Now I need to be honest, some of these books were brand new to me in 2021. And some are old favorites that are so good I reread them this year. So I've got a handful of books to share with you. And I'm hoping that if you are able to find some downtime over the next week or two, if you're celebrating the winter holidays with your family or with your friends, if you've carved out some time for a little R&R, and you're looking for a good book to keep you company, then maybe you will find inspiration from one of my recommendations. You can go to CoachwithClarity.com/2021books
, and you will find a list of all of my recommendations with links to get them on Amazon. So let's kick things off with a quick look at my favorite books in 2021. And I've tried to choose a variety of books for you. So I'll be sharing a coaching related book, a business related book, a couple of fiction pieces that I've loved as well as one of those classics that I reread over and over again. Let's kick things off with the book that I think should be on the bookshelf of every single coach out there. And I'm proud to share that it's written by my close friend and dear colleague, Melody Wilding, and it's called “Trust Yourself”. “Trust Yourself” is one of those books that hits the sweet spot between sharing information and evidence based theory, while also providing practical application of the core topics she's talking about. And in “Trust Yourself”, Melody is really looking at the intersection between being a sensitive person and being a highly ambitious person. She calls them “sensitive strivers”. And “Trust Yourself” is essentially a handbook that shows you how you can navigate through the world while harnessing your sensitivity as a superpower. The reason I love this book so much, and I promise you it's not just because my dear friend Melody wrote it, but because I think it serves two purposes for coaches. First, many of us work with people who are highly ambitious. That's why they're coming to coaching. And they're likely quite insightful. And they may have some, or many, traits of a sensitive person. And so this book can help us understand our clients on a much deeper level, and provide some structure and some activities that we can use with them during the coaching relationship. It's definitely a book that I have turned to when I have coached some of my own clients. And it's a book that I recommend time and time again that my clients purchase as well. So I do find it to be a very helpful coaching resource, which is why I'm mentioning this as my number one coaching book for 2021. But the second thing is that I found it personally valuable as well. I do identify as a “sensitive striver”. I have many qualities of a highly sensitive person. And I'm pretty driven and ambitious. And sometimes those two aspects seem to clash. But this book really helped me see how they could work together. And so as helpful as I find it for my clients and as much as I use it as a coach, I also use it for my own personal development too. And I suspect you might find that to be helpful as well. So my number one coaching book for 2021 is “Trust Yourself” by Melody Wilding. And again if you head to CoachwithClarity.com/2021books
, you can find the link to that book as well as my number one business read for 2021, which is “Traction” by Gino Wickman. Now “Traction” is one of those books that I have read in the past, and I come back to it year after year after year because it is such a solid guide on how to run your business. There are tools and worksheets and all sorts of examples that really walk you through how to plan and implement your key ideas in your business, regardless of what stage of business you're in. So if you're just starting out, there's really good information in there for you. And if you've been doing this for a few years like me, you're going to find some really helpful perspectives on how to create not just quarterly and annual plans, but truly an operations manual for your business. One of the best parts about traction is that there are worksheets that you can download from the companion website. And what I like to do is download their PDF guides to my iPad, then I open them in the GoodNotes app. And I can use my Apple Pencil to complete all of the templates, and then I have them right there saved on my iPad that I can reference throughout the rest of the year. I actually save the original PDFs, almost like templates, and then I make a copy. And so when I'm doing my quarterly planning, I just make a new copy of the quarterly planning template. And I'll be doing the same for my annual planning as well. So definitely get yourself a copy of “Traction” by Gino Wickman. Read it through once, cover to cover, just to kind of get a lay of the land. And then go to the companion website, download the PDF guides, and allow those to really inform your planning, your process, and how you want to implement your big ideas in your business in 2022. Now that I've shared my top coaching and business books for 2021, let's have a little fun. Let's go to the fiction side of the house. And I want to share with you the two books I read this year that have really stayed with me. You know when you read a good fiction book, and you continue to play out key plot points in your head long after you've read the book? That's what happened to me with both of these books this year. And the first one I read was “Legendborn” by Tracy Deonn. Okay, if you love really smart, young adult fiction, and even though it's young adult, it's definitely suitable for adult readers as well. But if you love YA fiction that also blends in magical realism, you are going to love “Legendborn”. It is a fresh contemporary take on the Arthurian legends, so think King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable, but in the 21st century. The protagonist of the book is a young black woman, and so viewing these legends and the lore through her eyes, I have never ever read a book like this. And I cannot wait for the sequel to come out soon. So definitely check out “Legendborn” by Tracy Deonn, and then go ahead and pick up a copy of “Bacchanal” by Veronica G. Henry. I read this book over the Fourth of July weekend. My kids were at camp so my husband and I had a little getaway together. It was amazing. We were celebrating our 20th anniversary. And this was one of the books I brought as a beach read. And I have to tell you, I could not put it down. The setting, the characters, the plot was so gripping that I think I stayed up until two in the morning one night because I just wanted to finish it. It is this really intriguing blend of, think 1930’s Depression era carnivals, blended with a very New Orleans “who do” vibe. The book does a lovely job of centering characters who are black, and you really see what carnival life was like for them. But then again, we have that thread of magical realism that's woven through. And again, I don't want to say anything more, because I don't want to spoil this book for you, but it is so good. So my two fiction recommendations are “Legendborn” by Tracy Deonn and “Bacchanal” by Veronica G. Henry. I've got links to both at the show notes page for this episode, which is CoachwithClarity.com/2021books
. Now I would be remiss if I did not mention one more book to you, and that is “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. Now, this book has been out for over 25 years. I remember reading it when I was in college, and I fancied myself an aspiring novelist, but there was something about this book and the way Anne Lamott approaches the craft of writing, that it just feels like coming home every time I read it. And the tagline for “Bird by Bird” is an instruction manual on writing and life. And it's so true. Yes, in this book, Lamott provides some really terrific structured exercises that writers can use to find their voice, develop their character, and just get more comfortable in their craft. But so much of what she talks about is equally applicable to how we want to live our lives as it is to writing. And so this year when I started writing book number two, I found myself going back to “Bird by Bird” over and over again, for guidance and inspiration. It is one of those books that I actually have multiple copies of, I have one at home, I have one at my office at work. I have one that I lend out to people because I love this book so much. So do yourself a favor, if you have not already discovered “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott, pick up a copy today, you won't regret it. Now, I mentioned that I was working on book number two, and I am. Though I must admit it is a much slower process than I had anticipated. So we will see what 2022 holds in terms of that book. But if you haven't checked out my first book yet, well, let's consider that a bonus recommendation. Definitely make sure you grab a copy of “ACT On Your Business: Braving the storms of entrepreneurship and creating success through meaning, mindset, and mindfulness”. And you can find that at CoachwithClarity.com/getthebook
Alright my friends, that's it for this week's mini-sode with my favorite reads from 2021. Next week, I will be back with another mini-sode where I'm sharing some of my favorite podcasts from the year so you won't want to miss that. Make sure that if you're not already following the Coach with Clarity Podcast you do so today. That way next week, you will get the episode with my podcast recommendations automatically in your feed. Just click the subscribe or follow button wherever you listen to your podcasts. And then every Monday morning you will find the Coach with Clarity Podcast in your feed. Until then, my name is Lee Chaix McDonough, wishing you a very happy winter holiday and reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.