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Change Your Life!

By 49thShelf
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Maybe 2021 will be your year, or at least the year that you finally start DOING some of those things you've been talking about doing. These are great books to give you inspiration. Some of these books are out now and others are coming up this spring.
My Year of Living Spiritually

My Year of Living Spiritually

From Woo-Woo to Wonderful--One Woman's Secular Quest for a More Soulful Life
edition:Paperback

Winner of two Hamilton Literary Awards!

In 2017, Anne Bokma embarked on a quest to become a more spiritual person. After leaving the fundamentalist religion of her youth, she became one of the eighty million North Americans who consider themselves spiritual-but-not-religious, the fastest growing “faith” category.

In mid-life she found herself addicted to busyness, drinking too much, hooked on social media, dreading the empty nest and still struggling with alienation from her ultra-religious fa …

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Lean Out

Lean Out

A Meditation on the Madness of Modern Life
edition:Paperback

INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLER
"Travel to the land of Couldn't Be More Timely."--Margaret Atwood on Lean Out, in the West End Phoenix
"What begins as one woman's critique of our culture of overwork and productivity ultimately becomes an investigation into our most urgent problems: vast inequality, loneliness, economic precarity, and isolation from the natural world. Henley punctures the myths of the meritocracy in a way few writers have. This is an essential book for our time." --Mandy Len Catron, …

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Excerpt

From the Introduction

“What do you do when the work you love tastes like dust?”
I first heard this question in an airy newsroom in Vancouver, during a downpour in February of 2016. TED was in town, and I was watching a YouTube talk on burnout from TV mogul Shonda Rhimes. I had pitched a segment on this phenomenon for our morning radio show the next day, and was busy trying to track down an expert to talk about the global epidemic of overwork.

Watching the video, it dawned on me that Rhimes’s story was actually my own. And that her question couldn’t have come at a better time.

I was forty years old, and had been working at breakneck speed for fifteen years. I had traveled the world, from Soweto to Bangkok and Paris to Brooklyn, interviewing authors and community leaders, rappers and philanthropists, politicians and Hollywood celebrities. I had trekked the jungles of Borneo. Visited Buckingham Palace. Experienced the thrill of sitting down with Beyoncé. And of debating with Kanye West.

But in that moment, none of it seemed to matter. I was hunched over my desk, holding my torso, racked by chest pains that I was trying—and failing—to ignore.

My drive, always my greatest asset, suddenly felt like a dangerous liability.

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The 4% Fix

The 4% Fix

How One Hour Can Change Your Life
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

How to find guilt-free time for what you really want to do, and why it matters

  • Do you feel like you’re always busy, even as your to-do list continues to grow?
  • Do you think you can’t keep up as it is, let alone add another thing to your plate?

An award-winning journalist, avid reader and new mom, Karma Brown dreamed of writing her first novel. But between diapers and tight deadlines, how could she? Like so many of us, she felt stretched taut and hyper-scheduled, her time a commodity over …

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In Praise of Retreat

In Praise of Retreat

Finding Sanctuary in the Modern World
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

 

For readers of Walden, Wild, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, A Book of Silence, A Gift from the Sea and other celebrations of the inner adventure.

An utterly engaging dive into our modern ways of retreat — where we go, why we’re drawn, and how it’s urgent

From pilgrim paths to forest cabins, and from rented hermitages to arts temples and quiet havens for yoga and meditation, In Praise of Retreat explores the pleasures and powers of this ancient practice for modern people. Kirsteen MacLeod draws on …

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Excerpt

 

I’m sitting on the old footbridge that leads to my cabin in the woods. Beaver Creek passes silently below. Ducks fly overhead. Ferns, cardinal flowers and moss grow amid grey rocks at the water’s edge. Spiders wander over my notebooks, which are spread out on the bridge’s rough planks, pages held open by stones.

