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Book Reviews: 5 Great Books For Personal Development

Reading is a key component to Personal Development, and as with anything, its always about source. The things you choose to feed or influence your mind with. Wise information feeds your mind and as with any learning it is yours to use or forget. So I thought I would share some the books that I thing are great for “working on the inner you”.

These are listed in no particular order.

1. First Things First – Stephen R. Covey

This was my first book I selected while I studying to be a Life Coach for Personal Development and I found it so insightful. It really underpinned for me the importance of time management how weight the decisions you make incorporating all of your life. Often times we keep our work diaries separate to our home decisions and social decisions. This how we easily double book ourselves. Also putting things or or procrastinating allows things to move from being important but non urgent to urgent and highly important which then leaves us in stress and overwhelm.

There were so many good things in this book it really is too much to list❤❤❤❤

2. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R Covey

Yes, another Stephen Covey best seller!! There some books that are library keepers, this is another for me. This is another one that transcends time and I see as a book you can just keep referring too.

Building good habits requires repetition until they become your norm whether they are good or bad.

In leadership, family, relationships, business or work . The key thing is to build good and effective habits.

From Steven we get principles such as “Begin with the end in mind” and “Sharpen the Saw” go name a few. ❤❤❤❤

Renewal is the principle and the process, that empowers us to move on an upward spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

3. Daring Greatly – Brenè Brown

Brenè Brown is a Professor, Lecturer and I became aware of her through her famous Ted Talk on “Thd Power of Vulnerability. Her book ‘Daring Greatly looks at the courage to be vulnerable and how this impacts different areas of our lives.

The key thing about courage is that it shows up in the midst of fear not in the abscence from it.

Another one that works on the inner you❤❤❤❤

4. The Power Principles & Power of Vision -Dr Myles Munroe

Dr Myles Munroe sadly is no longer with us but for me he his still an amazing teacher. An Christian who vision was to educate, support and equip people to understand their purpose and vision here on earth. As he believed everyone has a personal vision and gifts given by God. But the majority do not always recognise what that is for themself.

Another great read that also impacts on a Spiritual level.❤❤❤❤

5. Think, Learn, Succeed – Dr Caroline Leaf

Dr Caroline Leaf is a Neuroscientist who is well know for a number of books and for her TV appearances including Oprah Winfrey. This book looks at different mindsets including Forgiveness, Happiness and Gratitude.

For the thinker Mindset one of the questions she posed was how much of our thinking was being replaced by devices and in so doing replacing our thinking power?

Once again I believe it’s another great book to both learn from and challenge you in how you think❤❤❤❤

Well that’s the end of my list. I would love to here what books have great meaning or value for you?

Until the next post. Be the change you want to see.

Gloria (Aquene7)

How Do You Motivate Yourself?

How do you motivate yourself when you feel things are slipping or slowing down? What do you do when you recognise you are going to miss the target you set or you have missed your target?

How do you motivate yourself when you acknowledge that your dream is not going to happen if you continue to go at the pace you are currently going at?

This was where I was a short time ago.  I had set my goal of qualifying as a coach from last year and this was to be achieved by May this year but I could see by the end of March early April, I was falling off track and the final stages was seeming as a big ask. But I knew it had to be done, and the thought of taking 18 months or 2 years to complete, was not an option for me, it was never part of my original plan. So I needed to get myself back on track.

One thing that has constantly been in my mind recently was the Japanese word Kaizen. What is that I hear you ask? Well if you are in the manufacturing and engineering world you will be familiar with it.  It’s the important process of ‘Continual Improvement” and literally means “Improvement” or “Change for the best.”   Not change/improvement for the sake of it but small improvements that bring specific benefit.  This was the process that literally enabled Japan to rise from being a devastated country after World War 2 into becoming a world leader and player in an extremely short space of time.



In Steven Covey’s book ‘7 Habits Of High Effective People’ he calls this process ‘Sharpening The Saw.’  Reviewing your goals and your actions with a view of seeing what needs to change, what is no longer beneficial and basically how to bring self-improvement and change where necessary to yourself and what you are doing currently.

I recognise there were things I needed to change otherwise I would achieve the result I did not want and here are a few of the things I did.  I must admit, I didn’t just wake and decide to do these things all at the same time.  It was a more organic process.  One day I would have one idea maybe a week or so later something else popped up and I ran with that.  But what they all did, was they brought about a small shift in my momentum that as time went by increased my pace, focus, drive and passion in doing what I knew I needed to do.

Step 1.  Way Up My Priorities:  As with most people I realised I had a number of important plates spinning all at the same time and I now needed to re-think everything and decide what was most and important and why.  Once I did that I realised certain things would have to be parked or at least have less of my attention for a while in order to free up time and allow me more space to use my mind and concentration in getting what needed to be done, done.  One of my decisions was to blog less, not ideal but i said it wouldn’t be for long.

