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mastermind Archives – Resist Average Academy

tommy baker leap of your life

Don’t Start (The Power Of Playing The Long Game)

By | Advice, Entrepreneurship
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Don’t Start (The Power Of Playing The Long Game)

Don’t start a podcast.

(There are 630,000 of them already.)

Don’t write a book.

(There are 1,052,803 published…every year.)

Don’t launch a business.

(There are 550,000 new entrepreneurs…monthly.)

Here’s the deal:

Don’t do any of these, unless of course —you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Because I’m here to tell you:

The odds are not stocked in your favor unless your idea of success is putting your entire net worth on Red 27 at the roulette table. In today’s post, I’m going to reveal a crucial concept (and centering question) to ensure you don’t wind up being another statistic.

Because if you’re doing what you’re doing for the right reasons, the worst thing you can do is start with a half-hearted approach. But if you do it right and play the long game, not only can you experience the deep fulfillment that comes with sharing your work with the world…

You can experience world class results and be part of the 5% who seek their goals to completion and never, ever look back wondering where they fell short.

tommy baker long gameAnyone Can Get Started, Few Can Endure

I remember standing in a crowd of people in Killington, VT at 4:30AM as thousands of athletes got prepared to attack the Spartan Ultra Beast.

As it sounds, this is the most intense race the Spartan brand puts on:

Around 30 miles of hiking the steepest double black mountains in Vermont for two days and one bone-chilling night. And yet, at the start of the race —the energy was palpable. It was also crowded, the music was blaring, and everyone felt amazing.

This is normal for what happens at the start of any endeavor:

Lots of enthusiasm and excitement, but the truth is:

When you look to your left, and you look to your right —two out of the three (including possibly you) won’t be there at the end of the race. This is true for the Spartan Beast (the pass rate at the time of my race was 15%) and mostly anything else in business and life. As Angela Duckworth, author of Grit says:

“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”

So, what does this mean to you?

Don’t waste all of your energy on starting —and don’t celebrate too much. Sure, there is power in making a decision and having the courage to get in the game…

But it’s only the start of what’s going to be a long, hilly and unpredictable path.

Because after you start, you quickly hit the place where 99% of people give up: the messy middle.

Rookies waste all of their energy on starting, while the professional plays the long game.

The Messy Middle Of The Long Game

It hit me at Mile 7 as I wiped another bead of sweat off my face and thought to myself:

This is going to be a grind.

Of course, I already knew this —you can’t have a 15% pass rate on any race and think it’s going to be a walk in the park. Especially knowing how curated the signups are: this isn’t your local 5K.

At Mile 7, the enthusiasm of the early morning fist-bumping EDM music was now a distant and forgotten memory:

I was officially in the messy middle.

Of course I’m using the race as a metaphor, but all of your endeavors will have the point in time you hit the messy middle.

This is where 99% of dreams go to die, and the realization is all the same:

This is going to be hard. Like really hard —like I-don’t-know-if-it’s-worth-it hard.

So, what’s the messy middle look like in different projects, businesses and endeavors?

It’s episode 29 of your podcast when you’re having the worst time trying to make another edit.

It’s 9,200 words in of your book when you’re finding yourself off course with no clarity in sight.

It’s 13 months into your business when you’ve had to fire your first employee —and cash flow is tight.

This is the messy middle, and what you choose next will decide your fate. Because here is where the dabblers and quitters move on to the next idea, project and endeavor.

Only to have the cycle repeat itself.

This is the messy middle, and what you choose next will decide your fate.

Most Success Stories Skip The Messy Middle

I love going to events, and hearing people’s stories of starting, encountering the messy middle —and then experiencing breakthrough. It’s one of the common themes on the podcast: leaning into the guests challenges, doubts and moments of deep questioning.

Except too often at the events I attend, people skip over most of what really matters: the messy middle. Of course, there’s great reason for this: in an 18 minute talk, you can’t possibly explain to the audience what’s really going to happen during the messy middle.

You do your best, of course —but the truth is much more complex than a polished talk could ever create.

And what this narrative does is simplify the messy middle and create an expectation in people’s hearts and minds that it won’t last too long.

But it’s not true, because most of your time in any endeavor will be spent in the thick of your own personal messy middle.

Starting is 5%, the messy middle is 90% and your breakthrough (or achievement) will be around 5%.

