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10 Books to Read If You Are Looking For Your Purpose

10 Books to Read If You Are Looking For Your Purpose

Are you feeling unsatisfied or meaningless lately?  Do you feel there is something you are supposed to be doing, but you just can’t quite figure it out?  The books below are filled with stories to inspire you and spark the idea you’ve been searching for.  If your schedule is too full to fit in another thing, you don’t have to, just load them up on audio and listen during your commute to work, in the shower, or while folding laundry.

1. Big Magic

By Elizabeth Gilbert

You’ll be able to really enjoy this latest book by Elizabeth Gilbert if you feel you’ve hit a road block in your path to express yourself. Whether you are feeling bitter that the world hasn’t rewarded your creativity or you feel trapped in mundane tasks with no room for self-expression, the author will motivate you with inspiration and creativity promoted by her years of thinking about and observing them in herself and others. It enchantingly draws in all readers and reassures that there is truly enough room, reason and value for us all to create.  Since you are contemplating this list, you are already on the right path to open the floodgates of your unique expression.

2. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

By Jenny Lawson

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Known by her fans first as “The Bloggess,” Jenny tells her life story in this, her first novel.  It will have you laughing out loud at the truth. It’s so good you know she can’t make up the tales she shares.  Her sense of humor shines through as an anchor in her anxiety prone waters.  Her stories include her uniquely eccentric father, her job as a snow cone creator, a human resources worker, and a Texan.  Full of charm, awe and creativity she literally wrote the book about how to handle life when it seems to be throwing lemons, or in her case, raccoon carcass puppets, at you.

3. It’s Hard Not to Hate You

By Valerie Frankel

Valerie’s years spent trying to accept herself, put on a smile when she felt bad, and generally ‘flip her egg to sunny side up’ get turned on their head when she decides to own her actual feelings. This is packed full of dry wit and humor with deep golden insights about accepting all your emotions and making them work for you.  Some of her chapters titles include, Hate Your Way To Happiness, Why I Have No Friends Part I and II and I Hate Your Kids.  If books like The Secret were not your thing, check this out for a different kind of understanding.

4. F*ck Feelings

By Michael Bennett MD & Sarah Bennett

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This is also definitely not your mama’s self-help book. It was written by a father/daughter pair, he’s a psychiatrist, she’s a comedian. It is packed with advice from years of the Dr.’s work with patients in psychiatry in the lingo of a straight talking comedian. You’ll especially want to read this if you are dealing with chronic negative habits. The book will guide you about how to set standards to live by, regardless of your feelings.

5. Tuesdays with Morrie

By Mitch Abloom

This is a classic and warms your heart whether you are reading it for the first time or again, with a few more years of perspective. It is one of those timeless volumes that offers a dose of insight, touchingly delivered in a quick read. Like the main character in the book, you will have no choice but to expand your consciousness while listening to a mentor and his student navigating life and appreciating those who guide us.

6. Year of Yes

By Shonda Rhimes

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For Shonda Rhimes it is clear that telling a story is her thing.  She has been the Queen of Thursday night television, with hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, for some time.  This novel tells the other side of her life, the personal side, which is just as interesting as the tales she weaves!  The look at her personal life, including struggles to live both in and out of the basic life script we all have written in our heads, leaves you feeling very connected. The glimpse at her genius fills you with hope and motivation.

7. Breakfast with Buddha

By Roland Merullo

The is the story of an unlikely pair of men that take a road trip and toy with life’s big questions. The author enjoys his life and yet has an empty feeling that creeps up on him often.  The writing is a perfect blend of humor and wit, with just enough suspense and wisdom to help you get back on track. While it is fiction, you will find the characters so charming and believable you’ll be googling them on-line, just to be sure.  While this is not a heavy read, it does provoke a wide range of emotions.  You will defiantly laugh out loud, possibly tear up, and definitely reflect on the true meaning of life as this book evokes a feeling that you are discussing your world view with a wise teacher.

8. Uganda Be Kidding Me

By Chelsea Handler

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Chelsea’s style is definitely crude and unconcerned about political correctness, or correctness in general.  This is one of her many books and has a highly relatable base line theme of travel between friends as a show of support and adventure after some romantic relationship struggles, yet it is handled Chelsea style which is one few of us could relate to or ever pull off.  She will make you laugh, of course, but she will also inspire you to be true to yourself.

9. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

By Jen Hat maker

Is your material stuff or the daily scramble up the ladder getting you down? If you are feeling overwhelmed by the literal stuff of life, this book will offer you a plan to find a solution.  While the author’s scale of commitment to clearing her life of clutter (in multiple arenas) is admirable you could easily try a smaller scale mutiny to test the waters of this idea yourself.  Sometimes a little rebellion will shake up your perspective enough to get you back on track.  This book will make you consider possibilities and be worth the read.

10. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

By Tom Angleberger

If you are thinking that you’d like to actively look for and remind yourself of purpose, why not share a read with your favorite children.  Beyond an entertaining read for all ages, this is a heartwarming reminder about staying open to positive possibility and accepting the gifts you have to offer, even if you sometimes aren’t sure what they are.  In the cadence of the wise paper Jedi, “Master this also you shall.”   If you go the audio route for this book, you’ll have a cast of characters that create added depth, and on paper you’d get a graphic novel with great teen type sketches.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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