Step 2. Have a Clear Plan: I looked at what I needed to do to in order to successfully complete my submission and I familiarised my self with anything I was putting off.  From that I wrote out a clear checklist of what had been accomplished and what was still missing so that I could tick things off once completed. Obviously, this was for my goal but what do you need to put a clear plan in place for?  What have you done so far? What’s still missing for you? When do you need to achieve this by? Why? If you don’t do any of this what will happen? This outcome how does it make you feel?

3.  Considered What Resources I Now Needed:  I thought about what I needed in order to get me to my end goal.  I decided I needed help in order to keep myself on track but more importantly keep myself accountable.  As a trainee Coach I am aware that it is important to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are.  I am great when everything is flowing right but once I start to lose pace I know, I in myself isn’t always enough and I need to have someone in my corner that I am accountable to.  So, I got myself a Coach! Don’t be afraid to get the right kind of help or to put in place the resource you need. So What do you need? Do you need the skills of a Coach? Do you have all the materials you require? 

4. Challenge Yourself:  I have an old fashion diary which I love.  Some people put everything in their phone.  I choose a full page diary as its easy to see clashes and keep track of everything including my client appointments.  Another thing i found myself doing was first thing in the morning asking myself ‘What do you want by the end of the day.’ I would write this in my diary and list the most important things I would like to have completed by the end of the day.  This was not just to do with my coaching stuff, but other things i see as important to my life.  i.e. Workout Session for my health, Reading some of my current book, one or two agreed actions from my coach.  I wouldn’t do an exhaustive list but just 3 or 4 really important things that needed to be complete during the week.  As I achieved them I would tick them off. How can you challenge yourself into action? What can you do to keep yourself on track each day?

5.  Self Learning:  One thing I have picked up from Inspirational teachers like Jim Rohn is to read. So part of my motivational strategy was to cover off a certain amount of reading during the week too. Two books or more per week is nothing for some people who are avid readers. For me it was more about what I read rather than the quantity so I loaded a number of books onto my Kindle which I am now working my way through happily and loving what I am learning.  These include a few of Jim Rohn’s books and Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo.  To accompany the Talk Like TED book  I also decided to watch the TED Video’s and it was a very wise decision for me.  So find what works for you and build it into your day.

All of these things varied in intensity and by them self seemed like a small thing really, but I have found together they have brought me to a place where I am more than on track with my goal and by the end of June my studying will be over, YES!!  However, my mind is already onto the next level about perfecting my love of Coaching and understanding ‘What makes people tick and enabling them to get there!”

I say all this to encourage you in finding your way to getting to YOUR ‘there’ where ever that is.  It’s not about quitting, just rethink and adjust what needs to be adjusted. I think step one in my short list is the hardest, but once you have done that it’s just about making it work.  I find the reading and watching of the video’s bring about new information for me, and great questions which then trigger me to find new answers for my life.  Having a Coach helps me to be clear and to formulate specific, measurable and realistic steps in making what I want – happen. But you may choose a good friend who you know will keep you on track.

Do what you need to do to keep yourself progressing and moving forward.

Be the change you want to be, until next time.


Aquene7 = Peace

The Wisdom of Naomi

As a Coach I always work with the view of ‘beginning with the end in mind’  by Stephen Covey.  But, its important to recognise both ‘the journey’ along the way, as well as the ‘destination.’

The people you meet, the things you do or do not do. The lessons you have to learn and the opportunities you have to share and teach.  The journey is a deeper experience than the ‘living in the fast lane’ experience and the constant adrenaline rush.  It’s the things that make life valuable and worth living for; the things that take you past the gloss and shine of life and brings you into a richer place that’s important and needs to be treasured. It is the tapestry of your life filled with vibrant colour and quality stitching amid the imperfections of our humanity.

I try to make time to have time out with God in my day.  When I do it tends to be in the earliest part of the day, when things are more still and quiet. Today ,this was what was impressed upon me and I thought I would share.  When considering the above I thought about Naomi and Ruth and the relationship of these two women.  I thought about the story of how Naomi left Bethlehem with her husband Elimelech and they moved into an unknown country or place called Moab. Unfortunately, her husband died and the culture and the times were, that then, a women was financially supported by her husband.  If for whatever reason he died, then a male family member could step in to take up the  role or yours son’s would support you.  Naomi was fortunate to have two sons who eventually married and for 10 years her family lived around her supporting her. But then her sons also died.  Now Naomi, as far as society was concerned was old and had no male near her who could provide for her.  She was now (for want of a better word) living a life that had in her own words ‘No hope’ (Ruth 1:12).  But she did have two daughters-in-law Oprah and Ruth.  Her relationship with these women were good and they loved her and did not want to abandon her.

