Don’t get me wrong, I love self-help and personal development books. I spend hundreds of dollars or euros a year on books to that help me grow and develop. Books that inspire me to be and do more.
The problem isn’t in the ideas
The problem lies in the implementation.
The problem lies in the accountability.
I can’t tell you how many times I have read a book with exercises for personal reflection, and rather than STOP reading to do the exercise, I say to myself, “I will come back and do it later” and then I don’t.
I can’t tell you how many times I think, “Wow, what a great idea”, note it down in a journal, and then move on, furiously writing down other notes as other ideas are presented. I don’t integrate the idea into my life. I don’t reflect or take action. I don’t absorb the information.
Then there are the times, when I come across an idea that I think is absolutely ABSURD, and I move past it quickly, looking for other “golden nuggets” that I might find. I don’t stop and think, “What am I missing? What am I not understanding?”
Books are wonderful, but also limited.
What I needed 5 years ago when I was dealing with my difficult boss was a complete paradigm shift. I needed to wake me up from the righteous, defensive, and always proving world that I lived in. I needed to see how my interpersonal conflicts had nothing to do with the other people, and everything to do with me.
There was no way that a book, or a hundred books could help me with that.
I would never trade the time and energy that I spend reading, and at the same time I know that if I really want to GROW, if I really want to DEVELOP, if I really want to TRANSFORM situations, I need SOMEONE to help guide me. It is why I now surround myself with coaches, mentors, and peers to hold me accountable and to gently push me to continue my journey and do the work, rather than gather ideas.
We need autonomy, and we also need connection. There is a reason we have tribal roots--we cannot thrive in isolation, we can only thrive in community.
Who, in your life, can you look to as an objective guide? If you don’t have one, where can you go to find one?
Compassion. Connection. Collaboration.