Let’s go back to how your fate will be decided.

The Messy Middle Is Hard, And Beautiful

So you may be thinking to yourself: why would I ever want to endure through the messy middle?

In a nutshell: this is where all the magic happens. Specifically, this is where you gain the confidence, skillset and belief that will transcend any “making it” moment on top of the mountaintop.

Most importantly: this is when you discover who you really are.

And trust me: there’s no amount of cold hard cash or shiny toys that will hold a candle to this feeling.

(And you don’t have to trust me, because the research is clear and obvious on what this does for your level of purpose and fulfillment.)

You’re also going to experience all types of breakthroughs during your messy middle: small wins, life-changing ones and everything in between.

So, how do you navigate this crucial aspect of your path? Let’s dig into the four tools designed to help you navigate this part of the path —and make sure you don’t get lost along the way.

Tool #1: Focus On Today’s Step

During the Spartan Beast, there were exhausted bodies everywhere. Men and Women sprawled out and ready to give up. For me, it was very easy to focus on them, and want to rest or slow down.

The first tool is to focus on what you can control today. Often, that’s the most important work in front of you —this step, and the next one.

Personally, as a writer —when I’m in the messy middle of a book, distraction is at its most tempting. It’s easy to focus on anything except the words. But these are the moments that make or break the work, and I focus on my 1,000 words for the day.

In your life, project or goal, what is the one thing you can focus on?

Tool #2: Keep Your North Star In Mind

The second tool is to remember where you’re headed —and why. This is the power of clarity: having a North Star you’re going after. I wrote about this in The 1% Rule: we all must have a North Star to guide us during the tough moments.

All we need are small reminders along the way of the what and the why. If you’ve done the work to know what these are, you’ll be in a great spot during your messy middle.

Every single day, remind yourself of your North Star for at least a few minutes. If you have time to scroll through Instagram, you have time do this.

Tool #3: Smile Through The Process

The third tool to help you navigate your goals and stay committed to the long game is to fall in love with the pursuit. I know this sounds like an Instagram quote, but it’s true:

Playing the long game means you’re going to have to love the process as much as the outcomes, checkpoints and breakthroughs.

Personally and with my clients, I work very hard to shift into a state of gratitude when things get really hard. I remind them that this is when most people quit, and every step they’re taking is cementing their belief, confidence and power.

Remember: there are people who would write you a blank check today to experience the challenges you’re going through. Never, ever forget the power of perspective and gratitude along as you play the long game.

Tool #4: Recharge and Refuel Along The Way

Lastly, it becomes impossible to endure during the long game if you’re not taking care of yourself. What I teach in my programs and coaching is to live at both ends of the spectrum: intense, focused work and plenty of open white space.

If you don’t recover, recharge and re-fuel along the way —you won’t last. We all need a radical self care routine: time for ourselves, being outside, walks, massages, reading a great book, meditating, floating and anything that re-centers us.

Often, this is the last stuff we do until it’s too late. Instead, ensure you are scheduling this work and making it a priority in your calendar.

It’s Time To Get Honest

Before you get started with anything, it’s time to get honest by asking:

Are you committed to this, or are you merely interested? Make no mistake: there is a vast chasm between these two, and 90% of people who start anything are not committed.

Because the average podcast lasts 6 episodes before they fold up shop.

(Don’t let this be you.)

The average book sells less than 300 copies during its entire lifetime.

(Don’t let this be you.)

Most businesses fail to ever get off the ground, and 90% fold up shop.

(Don’t let this be you.)

Are you committed to the long game? I’d love to hear it.

The Leap Of Your Life Available For Pre-Order!

tommy baker leap of your life

There’s a bold decision in your life you’ve been putting off…and every day that passes by is another chance of waking up wondering what could have been.

If you’re wanting to get clear about your bold decision and ensure you don’t wake up with regret 1, 3, 5 or 10 years down the line, my new book The Leap of Your Life: How to Redefine Risk, Quit Waiting For ‘Someday,’ and Live Boldly is your trusted companion.

The book is available at all major retailers and you can pre-order to claim some amazing bonuses at the link above or go to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

You’ll never be the same, and that’s a great thing.

tommy baker coaching

How to Hire a Coach, Mentor or Program Pt. III

By | Advice, Entrepreneurship
Reading Time: 9 minutes

How to Hire a Coach, Mentor or Program Pt. III

This is a continuation of a series around How To Hire a Coach, Mentor or Program. If you missed Part I, go here and for Part II, click here.

