4 Things to Read that changed my Life

There are tons of books on career-change and it can be a bit overwhelming so if you’re thinking it’s time to make a change, here are a few books and articles on my short list.

These got me through a layoff, a sprained ankle and one long summer of self-reflection.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

This book had such a big impact on my life, I gave 3 talks about it.

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Marie Kondo’s book came into my life at precisely the right moment. I sprained my ankle and was laid off from my job in the course of a week and  spent the better part of a month on my couch nursing my wounds. It was during this time that I became acutely aware that every surface in our home was covered with clutter.

I felt like the walls were closing in on me and I whole-heartedly jumped in to Kondo’s process of tidying up.

I unearthed a lot of forgotten treasures, among them, my prom dress, my first cell phone, a floppy disk from a job I left in 2003. I also unearthed a lot of art supplies and other remnants of past hobbies long cast aside or forgotten amidst adult responsibilities. Sorting through almost 40 years of clutter was cathartic and cleared out the mental and physical head space to make some difficult decisions.

I decided  to walk away from a 10-year career in fashion and retail because it no longer made me happy or aligned with my values. And I took a giant leap of faith and decided to start a business.

If you find yourself at a career crossroads, I challenge you to ask what you’re holding onto?

Start with decluttering. It might not seem intuitive but I’d be curious what turns up when you clear out your home (and your brain).

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

Elle Luna’s blog post went viral because so many of us have dreams but we don’t have the faith to follow them.

Every time we come to the two available paths, to the place we can actually make a choice between what we should do and what we must do, we often go with what is safest. We go with should.

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Where are you saying should in your life? And what are you afraid of if you decide to pursue what you must do? Even if the must path is more challenging and scarier it is the only path that will lead to your true calling.

When it was my turn to choose I should have stuck with my career path. That was the practical choice.

That’s what my parents and most of my friends thought I should do, and most of my friends.

But I knew that I MUST start a business. The universe was telling me it was time to make a big change. It wasn’t safe, it wasn’t easy, but it was the thing I must do.

The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

A friend recommended this book to me the same summer my sprained ankle and the job lay-off led to some deep soul searching.

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The Artist’s Way is for creative’s who are feeling blocked. There are two big ideas in it, one that I have kept up regularly, and one that I think is a great idea but that I struggle with, Morning Pages and the Artist’s Date.

For Morning Pages you write 3 pages every morning. No rhyme or reason, just pages of stream of consciousness thinking. It’s a great practice to unclutter the mind so that you have space for more creative thoughts and ideas to develop.

For the Artist Date you need only make time in your calendar for fun and inspiration. You must set aside 2 hours a week, by yourself, doing something that brings you joy.

As a business owner, I find this particularly hard but every time I make time to go to a museum, stroll through the park, do a craft project, or take a bike ride, I feel refreshed.

I Could Do Anything if I only I knew What it Was by Barbara Sher

One of the most important takeaways from this book is to stop holding ourselves back with sequential thinking. I’ll do A (sign up for an art class, start looking for a job) after I do B (turn 40, get married, get promoted.)

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Do it now, fit it in on the weekend, or start with just 10 minutes a day.

I hope each of these reads will inspire you to reflect on what you can declutter in your life. What you must do. What blocks do you need to get rid of so you can take action?

Want help? I’d be happy to hop on the phone with you and help you figure out your next step. Email me at madeline@madelineschwarz.com and let’s chat.