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77 Books That Changed My Life and 3 Recommendations to Help You Read More

77 Books That Changed My Life and 3 Recommendations to Help You Read More
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If you want your life to be different… READ!

Words are thoughts that when shared are accepted as good ideas or bad ideas. Every single word you hear or read consciously or subconsciously shapes your beliefs and therefore they shape your life. Below you will find seventy-seven books from my personal recommended reading list. These books have changed my life. I am grateful to each author whose words shaped my soul. If you want your life to be different… read!

Allyson Lewis’ Top 10 Must Read Books
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    1. Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Acct of Operation Redwing & the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Lutrell
    2. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankle
    3. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
    4. The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge
    5. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
    6. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
    7. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
    8. The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John Mann
    9. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
    10. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

    Biography

    Who do you admire? Imagine what you can learn from reading the biographies of some of the best and worst men and women in history.

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      1. Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
      2. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
      3. Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters by Major (Ret.) Dick Winters & Cole C. Kingseed
      4. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose
      5. D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches by Stephen Ambrose
      6. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
      7. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
      8. John Adams by David McCullough
      9. Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris
      10. Abraham Lincoln (Pocket Biographies) by H. G. Pitt
      11. Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden
      12. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
      13. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
      14. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

      Attention / Neuroplasticity

      Neuroplasticity: the brain is plastic or changeable. Do not miss this section! Yes, some of these books read like text books.   The brain science of neuroplasticity has fascinated me since the moment I first read about how you can re-wire your brain to increase your attention span and sharpen your concentration and ability to focus.

      Personal Development

      You can be different tomorrow than you are today. Reading books is one of the best ways to learn from the wisdom of others.

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        Psychology

        Happiness, sadness, creativity, logical thinking, planning, dealing with anxiety, stress, depression, courage, motivation, new challenges. This set of books will inspire and educate you.

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          Business

          The business world changes at the speed of light… but, some of these books are decades old.

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          Business tumblr_mztssdgEgU1sfie3io1_1280

            Fiction

            What novels will you read to sweep you away?

            Fiction

              Faith

              We all believe something. These are books that have inspired hundreds of thousands. Slow down and enjoy a book to reconnect with your soul.

              FLOWER tumblr_myb1y3Ilmy1sfie3io1_1280

                Three Recommendations to Help You Read More

                As a time management strategist I offer three recommendations to help you find the time to read more books.

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                  1. Read 10 Pages a Day

                  Books are not usually intended to be read in a single setting. Create a daily reading strategy, set a time where you will read ten pages of a book every day. If you want to learn more about leadership, read ten pages of a biography a great leader. I you want to be inspired, read ten pages of an inspirational book.

                  2. Listen to Books

                  Some people have difficulty sitting and reading.  Therefore, my second recommendation is for you to download books to your smart phone or to your computer and list to books as you exercise or clean house or while you are waiting in a doctor’s office.  Many libraries now allow you to download books electronically for a couple of weeks at no charge.  And, there are several other great ways to download books like Audible.com.

                  3. Read Books Aloud

                  This is one of my favorite recommendations to help you read more books.  This idea came from a friend of mine, Lindsay Penn, who said when she and her husband go on a trip she will pick a book and read it aloud. I have strong memories of my elementary teachers reading books aloud to our class and when reading time was over we would collectively beg for her not to stop reading.

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                   Do you have a library card?  Make time to go to your local library today – what book will you read first?

                  Featured photo credit: Allyson Lewis via flickr.com

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                  Allyson Lewis

                  Allyson is a nationally acclaimed author, motivator, speaker, time management, productivity strategist, and executive coach.

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                  Last Updated on July 20, 2021

                  How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

                  How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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                  You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

                  Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

                  Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

                  Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

                  1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

                  According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

                  “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

                  Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

                  Warming up

                  If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

                  If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

                  Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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                  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
                  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
                  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

                  Stay hydrated

                  Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

                  To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

                  Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

                  Meditate

                  Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

                  Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

                  Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

                  Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

                  2. Focus on your goal

                  One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

                  Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

                  Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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                  Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

                  If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

                  3. Convert negativity to positivity

                  There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

                  ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

                  It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

                  Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

                  Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

                  Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

                  4. Understand your content

                  Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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                  However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

                  “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

                  Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

                  Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

                  One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

                  5. Practice makes perfect

                  Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

                  In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

                  Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

                  6. Be authentic

                  There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

                  Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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                  Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

                  To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

                  With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

                  Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

                  7. Post speech evaluation

                  Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

                  Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

                  We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

                  You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

                  Improve your next speech

                  As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

                  Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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                  • How did I do?
                  • Are there any areas for improvement?
                  • Did I sound or look stressed?
                  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
                  • Was I saying “um” too often?
                  • How was the flow of the speech?

                  Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

                  If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

                  Reference

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