I would venture to say that my personal development didn't really start until after college. It's a bit ironic to think about knowing that many people see college as their chance to develop themselves but then immediately cease to continue to do so once they graduate. I'm entirely opposite. Back in 2013 when I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in Business from the University of Texas at San Antonio, I walked the stage, received my degree and haven't really used it at all. In fact, my actual diploma wasn't even framed until the end of 2016 (three and a half years later). This wasn't intentional, believe me. I just didn't have an office to hang it in, didn't have a job interview to use it in, and I just didn't have the same mindset I once had. I was interested in trying business on my own so I began reading every book I could get my hands on. When that wasn't fast enough I began spending my commute times and even workout sessions listening to audiobooks. I was still fresh out of college with no extra money, so when my audiobook habit got expensive (and believe me it did), I began listening to podcasts and iTunes U. I wanted to soak up every piece of information that I possibly could so that I could quickly push myself to new levels. As a businessman who has never worked a corporate job I found that the faster I learned from the best, the closer I got to becoming the best. And the closer I got, the more people took notice.
Side note: How could I possibly be the best straight out of college? The best is relative. Especially when you have specialized skill sets that those around you don't possess. People take notice quickly when you become the teacher, expert, or professional. The investment in myself paid off generously.
This year, my goal is to 10X my personal growth strategy. Throughout this year, I'm going to post on the books that I have read and give you the key takeaway strategies that I have learned. If you are stuck setting dumb goals like "this year I want to read more books", try setting SMARTER goals to 10X your results.
If you don't already know, I am on a mission to listen to one audiobook per week (52 books for the year), and read 1 book per month (in text). I have a detailed spreadsheet that lays out every single book that I will read for the entire year. Don't believe me? The week of November 5th, 2017 I will be reading "The Magic of Thinking Big" by David Schwartz. The week of July 16th, 2017 I will be reading "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. The week of September 3rd, 2017 I will be reading "Become a Better You" by Joel Osteen... When's your birthday? I'll tell you what I'll be learning that week. Think I'm crazy? Good, I love crazy. You will see that my reads focus on 5 main categories (and sub-categories):
Side note: If you have gone through our training and have a written life plan, you may want to look at your top 5 areas in your life and begin reading on these topics. This will give you clarity on what is essential to read and keep you on track to achieving your goals.
- God - Christianity/Spirituality/Faith
- Family - Marriage/Fatherhood
- Business - Entrepreneurship/Marketing/Sales/Productivity
- Money - Investing/Giving
- Book of Choice (Outside of the first four categories)
I started off this year with every intention of reading this book. I am a huge fan of Michael Hyatt for many reasons and respect the knowledge and information that he generously shares in his books, podcasts, and website. His "Living Forward" book really helped me get clear on a few things within my own life and helped me develop a more detailed Life Plan than I already had. Michael takes you through actionable content that will force you into deep self-reflection mode, which I believe is not done enough with many people. In his book he states that "most people spend more time planning their two-week vacation then planning their life." It's unfortunate how many people are living their lives aimlessly, with no clear purpose and direction.
A popular phrase that is often said is that "everyone ends up somewhere, but few end up somewhere on purpose." This read will help put the purpose and intention behind your life and is perfect for those who need help finding it.
Living a life of intention means establishing clarity on what your purpose is in life, formulating a plan to achieve your purpose, and sticking to it until it is fulfilled. This book is great for those of you who have never written out a detailed life plan. In fact, one of the reasons I decided to go through 52 audiobooks and 12 books this year is because I had a detailed life plan written out. I have labeled "self-development" as a major category in my life and have engineered a very detailed plan on what exactly I was going to accomplish this year in regards to this category. Books are just one of the many things I have planned out for this year in the "self-development", along with programs, mastermind groups, and conferences I will attend. I highly recommend this book as key starting point for any individual who wants to get the most out of life.
I have written articles, I have been interviewed, given speeches and presentations on millennials. It is a very hot topic, especially in the business world. Many organizations are interested in how they can engage their millennial workforce to get the most out of them. Since I am considered an expert in this field, it only makes sense that I read the work of my peers who are doing the same. Gabrielle Bosche's "The Millennial Solution" has been one of my favorite reads on this generation. She speaks from her own experience being a millennial and also pulls knowledge from many other leaders from other generations. Her book effectively outlines principles that organizations can use to tap into the next generation of talent. One of my favorite parts of her book is when she talks about the generational disconnect. There is a perceived gap that exists between generations and how they understand one another. What I learned from this book is that we are a lot more alike than we are different and the biggest disconnect is in the way we communicate. Gabrielle talks about both positive and negative stereotypes that are associated with the millennial generation, as well as those within other generations. She gives perspective and truths that are sure to be applicable for anyone who reads (or listens) to this book.
