4 of My Top Books For Self Improvement

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There seems to be a lot of self-improvement books out there this days-no matter what kind of self-improvement you are looking for!  But, what about those of us who sometimes have a hard time staying motivated?  Or, what about those of us that are easily distracted?  No fear, there is hope for us too!

Self-Improvement Books

All the books on my list are books that I have personally read and feel strongly about.  I have not incorporated every idea they present, but I always take a lot away from them.  And trust me, some of the books here are effective even if you only take only one thing away from it and incorporate it into your life!  I have taken only one idea from one of these books in particular, but HOLLY COW has it made a difference in how I do things!  Can you take a guess which one it is?  Ps-These books are not in any certain order 🙂

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Why I Stopped Letting Work Take Over My Life

“You will need to make more sacrifices with your family if you want to go anywhere-ever”

These words cut right through me after a supervisor told me that.   I was already working 60 hours during the week and working the weekends* and taking over my life.  I had developed constantly being short with my family because they were always bothering me(yes, bothering was the attitude I had developed)when I needed to be working.  The work wasn’t going to do itself after all…  The icing on the cake is that this supervisor was leaving work often for her own children.  That one still stumps me…

About a month before this conversation, it was Mother’s Day, and I remember it like it was yesterday.  My house was a disaster and I was trying to get my daughter to take a nap so I could get back to work-hopefully it would be a long nap, my fingers were crossed.  Then, something snapped in me, why was I trying to get my daughter to sleep just so I could work?  Was work becoming worth more than missing out on my daughter’s life just so I could crunch some numbers? NO, it was not.

Change Needed to Happen

I had to start looking for a new job, and I was lucky-like an answer to a prayer-a new job presented itself fast.  It was time to put in my notice, and  I told my supervisors I just wasn’t going to put my family second anymore, and they were all very supportive of it…well, except that one.  She was different…you know the type where they tell you that you do everything wrong, but then pet you on the head and tell you it is ok because they still love you?  Yeah, that was her.

After that conversation with her, the one where I had to give my family up, I knew my life had to be different.  I wasn’t going to sacrifice my family for a job anymore.  My job will not be there to take care of me when I am old, but hopefully, my kids will be.  It is important to me that my kids grow up knowing the benefits of hard work, but I don’t want them to feel second either.


Yes, I know some people do this all the time.

As in, they work hard to provide for their family-they do not have a choice.  I do not have a problem with that, and I think it is amazing that people are willing to work so hard to provide for their families!! (These people do not get enough credit)   The difference is that I think these families hope this hard work is only temporary,  and the hard work will hopefully pay off.

I did it, but it wasn’t easy.

I did change jobs, and luckily fast-and it was incredibly difficult. Leaving something I was so used to(even if it wasn’t healthy for my family and me), leaving people I loved working with and changing careers entirely was very scary.  It was incredibly difficult to adjust to at first-I didn’t know what to do with this “free” time and it drove me crazy! The challenge I had to get through was engaging with my family again-which I am still learning.

Now, I have a great job where I have really learned to appreciate the little things.  I sleep at night since I do not have the added stress of things that are out of my control.  The best part is,  I  do not cry because I have to go to work or because I have to miss work to take care of my sick child.

Where will you or have you drawn the line with work?  What goals and values do you have that are not willing to sacrifice for your family or yourself?

~Jessi

* I know that this is a typical week for some people, but it did not work for my family.

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

I have anxiety, in particular, social anxiety.

I have my good moments and I have my bad ones too.  Over the last year, I have really started to push myself out of my comfort zone, and I could not be more thankful for it!  Due to my inability to do well in social settings (anxiety goes through the roof…any of you with me?!), I chose a job that required little interaction with new people-accounting.  The best part was that I was a financial accountant, not a tax accountant which meant I rarely had to deal with “new” people.  I loved being able to stay in my shell (for the most part), which helped me feel more comfortable.

**Fast-Forward**

After much-unwanted stress, I decided to leave my comfort zone and go after a job that was completely different for me.  I decided to join a local logistics company, and this time I was more on the “social” side of things.  My days consisted of calling people…like on the phone.  Now, for some people, this is not a big deal, but holy cow, it was for me.  Side note-I hate talking on the phone…if I had to order a pizza on the phone, I was going to just make supper instead. Anyways, now I had to call drivers, customers and sometimes I had to ask for their business.  Every time my boss would ask me to call someone I was petrified.

After a year of doing logistics, I am happy I decided to step out of my comfort zone.

 

 These are some of the benefits that have come from stepping out of my comfort zone:

  • It has helped give me the courage to battle through my fears
    • I am much more optimistic when it comes to doing something I am scared to do.  If I have been able to do a job where the job description screams “SCARY and OUT OF COMFORT ZONE!” it only helps me gain the strength to not be afraid in the future.  That strength = less stress!!
  • I have built a more diverse resume
    • This was not my goal with taking this job, but rather an unknown benefit.  I now have several drivers that I am managing, as well as working with planning their routes to make them(and us) the most money.
  • Allows me to be a good role model for my kids
    • You know how they say that we should practice things that we want our kids to do?  Now when my daughter complains something is too hard or scary, I can help coach her through it since I have been there too.
  • I feel like I have conquered something huge…even if it is only minor to other people
    • It is important to do something that makes you feel more fulfilled, right? Even if it is almost embarrassing to tell other people…



So, how can this help you?

Running out and changing career paths may be a little edgy for most people, but there are simple things you can do to help you overcome those fears, no matter how small they are!

  1. Start Small!
    • Like I said, I hated something as much as making a phone call to someone I didn’t know.  Now that I have done it several hundred times, I am not so afraid of it! (Why, hello there pizza…)
  2. Nothing is “too small” or “too dumb” to overcome.
    • Something that makes you uncomfortable may not be uncomfortable for the next person.  We are all different for a reason, but if something bothers you enough, change it!!

Now, I challenge you!!

  1. Make a list of things you would like to overcome in regards to “stepping out of your comfort zone.”

    • Write the list down and put it somewhere where you will see it frequently.  If you are like me, write it somewhere where you will see it frequently, but no one else will.  But, if you are not like that, write it somewhere where your family can see it and cheer you on!!
  2. Pick something off of your list and go for it, but don’t forget, pick something small to conquer!

    • Let’s say you have a hard time saying no, but it is becoming too stressful to keep saying yes.  Start out small by saying no to one thing a week whether it is a friend, a play date or that piece of chocolate(yes, I said it).  There are several different kinds of things that can be on your list, but I am going to use “saying no” as an example through these steps.
  3. After you have picked something, think of small ways you can get yourself into a situation where you will be uncomfortable!

    • Your friend calls and really wants to grab a coffee Saturday morning, but you haven’t had a Saturday morning to yourself in ages.  Tell your friend that this week will not work, and maybe find a different time that will work if need be.
  4. Keep putting yourself in the situation until you get more comfortable with it.

    • Obviously, you do not want to be telling friends “no” all the time, but maybe set a number of times you are going to say no.  Maybe for every five times you get asked, you are going to say no the sixth time.  You will need to find a compromise you feel comfortable with, but remember, start small!
  5. Step it up! Start challenging yourself with it a little more!

    • As you start feeling more comfortable saying no to things you really do not have time for, move on to other spots of your life that you want more freedom with.  This may or may not be telling people no, but find things that make you step out of that comfort zone, and make them a new comfort zone!

After doing a few small things on your list, it will help give you a sense of accomplishment and the drive to check off some of the larger items.

What is something you would love to conquer that really push you out of your comfort zone?

~Jessi

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