This is the place that inspired this book. By the creek and in the forest, I discovered a rich inner dimension I didn't know existed. Far from my city life and work-obsessed routines, I began to know what gives my life meaning. And to recognize the value of protecting a divine spark, though I’m not religious, and of amplifying the extraordinary—nature, spirit, art, creative thinking—in impoverished times. A retreat means removing yourself from society, to a quiet place where moments are strung like pearls, and after long days apart in inspiring surroundings, you return home refreshed and with a new sense of what you want to do with your life.

In the fraught modern era, you’d think our timeless human desire to retreat would feel more urgent than ever. Yet taking a step back has become an act of 21st century rebellion when disengaging, even briefly, is seen by many as self-indulgent, unproductive and anti-social. But to retreat is as basic a human need as being social. To withdraw from the everyday is about making breathing space for what illuminates a life.

 

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The Conscious Creative

The Conscious Creative

Practical Ethics for Purposeful Work
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

An actionable guide to mindfulness and practical ethics for any creative professional who wants to make a living without selling their soul.

It can be difficult to live according to our values in a complicated world. At a time when capitalism seems most unforgiving but the need for paying work remains high, it is important to learn how we can be more mindful and intentional about our impact — personal, social, economic, and environmental.

As designer and creative director Kelly Small had to do t …

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Acknowledge Your Role in the System
Say it with me: “My name is ________________ and I’m a tool of capitalism.” A vital first step toward an ethical practice is being aware of and owning our roles within a troublesome consumption-machine and the human, animal, and environmental consequences that come along with that. Being aware of the impact of the systems within which we operate can empower us with an enriched understanding of the work that we do and, hopefully, help us advocate for change. There is a fine line between being aware of issues and being crushed by the weight of the systemic problems we face. Aim for the former to stay in a headspace of action and empowerment, and remember, we can’t single-handedly save the world in one profound act. What we can do is implement some of the actions outlined in this book, and develop some of our own, to effect incremental change toward a more equitable world.
Help your Audience Live (Mentally) Healthily
Over the years there have been all sorts of sketchy ways the creative industries have been complicit in manufacturing needs. The practice of manipulating audience behaviour has become increasingly stealthy through the use of things like dark patterns (manipulative interface designs that trick users into doing things they may not have wanted to do), the repetitive hyper-targeting and re-targeting of ads and past-viewed products, and addictive experiences in digital product design. Aiming to identify and avoid these modes of practice is a key step toward an ethical practice.
I would argue that we can’t be conscious creatives if we’re exploiting self-esteem to sell a product, infusing fat-phobia into our marketing messages, advertising nutritionally void foods to kids, producing experiences that capitalize on a dopamine/reward response, selling high fashion using violent, misogynistic imagery, or promoting mindless consumption. These ethical pitfalls aren’t always simple to avoid, however mindful awareness, positive intentions, and advocating for the promotion of healthy behaviours in our audiences are steps in the right direction.
Make it Analogue
When creating with objectives toward developing strong and connected communities, consider that reliance on or defaulting to a technology-based solution might not serve our cause well. Social Innovation leader Ezio Manzini believes that a community’s reliance on digital connectivity can actually weaken a once-solid social fabric. This replacement of authentic, real-world connections with connections based in superficial, digital realms can, arguably, compromise a community’s resilience. If technology is necessary in your creative work, ensure it plays a supporting role and never replaces face-to-face human connection.
Acknowledge The Privilege of Ethical Practice
Let’s promise to stop judging the people around on us whose choices we don’t perceive to be ethical. Having the ability to make socially and environmentally conscious decisions can be steeped in a privilege not universally shared. For example: ethically made materials, resources, food, and fashion often come at a higher price point and are therefore inaccessible to many people. To have the choice to work for an ethical employer often demands earning a college education, which requires financial means and intellectual aptitude. Advocating for change can require long hours, emotional labour, mental fortitude, and a requirement for presence in collective action not always available to those whose safety, mental health, or physical health may be compromised. To be supportive allies in the pursuit of a better world, we must start with an understanding of the complex systems that can impact our abilities to act. When we withdraw judgment from other people’s choices, we can remember to do the same for ourselves. Usually we are doing the best we can with the awareness and the resources we have at the time.