Naomi had no wealth, she was now a mature women who was at a time in her life where to find a husband and to then  have children would require an absolute miracle and the odds of this happening were totally outside reason. In her eyes she had nothing worthwhile to offer these young women ,who still had their life before them.  She did her best to deswayed them and to release/push them from her life.  ‘Go, return each of you to her mother’s house.’ (Ruth 1:8).  Eventually, Oprah agreed and left, but Ruth was adamant she was going nowhere and stated:-

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

I really thought about these two women and their relationship.  I thought about their journey and their end destination, which was to return back to Bethlehem having lived in Moab for more than 10 years.  The thing that was impressed upon me was how Ruth recognised Naomi’s worth.  She recognised that their was something too important in Naomi to let go.  It was a relationship that was more valuable than going back to her mother and getting married again.  I questioned ‘what was it that Naomi had?‘ For me it was ‘Wisdom and depth of character.’ 

‘Wisdom and depth of character.’ 

Wisdom is not something that is talked about or recognised as much in Western society as in other nations I believe today.  Understanding life and how to live in it, was information that would be sort from your elders.  Naomi knew how to live and be a women of character and integrity.  Her wisdom is what guides Ruth in how to conduct herself in front of Boaz, who we all know eventually marries her.

Wisdom is such a valuable commodity, and yet so under valued today.  There are certain lessons in life that are simply gained because you have lived more years than someone who is younger than you, and it has given you a valuable experience both for yourself and others. Are there things in you, stories about your life, things you have battled against and overcome, experiences that if shared could really help someone else?  Are you someones Naomi?

Do you see something important in someone, to the point you feel they are worth clinging onto or investing in?  Do you recognise someone has something about them that maybe society doesn’t value at the moment, but you do?

People can be as important to us as we are to them.  This journey of life is never to be repeated, it is ‘the road less travelled’ so how can you impact someone life?  Or who is there currently in your life that could have a big impact on you?

Naomi’s wisdom enabled Ruth to become the wife of Boaz and she provided the lineage of David and eventually Christ.  Naomi’s life was changed from a barren place to a fruitful place. Those who originally saw her as poor and without hope had to change their word’s to:-

14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

Do not under value wisdom and its importance in today’s society.  Wisdom is needed and it’s not everyone, that has wisdom in how to live and get through on a day-to-day basis. Wisdom is a gift.  There are what I call ‘valley lessons’ that speak volumes.  Not everyone can say ‘been there done that!’ Naomi lost her husband and all her children who happened to be son’s, the providers in her life. But she still had a value, she still had something to say and share with the world, even if the only person who listened at that point in time was Ruth.  You can be sure by the time Ruth got married and had her baby that audience had increased and Naomi carried a lot more influence.

5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance

It pays to be wise and it also pays to be discerning of people.

Be the change you want to be.  Until next time have a great day!



Marking Time? – Life’s To Short I Say!

So 2014 is here, and it is the fourth day. How’s is going so far? What is going to define 2014 from 2013 for you? Do you know where are you going?

Stephen Covey says “To begin with the end in Mind” in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Like any journey, you first need to know where you want to get to, in order to then determine how you are to get there.  So where do you want to be by the end of December 2014? If you think that’s too far ahead, you are already on the path to missing the boat.

Its important “To begin with the end in Mind”

What Are your goals based on? Are they more about impulse and what’s in trend right now or are your goals deeply set and clearly thought out?  Many people will be for want of a better word ‘trending’ right now.  In other words following what’s popular and common place for the month of January – setting goals for loosing weight, planning holidays, looking to start paying off store cards or credit cards that were maxed for Christmas, etc. But, the thing is, like many things, as the days and weeks tick by so the enthusiasm wains and diminishes as the challenges and obstacles appear. Like the waves crashing against a ship if a course was never firmly plotted out, you will find yourself, slowly veering off course, maybe even running a ground.

"Figure Thinking With Question Mark" by Master isolated images

“Figure Thinking With Question Mark” by Master isolated images

So, what do you want for yourself for 2014?  If I learnt anything especially towards the end of 2013 it was that   ‘Marking Time’ is a stale mate position and not an option for experiencing the best of yourself in life.  Marking Time is neither going backward nor progressing forward. Its simply maintaining the status quo and remaining in your comfort zone. Keeping things stable and regular but not necessarily in the best place for you.  So nothing is undertaken that is challenging.  Nothing is done that threatens to change your current situation . Which may mean things seem fine, but the truth is exposure is what widens you to new experiences. Opens up your circle of influence to new friends and opportunities! The defining line is labelled ‘RISK!’

Read the rest of this entry

Priorities! Priorities! Priorities!

Priorities, we don’t always get them right.  Stephen Covey, is someone I do have a lot of time for and this explanation of prioritising and putting the important things first challenged my thinking.  Having read ‘First Things First and ‘ 7 Habits,’ it helped me to identify and eliminate some pretty poor habits.

Hope you find this clip interesting.

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