Washington Post Q: We all need advice as we seek success in our careers and lives. What are your five favorite business books, and why? What advice wasn`t so helpful?
A month after quitting my job in Bethesda, Md., and several attempts at finding a new, more fulfilling job, I found myself struggling to feel like I was worth anything. I went from feeling like I was on top of the world, graduating with my masters degree at the top of my class and having made a measurable difference at my university, to living in a one-bedroom apartment in Bethesda, completely alone.
At the time, I highly disliked reading, so when an acquaintance generously lent me a copy of “You Can Feel Good Again,” by Richard Carlson, I reluctantly took it. Two days later, I finished the book and learned just how much power I had over my feelings. While my results did not come overnight, this book gave me the foundation for shifting my thoughts, which naturally helped to shift my feelings.
A few years later I came across “Leadership From the Inside Out,” by Kevin Cashman. Between his analogies and exercises at the end of each chapter, I got a whole new understanding of my motivations and what was holding me back. Just as the title suggests, I learned that leadership begins with right here with me and the results of the work I do on myself show up in the world outside of me. My external results are always a direct manifestation of my internal monologue. Once I owned responsibility for that truth, I was able to make the shifts necessary to create the results I so desperately wanted in my life. You know, like landing the professional opportunities I wanted and attracting really great friends.
Just over a year ago, a friend recommended a book by Byron Katie called “Loving What is.” While I already had some understanding of the ideas Katie talks about, the four questions she poses in the book have been enormously helpful in my moments of frustration. I find myself having extraordinarily unkind monologues — if only you could hear my thoughts at times! Katie`s book has helped me stop the monologue by being with the truth of what is — and loving it.
Several months ago my partner lost her job and was offered another the next day, which meant we had to prepare for a move from Virginia to Maryland. Moving meant selling our home, moving into a rental, losing lots of money and having to re-establish ourselves in a new community.
My internal monologue went something like this, “I`m never going to find new friends,” “We`re never going to find the perfect place to rent,” “I should have done more to help her see what was coming,” “I`m not good at change.” All these thoughts were driving me crazy, leaving me feeling a bit depressed — like a victim. I finally stopped all of it by answering, honestly, the four questions posed in Katie`s book, “Loving What Is.” Doing so transformed my thoughts and, therefore, my feelings within minutes. “Loving What Is” provides the foundation to locating the gift in every experience.
Misti Burmeister, best-selling author, “from Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across Generations“