YOU HIRED A COACH, NOW SUCCESS IS YOURS…RIGHT?

You did it.

You put your dreams on the line and chose to stack the chips and go all in by hiring a coach, mentor or program.

The first time you do this is special —and the transformative energy of writing your dreams a check is palpable.

Right before this moment, there’s fear, doubts and really wondering what the hell you’re doing. But the moment you finish writing the check or paying the invoice —a tsunami of emotions comes through you and you realize what you’ve gone:

You’ve gotten off the sidelines of life where 95% of people are.

You are in the game, you’re not only dreaming big…but acting big. Make no mistake: this is huge, and you should be proud of yourself.

And now it’s only a matter of time before you’re making it rain with stacks of cash in your bank, fueled by purpose and commitment like never before, right?

Possibly, but not always. During Part III, I really wanted to peel back the curtains and give you an inside look at how to maximize your experience.

Because while everything we’ve covered to this point is powerful —not every coaching experience comes with 100% success rate. This may seem obvious, but even with the best experiences that come with proven results, there are people who don’t get out of their own way.

They may have paid, but they stay comfortable.
They may have committed, but they don’t follow through.
They may have made a bold decision once, but don’t repeat those.

For myself, I’ve been part of nearly every type of experience imaginable —including masterminds, virtual programs, one day seminars, 7 day seminars, online courses, Facebook groups, etc. I’ve also run nearly of these and leading people on the other side through my own work.

It’s time to discover how to make your coaching experience an undeniable success by reviewing the rules of engagement I use with my clients. Before any experience, I share this and have each client commit to them, and now they’re yours, too.

Let’s dig in.

tommy baker coaching

Rule #1: Drop The Ego

The number one obstacle in the way of your growth, my growth and everyone else’s is simple: our egos. This isn’t debatable, it’s reality.

Because your ego wants to keep you small. It wants to keep you exactly where you are today. It wants to ensure every part of itself stays in tact, and it doesn’t want to let go.

Letting go to the ego is a form of death —and it can and will do anything to avoid this vulnerable state.

Because I’ve seen people pay tens of thousands of dollars, declare how bad they want or need a program or coach —and then let the ego win. We are not dealing with something simple here: the ego is creative, relentless and stubborn.

So, how do you actually drop the ego?

First, it starts with being aware. If you picked the right coaching experience —you’re going to be challenged and pushed to your edge. Simply signing up means you’re asking for help, which the ego already hates. But during your experience, the ego will look for ways to:

Prove you’re right.
Talk you out of big decisions.
Make excuses to let you off the hook.

Remember: each of these are designed to keep you exactly where you are —and you must be hyper aware of this in real time.

Secondly, you have to keep your eyes on the prize and remember why you started in the first place. Because the ego thrives on the short term, you must remember your North Star vision and deep rooted ‘why.’ Without this, it becomes easy to listen to the voices of the ego and start to believe its false narratives.

Lastly, when your ego is being challenged and you feel emotionally triggered —see this as growth in real time. This is not bad, it’s not a time to quit…it’s a time to lean in to the discomfort and find the gift on the other side.

ACTION: Dropping the ego is not a one time decision. On the path of your growth —it’s a daily one.

Rule #2: Trust the Process

NOTE: This is a small excerpt from my new book, The Leap Of Your Life which is available for early pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retailers.

“I don’t know if I can keep going, man. This is hard.”

I’m sitting three fourths of the way of from my favorite hike in Phoenix, one I’ve done 117 times in less than 3 years. My client flew in from Los Angeles for a one day intensive to create a game-plan for every part of his business and life.

But I don’t start in a conference room at my office, we’re on the mountain and it’s a brisk 103 degrees. It’s July. Steve is 44 years old. He made $200,000 in personal income last year. He’s got 3 kids. And he’s here with me in the sweltering heat, carrying an enormous rock on his shoulders. It hurts. And oh yeah, he paid me to do this.

“You’re focusing on the pain, and that’s why it hurts. Start identifying what the rock means to you, and why you’re carrying it. Let’s go, you’re playing small.”

