6 Authors Who Inspire My Journey
1. Brene Brown (Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, Dare to Lead)
Ten practices of living wholeheartedly are the foundation of how I strive to live. Brene’s practices give me permission to be human, hang in there, and keep going with whatever I have completed across any given timeframe: a day, week or month. The biggest win for me is letting go of being a perfectionist; I am shame-resilient. I have learned to lean into vulnerability and bring what I have each day to my pursuits. I am free to do what I want to do; the weights are gone! When I wake up I get to design my path and build it. Whether I am doing financial planning or learning to be a better writer, I get to decide what I want. I get to help you do the same, too!
2. Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic, Eat Pray Love, The Signature of all Things)
Elizabeth is the permission slip to pursue your creativity. She writes, “We all are creative beings...If you are not being actively creative, you are probably being actively destructive.” She reminded me that I am creative (first as a builder, now as a planner and as I am practicing now to be a better writer).
My favorite advice from her is to “have an affair with your creativity.” Paint your bicycle, write a book - do what you need to do to get out of your box and stand up, breathe, and be creative. If you’re stuck in your process, do something else. For instance, when Einstein had trouble with a math problem, he would go play the violin. After a few sonatas, he would return with excitement and joy to solve the problem.
What feeds your soul? What gives your soul wonder? Sneak in 15 minutes where you can. The world needs your creativity and mine.
3. Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers, Tipping Point, David & Goliath, Blink)
Malcolm asks, “What are you curious about? Build your expertise where you have interest.”
You can gain expertise in whatever you want to learn, but you have to put in your time.
As Gladwell writes, to become an expert you need 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice.” Bill Gates and Paul Allen had 10,000 hours of computer code writing experience before they were 18. Across 21 years, I built my expertise as a wealth manager building equity income portfolios using individual stocks. I did not start off knowing how to do this, but I learned.
4. Jen Sincero (You are a Bad Ass):
Jen reinforces the foundation from Brene Brown’s 10 practices of living fully and Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours reference, giving yourself permission to do what you want to do. If you can imagine it, you can do it, achieve it, live it.
There are no limits to what you can accomplish; if you can imagine it you can achieve it. Have faith, whatever you want to call it, source energy, the flow, Angels, your genius or your muse, or God, or Allah, or Buddha, the universe has your back and wants you to succeed.
Get a coach already! Professional athletes have a coach their entire careers to be the best they can be.
5. Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist – My Favorite Universe – 12 lectures from the Great Courses.)
Neil’s lectures deepen my connection with being a rational optimist (Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist) and pique my curiosity. These lectures lay out the Big Bang until the end of the sun in 5 billion years and give me a new, broader perspective. Neil shares that the universe is vast, and we are the “proof of concept” of humans. There should be more life out there; and, if there is other life, it will be composed of the same elements we are, since the universe is made of these elements. This concept makes me curious to keep learning and be in love with these difficult, perhaps transcendent, questions.
6. James Traub (John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit )
John Quincy Adams’ entire life is inspirational. He proved that big things happen when you keep fighting if you have a vision for a better world. He fought for things that were not always in his best interest. For example, he kept fighting in a system where the slave owners had more power than they should have had. He wanted the world to be more egalitarian, a fair place for all.
This biography inspires me to keep pursuing “forward progress.” As I read further, I saw him as the example of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “stubborn gladness.” He fought and kept going, and he didn’t shrink back and hide in the corner. He pursued each day with the “arrogance of belonging (Gilbert).” This book reminds me that “Wow, things have been a lot worse!”