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The Art of Holding Space

The Art of Holding Space

A Practice of Love, Liberation, and Leadership
edition:Paperback

Holding space is the practice of compassionately witnessing, accepting, and supporting someone without judgement, while retaining your boundaries and sense of self.

The ability to "hold space" for yourself and for others has never been more urgent. Faced with global issues of climate change, political unrest, violence, and economic crises, more citizens of the world are experiencing disconnection, grief, and a deep sense of loneliness than at any other time.

But, with the right tools, you and you …

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The Power of Disability

The Power of Disability

10 Lessons for Surviving, Thriving, and Changing the World
edition:Paperback

"This book reminds us of what we have in common: the power to create a good life for ourselves and for others, no matter what the world has in store for us." --Michael J. Fox

This book reveals that people with disabilities are the invisible force that has shaped history. They have been instrumental in the growth of freedom and birth of democracy. They have produced heavenly music and exquisite works of art. They have unveiled the scientific secrets of the universe. They are among our most popular …

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How to Figure Out What to Do with Your Life (Next)

How to Figure Out What to Do with Your Life (Next)

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

“An amazing and brilliant instruction manual on how to find purpose, build a career, and live a life of fulfillment.” – DEEPAK CHOPRA
A surefire guide to planning your next career move and discovering the job you really want.

Jennifer Turliuk was dissatisfied in her corporate job, so she quit. But she had no idea what to do next. After university, she, like so many graduates, focused on just getting a job rather than figuring out the career she really wanted.

Instead of getting another deg …

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Excerpt

Introduction

If you’re stuck in a job you hate, you’re unfortunately not alone. In fact, astonishingly, more than 80 percent of Americans and 75 percent of Canadians are dissatisfied with their jobs.

I was unhappy with the career path I entered just after graduation from university. I woke up late, went to sleep when I got home at 6:00 p.m., and developed all sorts of aches and pains I had never felt before. It took me a while, but I finally gathered the courage to quit. Like many people, I’d put more thought and effort into getting the job than into figuring out if it was something I actually wanted. There’s plenty of research and advice out there on how to write the perfect résumé and ace that interview. But when it comes to figuring out what you want to do with your life, the strategies aren’t so clear.

I realized that although I could predict and pontificate about a career path that might make me happier, I’d never actually know until I was in the thick of it. I had an idea that I might like to do something related to entrepreneurship but didn’t exactly know what that meant. Did I want to join a startup? Start my own? Try to get into venture capital? Join or start a non-profit? Do international development work abroad?

More importantly, I didn’t know how I could figure it out without a huge investment of time, like starting another full-time job with a new company.

But then I had a different idea. I decided to enter a competition to shadow Dave McClure, who founded the accelerator 500 Startups. Being selected as one of the top six finalists gave me the kick I needed to quit my job, fly down to Silicon Valley, and begin what I call a “self-education program” on something they don’t teach you in school but is arguably the most important thing of all: what I wanted to do with my life.

What is that? I run my own company and make a competitive salary. I control my days and who I spend time with. My company makes a difference in the lives of our customers, staff, and community members — and has strong potential to grow. Sometimes I have bad days, but many are good. Certainly, there are many more good days than I used to have. And the work is fulfilling. I learn new things every day, and I’ve met the most amazing people through my involvement with this business. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be. In this book, I share the Career Design Process I created to get to this point, made up of ideas from the quantified self movement (users and makers of self-tracking technological tools), design thinking, lean startup methodologies, and more.

So what did I do during my self-education program? So many things — and I’ll tell you all about them in this book. Over the course of a few months, I began cold emailing anyone I could think of who I was interested in meeting and learning from. To my surprise, I had a shockingly high response rate. I met with the founders of Airbnb, Square, Kiva, Mint, Color, and many more, and also with various investors and professors in the Bay Area. I asked them about their career paths, how they’d come to be where they were now, and what recommendations they had for figuring out my next move.

