Two life coaches walk into a bookstore…


For my husband and I, the bookstore is our sanctuary. It’s become a joke between us that when we decide to go to a Barnes & Noble, we’ll “close down the store.” Because it never fails – we’ll go in when it’s still daylight and somehow never make it back out before dark.

We have our favorite genres, of course. My husband will wander over to the art and graphic novel section, or peruse shelves populated with ancient literature. For me, I often find myself thumbing through cookbooks or the craft section.

There is one section, though, that my husband and I overlap: Self-Help. I admit it, I’ve always been self-help section geek. If I were locked in a bookstore overnight, I’d camp out in either the craft section or the self-help and psychology section, cell phone flashlight app at the ready and settle in for a fantastic evening.

When my husband and I first started dating, we often made our rounds to the locally owned and chain bookstores. I was always amazed at how long the two of us could spend combing shelves of neatly packed self-help spines. With so many to choose from, little ones and big ones, thick and skinny, we’d pick out a pile and each, sit on the floor cross-legged, and read to each other bits and pieces we found interesting from our various choices. We could do this for hours.

This past week, we decided after doing some basic errands that a bookstore visit was in order. And we fell into our old habits. We split off for a time, breathing in the smell of new books in our privately favored sections. But as usual, we eventually met up in the single self-help aisle.

As life coaches and highly introspective people, both my husband and I find this section to be a fountain of knowledge. While self-help authors tend to all have a similar message, they expose us to new philosophies on introspection and pursuit of a contented life in an ever changing society.  And topics vary, from building success in one’s career to overcoming anxiety and depression, finding one’s soul mate, to how to find that ever elusive happiness in a busy digital world.

While we love having reading books so that we have a plethora of resources to offer for our clients, we also acknowledge one very important thing: As people, we are never “done” working on ourselves.

So many people are under the misconception that if you are a mental health professional, life coach, or other personal guide for people finding their way, that you are somehow a perfect human being with your s**t together. While that sounds very nice – it’s simply not true. If someone have supposedly solved all of their problems, they are either very much in denial or they have stopped growing as a person.

Who wants to learn from a person who has nothing left to learn? They might actually forget what it’s like to have the personal roadblock that you have, and may not have the patience it takes to help walk you through the healing process.

To hire a coach or mentor who is still continually working on healing and growing, you can be assured that this person will be right in the same trenches you are – with experience you can benefit from.

That is why my husband and I love self-help. We admit we are still flawed individuals with growing souls. And if are continually learning and working on our rough edges, we can be an ongoing resource for our clients – both in knowledge and in the personal experience of having done the same work on ourselves.

The books that arrested our interests enough to bring home this month are varied, but intriguing. The titles are below:

IMG_1199Introvert Power interested us both, as we both answer to that label. Helgoe writes about how to accept the strengths of being an introvert without deprecation in an extrovert-valued society. Did you know that introverts make up over half of the American population? Well, neither did we! Check out this book if you consider yourself an introvert. Fascinating read.

The Seat of the Soul is a book my husband has known about for years (in fact, we bought the 25th Anniversary edition). In a nutshell, its message is about living life mindfully, and how to find and appreciate the simple joys in everyday life. With forwards by both Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou, and favorable comments about it from one of our favorite authors Paulo Coelho, we knew this book would be something worth reading.

The Self-Esteem Workbook is a rich source of material and exercises that I would have found valuable a few years ago while I was experiencing a surge of personal growth, and still do. I also want to be able to provide my clients the same beneficial resources as we work through their journey to a life of fulfillment, joy and confidence. It is a companion book to another book I already have in my possession: Self-Esteem. If your level of self-worth is low and creates a barrier to enjoying or completing even the simplest goals in your life, I highly recommend these two books.

High Hopes and Be Happy have a “thought for the day” type format. They are the simplest things that we all need a reminder to do, appreciate, or practice in our everyday lives. Picking a quote and corresponding suggestion to practice like a mantra for the day will help remind you of the little things that lead to a rich life. I’m actually excited to poke through them and meditate on the reminders I need to focus on the most.

I hope these books have given you some great ideas on where to start your personal, inwardly reflective journey. Be bold and grow!



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