A dear friend gave me Tim Ferriss’ book Tribe of Mentors for my birthday. The book is the fruit of Ferriss’ midlife crisis, which prompts him to ask over 100 super successful people some very specific questions. After reading the book, I decided to answer his questions for myself. Below are my answers to the first three. How would you respond to these same questions? Share your thoughts in the comments- we’d love to hear your answers!
1. What is the book or books you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?
Each of the following books is a book I’ve read over and over again, and they’re also the books that immediately came to mind.
- The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz
- Not my favorite book in the world as far as the actual writing goes, but the principles in this book have never, EVER failed me. Each time I lose my way in life, I come back to this book and discover that I’m breaking at least one of the four agreements on a regular basis. As soon as I reread the book and correct course on living out the four agreements, my harmony is restored.
- Chop Wood Carry Water by Joshua Medcalf
- I can open this book to any page and rediscover a gem. I’ve read it to my kids and my students and they all love it too. I give this book as a gift all the time.
- Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
- I have given this book as a gift to many important women in my life. I feel like this book speaks directly to the heart of all of my girlfriends and I wish I could give a copy to every one of them. It should be required reading for all men too, so they can understand the women in their lives.
- The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
- This book was a giant A-Ha for me. The first time I read it, I was feeling stuck in my life. I felt like I couldn’t move the needle with any of my goals. I felt like l needed earth-quaking movement to make progress, but the thing I realized through reading this book is the little things don’t just matter, but they’re the most important piece of the process.
- You Are A Badass and You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero
- Besides the fact that I think Jen Sincero’s writing style is hilarious and entertaining, she also has some really good stuff to say. I have these books on Audible and I listen to them anytime I need to be reminded of my power.
- The Bible
- It took me about three years, but I once read the bible from cover to cover. I figured it is an extremely powerful book that nations have gone to war over, so I might as well read it. I tackled it a few pages a day, and I read every word. At that time in my life I was deeply seeking answers. Reading the whole thing for myself as opposed to listening to someone else’s selected passage or interpretation was life-changing.
2. What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)?
Hands down it is the Ohuhu Massager. (That is not an affiliate link, it’s just there so you can find the product.) I do not know how I ever lived 38 years as a dancer without having discovering a TENS device, but this thing is the BOMB. My husband bought it for 30 bucks on Amazon, and I have just purchased my own because we both love it so much we really can’t share. It gives me relief from injury, muscle fatigue and pain, PMS, jet lag, insomnia…. the list goes on. The battery lasts forever and the device is tiny and light. Amazing.
3. How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?
How do I whittle this down to just one? I have already talked about my first major career pivot on my personal blog. So, I’ll just go into my most recent “favorite failure,” which is my failing to promote in my health and wellness business. Eight years ago I was not myself. I was really on a slow but sure decline -if we take The Slight Edge into account- in my wellness and physical fitness. That’s when relief entered my life in the form of a 24 Day Challenge, and it changed everything. Besides losing weight and regaining my sense of well-being and self-confidence, I began making money fairly effortlessly because people noticed the change in me.
About six years in, I decided to really apply myself to the business and I thought I had discovered my new path to success in life. I loved the products, the company and the people I’d get to work with each day, so even though I had never aspired to sell vitamins for a living, it seemed like a good fit. I saw the big things that could be accomplished in the business, and I had friends who were doing it- making more money than was ever possible for them before, traveling the world by earning trips, opening up time in their lives with a flexible work schedule, and more. I dreamed of being a polished leader on the stage and I craved the recognition and the lifestyle I thought would follow that success. I attended every training, meeting and conference. I soaked up all the learning I could, and I attached myself to great mentors. I followed their direction, I took action and got to work diligently and consistently. I worked at it solidly for two years, and I discovered the harder I worked, the worse things got. Try as I might, I was simply not building a more prosperous supplement business than the one I had when it was just for fun, and I was completely discouraged.
However, all the while that I was going to work on myself for the purpose of succeeding in that business, a long dormant dream started waking up inside of me. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to have a dance school. That dream had faded away many years ago, as I had talked myself out of it for countless reasons. Suddenly the timing seemed right, and I felt like I maybe had become the type of person who could be really great at owning and operating the kind of dance school I had always dreamed about. One thing I heard repeatedly in my quest to become a kick-ass vitamins sales girl was this: “This business is about who you become in the pursuit of the things that you want.”
I thought I wanted to make the diamond level in that business. I pursued the next step in that process vigorously for two YEARS, and I FAILED at achieving the next milestone. BUT. A little over one year ago I opened Elevate Dance Center, and I have never felt so fulfilled in my work. I am completely convinced that without pursuing the promotion in my supplement business, I would not have become the person it took to open the school. It turns out that my supplement business was NOT a detour or a failure, but a necessary step in the journey to my dreams. I’m grateful for the people who mentored me, the goals I chased but never caught, and all the hours I spent going after the dream that never was, because that experience has been critical in shaping the dream that is.