And the path continues. He grimaces every step of the way. The rock is uncomfortable by design: no matter how one carries it, it restricts breathing. The mountain is hard enough, the rock makes it harsher. This is part of how I help clients experience radical clarity, leading to transformation and results.

Rule number two is about one thing and one thing only: trusting the process of your coaching, mentoring or program experience. It’s about knowing someone else is in charge and has your best interests in mind —and being okay with this.

One of the biggest downfalls of your coaching experience will come with not trusting the short term process. For myself and my clients —I prepare deeply and intensely, creating all types of ways to help them achieve clarity and step into their power.

If they didn’t trust the process, they wouldn’t be standing in the middle of a mountain as I pushed them —holding a rock. They wouldn’t persist in the middle of a coaching session where we’re digging into an anchor from the past that has now become an excuse.

If you can’t trust the process, you can’t expect results.

ACTION: Trusting the process means trusting yourself. Stay present and understand your coach or mentor knows what they’re doing and why.

If you can’t trust the process, you can’t expect results.

tommy baker coaching

Rule #3: Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

The third rule to maximize your success with your coaching experience is to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I know this sounds obvious —but it amazes me how many people will commit to something and then not be willing to get uncomfortable.

All four types of coaching experiences will require you to get uncomfortable in a variety of ways. For example:

The informational coaching experience will require you to cross the threshold from “thinking” to doing.

The motivational coaching experience will have you drop your addiction to low emotional states and tap into your peak energy and vitality.

The inspirational coaching experience will have you get rid of the armor, the convenient layers you’ve created and are using as anchors —to remember who you really are.

Lastly, the transformational coaching experience will be a mix of all of the above and will take you to some dark caves —plunging you into the depths of who you are to bring you back as the most powerful, grounded and purposeful self.

If your coaching experience is making you at least slightly uncomfortable, something is missing. To achieve a result you don’t currently have is going to require you to shed old beliefs, ways of operating, habits, rituals and mindsets. Part of this, naturally —means discomfort.

ACTION: Be willing to get uncomfortable and see this for what it represents: your growth, and ultimately results.

Rule #4: Be Radically Honest

There was a time in my life where I needed to get out. I needed to leave my environment, and I’d built a business I now hated. I felt alone, disconnected and started to resent myself for not taking action.

But there was one core reason all of these feelings were bottled up: I wasn’t getting radically honest. No one knew about my predicament, because I chose to hide it.

Being a positive and energetic person —I chose to keep it to myself.

Until I no longer could, and I remember being on a mastermind call and declaring all of the above. My initial expectation was for people to laugh at me and mock me —and of course, that didn’t happen.

They agreed with me and validated my feelings.

Whew.

I let out the biggest exhale ever —and remembered the power of sharing our truth.

Your coaching experience will demand you get radically honest if you want to achieve your biggest breakthroughs. It sounds obvious, but we’re so skilled at building facades with ourselves —it can be a massive challenge to even know what to get honest about.

So, what do you need to be radically honest about?

Where you find yourself today. Your level of fulfillment in all areas of life. What’s not working and how it makes you feel. What you really want to be doing, and why.

Without this crucial piece, you’ll miss out on life-changing breakthroughs, insights and results.

ACTION: Before you start your experience, put all of your deeper truths on paper. Journal why you’re really in the program, and get radically honest.

 Rule #5: No Weak Language

“Maybe.”
“I’ll try.”
“I guess.”
“We’ll see.”

No, not here. The last and final rule of my coaching experiences (and ones you should adopt no matter who you choose to work with) is simply no weak language.

Weak language allows for excuses to come in, ensure you play small and can kill an otherwise transformative experience.

Here’s why this matters: our language provides a behind-the-scenes look at our closely held beliefs, and even more importantly —the level of belief and self trust we have with ourselves.

In my programs, we have a rule where we’re allowed to interrupt anyone at anytime (including me, of course) when they’re using weak or half hearted language.

One of the amazing things that happen when you become aware of your own weak language is how much you see it in other people. You overhear a conversation at your local Starbucks —and you’ll be amazed at how often we use these words that don’t mean anything.

Not here. Instead, when you speak —own it and declare it with everything you’ve got. Be willing to put yourself on the line.

ACTION: Eradicate all weak language, and start catching yourself in the process. Ask others to call you out, too.

tommy baker 1% rule

So, What Are You Waiting For?

