So I reached out to you in my last post and asked that you contribute your favorite or a recently successful resource for your own personal or professional growth. Thank you all so much for your responses! Many of you wrote me emails and commented and I thank you. It turns out that the majority of the responses were beautiful feedback letting me know they were excited and looking forward to the resulting list, but only a few of you contributed your own suggestions, and that is OK! I am just happy to know that you are a part of this little community of self and business development and that you are reading. I have my own long list of resources to get this started, and I can ASSURE you this list will grow…and fast!! This weekend alone, I downloaded 2 audio books to listen to while running and purchased 2 books to read on my iPad at night. So once I get through those and know if they are worth sharing, I’ll add them to the list!
I am diving into all this stuff these days, NOT because I’m depressed, unhappy or ‘need help’ in the way which paints a picture of me as lost or needy. Quite the opposite. I am finding that I am, in many ways, happier than I’ve been in years. I’ve always known I create my own life and have rarely been afraid to try. It’s just that I had an epiphany that my dreams have been limited and thus limiting. I want to dream and grow beyond my own comfort zone, and for me, that takes a little time to figure out not only how to do that, but what that actually looks like.
If you are delving into any type of research to lead you towards your passions or realize your best self then you’re hardly lost, as you’re EXACTLY where you need to be. And no other person, not even the writers of these books or podcasts can “help you” in any tangible way. It is really only you who can do that for yourself.
I want to simply start paying close attention to how I live my life on a daily basis. What are the new habits I am going to form as I embark on a fresh start? What big, lofty, crazy dreams can I allow myself to dream? I’ve not really ever intentionally created a life before.
My life to date is the result of walking through open doors, saying yes to opportunities, trying new things and simply following the path they lead me on, which, in and of itself, isn’t always as easy at it sounds and often takes more guts than you think your body can spare, BUT! What that means is: I’ve essentially been making reactionary choices instead of intentional choices.
INTENTIONAL CHOICES is what I am looking for my next chapter to be defined by.
So, with that, I’ll start with my own list of recent and past resources. The comprehensive list will live in the LINKS section of this blog (currently located in top left corner).
Mrs. Harper’s current list of fave inspiring resources:
Western School of Feng Shui – So, This particular book, by Tereh Katherine Collins was a big game changer for me. I have the original copy of the book, which I purchased in 1999 or 2000 and it is highlighted, inked up, bookmarked and worn within an inch of it’s life. It is the particular school of thought on Feng Shui that I “practice”. And I feel confident using the word “practice” even though it’s not even something my own husband realized I was “in to” until this past month. But in taking this book out and revisiting some of the most profound aspects of this practice (The bagua map, the 5 elements and chi, for example), I realized that from past dedication to this practice, so much of it I now employ without even realizing it. The Bagua Map in particular is something I encourage people to visit. Apply this map to your home, your office, or even to one room in particular or your desk surface area…I mapped the bagua recently at our studio and Suzanne and I were actually able to make some key design decisions based on the bagua map and were really excited about some of the discoveries that we made and about the areas of our business, which we hope to affect through these changes to our space. It’s one hell of a powerful tool.
LIFE LESS BULLSHIT – now, some might say “I drank the Kool-Aid” of this blogger, and hell, maybe I have, but when you find someone who really seems to speak your language, why not listen? Nicole Antoinnette’s blog is very real, very honest (and she swears and I admittedly love swearing). This blog has led me to not one, not two, but THREE different programs which I have or am currently participating in: 30 day Sugar Detox (you do not actually detox for 30 days, only 5 but the other 25 are an imperative education on sugar). This program was AMAZING and is truly changing the way that Wes and I look at food. The next two programs I am currently in the midst of: 0-13.1, her 24-week half marathon training program (at the time of posting this I am in week 9), and the 15 step Goal program, which I am deeply immersed in at the moment and LOVING.
Nicole Antoinnette’s 15 Step Goal setting formula program – ok, yes, this listing is redundant, as I mentioned it above. I listed it again to be EMPHATIC. I love this program. It is something I STRONGLY recommend.
