#GreatRead: “The Secret To Success”-Eric Thomas

As I’ve written before, I absolutely love the style of motivational speaker Eric Thomas. Known online more so as ET, he dishes out powerful words of wisdom and has no cut cards! His intense energy coupled with his real gems of inspiration is perfect motivation. (I encourage you to subscribe to his YouTube channel!) When I discovered he had written a book about his own journey and the lessons he learned along the way, I had to read it for myself!

The Secret To Success gives readers insight into how Eric grew up and how he was able to overcome how own mistakes and failures. Those very same mistakes and failures allowed him to grow into a speaker who has inspired millions around the world with his teachings.

As a teen, Eric moved out of his parents’ home. From the book, he no longer wanted to deal with his stepfather, deciding to go his own way. His way ultimately left him homeless and a high school dropout. As he moved from house to house for shelter, ET quickly saw that navigating this life wasn’t as easy as it appeared to be. However, his journey ultimately shaped him into the man he is today.

A major lesson that ET learned was to be around people who challenged him to be better. A close childhood friend, Bill, made him see that he could be more than a high school dropout. ET had way more to offer than that. His girlfriend (and eventual wife) DeDe also pushed him to get his GED and come with her to college. While ET was afraid to start over in a new city, DeDe told him flat out that she was not going to be in a long-distance relationship with someone who didn’t have a plan for his life. Eric quickly got himself together, got that GED, and headed to college to be with the love of his life. It was all because he had the right people in his corner that wouldn’t let him settle for mediocrity.

During his time at college, the motivational speaker helped to start a Christian ministry, Bell Tower Ministries, designed to help students academically and spiritually. It was with that ministry that he began to hone his public speaking skills and creating programs and messages that would truly impact people. He learned quickly that it took a strong work ethic to get ahead, and that you needed to take advantage of opportunities when they first pop up.

Though Eric didn’t finish college with DeDe, they did get married, and he knew that he would have to provide for her. So, while working on his ministry duties, as well as teaching a free GED program, he also got a job at Olive Garden to help pay some bills. I saw that he did what he had to do to grow and get to where he wanted to be, which was to ultimately to help inspire more people through his personal testimony. He also went back to school years later, getting his bachelor’s degree and eventually working his way up to a Ph.D.!

I’m always slow to read books with everything that I have going on. That’s why I always give myself a whole month to get through one. However, this one, I couldn’t put down; I finished it in about a week and a half! This is someone that I listen to and watch regularly, so to be able to learn how he made it this far was great.

It also reminded me that nothing worthwhile in this life comes easy or overnight. You have to be honest with yourself about the effort you’re putting in towards your goals and dreams. You can’t just kind of want it. As ET says, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.” Reading this book showed me why that phrase was so important to him and made me turn up the heat on my own goals.

You can order The Secret To Success on Amazon Kindle or other digital outlets. Again, be sure to check out more of ET on his official website as well as YouTube and Instagram!  

#GreatRead: “The Power Playbook”- La La Anthony

“Power is the strength to face the things you may be afraid to do and then doing them anyway. Power is no regrets. Power is pushing forward. Power is making the tough choices in your life, and even if you fall or fail, having power allows you to get back up and try again.” —La La Anthony

Long before her stint on Starz’ Power, La La Anthony was a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment business. I grew up watching her co-hosting MTV’s TRL and hosting other shows, as well as starring in movies and TV shows. On the interviewing side, I loved her classy interviewing style, while still managing to keep control during shows. So, of course, when I heard she was coming out with a book detailing rules to success, I had to order it.

La La’s The Power Playbook: Rules for Independence, Money, and Success, offers a lot of great advice in finding success in your career, finances, and overall life. Looking at my Amazon history, I bought this book three days after it came out, and I finally picked it up to read three years later. I’m a mess, I know. BUT, once I did start reading it, I couldn’t put it down.

Many people want to feel a sense of power in their professional and personal lives. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be in terms of a supervisory role, but just having control of your own world and being able to execute your own vision for your life. That can be working your way up the ladder at a 9-5 or starting your own business. That can be having a set game plan for your family. It can also be (and honestly should be) having a good work-life balance. Having a better handle on your life is powerful.  In order to have that power, though, you have to not only know what you want but be willing to go after it with full force.