We’ve come a long way. I wanted to create this resource, which is nearly 6,000 words —to help you step into a coaching or mentoring experience for one reason and one reason only:

They can, and they will —change every part of your life.

Sure, I’m biased, but I can say with definitive clarity that I would not be where I am today if I had not made that bold decision to go all in on myself.

My story is definitely extreme, but it’s what I needed at the time. Because if I don’t make that bold choice, I don’t have a $55,000 day in business, I don’t move cross country when I knew I needed to, I don’t meet my soul mate and I may be living a completely different life.

So as we finish this experience together, all I have is one question for you:

What are you waiting for? 

I’m often having conversations with people who know it’s time, and yet don’t take action. Each day they put it off —they begin to lose a fraction of their belief and energy to create something new. Until one day, it’s gone for good.

How to Hire a Coach, Mentor or Program Pt. III

I’ll be adding a special Part IV bonus section to this piece, and will link it here once it’s out. But for now, you have all you need.

To go back to Part I, click here. To review Part II, click here. And of course, if you’re wanting to work together in some capacity, let me know.

As of January 2019, these are the experiences I offer:

3P Experience. This is for you if you’re making less than $100K, control your financial destiny (i.e. entrepreneur, solopreneur or wanting to be one) and need to deepen your purpose, power and profit.

Breakthrough Mastermind. The Mastermind is for those making at least $200K and are at a ‘comfortable’ level but leaving so much on the table. You’re wanting to get to the next level and 5X every area of your life.

Private Coaching / Intensive. The last one is a fully customized experience where you come to Scottsdale, AZ and spend a day with me and/or enroll in a 100 day private coaching experience with me.

Fill out an application here, or simply email me at tommy@resistaverageacademy.com and we’ll take it from there.

I’d love to hear from you in comments, especially if you have any questions.

The Best Self Development, Business and Personal Growth Books of 2018

By | Advice, Entrepreneurship, Writing
Reading Time: 12 minutes

The Best Self Development, Business and Personal Growth Books of 2018

Ahhhhh, the nerd inside me loves nothing more than to shut off the world and go deep into books. If you’ve ever followed my Instagram, you’d know I’m a little obsessive.

Okay, totally obsessive is more like it. Here’s why:

The knowledge, wisdom and reflective aspect of reading has transformed my life — and Barnes and Noble is my version of a delicious slice of heaven.

At the end of every year, I like to reflect and think back to the books I read and how they impacted me. On any given year, I’ll read between 50-100 books —depending on what I’m working on and which season of my life and business I may be in.

In other words, I read quite a lot. By the way, remember the 10 pages a day rule: if you read ten pages every single day, you’ll read around 12-20 books per year.

Start small, and watch what happens.

According to the Washington Post, only 19 percent of adults read for leisure these days. One of the best parts about reading books is what you don’t do when you make the decision to read: less television, social media and distraction.

So, what were my favorite books of 2018? This is a personal list I choose to share with you, and is not based on anything except my level of learning, enjoyment and connection to the material. This is not a list about literary genius, and all of these works are non-fiction.

These are in no particular order, and few of these authors have been on the Academy podcast which I’ll link to under each section.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

21 Lessons For The 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

best books 2018What is happening in the world today?
Who can we trust for objective information?
Are things as bad as people say they are?

These are all questions I’ve asked, and been frustrated in trying to answer. Part of me wants to ignore it altogether, and the other part wants to dive deep and see how I can contribute to a solution. But awareness is always the first step.

Enter Professor Yuval Noah Harari —author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, two bestselling and thrilling books examining where we came from and where we’re going.

In 21 Lessons For The 21st Century, he deep dives into where we are today to paint a clear picture and how today’s choices will shift us going forward. I love this work, because it makes me think. It challenges me. Nothing is off the table here, including the dominance of Big Data, AI, Religion and the future of life and work.

If you’re someone who feels lost in finding objective sources of information and want at least some clarity about where we are (and how that may impact you) —don’t miss out on this one.

In a world divulged by irrelevant information, clarity is power – Yuval Noah Harari

READ THIS IF:

You want an objective view of what’s happening in today’s world and want to spend time thinking about the world’s greatest problems and opportunities.

The Courage To Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi

best books 2018I heard Tucker Max speak glowingly of The Courage To Be Disliked on the James Altucher podcast, and I had to get it. The title alone grabbed me, and I realized this book had already been a sensation in Japan.

