Love you some self-help?
I used to have a serious problem buying too many self-help books. The self-help section at Chapters? My heaven.
Plus, I love learning something new about myself. Who doesn’t? I think this is why quizzes are so fun. (I actually made one to help you figure out how to make a change if you’re feeling unsatisfied at work. Try it here).
I say I used to have a problem because I’ve since rediscovered the library where everything is free!
Part of the reason why I became obsessed with self-help books (aside from the fact that I'm a psych dweeb) was because I always hoped I would find the exact solution for my lack of fulfillment and the feeling that I wasn’t making the most of my life.
But while I do think self-help books are awesome for opening our minds to new strategies and new ways of thinking and seeing the world. But, they fail to do one thing - understand us.
A book is never sure who its reader is. It can guess, but it won’t ever know who you are and what you’re going through. It provides generic solutions and leaves it up to you to try and tailor those to your life.
You have to figure out how to apply the lessons from the book to your life. What specifically will you do or change in your life to make use of what you’ve learned?
More often than not, a self-help book does not outline the quick-fix you’re hoping for. Even the books I’m most excited about, I find hard to apply in practice. Unless there is a tangible action step to go along with a new idea, the idea remains just an idea.
Thinking about change, doesn’t equal change.
To help, I’ve outlined a step-by-step process that will help you apply anything from a self-help book to your life. Get it here.
How coaching can help in a way that self-help books can’t
If you are determined to make a change in your life on your own and like me, maybe invest a little too much cash in your self-help book collection, here is where I invite you to consider coaching.
Coaching is like a self-help book on steroids. Coaches often know tons of the stuff from self-help books (and other great sources), help you figure out what is most relevant to apply to your life and work with you to figure out the best ways to take action.
But coaches don't rely on self-help books. They simply know how to listen very deeply (which no self-help book can do) and help you access your inner self-help book that’s already been written.
Taking action on something you’ve learned with or without a coach
You can set your own goals (based on a self-help book, or otherwise) and work towards them without a coach, but you will be more successful if you do the following things (this is also the process I walk my clients through at the end of each session):
Don’t make your action step too hard or too easy. It has to be enough of a stretch to motivate you to do it, but not so hard that you don’t want to try.
It has to be doable and realistic - be honest with yourself! Don’t set a goal you don’t actually want to strive for just because it’s something you ‘should’ do.
Break it down into really small steps. This means first making sure your goal is bite sized. Then start with the very first thing you need to do.
Celebrate your effort not the outcome. If you fail and you’re hard on yourself, you’re not really setting yourself up to try again. Pat yourself on the back regardless of how it turns out.
Think about all the things that might get in your way (including self sabotage) and come up with a plan to mitigate them.
Make it a habit - chose the same time of day and place so your body and mind are primed for whatever mode you need it to be in.
If you want some extra support in choosing your goals and taking action towards them, book a Discovery Call to find out how I can help you.
And don't forget:
My quiz on what’s holding you back from making a change when you’re feeling unhappy at work
And, your guide to applying self-help to your life