In the book, La La speaks on how she had to figure out what she really wanted for her life and move with purpose. She saw her worth professionally and began grinding even harder and asking for what she wanted. Where she saw she needed practice (like with acting), she put in extra time behind the scenes.  She made necessary changes to progress professionally, and it paid off. Over the past few years, she’s not only been acting, she started her own cosmetic line, she had her own reality show, and she wrote her very first book, The Love Playbook. She’s a busy lady!

However, she also wrote about the importance of still putting herself first. She needed balance before she ran herself into the ground. So, she began exercising and eating better, taking her life into account first. Because if she wasn’t okay, her family nor her career would be. “If you don’t put yourself first, you cannot build a solid foundation for your life,” La La stated. She also spoke out on being gracious to others, no matter how much power or clout you have, as well as being grateful for the life and blessings you have.

I really liked this book and liked reading more about La La’s rise in the entertainment business. I always respected the way she moved in the industry, so getting these tips from her in The Power Playbook was inspiring. I encourage you all to pick up your own copy of this great read!

#GreatRead: Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway-Susan Jeffers

I’d be lying if I said I was fearless. I’m not. I think that “fearless” people are either lying to themselves or are reckless, honestly. We all come across fears in our lives. Some of us let it hold us back, while others drum up enough courage to power through it.

I just finished reading late author and psychologist Susan Jeffers’ book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Pretty good concept, huh? It’s been over thirty years since the book’s release, and Susan’s message still rings true.

The big idea of the book is looking at how you think of and handle fear itself. There are all kinds of fears, right? Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of starting over. But the truth is, fear is always going to be a part of our lives if we’re consistently growing. If you’re not battling some kind of fear, you’ve pretty much gotten stagnant. Fear will most certainly pop up whenever we’re trying our hands at something new or taking a risk. But what ever happens, and whatever fear pops up, YOU CAN HANDLE IT. That’s what Susan talks about in her book. Check out one of her past interviews below!

In her book, Susan breaks down the following levels of fear (surface stories, generalized fears, and underlying fears). She also gives readers some real truths about fear as well (courtesy of Reading Graphics):

Here are some things I got from this break down and Kathy’s book. One, other people have gone through and overcome the exact same fears I have. I’m not alone in it. That fact alone made me feel a little better. When things are happening directly to you, you often feel like nobody else in the world understands. Reaching out to a select few about my fears and hearing their experiences and encouragement helps me to power on.

Two, there’s NO WAY of avoiding my fears if I want to grow. Sure, I’d be comfortable staying in the same spot, but I don’t get better at what I want to accomplish. I don’t become who I’m meant to be. The same goes for each of you!

Three, somehow, someway, if I step up to the plate, I will find a way to get through it to the best of my ability. Win or fail, it’ll be over with just as soon as I start. Case in point, at a past interview for a job I really wanted, I was scared to death. I thought I had bombed the initial phone screen, so I was shocked that I got called for an in-person interview. My anxiety was high because I wanted to do well and I really, REALLY wanted this job. I was a nervous wreck, and I was trying my best to think positive. But you know what else I surprisingly envisioned? The aerobics class I would have at the end of the day. For some reason, that made me feel a little better. I’d give my best at this interview and, regardless of what happened, I was going to go kill it at my fitness class later. Gave me something to look forward to. I did much better at the live interview and got the job!

But I had to push past that fear first. I used to have a terrible fear of interviews. I conduct them, and I hate it being the other way around. I’ve even skipped out on a few because of the fear. For this one, I buckled down and forced myself to push through. I had to. I needed a change. And change and growth doesn’t happen without facing some fears.

What are you fearing today? Is it a new job opportunity? An upcoming move? Going away to college? Whatever it is, YOU CAN AND WILL BE ABLE TO HANDLE IT. There’s no growth without some fears, and there’s certainly no growth if you decide to run from them.

You can pick up Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway on Amazon and other digital and retail outlets.

