Bonnie Marcus on: 3 Reads to a Well-Rounded Self
“I’m always looking to learn more. Not only to better myself, but also to be more knowledgeable on the subjects that I coach women on, such as navigating the realities of the workplace, building trust and influence, as well as mastering the art of self promotion.”
Bonnie Marcus, M.ED. is a Forbes Magazine writer, radio talk-show host and President of Women’s Success Coaching. Her book, The Politics of Promotion: How High Achieving Women Get Ahead and Stay Ahead comes out March 23, 2015 and we’re celebrating by looking back at the three reads Bonnie credits for helping her become a more well-rounded person, both professionally and personally.
BY BONNIE MARCUS AS TOLD TO MELISSA BRAZIER
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle, 1999
STRUCTURED AS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS, THIS SELF-HELP BOOK (A STAPLE ON OPRAH’S NIGHTSTAND), HAS BECOME ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL SPIRITUAL GUIDES OF OUR TIME. TOLLE EXPLORES SPIRITUAL AWAKENING NOT BY IMAGINING A BRIGHT AND HAPPY LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL, BUT BY ENCOURAGING US TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT.
This book was both humbling and empowering. Before reading it, I expended so much energy focusing on events that had already happened or worrying about things in the future. When I left the corporate world to start my own business, for example, I had a lot of doubts that weren’t based on anything more than my own fears. I was getting lost in my own mess and this book gave me perspective. I learned to tune out my own mental noise, which was usually negative chatter that held me back from investing 100% of my energy and passion into my new venture, and as the author says: you are not your mind, just focus on the present. Focusing on the successes of each day was the best way to overcome these fears and self-doubt. I learned to embrace that there are things I can’t control, and sometimes I need to just accept what is. This approach to spirituality has also helped me professionally. Being more present allows me to truly listen to the women I interview on my radio show and the clients that I coach. Women are great multi-taskers and we are used to, for instance, having a phone conversation while checking emails, Facebook, or Twitter. I listen with no distractions and with a total focus on the conversation. I also make a conscious effort not to think about what I am going to say next, but rather really listen to what the other person is saying or trying to say.
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz, 1997
A SHAMANIC TEACHER AND HEALER, RUIZ OFFERS A CONDUCT, ALSO KNOWN AS THE FOUR AGREEMENTS: 1. BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORDS, 2. DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY, 3. DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS, AND 4. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST.
When I went back to school in 2006 to become a certified executive life coach, this book was part of the curriculum. If everyone lived by these four agreements, we would be in a much different place in this world. For me, the lessons in this book are simple, but not that easy to do. It has helped me tremendously as a coach to develop the skills of asking questions and active listening. I’m still really working on agreements #2 (don’t take anything personally) and #3 (don’t make assumptions). There has been quite a bit of research showing that women do take things very personally in the workplace and this can sometimes act as a barrier to being seen as a potential leader. To help overcome that, my best advice for the women I coach is before reacting to a situation, stop and remind yourself that in business it’s rarely about you. Do whatever you need to do to take an emotional break before you react: go for a quick walk outside, go to the restroom, go sit in your car. After reading this book and doing my best to live the four agreements myself, I can help the women I coach and train work through and master some of them, too.
When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women From 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins, 2009
AN EXAMINATION OF WOMEN’S HISTORY, INCLUDING MAJOR POLITICAL AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, AS WELL AS THE RARELY-SPOKEN-OF, DAILY EXPERIENCES RECOUNTED BY WOMEN WHO LIVED IT.
Interested in reading more about the history of women’s advancement? Here’s A Look Back At 20 Years of Women’s Advancement.
I initially wanted to read this book because of my work with women. It was such a wake up call for me about what a journey it has been for women, and in particular my mother’s generation. For example: I had no idea that until the 1960s a woman needed her husband to get a credit card. Moreover, it’s hard for me to imagine the world without birth control because of how it has fundamentally changed women’s relationships. These women were smart and talented, and there was simply no outlet for that. It also gave me a perspective on the feminist movement and how it changed from when it initially started to what we consider feminism today. I am tremendously passionate about the advancement of women, and this book really fuelled that passion. I wish I could give this book to all Gen X and Y women.
Looking for more recommended reads? Check out: 3 Reads to Help Keep Perspective.