The book: The Four Hour Workweek – Well, while a 4-hour work week does sound kind of awesome, At the moment I would not possibly be capable of such a thing. NOT because of financial reasons (although very much because of financial reasons!) but primarily because I have created a life which utterly blurs the line between work and not work and while that is most people’s dream, I’ve realized that I don’t like the fact that I don’t know what to do with myself if I am NOT working. Wes can vouch for the fact that the ONLY time he has ever seen me watch a movie or TV program without my laptop on my lap would be the rare occasions when we actually go to a movie theater. I am essentially incapable of well, relaxing. But partially because I can’t yet DEFINE what relaxing means. I mean, why should relaxing mean watching TV? Obviously it doesn’t have to, but I am still working on what it means for me, is it cooking (so far, kind of), gardening (not yet much of a green thumb) or some yet-to-be determined activity. Anyhow. I strongly recommend coming to this book with your goals in mind though as I believe its the only way to get the most from it. I am currently on PAUSE with this book, while I finish up the Goal program I am working on so that I may proceed with intention.
The book: The Four Agreements – (gheez, what is with the number “four” ?! it’s in two of the most profound books I’ve read recently!!) So, I read this book about 10-12 years ago or so and remember it to have been profound in my life at that time. Although I couldn’t remember much else about it other than that. So, while in my studio last week I bought the audio book and listened to it while I worked on display projects. It was the perfect thing, because the projects I was working on didn’t require much thought, just action and it helped me not be bored by the repetitive nature of that particular craft, and the best part…I FINISHED THE BOOK in one work day! That was rather satisfying. I am now looking into more audio books so that I can listen while I run. Anyhow. Essentially, the four agreement was a very influential book to me. I think it probably deserves it’s own separate review post, but for now, I’ll say, I wish EVERYONE in my life and in the world read and practiced the agreements of this book. What a beautiful existence that would be! I will say though, like anything, it takes a tremendous amount of practice. For example, this past weekend, I was irked by something and was really letting it bother me, as I was making assumptions about what someone said meant and then, taking it personal. The truth is, it doesn’t matter the implications of what they said. So what if it was a judgement, right or wrong one? It doesn’t. Sometimes people say and do things that DID have an implication or judgement built in…and guess what…sometimes SO DO YOU, it’s all our own personal shit, which has absolutely nothing to do with the other person. It was only after I reminded myself about this book, later in the weekend, that I was able (albeit, somewhat resistantly, but ultimately, effectively) to truly LET IT GO. So yeah, it takes a lot of practice, but oh so worth it!
The Book: ReWork by 37 Signals. – OH.MY.GOSH. did I love this book. I should probably re-read it yearly, like all of these resources, it’s one to revisit. It’s set up as essays and even drawings and IT TOTALLY RULES!! Refreshing approach to business. A reminder that there are no rules. Do what makes sense, don’t do just because that’s what was done before.
Elite Daily’s list of 20 things you need to let go to live a happy life – This post came into my life at a time when I was ready for it. Meaning, I wasn’t just going to read it and agree with it, like most people would . I mean, it speaks some pretty obvious truths, BUT agreeing with and applying to your own life are very different things indeed. So, I was grateful for the timing of this list just as much as the content.
The book: The Secret – an oldie, but a goodie!! THE LAW OF ATTRACTION people!!!! We all have asked for whatever we have gotten. From the loves of our lives to that unfortunately timed flat tire. I am huge proponent of the law of attraction. “there is a black cloud over me” “this happened TO me” “I have bad luck” – no, but perhaps you aren’t letting enough positive thoughts into your mind and likely aren’t asking the universe for what you actually want in an honest way. The example I liked, was that of a genie. A genie in a bottle works EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. Think about it… how does it work? All you have to do is ask it and it replies “your wish is my command”. You have to visualize and think, in positive terms about what you want. You can’t say “I want to be rid of debt”, because all the universe will here is DEBT…it won’t discern between coming debt or going debt, so be careful to pose all of your thoughts in a positive way.
Which leads me to THIS blog post specifically, and these bloggers in general. I think it segues nicely. The Law of Attraction and the idea that “If you build it they will come” have an awful lot in common. This post caused me to create this little adorable slice of chalkboard wall in my studio:
The LIFT app – I got this recommendation from my friend Jeff. What a helpful tool this has been! So, its an app, which you can use to try to create habits in your life. There is a social aspect of it, but it is the accountability part that seems to make it work for me.
