5 Life-Changing Reads for Artists
Guest Post by Amanda Loy
Over the last year, I've become quite the personal development junkie.
To be totally honest, I never really knew what "personal development" was before I became a Beachbody coach. Discovering personal development and self-help books was kind of like discovering blogging for me: a WHOLE NEW WORLD opened up that I didn't even know existed.
I never really thought of myself as someone who needed self-help...because we're all supposed to have our shit together, am I right? But it's changed my life more than anything else, and is the number one secret to how I've had the confidence to quit my multiple soul sucking day jobs, chase my dreams, and show up every day to build a coaching business and an acting career.
Why Personal Development Is Important
Let's face it. We aren't born to be 100% confident, energetic, and instant masters at what we do. We know we have to take care of our physical bodies by eating right, working out, getting sleep, etc etc but we don't really talk about how we need to take care of our mental and emotional selves.
The more you learn about yourself, the more you'll be able to understand your quirks, strengths, and capacity for dealing with life, and it's so important to work on our mindset every single day.
Have you ever felt like you're stuck, spinning your wheels, in a life rut? It's probably because you haven't been challenging yourself on the inside. If you don't put work into your emotional and spiritual growth, you're going to stay stuck.
Whenever you're going through change in life, whether that's losing weight, starting a new job or relationship, or moving to a new city, it's important to grow and evolve on the INSIDE. If we don't match our inner growth with our external growth, we're never going to feel satisfied with our accomplishments or like we're "good enough."
You can only go as far as you grow. Your success in life will always be limited by your confidence, skills, and level of self-awareness.
Personal development is heavily encouraged in the Beachbody world, but I think it's important for everyone, regardless of what you want out of life!
Putting myself on a mental/emotional "diet" of personal development books and podcasts over the past year has helped me deal with my perfectionism, anxiety, and low self esteem. I'm still a work in progress but I've learned so much, and helping other women get to know themselves is now my purpose in life.
Today I'm sharing the five books I started out with that had the greatest impact on my life!
Sidenote: Just because these are my personal recommendations doesn’t mean they’re the right books for you. I’m a 25 year old female who’s building her own business, working on her acting career, chasing her dreams, and working to overcome self doubt and perfectionism. If you’re similar to me and, chances are you’ll benefit from these books too!
(Note from Courtney: These are some my favorites, too! Click on the titles, and you'll be taken directly to Amazon!)
BIG MAGIC BY ELIZABETH GILBERT
Yup, the author of Eat Pray Love is at it again. And I think this is her piece de resistance, especially if you’re an artist. In this book, she dives right into how to release your fear so that you can show up for yourself in your creative life.
What I learned from Big Magic:
That fear is a NORMAL part of the creative process. And that you can either let the fear stagnate you for moving forward OR you can choose to move forward in spite of the fear. To use it to propel you towards the artistic and creative path you crave.
“ Do whatever bring you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart. The rest of it will take care of itself.”
“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”
“What would you do if you knew that you could not fail?”
“Don’t let go of your courage the moment things stop being easy or rewarding. Because that moment? That’s the moment when interesting begins.”
YOU ARE A BADASS BY JEN SINCERO
The title of this book says it all. If you’re looking for a book that will empower you with confidence and ultimate badassery, this book is for you.
What I learned from You Are A Badass:
To not take yourself so goddamn seriously and that you CAN do whatever you put your mind to. Her tough love, no BS approach really hit home with me and made me realize that so often, I trick myself out of doing these really huge and exciting things because I let that inner mean girl (or as I like to call her, my inner shit talker) tell me I’m not good enough. Eff that. You are. End of story.
“It’s just as easy to believe we’re awesome as it is to believe we’re giant sucking things”
“There will never be anyone exactly like you. YOU were given special gifts and talents to share with the world, and even though everybody has special gifts and talents, nobody will use theirs quite the same way you do. You have a way of being in the world and a perspective that’s unique to you. You are kind of a big deal.”
“What if you had the audacity to leave your excuses and your shame about wanting to be huge and fabulous behind and really went for it full-on anyway? What if you decided to do the most outrageous, most exciting thing you ever dared fantasize about, regardless of what anyone, including your terrified self, thought? THAT would be living.”
THE SLIGHT EDGE BY JEFF OLSON
Can you tell I favor female personal development authors? Sometimes you have to throw some masculine energy into the mix, and The Slight Edge is a MUST-READ for anyone.
This book is about how we can turn simple daily actions and behaviors into long-term success. It's all about starting where you are, with what you already know, and slowly but surely making baby steps towards your big shiny goals. In a world that tells us to expect instant results, it can be really discouraging and frustrating to work towards a big dream or goal that will take patience and time, and it’s easy to get derailed from our vision. I love this book because it reassures us that it’s not about big massive leaps...it’s about the little things we can do to keep us moving forward.
What I learned from The Slight Edge:
The Slight Edge taught me how to shift my own definition of “success” and gave me a lot of confidence.
“You already know how to do everything it would take to make you an outrageous success. All you have to do is keep doing the things that have gotten you this far.”
“Successful people fail their way to the top.”
“Success is a process, not a destination. It’s something you experience gradually, over time.”
“Happiness isn’t some big thing you pursue, not something you chase after. It’s something you do.”
“Don’t try to figure it all out. If you want twice the success, double your rate of failure. You start with a plan, then go through the process of continuous learning through both study and doing, adjusting all the time like a rocket ship on the way to the moon, off track 97 percent of the time.”
THE DESIRE MAP BY DANIELLE LAPORTE
The Desire Map is about leaning back and letting your values and core desired feelings take the lead. It’s about a creative, soulful approach to success and goal setting.
Whenever you start freaking yourself out or feeling overwhelmed and intimidated by your own plans and goals,the Desire Map is like a sigh of relief that will remind you you’re already good enough, and exactly where you need to be.
This book is half inspiration, and half workbook that will guide you to discover your own Core Desired Feelings, and then help you create a plan to manifest those feelings in all areas of life.
What I learned from The Desire Map:
That getting clear on how we want to FEEL in our life is essential for making decisions in our lives.
“Wanting more for your future is not a betrayal of your present or past.”
“Awareness is realizing that our life could always be better. Growth is doing what it takes to make it better.”
“When you respect the darkness within yourself without any guilt trips, you’re becoming truly free.”
“Goals can perpetuate overplanning, and overplanning kills magic and possibilities.”
“You can ease up on yourself without shrinking your dreams.”
THE ARTIST’S WAY BY JULIA CAMERON
THIS BOOK IS GEARED SPECIFICALLY TO -- YOU GUESSED IT -- ARTISTS. This was actually my first personal development book ever. Before I really knew what personal development was! And I gained so much from this.
Now I will be real with you. This book is a commitment. It’s a three month process of you agreeing to show up for yourself 100%. So if you’re ready to make a commitment to yourself and to your own personal growth, this one is definitely for you.
What I learned from The Artists Way:
That journaling every single morning is such an important way for me to start my day off on the right foot.
“As artists, we must learn to be self-nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them.”
“Negative beliefs are exactly that: beliefs, not facts. The world was never flat, although everyone believed it was. You are not dumb, crazy, grandiose, or silly just because you falsely believe yourself to be.”
A Few Tips On Using Personal Development
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be tempted to binge on personal development, but it’s important not to let your “all or nothing” mindset take over.
A good goal that will keep you moving forward at a steady pace is to read one PD book a month. That will give you motivation to actually finish reading it, and you’ll also have enough time to absorb and process what you’re reading.
Sometimes I check PD books out of the library, but I prefer to buy them because I treat them like a workbook. You want to be able to highlight, underline, scribble notes and breakthroughs in the margins, and constantly be asking yourself "how can I apply this?".
I also love going back and re-reading my favorite books, because you’ll get something new out of them as your life evolves and changes. It’s fun to go back and see my previous notes and take-aways, and how I’ve been able to implement them into my life (or not!)
I encourage you -- nay, I DARE you to try one. One of these books is probably standing out to you right now so just listen to your heart and pick it up
Amanda Katherine Loy helps over-achieving go-getters with emotional eating tendencies learn how to have a positive relationship with food, find JOY in the everyday & love themselves from the inside out.