When I was in college, I was introduced to a kind of learning that involved reading concepts each night, then applying them to actual human beings the following day. Reading all of the sudden became a tool that opened the door of possibilities and less of a bore as I used to think of it.
After I graduated and started Maria Fitnezz, a friend recommended a book that she thought might help me with some structure in being an entrepreneur… little did she know that would turn into now 28 books 2 years later. I’d actually go as far as the fact that I enjoy reading more than watching TV. It’s how I begin everyday as part of my morning routine to start the day off right!
I haven’t loved them all. A few stick out in my memory more than others, so today I’ll highlight the top 4, why I loved them, and how they actually helped me become a better business woman. The one thing that all of these books have in common is the authors are incredibly strong story tellers. I don’t like fact based books, I like to hear a story that can help me spark ideas in my own life to write about or try out.
If you‘re fairly new here, know that above all I LOVE The Untethered Soul and The Last Lecture. As to not repeat myself since I’ve wrote about them before, I chose 4 different ones even though those 2 will always have a special place in my heart.
The Business Boutique
This was the very first non fiction, personal development book that has stuck with me since the start. The author Christy Wright works for Dave Ramsey, and branched off into her own movement of education and encouragement specifically for women business owners. Christy opens the book with the story of how her single mom owned a cake shop where she found her roots in entrepreneurship. She includes personal stories, lessons she’s learned, and the book was such a blast to read! She actually hosts events now, as well to support her concepts shared in the book.
This book helped me begin my visual branding in late 2017. I got a freelancer to design a beautiful website and logo, one of my best friends took some professional pictures of me for the site/social media, and I was dipping my toe in the water of what would later become the colors associated with the One Ray Journal branding.
I read this book just last month on our trip to North Carolina, even though it had been on my list since last year. The author, James Clear, shares a shocking personal story at the very beginning to lay the foundation of how important taking his daily habits seriously became. He then did an extensive amount of research to make the book both entertaining and factual with science-based evidence. One example is that my boyfriend always says this phrase he made up years ago before we leave an environment “Phone, keys, wallet, ID – that is all i need for me.” His friends say it, our co workers started saying it, and in Atomic Habits, James talks about how we sharpen our memory by association or things that rhyme or a story.
What Atomics Habits did for me was reaffirm the importance of planning / writing down ahead of time how we want our day to look and the habits that will take place (hello the whole basis of One Ray). It also taught me that when developing a habit you are trying to stick to, it’s best to do the habit for a shorter period of time than you intend as to not overdo it so you’ll be more likely to show up for it tomorrow (for example, going to the gym for only 5 minutes x 6 days, then 10 minutes x 6 days, then 15 minutes just to practice showing up for yourself as once you can do that, the workout becomes the easy part). It makes a lot of sense and I’ve found it to be super helpful in developing habits that are temporarily uncomfortable, more specifically getting up early, drinking turmeric, working out, and writing a piece of content everyday.
I’m still reading this one actually, but I wanted to include it though because it falls in the same category as The Untethered Soul. Gabby Bernstein was featured in one of my Sunrise emails doing her Oprah Super Soul speech “The Universe Has Your Back.” If you haven’t seen it, find it on YouTube to get a feel for her style of communicating.
Super Attractor basically helps anyone beginner or advanced strength their spiritual connections (God, Universe, Source, etc.) She helps you realize 1. The power that your thoughts hold over how your life unfolds 2. How to get out of your own head and not overthink so much 3. How to feel better mentally about day to day life- self confidence, work duties, visualizing, goal setting, etc.
What Gabby’s book has taught me is how careful and intentional I have to be about my thoughts pertaining to my future. The more we give life to negative situations (dwelling on them, talking about them with every person we meet, etc) the more it will be happening in our lives. Now I’m not at all saying intentional thinking is the end all be all because putting this practice into action is the key to making it come true, but the more we think about something, the more energy is attracted toward it to bring it to life. For example, 2019 was the year that I wanted to make friends in the wellness industry of other entrepreneurs. I didn’t know that in praying and visualizing that, that I’d be booked solid every single weekend of Oct-Dec with social events and a new set of contacts for amazing people that have crossed my path. Now, let me be clear- this wasn’t me creepily reaching out to them. How this looked for me exactly was praying on this “Genuine friendships are important in my life” that helped me strengthen current friendships and when I would Google events to be a vendor at, the events that popped up all happened to be hosted by people that started as associates and gradually turned into genuine friends (not forced, networking, “how can you help me” type of thing that feels awkward and uncomfortable). Also, at each event I did this year, 1 or 2 people crossed my table who then go on to open some major doors for me that I couldn’t possibly do myself.
To bring this concept down to earth, the more I thought about making real friends, the more I was pushed to get out of my temporary comfort zone and show up to events even thought sometimes I’d rather be at home.
Okay, business-wise, this book helped me the most this past year. For those who don’t know, Sophia Amoruso is a powerhouse entrepreneur. She started her vintage clothing brand, Nasty Gal, by shopping at the thrift store, selling vintage items on eBay, and shipping it to people’s houses. She has expanded immensely now and wrote about all of her mistakes and successes. She even started a networking site (similar concept to Linked In) for women in business.
What I LOVE about this book, is while she lives a fancy life in LA now, the book is so relatable to anyone of any financial status about how she began. She shows how she did as much as she could for free and really gives a concrete roadmap for someone who wants to start a business or side hustle on a lean budget (which I think is everybody lol). She’s very real in the book, stating how she worked super long hours and sacrificed a social life because she had to make it work with what she had or she wouldn’t be able to buy herself groceries. Sophia’s writing style is also a little crude, something that I think brings writing to life as if she were speaking (but just an fyi if that’s not your thing).
I posted the link to each book on Amazon below each section, but you can also read them on your Apple device or snag them from the library. Enjoy and let me know your thoughts if you read any of these 4 books. 🙂
*Photo by: Paul Schafer