I recently read a book that wasn’t fiction. Being a lover of stories, it’s always been hard to read non fiction books. In fact, my non fiction reading is contained to magazines articles from National Geographic or how to articles on the internet. And I certainly don’t read self help books. I actually used to think those kind of books were…well, annoying. But recently, I started to think that I have been advocating for others to practice self care, to become more aware of their own mental health and to really take care of themselves on a soul level. That is the point of my blog after all, to help people live their most authentic lives by being their best selves. And yet, it struck me as as strange that I had never read a single self help book. And being in a bit of a funk (likely due mostly to lockdown and pregnancy horomones) I decided it was time to read a little book I had picked up, Believe in Yourself and Love What You Do by Kate James.
Little disclaimer before we go forward. I am not working with the author, or Total Balance. I found this book by chance and am sharing my thoughts and feelings on my blog. No compensation is being received.
Who is Kate James?
If you had asked me who Kate James was when I first picked up this book, I would have pointed to the cover and said, “the author. Duh.” Because I had no idea. I buy books not because they are some best seller list or because everyone is recommending them, but because I am drawn to them. Meaning I usually skip over all the “hype” books. Hype actually turns me off of books. But, to answer the question who is Kate James, she is life, business and leadership coach who works with clients from all walks of life–from people like you and me to CEOs of big companies. She founded Total Balance in 2002 and is often invited to speak at press, radio and tv events. She even has meditations on the Insight Timer app. In 2014, she realized a life long dream of becoming an author by publishing the little book I just read and has since published more.
Now, I didn’t know any of this when I picked up the book. I couldn’t told you a single thing about Kate James, and honestly, who she was didn’t matter. What mattered to me was the title spoke to me, and the two or three pages I glanced over resonated. I bought the book on an instinct, and I am really glad I stumbled across it that day in the bookstore.
Related Article: Why Self Care is Important
Believe in Yourself and Do What You Love
I have a fancy little edition of this book. Honestly, the pink spine and gold lettering first drew my eye in the bookstore. I flipped through, liked what I read and decided to get the book. My husband was a little surprised I think, because it was a quick decision for me, and as I’ve said, I don’t read non-fiction. But like I said above, it resonated. The blurb on my book reads,
Kate James serves up fifty bite-sized and practical tips on how to live a more fulfilling and purposeful life.
I can’t even remember if I glanced at that blurb in the book store. Maybe. But honestly, if I had, it would have just confirmed what my gut was telling me, that I needed to read the book because isn’t that exactly what I have been trying to do for years? Isn’t that what I’m finally realizing in my life? Living a more fulfilling and purposeful life.
What I really love about the book is the layout–it’s easy to read or flip through and read in segments rather than cover to cover. It also has little exercises you can do–such as considering your strengths, discovering your values, how to be mindful, and discovering your purpose. I often found myself wishing I had a sticky note pad ready to jot down things. It’s a book that gently forces you into self reflection and one I read slowly. I likely could have read it all in one sitting, but I decided to read only a few sections a day, and some I even re-read. The book helps you connect to you and what you want, and nudges you to really consider how happy you are, to stop negative thinking and habits and to become more confident and less egoistical.
Self Help That Isn’t Commanding
I often found self help too commanding for my taste. I felt talked down to. Perhaps I was being defensive when I glanced at these books. I’m not sure. But if you have ever felt that way or just aren’t sure what a self help book has to offer you, then this is the book for you because isn’t like that at all. The sections are short, to the point and come across as suggestive rather than do as I say. I appreciate the gentle guidance of the tone, as discovering yourself is about you and your journey and you are only onion peeler of your own layers of emotion and identity. A book or coach can only act as a guide rather than a commander. I would totally recommend this to anyone who is feeling adrift in life, or who is starting a new chapter–a new job, going to college or uni, getting married or having a baby. It’s important, in my opinion, at those times to pause and reflect on your life and your inner most passions and values in order to continue living an authentic life.
I hope you enjoyed today’s book review! It’s certainly something I’ve never done here on the blog before and I am so happy I could share my reading experience with this little book with all of you. Self help is important and there are many ways we can seek that out–therapy, books, blogs, podcasts and Youtube videos–little of this was available when I was in my twenties, and what was may have been looked upon skeptically. But I encourage you all, young or older to step out of your comfort zone and maybe read a book like this that you otherwise never would have. It may surprise you how profoundly you connect with the ideas.
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