I’m excited. I have experienced a revelation. Let me start from the beginning.
I’m continually assessing and evaluating my life and my progress. For me, progress means happiness. As long as I am constantly creating, frequently evolving and always improving then I feel happy. This is wonderful, first and foremost, because I am enjoying my journey and I am never saying “when I reach my goals I will feel happy”. That just isn’t my story.
So, I had been considering a new discipline for my life. I value fitness and vitality very highly so it seemed very natural and sensible for me to consider a new discipline within this area. I am a runner. I compete at least twice a year in half marathons and have been doing so for the past 10 years. I like the thought that 11 years ago I would have baulked at the very idea of running 13 miles. That’s progress!
Recently, however, my running is sporadic and more about mental fitness and staying in shape over competing. I joined my brother last year in a half marathon in Amsterdam, since which time I have run in Barcelona and Lisbon…the running is becoming an excuse to visit beautiful European cities!
Hence, my desire to immerse myself in a new discipline, one in which I could grow and experience progress. I was toying with yoga. Yoga aligns perfectly with my values in both physical and mental fitness and yet the fact that I procrastinated over even just booking onto a class told me all I needed to know. That Yoga just isn’t IT.
I joined a Martial Arts school with my daughter, and left because that wasn’t IT either.
I looked into courses on line, as another of my highest values is personal development and learning. Nothing jumped out as being really for me and about me.
Then I happened on an article entitled “Read 52 books in 52 weeks”. My eyes widened as I leant fully forward into my Laptop to read on – I knew and felt instantly that this was IT. I have been building up a pile of books that have been recommended by my coaching community and the pile could only be described as intimidating and a reminder of a lack of discipline in a certain area of my life.
Now, I’m a slow and ploddy reader. I read each word. I have never been much of reader although I always liked the idea of being well-read. I very rarely read books to their conclusion so I have shelves full of quarter or half-read books. I have always known that I should read more and yet the act of sitting and reading felt indulgent and dare I say wasteful of my “valuable” time. (And yes, I am cringing as I write that).
With all that in mind, it was very clear to me that reading 52 books in 52 weeks would be extremely challenging, bordering on the “not possible for me” scale and therefore, it became a MUST! I decided to step up, be bold and take it on.
Basically, the keys to success include:
1. Split the number of pages of my book into 7 and read that amount each day
2. Take my book everywhere with me to snatch a page or two whilst on the train or waiting for an appointment or client
3. Join a book club to give me accountability and some peer pressure
4. If there is a week that is really busy, read a thin book. There are no rules on the size of the book. This keeps me on track and motivated
5. Tell people around me about my challenge.
I’m fortunate in that I am a very early riser. My alarm goes off at 5:15am and I am raring to go. I have now allocated these peaceful morning hours to reading rather than whatever it was I was doing before…do you know that I can’t actually think what I was doing previously with those precious hours.
Now, I’m only on week 4 (don’t laugh!) and what’s amazing is I am on book 5!! Book 1 was a tome of 512 pages – An Anthony Robbins epic and one that would have sat on my shelf, only vaguely thumbed through in the past. Instead it has been lovingly devoured. It has my pencilled handwriting in the margins and post-it-notes marking pertinent points throughout. I half believe that I have done this as evidence to prove to myself in years to come that I did actually actively read this book from cover to cover!
My book No. 4 was Fearless by Steve Chandler and I read that in 3 sittings so I can move on to my next book. Tomorrow (and I can hardly wait!) I start The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallway.
I’m so excited and happy because I feel progress on so many levels already. I feel progress in terms of how I utilise my time; I see the tangible progression through my pile of books; I’m experiencing progress in my depth and breadth of knowledge and my coaching technique has too progressed as a result.
I look forward to the next 11 months and beyond of broadening my horizons…and my vocabulary; of gaining the wisdom of sages past and present; of learning about love, health, creativity, leadership, personal development, different cultures and beliefs.
“The difference between where you are today and where you’ll be five years from now will be found in the quality of books you’ve read.” Jim Rohn
Now that sounds like a promise of the kind of progression I love!