Told through a conversation between a young Man and a aged philosopher, it’s a refreshing format on the topics of change, transformation, courage, relationships and finding joy in life. It speaks about what gets in the way of our growth and how to navigate our lives.

The backbone of the book’s philosophy comes from Adlerian philosophy, which was something I’d never heard of. A colleague of Freud, Alfred Adler believed in developing oneself individually while balancing the holistic nature of a connected community.

Looking back, I’m realizing I need to read this again: it’s a deep read, but the way it’s told allows it to be a fast one. There’s a lot of wisdom within each sentence. It’s a philosophy mets self development type of book, and absolutely worth reading.

The courage to be happy also includes the courage to be disliked. When you have gained that courage, your interpersonal relationships will all at once change into things of lightness. – Ichiro Kishimi

READ THIS IF:

You’re looking for a refreshing take on change, courage and navigating the complexities of life.

12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson

best books 2018

Jordan Peterson has become an online sensation —and for many, can be quite polarizing. While I’m not here to discuss the politics around him, there is no doubt he is smart, studied and produces great work that makes you think.

12 rules For Life is a blend of philosophy, history and advice strikes a chord for its simplicity and great examples to drive the point home. Chapter titles include “Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping” and “Set Your House in Perfect Order Before You Criticize the World”.

What I love about his work is how simple it truly is. However, as humans…we tend to complicate everything. Peterson’s advice that changing the world starts with cleaning our room may seem obvious, but is it really? I don’t think so: self-reliance is always the first step in authentic leadership. So many people want to change the world, but what about starting with the person in the mirror?

Strengthen the individual. Start with yourself. Take care with yourself. Define who you are. Refine your personality. Choose your destination and articulate your being. – Jordan Peterson

READ THIS IF:

You want a blend of life advice with philosophy, history and all types of examples told in a meaningful way.

The Third Door by Alex Banayan

best books 2018I was standing there in Barnes and Noble (which is kind of my second home to be honest) when I saw the Third Door. And then I couldn’t put it down. Alex Banayan, who’s been on the show —has an incredible story of taking chances and putting himself on the line.

This allowed him to meet Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Steve Wozniak and countless others to distill the best advice on getting started with a career and a dream.

What caught me with this book was the powerful storytelling —combined with the raw enthusiasm jumping off the page. The premise is simple: in life, there are a few ways to operate:

One, we can do what everyone else does: waiting in line.
Two, we can be high rollers and VIP’s: we pay to skip the line.

But there’s also a third way: we can ditch the line altogether, reinvent the rules and play our own game to get what we want. This is the mindset of rebels, trailblazers and industry titans who chose to carve their own path, and The Third Door will inspire you to do the same.

If you actually want to make a difference in the world, if you want to live a life of inspiration, adventure, and wild success—you need to grab on to that exponential life—and hold on to it with all you’ve got. – Alex Banayan

READ THIS IF:

You’re wanting a page-turning adventure full of advice from some of the world’s best minds.

The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden

best books 2018If we want to launch a business, we need more motivation — right?
If we want to make more money, we need more motivation — right?
If we want to thrive in relationships, we need more motivation — right?

Wrong. This myth holds so many people back as they “wait” to feel like doing something, and if they’re not motivated…

They quit. This is why I loved The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden: we need more people who are dishing out the real advice around what it takes to succeed. Way too common is those who are relying on extrinsic motivation instead of choosing to create it every single day. Motivational videos are a dime a dozen, but can you execute on the days you want to stay in bed?

This core message is deeply in line with my work, and how I help people achieve results long term. Because if you think you always need motivation, you’ll miss out on the power of growing when you don’t feel like it.

The problem with waiting for motivation to strike is that it almost never comes with enough voltage to get you started. – Jeff Haden

READ THIS IF:

You’ve felt stuck relying on motivation to achieve your goals and dreams and need to get your power back.

Audience Of One by Srivinas Rao

best books 2018When we’re creating something —a message, our platform or any type of endeavor, we can get caught up in doing it for the wrong reasons. We can think we’re being selfless when we’re creating for others —but in Audience Of One, Srinivas Rao takes a different approach.

Using great stories of artists such as David Bowie, the book creates a compelling argument around creating for one person: ourselves. In other words, true creativity is found when we’re able to detach from others expectations and pour our heart and souls into the work.

