Caught Between a Dream and a Job (revisited)

Default CoverHAVE YOU EVER FELT like you are at a point in your life where you just want more out of it? You may or may not be content with your current career choice, but there’s something inside that just keeps nagging deep within your spirit.  CAUGHT BETWEEN A DREAM AND A JOB: How to Leave the 9-5 Behind and Step into the Life You’ve Always Wanted by Delatorro McNeal II may just be the inspiration you need to motivate you to get serious right now.

ARE YOU THINKING or have you thought about owning your own business, but haven’t done it yet? Are you afraid of failing? Don’t know where to start and dread having to read one more self-help book? Well, before you throw in the towel,  read this book. It might just be what you need to motivate you.  Some of the examples are:

  • Identifying your destiny and purpose, and the need for a transition.
  • Hiring yourself and landing your real dream job.
  • Tips for stepping powerfully into your dreams.

THE GOAL OF THIS BOOK is no different from any other, but it is the infectious energy  leaping from each page that sets it apart from others, making it a worthy reading option.  Do the work, look within, and have the courage to ask yourself the hard question – “How badly do I want this?” Then put all of those good ideas into action?

CHANGE IS NEVER EASY but the rewards of your leap of faith can be as vast as you want it to be. What’s your game plan? What’s your plan of action? What’s your exit strategy? All these questions and more are addressed and/or answered. Mr. McNeal invites and reminds you to be an active participant in your future.

THOUGHTS for your SOUL:

  • “Nothing in life is guaranteed, but one thing is; if you don’t try you will fail, it’s about taking risks.”
  • “When the social archeologists of tomorrow look back on the days of yesteryear and find your footprint, what story will it tell? What social imprint will you make? What will your legacy be?” – Jason Drenner
  • “The self-employed are the wealthy folks of America. The average net worth of a family where the head of a household works for someone else is $65,000. When it comes to the self-employed, the average net worth is $352,3000.” – Dr. Steve Sjuggerud
  • There will be 10 million new millionaires in the United States alone created between 2006-2016. Prime candidates are those people who are in direct selling, technology, in home-based business, product distribution, or wellness field.” – Paul Zane Pilzer, Economist, Trend Forecaster and best-selling author of The Next Millionaires.

Delatorro McNeal shares his personal testimony, of how he systematically worked to make that transition. The advice is practical, timely and pertinent, as well as structured to walk you through the process. Each of the best practices are explained in detail, with an inspirational quote to keep you focused. He invites and encourages you to be an active participant in your future. To do that you have to be open, take notes, highlight poignant passages, WRITE your answers down and reflect. CAUGHT BETWEEN A DREAM AND A JOB is jam-packed with suggestions. . . You just have to have the courage to step out on faith. By the end of the book, you are convinced that your dreams are possible . . . If you have the courage to pursue them and it starts with the step you take today!

This review may differ slightly from the original January 8, 2014 post.

Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates CAUGHT BETWEEN A DREAM AND A JOB as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pgs) . . . Just the right mixture of content and pages

 

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Nonsense

nonsense

How do you make sense, handle ambiguity, or embrace uncertainty? We make decisions everyday without having all the information we need – or even know that we need. NONSENSE: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes explores how being able to “deal with what we don’t understand” affects how we manage uncertainty in our daily lives. For some, decision-making is simple and clear cut. For others it is an agonizing process.

In an increasingly complex, unpredictable world, what matters most isn’t IQ, willpower, or confidence in what we know [but rather] how we deal with what we don’t understand.” Life is not what it seems and the author painstakingly presents examples that expose out human weaknesses, our humanity or lack thereof. For example, too many doctors over test their patients with ambiguous (or unnecessary) tests, mainly to avoid potential lawsuits.

NONSENSE is a book that examines what we do “when the information we need to make sense of an experience seems to be missing, too complex, or contradictory . . .[because] this is where ambiguity resides.” The examples are too many to cite, but after a few chapters a pattern emerges, you start to see things often taken for granted from another perspective. As a reader, there are plenty of obvious opportunities to experience epiphanies  . . . only if you know they exist.

