5 Books That Will Ignite Your Inner #GirlBoss

5 books to ignite your inner #girlboss by alisonsmith.com

To my girls who dream of creating a wild, meaningful, red hot, and successful business…this one is for you, #girlboss .

But, wait, sweet peach! Before you leave this post, thinking it’s not for you…hold on. The topic of discussion is about dream creation and finishing what you started with success and your sanity intact.

I’m going to take a leap here, and say that all of us have a desire to create something meaningful in our lives. Is that fair to say?

For some of us birthing a book would be a euphoric accomplishment; for others building a business, creating a social movement, producing a new volunteer organization, composing music, or creating an art installation is that burning passion, sitting in your soul, aching to get out.

But, how many of us actually create the thing that needs to be created?

How many of us stop ourselves and rationalize that our desires are irrelevant, meaningless, fruitless, and too crazy to accomplish?

I don’t want to be the person that says you have to live your dreams. I’m so bored with that declaration. But, here’s what I do want to say…

You deserve to unleash the creation that has been sitting inside of you, waiting to be released. You deserve to set it free. Because if you don’t, you’re selling yourself short, and you are depriving yourself of feeling powerfully on fire. You are worth the struggle and fight that it takes to create the thing that needs to be created. It doesn’t matter what it is…it is important because you are important.

So, the question is…how to gather enough courage to plan, start, and finish? How do you overcome what your brain, friends, and family might say to you that will stop you in your tracks?

The answer is definitely not easy, but the fight is worth it. And, to help you get started, here are my top 5 books that will ignite your inner #girlboss to finish the projects that are inside of you waiting to emerge.

5 Books that will Ignite your inner #Girlboss

The Fire Starter Sessions

Fire Starter Sessions Danielle LaporteDefine yourself on your own terms.‘ These words by Danielle Laporte underlie the ethos of her book, The Fire Starter Sessions, and they echo her consistent heart-felt message: you are your desires, so build your life and your business around grabbing hold of those desires.

Success, which ever way you want to define it, is more than just mere material wealth. It’s almost cliche, or rather, it’s definitely cliche to say that money will never bring you happiness — but it’s true. If you fail to define, for yourself, how money or measures of success will fulfill your life, you’ll be left with a feeling of emptiness and longing; you will keep searching for fulfillment and achieving goal after meaningless goal because you haven’t defined how you want that goal to make you feel.

How will you ever know that you’ve reached a goal or hit the success jackpot, if you’ve never hammered out how you want success to feel? You can collect accolades, awards, cars, houses, and clothes, but how are they going to fill you up with joy, empowerment, love, or other feelings that you’re starved of?

According to Laporte, you are really after a desire for a feeling. Attaining your desire for the feeling of: freedom, empowerment, inner strength, gratitude, relief, joy, rest, connection, or excitement is what we humans really want. (For full emersion to discovering what your core desired feelings are, I also recommend Laporte’s book, The Desire Map, as well.)

So, building a business or brand that is deemed successful, on your own terms, relies solely on your ability to become connected with not only the message you wish to convey to your readers, clients, customers, and on-lookers, but also to your core desired feelings so that you will be able to recognize and acknowledge that you are feeling the way that you wish to feel, while attaining the goals that you set for yourself. This also applies to producing products that you believe in, and building a business that truly represents you. In essence, Laporte teaches you how to create goals with soul.

If anything in your business or life isn’t producing your core desired feelings, why do it? Why wouldn’t you want to do the things that make you feel euphoric and strong? Ultimately, ‘when you are clear on how you want to feel, your decision making gets to the heart of the matter‘. knowing how you want to feel can clear cut through your creative process (product development, collaborations, marketing, and everything else). Your desires guide you to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, based upon how you want to feel.

There will be instances in your business when something won’t feel right, and you have the right to back out or say no. You get to wear your big-girl-panties and fly your business in your desired direction. You don’t have to mimic or follow what other entrepreneurs are doing. Period.

Laporte wants you to, ‘declare your superpowers‘, and to understand ‘the strategy of desire‘. To accomplish this, The Fire Starter Sessions is divided into three parts that help you to find your Mojo and Moxie to fuel your ability to produce Results. In the end, Results are achieved with the intension to create your core desired feelings.

At the end of each chapter, Laporte provides very introspective worksheets to help you navigate through the development of a business or a creative project that is infused with soul — your soul. The writing style is very unique and like no other, in my opinion — it draws you in, and you want to keep reading and discovering.

And, if you’re a design fiend like me, you’re going to love the look and feel of the book. Peppered throughout this flame coloured hardback, are quotes and punctuated declarations in large, bold font. They give you the feeling that Laporte is right there with you, giving you a big bear hug to remind you to, ‘Be you. Be true. Be strong‘. The sans serif typography is clean & modern. You can tell that the author infused the design, herself. It’s swoon worthy.

The War of Art

The War of Art Steven PressfieldThis little, softcover book, The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield changed my creative and business life. Business and brand building is a creative process — especially if you are the only one at the helm. I am the sole creator of alisonsmith.com; I don’t have a marketing team, virtual assistant, website developer or digital designer — I have created everything, myself. And, to do that, I have to take constant action and fight against an evil menace called, Resistance (fear, self-doubt, procrastination, addiction, distraction, timidity, ego, narcissism, self-loathing, perfectionism, etc).