Speaking of habits, The book The Power of Habit – came to me via a new friend I met on the private FB group for my half-marathon training club. She posted this video which prompted me to immediately go online and buy the book and am utterly transfixed by it! Cue – routine – reward. THAT is the recipe for developing a habit. Great read!
Design*Sponge BIZ LADIES series –Honestly, I should make a Lift habit to read one of these every day. This is an amazing resource of inspired advice on all manner of business issues.
The eBook The Art Of Earning by Tara Gentile –
Below is a quote, which Tara quotes in her ebook. This quote closely articulates some of the stress and anxiety that has led me to this personal journey. This need for more of the material stuff exhausted me to the point of finding the need for more meaning…in everything.
To one degree or another, people in mature markets have grown sick of excess, tired of the constant push to accumulate more. The purveyors of hyperconsumerism promised happiness and ease; instead we are seeing record levels of stress and anxiety. They still want MORE, but now they are defining that differently. Not more shiny trifles and mountains of disposable consumer goods, but, rather, more meaning, more deeply felt connections, more substance, and more of a sense of purpose.– Prosumer Report, EURO RSCG Worldwide
Mrs. Harper’s favorite resources for Nutrition and Fitness are below. PLEASE NOTE: I am looking for more here!!! Running resources, vegan, paleo, vegetarian, I don’t care!!! I am experimenting with all types of eating habits and trying to find the right fit for Mr. Harper and I….so resources welcome!!
Ok, at this point it’s just a little embarrassing, but once again I’m pointing you over to LIFE LESS BULLSHIT as it is her running program and sugar detoxing program which has helped kick off my interest in experimenting with different approaches to a healthier lifestyle.
Broccoli Cupcake – This is my superwoman cousin Calie’s blog. She and her adorable family live in Nashville (which is a total bummer for me as I would LOVE to take her barre classes!) and she is a health and fitness dynamo. She wrote the ABC’s of Superfoods and pins recipes in her Instagram feed all that time! She’s pretty inspiring and truly the loveliest lady too!
And then, if you find yourself in just one of those moods after a long day and can’t bare anything positive, take Girl’s Gone Child blog’s advice and just watch this.
the blog: One Part Plant – While i’ve made no commitment to one dietary lifestyle over another, I am exploring a variety of different approaches right now from Vegan, or VB6 to Paleo. The one thing that I AM committing to is having something greens twice a day. Whether in 2 out of my 3 meals or in one meal and 1 snack. This is a huge thing for me to be totally honest. But, nearly 3 months in it is going well and I’ve overhauled the way I eat. This blog offers great recipe options and more!
MEG WITT – (I heart Meg) First Meg left this comment, which I thought sounded like an amazing thing for a big company to do with their staff:
“I love this & I totally feel you. In my previous role at lululemon one aspect of my job was ‘goal coaching’ new & existing employees. I have training on how to help people (& myself!) think outside the box & then use that vision to set clear & smart goals. Each person would create a 10 year vision & then 1, 5 & 10 year goals leading to that dream life & it would all fit on one sheet of paper to be framed & hung on the wall at the store. This was hugely inspirational to the community we created & my co-workers constantly inspired me to dream bigger & ‘get scared’. Sometimes I would look at my goals & think ‘I’m playing it safe’……. or ‘that’s a looking good goal’ (as in, I only put that one down to look good — lol) — It’s such a beautiful process to dig into your passions & unique talents & rid yourself of limitations. The sky’s the limit. Thank you for sharing yourself so openly always. xoxo”
Then, Meg also made these suggestions, which look really intriguing!:
Landmark Forum & the Advanced Training via here.
Yoga Teacher Training (whether you use it to teach or not)
The Book: A Return to Love
The Book: Loving What is
ANONYMOUS READER/FRIEND:recommends blogger/writer/force to be rekoned with: Danielle LaPorte‘s DESIRE MAP
hope you find this helpful! Remember to check back as I’ll update the links page as I make new discoveries. AND PLEASE consider commenting or emailing with you own fave resources!