Thoughts for your Soul:

  • When our need for closure is high we tend to revert to stereotypes, jump to conclusions, and deny contradictions.”
  • “New ways of seeing aren’t necessarily clearer ways of seeing, and sometimes, the illusion of knowing is more dangerous than not knowing at all.”
  • “Urgently fixating on certainty is our defense mechanism against the unknown and unstable. However, what we need in turbulent times is adaptability and calculated reevaluation.”

NONSENSE disappointed me not because the book wasn’t good, but because it wasn’t as engaging as I had hoped – sometimes the examples/stories were dry as toast!  The book reminded me of the Malcolm Gladwell books (but they were more engaging) and I believe NONSENSE would have been more interesting if I had not read them first. With that being said, I learned a lot of “NONSENSE” facts and information that helped me connect some ambiguous dots.

If you are looking for a book to take on a trip, snuggle up with in a cozy chair, etc. this is not the book. However, if you like knowing what makes people tick, “what happens when we’re confused and the path forward isn’t obvious” then this is the book for you. NONSENSE may not change the way you make decisions, but it will change how you approach the decision-making process . . . you will probably not look at things the same way again.

Disclaimer: BONDing over Books received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review

Power Surge

powersurge The world has changed faster than the church, and now it is time for the church to catch up and learn to speak and act in ways that the world can understand.” The ways of old are no longer sufficient to draw people to church. POWER SURGE: Six Marks of Discipleship For a Changing Church by Michael W. Foss provides his opinion on how churches can make the transition easy.

Although POWER SURGE is written for the leaders of the church, it is applicable to everyone in the church because it touches on many aspects of church governance. For some, it is a reminder of what the role of a church “leader/visionary” should be.

POWER SURGE focuses on the obstacles that hinder growth, such as attitudes of entitlement, lack of knowledge, stubbornness, etc. Unfortunately, many church leaders are managers who maintain the status quo rather than take a risk and step out on faith who are responsible for making decisions that will shape the future of their church. The author outlines six critical marks of leadership to help us understand the process:

  1.  Leading From Faith – “[Leaders] should recapture the spiritual roots of their calling.”
  2. Seeing and Casting the Vision – “No matter what a leader’s vision might be, it must be capable of capturing the hearts and wills of those who follow.”
  3. Contextualizing the Vision – “To place the vision firmly and realistically within the community’s context . . . The passion of the vision is achieved when the leader entrusts it to the whole community.”
  4. Aligning the Congregation to the Vision – “Making a personal commitment to spiritual growth with spiritual integrity as an up front requirement, and change the culture of a large organization through the power of a new vision.”
  5. Continually Communicating the Vision – “Keep repeating the vision and inspiring those who follow to embrace it . . . Leaders all too frequently under-communicate the vision.”
  6. Change Management – “Manage change through continued implementation because the natural resistance to change does not go away simply because change has been introduced.”

All of the plans, strategies, and programs don’t make a difference if you don’t have a product to sell (think about the vision). The wisdom shared is relatable, applicable, whether reading POWER SURGE individually or as a group, it does not make you more religious, hopefully it will make you and you fellow members more empowered.

THOUGHTS For Your SOUL:

  • There is a “High percentage of north american adults who nominally claim to be Christian but whose beliefs have little or no power to shape their lives, let alone add value or significance to their families and communities.
  • “Failure and conflict are harsh teachers, but they are teachers. The key is to not get stuck in them but to learn from them and get back to work.”
  • “Biblical and theological integrity demands that we make our positions clear.”
  • “Persistence is the Siamese twin of courage. Perseverance will overcome great barriers and outlast strong opposition.”

I enjoyed reading POWER SURGE and before you dismiss it as just another “church” book, read it with an open mind because it offers fresh ways of approaching ministry. It reminded me that there is very little difference between the governance of church and running a company. Both revolve around power, control, and while the intentions are admirable, the tendency still leans towards maintaining the status quo and slow to embrace change. While on the other hand, many church leaders crave and relish power/control and don’t want to give it up.