One of the reasons I loved this book (along with his first one, How To Be Unmistakable) —the way the book is packaged and presented makes it an easy read.

The second half of the book acts like a “how to” on getting our creative work done in an ever distracted world. I was writing my next book when I read this and it helped me focus and re-center on what matters —and will do the same for you.

This includes great tips for focused work, using our environment and habits to shape our creativity and releasing the noise and pressure we so often put on ourselves.

We must learn to let go of our attachments and expectations if we’re going to derive satisfaction from our work and create art that we’re proud to put our signature on. – Srivinas Rao

READ THIS IF:

You’re feeling stuck creatively and spinning your wheels and/or can’t find the time to do the work you care about.

WILD Habits by Tara Mackey

best books 2018

Tara Mackey’s story is incredible: one of resilience, and overcoming adversity against all odds—including being put on 14 prescription drugs and choosing one day to quit.

Cold turkey.

Her podcast episode blew me away because of how she overcame a deeply troubling childhood to now inspire and empower women all over the world as a successful entrepreneur, author and CEO.

I’m always amazed at what people can create coming form having their back up against the wall. This is why I love bringing people on the Academy to dig into their stories, and show you it’s possible no matter what has happened.

Her second book, WILD Habits —is all about how to build this foundation for ourselves and step into who we really are. WILD stands for: willingness, intuition, love, and discipline.

In my coaching, I’ve found this acronym to be essential for not only achievement —but feeling inner freedom, peace and clarity. I especially love the inclusion of discipline which many people get wrong, to me it’s always been about not breaking promises to ourselves (and others.)

In short, your habits will determine the quality of your life, and if you and I can stack more powerful habits into our lives —the more likely we are to love our lives.

My habits used to get me in trouble, now my habits are building blocks that have shaped my life and helped me grow —responsible for every business achievement and my personal health and mental well being. – Tara Mackey

READ THIS IF:

You’re ready to get back to a place of deep alignment…and stop feeling stuck and like nothing is ever working.

The 1% Rule by Tommy Baker

best books 2018 tommy bakerWait, you’re going to promote your own book on this post!? Of course, because I believe in it. The 1% Rule was written for those who were tired of setting life-changing goals only to wake up a few weeks later with nothing to show for it but wasted enthusiasm.

Furthermore, I wanted to give people their power back. At the end of the day, the process is what makes you who you are, not the outcome. Any big outcome in life is momentary (and surprisingly anti-climatic.)

When you put something out into the world, you never know what’s going to happen. It’s been incredible to watch The 1% Rule impact so many people around the world and give them a blueprint to reverse engineer their success and believe in themselves and their dreams again.

When the what and the why are vivid, the how starts to reveal itself. – The 1% Rule

READ THIS IF:

You’re able to create a bold vision or goal(s) for your life —but lose all hope when you think of “HOW” to make those happen.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

When looking to change our behavior, we should stack a bunch of success habits on top of one another —right? Kind of. The problem with this approach is habit change takes time, and since our brains are wired for extreme efficiency —it becomes easy to revert back to normal.

best books 2018I consider Atomic Habits to be a more academic version of The 1% Rule, as we cover very similar topics. James Clear is a great writer and researcher who simplifies the complexities of behavioral change with topics such as making habits ridiculously easy, shifting your environment for success, and much more.

I loved the audio version of the book and finished it in a day. The book became a quick New York Times Bestseller, so that should tell you something.

What I love about it is the simplicity of say, tiny habits —why aiming to do 10 push-ups a day is better to create a fitness routine than starting CrossFit and doing 5 workouts a week.

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. – James Clear

READ THIS IF:

You want to put most of your successful decisions on auto-pilot and finally stick to behaviors long term.

A Tribe Called Bliss by Lori Harder

best books 2018One of the things I love doing is reading books intended for different target audiences. Why? Because I get to connect with other people who I seemingly have little in common with, and yet realize that’s not true at all.

This year, I’ve read more books intended for women than any other year: because I want to deepen my understanding of the unique challenges they go through, so I can do better too.

This includes how competitive women can be with one another, and feel isolated in their pursuits. Lori Harder flipped the script and in A Tribe Called Bliss, talks about why the old model isn’t working. It leaves women alone, frustrated and always in scarcity mode.