And I didn’t stop there. I also volunteered at major conferences such as DEMO and Founder Showcase so I could meet more people and attend the talks for free. I checked out various events and lectures in the region, and even sat in on classes at Stanford University, which the professors were kind enough to let me attend. Finally, to get a full holistic experience, I lived in a co-op in Palo Alto, California, and had an amazing time learning about cooking, co-operative living, and various lifestyles.

One of the most important conversations I had was with John Krumboltz, an international career expert who teaches career coaching at Stanford. He advocated an idea that stuck with me: testing out the different career experiences I was interested in, in the most lowcommitment way I could for each option. I had just been introduced to the entrepreneurial concept of “minimum viable product” — an interesting parallel, I thought — so I decided to apply these same principles to deciding what to do next with my career.

I began “prototyping” the different work experiences I was considering — dipping my toe in each, so I could figure out which I liked best. Again, using my favourite tactic of cold emailing, I reached out to and secured “shadow experiences” with companies, including Launchrock (a 500 Startups company), Dojo, Causes (started by Sean Parker), Kiva, the Stanford d.school, and Ashoka (a non-profit that supports entrepreneurship). I spent one to five days with each company, not only learning from them but also assisting them wherever I could. At Causes, I helped produce success reports for clients and sat in on strategy meetings and interviews with potential hires. At Kiva, the then CEO Matt Flannery let me follow him around for the day (the literal definition of a shadow) and experience “a day in the life,” complete with accompanying him on his daily walk in the park to clear his head.

So what did I learn through all of this? I realized that I wanted to pursue my own business as soon as possible. In one of the classes I sat in on at Stanford, the professor asked the students how they wanted the world to be different when they died. I knew then that not only did I want to be passionate about what I was doing — I wanted others to be, too. I wanted my business to do something that helped other people find and pursue career activities they were passionate about, and I’ve worked toward that objective ever since.

But looking back, I’m so happy I took the time to prototype my different career options and am grateful for the fact that it was nearly free to do so — much cheaper than an M.B.A., which many people say they take to figure out what to do with their lives. I learned more in those few months than I had in years.

And whether or not you can spare a few months off work, you can learn like that, too. If you’re not quite sure about your career path, you can pick a few things you think you’d rather be doing and then prototype them yourself by setting up experiences in which you can try out your different options. Find companies you’d like to work for and individuals whose career paths you admire and then reach out to them to see if you can shadow them for an afternoon, a day, or a week. This book will show you how. Try informational interviews, volunteering, internships, and more. And don’t be surprised when they say yes, or even if many of these experiences lead to job offers — without you even asking for them.

One thing that really surprised me during my experience was how easily approachable, open, and helpful most people are. Cold emailing has become perfectly normal, as has saying, “I saw you on Twitter and thought you seemed interesting, so I wanted to reach out.” This is the first time in history that people’s career interests and hobbies are listed online and are easily searchable — and it’s an amazing opportunity to create your own network beyond just the people you meet in person.

Take it from me: if you’re trying to decide on your next step, it’s an opportunity you can — and should — take advantage of.

Now, am I an expert on success? It depends on how you look at it. I’m definitely still in the process of figuring everything out, since I believe everyone is for the entirety of their lives, but so far some people have said I’ve managed to figure out, sort through, and accomplish some pretty amazing things for my age. I was inspired to write this book because of the reaction I got from an article I wrote for Forbes about my Career Design Process.

When I set out to write the piece for a blog called The Daily Muse, my main aim was to get it on Forbes, one of The Daily Muse’s distribution partners. I didn’t expect it to go anywhere or to get much traffic — I just wanted to have an article on Forbes, and that was that. I thought it would be pretty cool. The Daily Muse said it would definitely be able to put the article on its site and would try its best to get the piece on Forbes but couldn’t promise anything.