Whether impulsive or cautious, we are still accountable for the change we seek. How can you hold someone to a standard you are not willing to hold yourself to?

Let’s BOND Over BOOKS rates POWER SURGE as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pgs) . . . Just the right mixture of content and pages.

Disclaimer – Permission granted from Augsburg Fortress Publishers.

JumpStart Your Leadership

Default CoverSOME PEOPLE WANT TO BE A LEADER, others are comfortable to be a follower, so how does a follower make the successful leap to a leader? Each day there are opportunities to step up and lead or stay in step and follow. JUMPSTART YOUR LEADERSHIP: A 90-Day Improvement Plan by John C. Maxwell can help you prepare for the leap to the next level.

WE ALL HAVE OUR OWN PERCEPTION of what a good leader “looks” like and who a leader should be. But we can easily state what and who a bad or ineffective leader looks like. “Everyone has the potential to become a better leader,” but it takes patience, commitment, work, and attitude to make it happen. Change is never easy, but the reward is well worth the work.

YOU CAN’T LEAD IF NO ONE WILL FOLLOW and you won’t be an effective leader if your followers don’t respect or trust you. The ability to lead is important in the workplace and let’s be honest, the stereotype of a leader is typically a man, not a woman. Influence is an important factor and everyone has the ability to influence somebody. “Because leadership is influence, if you can increase your influence with others, you can lead more effectively.”

JUMPSTART YOUR LEADERSHIP MAKES NO DISTINCTION about whether a man or a woman would make a better or more effective leader. However, it does provide a platform where everyone has the same opportunity and exposure for their professional development. John Maxwell calls leadership a journey and he has been passionate about sharing what he knows about leadership and has influenced quite a number of people along the way.

IN THIS HIGHLY COMPETITIVE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT preparation is the key to seizing any opportunity and to show people that you deserve the responsibility you have received. Mr. Maxwell had six questions he asked himself that are worth sharing:

THOUGHTS for your SOUL:

  1. What is a leader?”
  2. “How should I define leadership?”
  3. “Where does leadership start?”
  4. “What should I do first?”
  5. “How can I increase my influence with others?”
  6. “How can I develop a productive team?”
  7. “How can I keep getting better as a leader?”

HOW MUCH ARE YOU WILLING TO INVEST IN YOURSELF? JUMPSTART YOUR LEADERSHIP uses a 90-Day daily journal template along with inspirational quotes, brief lessons, reflective questions, spaces to write down your responses and provide clarity of thought and action. The goal of the author is for you to start where you are to develop into a better leader by preparing today for tomorrow’s opportunities.

THERE ARE NO SURPRISES with any self-help book and a common thread throughout the book is commitment and practice . . . Remember, practice does not make perfect it makes better! A good way to practice is to read the entire book (it is relatively short and can be read in two hours) then go back and read it daily for the next 90 days. Partner with a co-worker, mentor or friend and take 5 to 15 minutes a day to discuss, support, encourage, challenge one another and hold each other accountable. Good luck!!!

Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates JUMPSTART YOUR LEADERSHIP as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pgs) . . . Just the right mixture of content and pages.

Spiritual Sobriety

Spiritual SobrietyAS WITH ANY OTHER ADDICTION, my overzealous religious practice came with a dark side.” Elizabeth Esther chronicles her journey as a religious addict and her road back to recovery in SPIRITUAL SOBRIETY: Stumbling Back to Faith When Good Religion Goes Bad.

RAISED IN A HIGHLY RELIGIOUS FAMILY, which she compared to a cult, Elizabeth Esther learned at an early age how to overindulge in the Spirit of the Lord. Through this behavior, she conditioned herself to have (what she described) an unhealthy attitude towards God. Later in life, as well as during the times she was in recovery Elizabeth discovered she was “Using God, a church, or a belief system” to measure her self-worth.