Recent research has shown the key to a successful marriage or partnership is each person has significant same-sex relationships they can lean on to share a safe space of trust and support. I’ve found this in my own life by surrounding myself with Men on similar paths.

No matter how much hope and validation you put on someone’s approval or a destination —those are not bliss. If bliss means getting things, permission, validation or reaching a destination, you’ll miss a lifetime full of it. – Lori Harder

READ THIS IF:

You’re feeling disconnected from having a support system or tribe and want to feel the power that comes from having a community of people who have your back.

This Is Marketing by Seth Godin

best books 2018Marketing. This vast world can be overwhelming, confusing and downright frightening —I know from experience of working with the biggest brands during my copywriting career. And if I’m being honest with you: I’m still trying to figure it all out.

Here’s the deal, though: marketing is the lifeblood of any business. You can be the best in the world —but if people don’t know about you, it’s going to be a matter of time until you’re forced to close up shop.

Enter Seth Godin, someone who has transformed my business life and view of marketing. His ideas, his thoughtful words and the way he challenges me to think deeper —are a complete gift. Classic books such as Tribes, Purple Cow and Linchpin are constantly on my must read lists.

This Is Marketing is another brilliant read, designed to empower you (instead of confuse you) to think bigger about your brand, product or service.

Marketers make change. We change people from one emotional state to another. We take people on a journey; we help them become the person they’ve dreamed of becoming, a little bit at a time. – Seth Godin

READ THIS IF:

You want to be empowered to understand marketing, influence and sharing your gifts with the world in an unconventional manner.

Living With The Monks by Jesse Itzler

best books 2018In a non-stop, microwavable, breaking news world —when do we ever stop? Everyone’s busy, you’ll rarely ask someone how they’re doing without them telling you about it. And yet, our personal satisfaction and connection seems to be at an all time low. Our obsession with smartphones means we’re connected externally, yet lacking something much deeper.

Enter Jesse Itzler, trailblazer, entrepreneur and full immersion author who felt burned out and chose to do something about it. But instead of taking a one day digital detox, he went to live with monks in upstate New York for two weeks. His writing is entertaining, fun and informative: it invites questions about our current routines and 24/7 connected culture.

I don’t know about you, but there are days I want to unplug. Living With The Monks becomes a trusted guide and reminder of what really matters —and how the world won’t end if you and I don’t check Instagram 47 times a day.

The power and temptations of the outside world are great. Train yourself from the distractions. They are the enemies of your goals. Learn to move past the distractions, and you will succeed. – Jesse Itzler

READ THIS IF:

You need a funny, riveting reminder of the power of unplugging —and know you need to create some space for yourself.

When by Daniel Pink

best books 2018Daniel Pink is one of my favorite authors on the topic of motivation and why we do what we do —and this is where When: The Scientific Secrets Of Perfect Timing comes in, his latest book.

Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down: it breaks down why timing matters more than we think, and how to use this as leverage for our behavior.

For example, the book breaks down daily timing —when you and I should be doing our most important tasks. Pink’s example of your chances of parole being much, much higher in the morning, than say —before lunch is fascinating. For me personally, it was a reminder to not be so hard on myself and maximize my focused time (with ruthless boundaries.)

I have incredible energy to start my day and choose to use it wisely on things like focused work, writing and what I call big rocks in business. But around 2PM, I start to feel an intense dip —this book reminded me this is normal, and what to do during this time.

It also reminded me of the power of taking intentional breaks to re-charge, as opposed to say, checking email and Instagram, why naps are amazing for us and why niners (29, 39, 49) are more likely to make life changing decisions before a new decade.

Afternoons are the Bermuda Triangles of our days. Across many domains, the trough represents a danger zone for productivity, ethics, and health. – Daniel Pink

READ THIS IF:

You’re having trouble getting your most important work done and want to learn how to leverage timing for big results in life and business.

The Best Self Development, Business and Personal Growth Books of 2018

There’s something for everyone in here, and that’s the point: sometimes, we need a book to spark a creative insight —and sometimes we simply need to be woken up.

If you weren’t able to read a ton this year, don’t fret. Start in 2019 with 10 pages a day, and use Audible and audiobooks to help you learn while on the road.

I’d love to hear from you: which books impacted you the most in 2018?

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Written by Tommy Baker.
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