That's My Jam - The Fire Starter Sessions

A few weeks ago I was in Barnes & Nobles browsing tech magazines as I often do and my eye caught a book on the shelf called The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms.

I read the description of the book 

The Fire Starter Sessions is the permission slip you’ve been waiting for — to fully want what you want and go for it, to expand your consciousness and your cash flow, to up the ante on your dreams, to be incredibly generous with your love.

This is a modern-day pep talk and soul-centered Q&A for people ready to shine brighter than they ever have.And after these straight-talking sermons and burning questions about your truest desires — from career to relationships — you’ll be clear that the only permission you need to shine … is your own.


and then I looked inside and saw that that some pages look like this  - - - -

so I bought the book immediately, and drove home to start reading it. I have been engulfed in the book since. It is actually the primary reason I haven't blogged in awhile - I have been spending my free time working on it. Yes, working on the book. It is not a book that you just sit down and read. The book is divided into sessions that are written in a conversational voice and thus it reads like a series of motivational talks. The author, Danielle Laporte, has a video and worksheet to go with each session here.  So when you read a session you can then watch the video and complete the worksheet, I am still working through many of them.  Here is a workbook you can download and work through the questions if you are interested in seeing what it is like. 

It is one of those books that every time I read a session again, I get something different out of it and think that everyone will take away different tidbits. I have learned so much by working through this book on time management, managing/making money, self-promotion, working on my business etc. Instead of summarizing or reviewing the book and trying to capture all it has to offer, I thought I would share three of my major takeaways I have been working on the past few days. 

1. How do you want to feel?

This is the piece of the book that I have reflected on the most. Danielle discusses that when setting goals, start with setting a goal on how you want to feel then make strategic goals to align with those feelings. I am still reflecting on what I want to feel because it is such a difficult question for me to answer. She suggests narrowing down the feelings you strive for to 3-5 and working towards though which is what I am currently doing. I have the feelings Creative & Authentic nailed down but need to to choose my others. She has a core desired feelings library here that helps you pick feelings you want to feel by defining them. 

Luckily I just bought her most recent book The Desire Map to help with that. Here is a video of Danielle talking about this topic.


2. Balance is a myth 

I have always felt guilty about the lack of balance in my life. I have never really had it and admired people who did.  This book made me realize that if I am working on pursuing a goal and really want to achieve it, it's okay if that is where I put the majority of my time. #GuiltFree 

3. Your Cocktail Line 

I have been struggling with the concept that I am done with school and figuring out the next steps in my career and life. When I go to an event or meet to new people I dread the question of "What do you do?" It is easy to just say "I am a school psychologist" but I do not like defining myself that way and feel that is really 1/10 of what I do. This book helped me craft a "cocktail line" that describes what I do for what, what I am working on, and how I spend my time. I have used it a few times this week and it has made me feel empowered. I also found that it has helped me with networking because when describing what I really do I have connected with others in terms of interests and future opportunities.  

Here is Danielle reading Session 12 to give you a taste. If you are into this and want to get the book and start a Fire Starter Session group let me know!


That's My Jam - David & Goliath Theory

Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors and storytellers. I actually require all of my Introduction to Psychology students read his book  Outliers which discusses his theory on success. So I was beyond excited to read his new book that just came out in October,  David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. I finished reading it last week and love the theory and book and wanted to recommend to all of you. The video below is Gladwell discussing the battle of David and Goliath. This story is traditionally referred to as a story of the underdog winning. Gladwell talks about how David was not in fact an underdog, he just appeared to be one in size up against a giant. But he fought differently which is overlooked.


The book provides interesting stories about how something we see as an advantage can actually be a disadvantage, such as growing up wealthy. (It is more difficult to learn the value of hard work at a young age when you have money).  It also talks about how a seeming disadvantage can be an advantage such as having dyslexia. (When you have trouble reading you have to master other skills such as listening). Perhaps in some ways having a difficulty can be desirable?  

Gladwell also discusses, with specific examples and research, why it is good to be a big fish in a little pond. For example, if you are studying science at an Ivy League university and constantly compare yourself to the best students in that big pond you may stop studying science because you feel you are not good enough compared to those that are the best. But with those same skills,  at a less prestigious university, you would feel better than other students and thus be more likely to stay with science. This book contains fascinating stories of history and tales on 'ordinary' people. It touches on the limits of power and how destruction can make people stronger. I found myself constantly highlighting and reflecting on my own life when reading this book. Thinking about the times and situations where I feel like a misfit and the underdog, this book helped me think about how those feelings and situations can actually help me progress forward, which is pretty inspiring.

#Eureka - Live a Good Story

On my plane ride to LA, I read a book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story. The theme of the WLC conference I attended this summer was #myHOBYstory. After the conference I realized that the theme was based off this Donald Miller book which is why I read it. The book was not my favorite book of all time; I didn't particularly enjoy the writing style of Miller or agree with some of the more religious commentary. However, the message of this book has really stuck with me  which is why I wanted to share and recommend it to others.

In the book, Miller writes about the process of making his life into a movie and how a good movie has good stories. The screenwriters started making up stories for his movie because his life until that point was not an interesting enough story. So Miller, decided to take more risks and challenge himself to do more fun, exciting things with the idea that they would make good stories. While attempting to life a life filled with good stories, he became healthier, happier and more fulfilled. Miller gives lots of examples of other people who live interesting stories which was my favorite part of the book. Some of the stories were big ideas like inviting world leaders to a sleepover to talk about peace. Others were small, like a father who put on a suit when his daughter tried on her prom dress for him and then they danced all night and took pictures - a much more memorable and fun experience than her just trying on the dress to show him and then taking it off.

This book made me reflect on the story that I want my life to tell. Turning 28 last week was hard for me because I always thought by now I would be doing something big and be on some "Thirty under Thirty" list for one of my ideas or projects . I have longed for an interesting life and felt that I have fallen short thus far.  I have been in a rut, trying to essentially figure out what I want my story to be and how to get there.  This book made me realize that my life can be an interesting story in a variety of ways and not just because of what my day gig is. It also made me reflect more about how I can make everyday moments more special and be a good story.  If you are interested in this quick, inspiring read, you can buy the book on amazon here, the kindle edition was only $4.99 when I got it.