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Breathe new life into your leadership with these five books

Dr. Christi Hegstad is a Certified Executive & Leadership Coach, president of the International Coach Federation Iowa, a Forbes Coaches Council member, and owner of MAP Professional Development Inc.

ASPIRE books 2016 - Gilbert Brown Cain Kay Shipman GroutI’ve read a number of outstanding books in 2016, many of which I’ve shared with you here. What proves even more transformational than reading, however, is talking about them with like-minded professionals and leaders. This year, the ASPIRE Success Club discussed several game-changing books, each providing a different perspective or sharing a new way of approaching a subject. I’ll highlight five of them to hopefully add to your must-read list!

If you need to expand your sense of possibility, shift to a positive mindset, and celebrate the joys in life, start with Dream Big by Pam Grout. With powerful examples of people living big, combined with practical action steps we all can implement, Grout offers a terrific springboard for living and working to your full potential. “You are not here to ‘get by,’ ” she writes. “You are here to create the good, the beautiful, and the holy.” Inspiring!

Need a boost of confidence? Katty Kay and Claire Shipman offer ideas in spades with The Confidence Code. They seek wisdom from both psychology and neuroscience experts as well as leaders in all types of settings – politics, sports, the military, the arts and more – to uncover the keys to confidence. The big takeaway? “Action separates the timid from the bold.” Step out of your comfort zone and take action.

Whether you consider yourself an introvert or live, work or partner with one, Quiet by Susan Cain is a true game-changer. This book transformed my interactions, gave me a new understanding of how people communicate, and finally explained why I test the way I do on personality assessments! I consider this a must-read for leaders, teachers and anyone wanting to help others reach their full potential.

If you read Brene Brown’s excellent book Daring Greatly, you learned about the power of vulnerability and shining the light on shame and fear. Rising Strong took it up a notch and left many of us with tears in our eyes but completely committed to living stronger, fuller lives. “Integrity,” writes Brown, “is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.” Powerful.

We closed out the year discussing Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, which busts the door open on fear and reminds us that we are all creative, whether we’re sculpting or spreadsheeting or changing diapers. One of this book’s most valuable lessons involves Gilbert’s insistence that we create for the sake of creating, not for any external validation. “I can only be in charge of producing the work itself,” she shares. “That’s a hard enough job. I refuse to take on additional jobs, such as trying to police what anybody thinks about my work once it leaves my desk.” Create your art, do your best, put it out into the world, then detach.

Christi Hegstad headshot horizontal w leaves sun cropped - FB personalIf you’ve felt stifled, stuck or suffering from a case of the “same old, same old,” these books will breathe fresh air into your work, leadership and life. What book have you read this year that’s changed your thoughts or approach? Add to our ever-growing reading lists by sharing your picks in the comments below!

Christi Hegstad, Ph.D., helps you bring meaning to work and purpose to life! Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all @ChristiHegstad.

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