FOR ELIZABETH being a religious addict meant she had a hard time saying “no.” No, to the rituals, the attention, the euphoria she experienced when she praised God or did His work. No different from what any other addict would face, “There was the uncomfortable, sometimes painful letdown once the spiritual high wore off.”

MUCH OF HER RECOVERY PARALLELS other recovery programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Addicts Anonymous, as well as church-based support groups. She joined many support groups and pointed out that she could “Be more honest in nonreligious support groups because I wasn’t worried about tarnishing my good-Christian-girl reputation.”

THOUGHTS for your SOUL:

  • A process becomes an addiction when the process becomes the center of life, the most important reason for living, when a person becomes dependent upon the process for mood-altering relief.” – Robert Neil Minor
  • Imagination is a tool that helps us change things while fantasy is a distraction that prevents us from accepting the things we can’t change.”

MS. ESTHER TOOK ONE DAY AT A TIME and found a way to experience peace in her life. Her path included the importance of boundaries because “Without them, our vulnerabilities become liabilities and we are often left feeling used and discarded.”  She spoke with courage from her heart. However, SPIRITUAL SOBRIETY read like a series of journal entries or blog posts and missed the opportunity to be a landmark resource for Religious Addicts.

THOUGH IT’S NEVER EASY to expose your vulnerabilities, Ms. Esther showed hers. Words have the power to change lives and if this book helps one person, then it was worth reading. “Whatever your situation, surrender. Get help if you need it. Face your reality and become spiritually sober.”

Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates SPIRITUAL SOBRIETY as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pgs) . . . Just the right mixture of content and pages.

Disclaimer: BONDing for BOOKS received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

The Art of People

ArtOfPeopleHOW WELL DO YOU UNDERSTAND PEOPLE, how well can you communicate with people, and how well can you get people to do what you want them to do?” At some point in your adult life, (whether personal or professional) one or all of these questions have crossed your mind. THE ART OF PEOPLE: 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want  by Dave Kerpen gives you the road map to fine tune your people skills.

WE LIVE IN A WORLD where many people are starving for attention and connection. Bombarded daily with “man-made emergencies” and the need for “immediate answers,” it seems people have forgotten, don’t know how, or can’t communicate effectively. Today the stakes are higher and consequences of missed or lost opportunities long-lasting. We live in a self-centered society and have to find a way to stand apart from the crowd.

HAVING SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE SKILLS means that you take learning or honing these skills seriously. To get started Mr. Kerpen recommends you take the Enneagram (similar to the DiSC assessment or Myers-Briggs) provided in Appendix A of the book. The more you know about who you are, the easier it is to communicate with others. The Enneagram identifies four personality types: People-Pleaser, People-Leader, People-Guru, People-Persuader. Once identified you can work on enhancing your strengths and improving your weaknesses.

THOUGHTS for your SOUL:

  • Always accept the glass of water . . . Even if you’re not thirsty, take the drink.” – Tip 13
  • Don’t let one unkind word destroy years of praise . . . Praise is powerful, contagious, and totally inspirational.” – Tip 48
  • Make Time Your Friend . . . You can prioritize only a limited number of relationships in your life at work and at home.” – Tip 30

ELEVEN PEOPLE SKILLS and 53 simple, yet effective tips (techniques) provide the outline. Dave Kerpen weaves stories from his personal and business experiences to narrate in this clear, practical, easy-to-read book. Whether you are shy or a social butterfly there is a techniques/tip for you.

THE ART OF PEOPLE will challenge you to think beyond your circumstance; to move and act on what you have read. Implementing these tips will get you out of your comfort zone. Communication is the key that unlocks the secrets of networking. After all, “You can’t achieve happiness or success in a vacuum; it all hinges on the bonds you build with the people around you.” Any one or all of these tips could be the game-changer.

editor's choiceLet’s BOND over BOOKS  rates  THE ART OF PEOPLE  as  MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pgs) . . . just the right mixture of content and pages.

Disclaimer: BONDing over BOOKS received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.