So the article went up on The Daily Muse’s website, and the next day, imagine my surprise when I got an email from a reader saying, “Hey, I loved your article on Forbes.” I replied, “What article on Forbes? Can you send me the link?” And the emails didn’t stop from then on. In fact, years later, they still haven’t ceased, which has provided me with one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. Either every week or a couple of times a month, I hear from incredible people trying to navigate their next steps in life. Some of them are extremely accomplished — and it’s a real comfort to know that even they don’t have everything figured out. Everyone’s just trying to make the best of what they’ve been given in this world. When you walk down the street, everyone you see along the way is attempting to make life as good as possible for themselves, their families, and in general, the people around them. It’s amazing!

I think the reason the Forbes article got so much traction was because it was something of a unique story. Within a short period of time, the piece had over 250,000 views, was reprinted in New York City’s daily morning newspapers, was featured on LinkedIn Today and the Forbes “Most-Read and Top Trending Stories” lists for more than a week, and resulted in multiple requests for book proposals. Now it’s up to over 1.5 million views. And it’s also led to thousands of emails, tweets, LinkedIn and Skype requests, and even some phone calls.

At first the experience was a bit overwhelming. And to some extent, it still is. But I feel exceptionally privileged to help so many people figure out what to do with their careers, figure out how they can make the biggest impact for themselves and for the world, and figure out how they can be happier than they were when they first got in touch with me.

I’ve been doing career coaching for a number of years. It’s one of my favourite things to do because I’m a strong believer in the power of human potential, especially when it’s aligned with the strengths and desires of the individual and the world. I also believe that what you do in your career has a huge impact on the rest of your life — either positive or negative. So it’s important to make sure it’s positive! The halo effect of your work can affect everything from your family life, friends, physical shape, and spending, to sicknesses, bodily problems, and many other things.

What topics will we cover? We’ll start with a bit of background about me and my career choices so you can get an idea how I came to develop my methodologies. Then I’ll show you how to develop your own ideas of what you might like to do as your next career move, based on what you like, what you’re good at, what the world needs, what you can make money from doing, and a series of experiments I’ll guide you through to set yourself up. We’ll also cover self-education programs and the ability to train yourself to be virtually anything you want to be. Once we’ve begun figuring out what you want your next career move to be, we’ll shift to definitive strategies for getting what you want, dealing with everything from cover letters and résumés to job search tools, online presence, networking, interviewing, and the day-to-day of being in your new position. This book is both for people who want to find a job and for those who want to be entrepreneurs. It will help you figure out what you want to do and then go get it. If you’re unemployed and looking for a job, this book will help you with that, too.

My writing is based on more than 10 years of career counselling, personal career experience, interviews with countless successful people about how they got to where they are today, hundreds of books I’ve read about career choices (plus many more articles), and the education I’ve received in business, marketing, psychology, happiness, and storytelling. I’ve helped my clients land jobs at Google, Procter & Gamble, Kelson, and many others; make investments; sell franchises; and get into prestigious incubators.

Everyone wants to be happy with what they’re doing in the world and how they’re spending their time. I’ve interviewed some amazing people about how they created careers they love — and how you can do that too. Some of the people I spoke with and/or interviewed in preparation for writing this book include Peter Thiel (co-founder and former CEO of PayPal), Dave McClure (angel investor who founded the 500 Startups incubator), and the founders and CEOs of Airbnb (Joe Gebbia), Square (Randy Reddig), and Kiva (Matt Flannery). I also leverage my experience participating in Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to discuss not just where the market stands today in terms of work and job opportunities but what the future of work will look like — as told to us by Sophie Vandebroek, the chief technology officer of Xerox, and many others — and how you can fit into it.

I’ve written this book with the hope that I inspire others to follow their passions in a way that makes a positive difference in the world. If I do that, I’ll have truly succeeded.

Now, let’s begin.

 

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