that can help you take your life, career and organization to a new level.

May you find them helpful and effective in this New Year!

Here they are: