When I meet successful people, I ask them what they’re reading. These recommended books on personal development and business led to massive momentum toward my goals.
In 2018, I read voraciously and saw big results. Below are some of my favorite books for entrepreneurs from the year in the categories of personal development, business development, and pure joy! Check them out.
Books for Personal Development
Awaken the Giant Within
Why read it? It’s time to stop making excuses and start creating the life you want.
Think and Grow Rich!: The Original Version, Restored and Revised™
Why read it? You’re serious about shifting your money mindset.
The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It
Why read it? You struggle with imposter syndrome.
Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
Why read it? You feel like you are heavily influenced by others emotions, behaviors, and needs.
Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One
Why read it? You want to shift from one career to another.
Getting Real: Ten Truth Skills You Need to Live an Authentic Life
Why read it? You’re interested in open, honest, authentic communication
Books for Business
Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine
Why read it? You want a simple accounting system for your business that makes sure you have sustainable growth, get paid for the hard work you do, and have fun.
The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you
Why read it? You’re launching new products or programs and you need to know how to interview your ideal clients
By Michael E. Gerber – The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It (1st Edition) (2.7.1995)
Why read it? You want a business model that’s replicable and can help you make good money without working around the clock
Books for Pleasure
The Name of the Wind
Why read it? You love a good fantasy novel
Lion Hearted: The Life and Death of Cecil & the Future of Africa’s Iconic Cats
Why read it? You’re interested in animal conservation and wildlife in Africa
What about Your Saucepans?
Why read it? You want to know more about Dominican culture.
As a blonde foreigner, I get a lot of attention here in the Dominican Republic. I’m always hearing new pick up lines or comments designed to get my attention.
Some of my favorite pick up lines (from this week):
*Would you like a private Uber driver?
*Oh, how God has blessed you!
*CITTAAAAA (short for “mamacita”… I think)
But here’s the thing: I really hated this attention when I arrived. And I hated it even more after six months. It’s not until recently that I developed a sense of humor about it. After that happened, I got to enjoy everything I LOVE about this country without all the stress of something I can’t control. What freedom!
This reminds me a LOT of starting my business.
When I began, the things I couldn’t control made me so uncomfortable. I had to CHOOSE to show up again and again until, one day, things felt slightly less scary. As time went on, the things that used to send me into a panic became no big deal.
This is the way the comfort zone works. When you commit to creating something new in your life (whether it’s living in a new culture or starting a business), you feel uncomfortable. Beginning is scary and staying with your decision can be even scarier! Your stress levels get higher until slowly — over time — the fear around the change subsides.
There’s a word for this: Acclimation (I talk a lot about this in my forthcoming book “Life Beyond Should”). Stay with what you’ve chosen and your comfort zone will expand.
This applies to SO MANY THINGS:
*Starting a new relationship after a really hard breakup
*Starting a business
*And a lot more
Have courage and stick with your process!
I hope the pickup lines I shared will remind you to keep your sense of humor in the face of your own challenges. Whatever you’re working on creating (or adjusting to), you will hit your stride.
Embrace the Adventure,
I love how peering into other people’s worlds fuels our own inspiration and creativity. Lately, many of my clients have asked me about my day-to-day, so I wanted to share more in case anything I’m up to sparks something for you!
Here’s a glimpse into my life:
- Book I’m loving: Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins. I listened to this three times over on my morning walks and it’s encouraged me to act NOW on my desires. If you need more NOW in your life or business, check it out.
- What I’m enjoying most about living in the Dominican Republic now: Eating pasteles de hoja — Dominican-style tamales. Here’s a recipe. You’re welcome.
- I’m terrified to commit FULLY to my passion project: I’m digging into the connection between African dances and solo vernacular jazz more deeply than ever (watch the dance I’m currently working on here). Because this is so close to my heart, I have a ton of resistance to following through. I procrastinate, make excuses, and — bottom line — don’t practice. So… I just hired a private African dance instructor to work with me virtually and in-person. I know this project in my heart needs to come out, and I need a lot of loving support to make sure it does! (P.S. This is YOUR reminder to get support for the passion projects that mean so much to you!).
- Cool new testimonial: I just love my client Yvette Gorman-Holmes from Grow Your Moxie Coaching. You can read it below.
- Masala Chai: All day every day. Since getting back from India, I can’t stop drinking it. Here’s the recipe I’m using. Try it for yourself!
- My book: Life Beyond Should is moving right along! I got edits back from my first readers and am incorporating more interviews with scientists. This will be a scientific, spiritual, and practical guide to embracing your authentic desires!
Stay tuned for more updates! And let me know if you try out the book or recipes!
Embrace the Adventure,
P.S. Here’s the testimonial from Yvette:
“Megan OVER-DELIVERS as a coach and keeps you accountable to what you say you want! Through our coaching together, I learned to boldly move through the inner whispers of fear and ego, as well to stop using shame to fuel my productivity. I discovered how to increase my drive in a way that builds my confidence, inspires me, and makes me feel loved and acknowledged. I raised my prices and got hired for what I’m worth, as well as created a new level of compassion, commitment, and desire in my 20-year marriage. Working with Megan has been a celebrated gift to myself. She is a driven, compassionate, fun-loving, super-organized, disciplined soul who helps you get results and leads by example in all she does.”
We talk about how obstacles and doubt are an inevitable part of any journey, and ways for you to motivate yourself to walk right through them.
Megan offers so many insights and tools in this conversation- I can’t wait for you to watch!
Plus, we go over:
~(3:26) The 3 places we make decisions from + a tip to help us to remember how to show up powerfully in our lives
~(4:52) A somatic exercise for you to do with us to help shift your energy when you’re frustrated
~(16:30) How using an empowered pose can help you walk through things that are challenging you.
*Don’t miss out on an exercise that you can do with us that starts at 4:52
**Watch this TED Talk after to learn more about somatic exercises and power posing!
We’d love to hear how it goes, so share with us in a comment below:
~ What in your body or perception shifted from doing this exercise?
WANT MORE FROM MEGAN
Whether you’re looking for a business coach or looking for someone to guide you through a dance adventure – Megan can help! Learn more about Megan’s work here.
WITH LOVE AND POWER POSING,
About the Author
HIYA, I’M ELYSE!
I’m a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online programs. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I’m not doing squats and sun salutations, I’m dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! – stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com
English is my boyfriend Angel’s second language, and sometimes the expressions he creates are illuminating.
A few months ago, Angel really pissed me off…. and I lashed out. After a particularly animated fight, he said,
“You’re such a good person, but there’s a black spider that lives in your heart.” And you know what? He was right!
My sweet, loving boyfriend harassed that spider, and it bit him. Hard.
I wasn’t offended by Angel’s observation because he shared it without being judgmental. He wasn’t shaming me or making me the bad guy. He wasn’t trying to control me or that spider. He was simply sharing what he saw.
He shared his observation so lovingly that I was able to hear it…. and to show that black spider of mine some compassion. In the past when that spider came out, I would feel awful and berate myself for saying or doing something less than perfect. I’d over-associate with this black spider and wonder “Is this who I really am?”
Instead, I now ask: “What’s really going on here? What is the need I have that I’m not honoring? How does my spider need me to take care of myself so he can go back to sleep?”
It’s a lot easier to tame the black spider in our hearts when we understand that it’s just part of our humanity and a sacred indicator that something is missing.
How much compassion are you showing your spider this holiday season? Are you looking deeper when it shows up? And how much compassion are you having for friends and family when their spiders come out?
This isn’t your typical Christmas eve message, but it’s important nonetheless. Let’s be good to ourselves and each other as we wrap up this year!
Embrace the Adventure,
People often ask me “What is it like to live in the Dominican Republic?”
January 1 will mark ONE YEAR since I moved here… and it’s been a hell of a lot harder than I imagined.
Just because you’re called to something doesn’t mean the journey will gracefully unfold. The universe may invite you to a situation where you have to struggle, fight, and endure. Our destined experiences are meant to teach us something, and sometimes learning those lessons isn’t easy.
Being in the Dominican Republic showed me my inherent right to massive self-expression, that I can succeed as a business owner in any environment, taught me to love my body more deeply, demonstrated that self-love is my birthright (and has nothing to do with money or accomplishments), and reminded me how lucky I am to be from the United States. For all of the troubles in our country right now, we still have so, so much to be grateful for.
My favorite part about being here? How Dominicans sing and dance so freely. It doesn’t matter if they’re any good at it. They relentlessly express themselves, and can laugh at themselves and one another with pure love.
There are other things I hate about being here. I hate the negative attention I receive as a white woman, all the mosquitos, and the pollution of the downtown area of Santo Domingo (there’s a reason I run my annual retreat in Samana, and that I only take travelers to one part of the capital city). I hate the gossip and I hate the crime.
This is just life, right? There are pros and cons. The term “double edged sword” exists for a reason. I believe all I can do is follow my intuition, listen to my heart, and accept the imperfection of every experience as perfect.
I am so grateful to have spent my year here, to be leading my 2019 self-love retreat in a place that so clearly represents self-love, and for all of the DR’s challenges and joys that gave me an opportunity for massive learning.
What was the choice that led to your biggest learning this year? Comment below.
Embrace the Adventure,
There is something in the air right now! People are feeling SCATTERED and FRAZZLED.
Maybe it’s the longer days. Maybe it’s the pressure of “getting it right” for Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s all the logistical planning for the holidays.
Whatever it is for you, remember: You will be much more primed for joy and gratitude if you are taking exquisite care of yourself.
I am CHOOSING to incorporate nourishing self-care rituals into this holiday weekend. Will you join me? My plan is…
*Pamper myself with extra fancy bath products
*Give myself permission to have a leisurely morning before I head to Thanksgiving festivities
*Integrating exercise and family time with activities like long, after-dinner walks
*Give myself permission to take alone time whenever I feel like I need it
*Take a break from technology for 24 hours
Are you on board with this challenge? If so, post below and let me know how you will take care of yourself over the next few days!
Embrace the Adventure,
P.S. Registration for the all-women’s self-love retreat to the Dominican Republic closes on November 30th! Are you ready to sign up? Reply to this email.
P.S.S. VIRTUAL COWORKING! Are you looking for more connection and accountability during your workdays? Join us! Contact me to take part!
Do you think success requires hard work? A friend asked me this last week, and I answered:
“Success requires consistent and dedicated work, but whether it’s hard depends on your mindset.”
I am sick of hard work. Hard work makes me feel exhausted. It makes me dread getting out of bed in the morning — even to work on a business I love! It turns my creativity and inspiration into a chore.
Instead, I focused on how to make my consistent and dedicated work feel amazing for me.
Some of my favorite methods:
1. Breaking up hard work with dance parties
2. Co-working with different people every day of the week
3. Creating partnerships with people I admire to launch cool new workshops and programs
4. Working from places that feel luxurious to me (beautiful hotel lobbies, cafes where I can get my favorite tea, on my personal retreats abroad)
5. Checking in with myself on a quarterly basis to make sure my programs, retreats, and work relationships make my heart sing (if not, I change things up!).
My favorite methods of all involve other entrepreneurs who inspire me. When I consistently connect with those people, I want to work and create new things. The ideas come easily, I enjoy the accountability and support I receive, and I get to celebrate reaching my goals with people I adore. Hard work is nonexistent.
Embrace the Adventure,