#GreatRead: “Courage to Soar”-Simone Biles

Simone Biles is a name known across the world for her amazing wins in gymnastics during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The gymnast took home four gold medals and one bronze, becoming the fourth American female gymnast to win five medals in a single Olympics!

But, as every journey, the road to Rio didn’t come without A LOT of sacrifice, hard work, tears, and doubt. Simone detailed it all in her 2016 memoir, Courage to Soar: A Body In Motion, A Life in Balance.  Her life story was so inspiring that Lifetime turned into in a biopic for their network, which turned out pretty great too.

In the book, she vulnerably opened up about her rough childhood and time in foster care, ultimately ending up adopted by her loving grandparents. Simone also found she had a natural gift for gymnastics as a kid. Though she started working in the gym later than most gymnasts with Olympic dreams, it was that natural talent that soon catapulted her above many of the rest.

Watch Simone discuss her book and hard work to get to Rio below!

Like I said though, the journey wasn’t without its struggles. Simone missed out on a lot. Parties, hanging out with her friends, and getting to be just a regular teenager, which often had her torn between wanting gold and wanting to just be normal. She was often mocked by peers for her short but muscular physique, built from countless, grueling hours in the gym, which cut away at her self-esteem at times.

And she definitely had her share of losses on the gym floor. Even after her dedication and years of slaving in the gym, Simone ending up missing being selected for the USA women’s junior team by one spot and was deemed too young to compete in the 2012 Olympics. Losses like that could have broken anyone, and almost broke her. But she rose up anyway, and kept fighting for her purpose in life.

Courage to Soar serves as a great reminder that each of us should never lose sight of our dreams, no matter how many times life may knock us down. No matter how far away they may seem. No matter how many ugly doubts rise in our own heads.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that what’s meant for you is meant for you. You may not ever be a world gymnast like Simone, but each of us has a gift and a life purpose that’s worth fighting for like she did. You may not know what yours is yet, but, with a little self-reflection and questioning, you can definitely figure it out.

Simone truly is an inspiration for us all to have the courage to soar with this great read! I encourage each of you to pick up a copy online or at your local book store. 

#GreatRead: “The Motivation Manifesto”-Brendon Burchard

“Every human has a natural inclination to ascend to higher planes of existence, but it rests upon each of us to match that inclination with real initiative.”

I forgot how I discovered this book, but I’m so glad I did. Author and motivational speaker Brendon Burchard‘s book, The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power, kicked my 2018 off in high fashion and forced me to take a real hard look at myself and what I could do better to make this year great.

In the book, Brendon speaks on how we all desire to reach personal freedom—living freely by crafting a life on our own terms. But a bunch of things hold us back. And the craziest thing is that most of those things are in OUR control. One, so many people don’t actually know their life purpose yet (though you can definitely start figuring it out!). So they lack a lot of motivation to get moving because they don’t have anything really to move towards. Others of us, we make plans and have good intentions to do great things, and never back them up with actions. We lose ourselves in ingratitude and bitterness. We become slaves to worry and fear, instead of moving forward with boldness. Brendon calls readers out on all of it in this book, and encourages us to make declarations to be better and realize our power! 

Check out Brendon talking more about the book below!

Throughout the book, Brendon uses practical philosophy and wisdom to push readers to get in better control of our lives, and there are SO many gems. The Motivation Manifesto shares Brendon’s thoughts on reaching this “Personal Freedom,” in all aspects (freedom in time, your finances, your emotions, etc.). What stands in the way is often two things: social oppression from outside people looking in or our own self-oppression caused by our doubts and fears. 

I loved that the book provides practical tools and examples for how to stay motivated and how to not let others or even your own self hold you back. Some things I already knew and some things I learned to think of in a new way, like creating my own manifesto of sorts of what I want my life and legacy to ultimately be, and how I plan to get there.

There’s way too much goodness to truly share in one blog post, to be honest, but you can check this book out for yourself. I got this book here basically for free, only having to pay $7 for shipping and handling. It’s only available while supplies last, so get your copy now! 

Once you’ve read (or if you’ve read it already), let me know what you think about it in the comments!