In essence, Pressfield’s book can be summed up with this quote: ‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.’ (Goethe)

At first glance, you would think that The War of Art is a book about how to push through the creative process as a writer, but I think it stretches far beyond the literary world. The massive learning lessons can be applied to any creative process.

If you have to rely on your own free will to create something, this book will help you through it by giving you keys to break through the blocks.

The short chapters are packed with wisdom on how to overcome the lure of Resistance — the one thing that will kill your creative process and your ability to succeed. Think of all the magnificent creations that this world could have, if it weren’t for Resistance killing them.

It’s so easy to quit, to give up. Resistance tells you that the work is meaningless, too hard, shitty, idiotic. Resistance stirs-up fear of being judged: by others and yourself.

I highly recommend this book whether you’re just starting your business or you have been in the game for a while and need a kick in the ass to get out of the world of Resistance.

This book is all about taking action. Oh, how I love that word, action! You will never accomplish anything without it; only you can create a life that you love. Only you can create that book, business, painting, event, song, or movement. Creation is a war…a war with yourself. But, there is a way to overcome procrastination and avoid regret. There is a way to find your muse, and to create the thing that is living inside of you. Find out how in The War of Art.

Turning Pro

Turning Pro Steven PressfieldWe are back with another book by Steven Pressfield. Turning Pro is an extension of the book, The War of Art. In this, yet another, pivotal book, small enough to carry around with you wherever you go, Pressfield argues that there are two classes of individuals: amateurs and professionals.

The concept of life’s amateur and professional can be lent to any circumstance, really. If you’re starting a business, writing a book, creating a community to combat injustice, composing music to change a whole genre, you have to make a decision: are you going to be an amateur or a professional?

This book is not for the faint of heart; it’s is for people who are ready to take action (again…one of my favorite words). Turning pro can be a painful process. The way you operate in life must change. Habits must be disrupted. And, inevitably, the evil menace, Resistance, will swoop onto the scene and try to sabotage all your efforts. The process will require sacrifice, sweat, and most likely tears.

But, what we get by turning pro is our own steadfast power. We find our will and voice, and become ‘who we always were but had, until then, been afraid to embrace and to live out‘.

To create your life’s work, you can’t be an amateur. You can’t start something, then put it aside to grow mould. If you want to create something, anything, ignoring that desire is to be an amateur; not doing the work is to be an amateur, and half-assing whatever you’re doing is to live as an amateur. Greatness never came from half-assing anything.

Turing Pro is a book that will give you the strategies to do that very thing: turn pro. It will give you the life preserver you’ll need to jump off the ship meant for amateurs. If you’re ready to finally have what you want, may it be a business, a book, or art work, Turning Pro is a great guide. Remember, ‘the amateur tweets. The pro works.

Do the Work!

Do the Work Steven PressfieldThe last book in the Steven Pressfield trilogy designed to help you create and accomplish your project goals is, Do the Work! You can spend countless hours preparing to begin a project, but when it comes to brass tacks, you have to do the work!

No one is going to be there for you to urge you on. You’re in this alone. So how do you  fight against Resistance, and the win the battle against fear, self-doubt, procrastination, addiction, distraction, timidity, ego, narcissism, self-loathing, perfectionism, etc.?

Do the Work! is here to guide you through a project, from start to finish. And, it’s guidance comes from the perspective of Resistance. The book begins with an expose on the concept of Resistance, so that you can identify it when it rears its ugly head. In each chapter, Pressfield discusses each type of Resistance, from procrastination to self-doubt, and he gives you strategies to break on through to the other side.

This book can be summed-up in two sentences, ‘ Where butts needs to be kicked, we shall kick them. Where kinder gentler methods are called for, we’ll get out the kid gloves.

Pressfield’s books: The War of Art, Turning Pro, and Do the Work! ultimately want you to create what must be created. Because if you don’t, there is only regret — and that is never a core desired feeling that you want, right?

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Wherever you go there you are Jon Kabat ZinnWe’re going to totally switch gears for a moment here. I want to diverge from the path of project and business creation, and toss into the ring a book that will help you to save your sanity when the shit hits the fan: Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn.

I rarely fall in love with rockstars…instead, I fall in love with neuroscientists like Jon Kabat-Zinn. (Can I get a high-five from my nerdy girls?!) His books are wonderful; please buy them all!

The creative process is stressful. Building a business can be fraught with fear and self-loathing, but meditation, or the practice of mindfulness, is proven to help lower stress levels, and it shifts brain activity associated with negative thoughts to those related to more positive thoughts.

Wherever You Go, There You Are, provides a complete explanation of what mindfulness is and how to practice it, daily. It gives simple instructions on how to introduce mediation into your life, without overwhelming you with needless detail.

Did you know that 20-minutes of meditation each day, can change your brain? The act of sitting quietly and paying attention to your breath entering and exiting your body can rewire the neural connections in brain regions related to stress, negativity, anxiety, panic, and depression.

Practicing mindfulness meditation is a gift that you can give to yourself as you embark on a path to project development and business creation. It can bring some light on days that may feel quit dark.

After reading Wherever You Go, There You Are, I would also recommend Dr. KZ’s Complete Guided Mindfulness Meditation Program CD. My favorite guided meditation is the Body Scan.

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