Robert Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad Poor Dad" is a must read! This is one of my top 5 money books and a book that I read every year because of it's timeless principles. This book takes you through a story of a young boy who has "2 dads", one of them being his biological dad and the other being his friend's dad. He distinguishes how his biological dad thought and how his friend's dad thought. They end up being two totally different perspectives, one being the perspective of a poor man and the other from a very wealthy one. This book is all about accumulating wealth through asset building, identifying opportunities that create passive streams of income, and many entrepreneurial tactics. It will help many young readers alter their perspectives in finance to understand how true wealth is created. These principles can be applied to any career that you are in and will prove to be a game changer. I recommend reading this one early on in your adult life rather than later! P.S. I also recommend the rest of the books from the Rich Dad Poor Dad series, such as Cashflow Quadrant and Financial IQ.
I honestly do not understand how I went so long in my life without this book. I had heard of people raving about it, I had read articles about it and even listened to podcast interviews with Tim Ferriss. I guess something inside me just never seemed to "get it". I truly thought that the book title "The 4-Hour Work Week" seemed a little crazy and would often think to myself "Who in the world works only 4 hours a week? How is that even possible? NOPE, not reading!" Well, little did I know that this book would instantly become my favorite. After I finished it, I immediately wanted to listen to it again (yes, remember I listen to most of my books). I was in utter disbelief of what I had been missing out on, but now I'm subscribed to Tim's podcast and email newsletter... needless to say I'm now a big fan. The book has ridiculously great productivity hacks for business owners and even shares tips about how to put your business on autopilot. "Ahhh... NOW I get it!" It's not about working less, it's about working smarter, not harder. It's about business automation, delegation, and profits. Tim himself doesn't actually work 4 hours a week, he works like the rest of us, but he is running numerous successful businesses that are running on autopilot. I have always read my favorite books once a year, but I feel like I want to read this book once a month!
"Where have you been all my life Tim Ferriss?"
If you know me then you know I am big on my faith. It is the number one priority in my life and something that I hold very close to me. This book is based off of the Faith-based movie "Courageous" where men come together to make commitments to their faith and family. I have read this book 2 times in text and 3 times via audiobook. I first read it when I was a single young man in college, it gave me some great faith-based principles about how to live my life before marriage and kids. I then read it again when I was engaged to Selina, who is now my wife, as it taught me how to prepare myself for the intimacy of marriage. I read it a third time after we got married as I learned how to love my wife at a deeper level and how to maintain faith based love and support for her. The fourth time I read this book was a few months after my son was born, and the fifth time was last month as we now have added a baby girl to the family. The point is, no matter what part of life you are in... this book is for you. If you are like me and want to lead a faith-based home, this is a must read. It breaks down many principles about being a man, a father, a husband, and living a life that will leave a lasting legacy behind. It can relate to any part of life that you are currently in and teach you how to become a man of faith. The Resolution for Men even has additional tips and ideas that you can do along with reading it. This book encourages things like starting small groups for men in your church, writing your resolutions, posting them visibly in your home and forming accountability groups to stay committed to them. These are simple tasks and ideas that can give men much added value when reading through the material in this book. By the way, there is also a book entitle "The Resolution for Women".
Ahhh... Essentialism. I have needed you for years because... well, I have a problem. A big one. You see, I say "yes" way too often. I overcommit to projects and business dealings which leaved me zero time to accomplish the most important tasks. I involve myself in unnecessary appointments and meetings which leads to wasted energy that could have been used more effectively. I have failed to recognize the essential aspects of my life and therefore have wasted countless hours on the non-essential. Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It states that 80% of your results come from only 20% of your efforts. In a nutshell, this is what the book is about. It's about learning to say no to things that will not produce the results you want. It's about saying no to almost everything that will keep you from reaching your goals. What many people don't realize is that there is a trade-off when you say "yes" to too many things. Saying "yes" to things that are non-essential means that you must say "no" to things that are. In a piece called “No More Yes. It’s Either HELL YEAH! Or No,” the popular TED speaker Derek Sivers describes a simple technique for becoming more selective in the choices we make. The key is to put the decision to an extreme test. If we feel total and utter conviction to do something, then we say yes, Derek-style. Anything less gets a thumbs down. The problem is that we have an in between, which typically leads to too much "yes." This book will greatly help you identify the essential aspects of your life, and get rid of the non-essential ones. It will definitely improve my quality of work and of my life.
Over the course of this year, I will be publishing updates on my reading. Keep up to date by following us on social media and subscribing to our email newsletter.
Oh, and by the way...