I have been so overwhelmed by all of the love and support you have shown me over the past week! I have had a lot of affirming conversations, and one of the most surprising things I have found is how many people are looking back at their life, wishing they had taken a risk. Overnight, I have also become a type of secret confidant. I have loved listening to other people share with me what their big dreams are – from music, to travel, to bakeries! It has been so inspiring.
I am here to tell you, it is never too late to take that risk and follow your heart, whether it’s learning a new skill or hobby, traveling, going back to school, starting your own business, or all of the above. For those of you who know me at all, you know that I love reading and have been studying up over the last few months. Today I am sharing seven books that I have read, or are on my bookshelf to read, that will inspire you to be vulnerable, dream big, have courage, and take that leap of faith.
Apparently, Brené Brown has been big for a while, but I just got the memo. I actually stumbled upon her audio course The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection and Courage after my breakup a few months back. I had all of those after breakup thoughts going through my head…will I ever be able to be vulnerable again? Was I not vulnerable enough? Was he not vulnerable enough? All of that fun stuff.
So, I downloaded the course on Audible and Oh. My. Goodness. What I got was not what I expected, and I mean that in the best way possible. Brené challenges your thoughts on vulnerability in every aspect of your life, and how, without it, we forego joy, belonging, authenticity, creativity, and love. By embracing vulnerability, we invite purpose and meaning into our lives. I have not yet started her latest book, Daring Greatly, but it’s on my Nook ready to go.
2. Let’s All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have by Annie Downs
Annie Downs doesn’t know it yet, but one day she and I are going to be the best of friends. At least that’s how I felt after reading her book. I feel like she is a kindred spirit: loves working with kids, wants to travel, loves to write. We are pretty much soul sisters.
We picked Annie’s book, Let’s All Be Brave, to read in our Bible Study group about a year ago and I loved it. It’s a quick and easy read and one of the first to get me thinking about what I was most afraid of and how to overcome it. Annie challenges you to live boldly even when it is terrifying.
I haven’t started In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars quite yet, but it’s on my summer reading list. I have several of his books waiting to be read on my Nook, including The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fearsand Chase the Lion: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You, It’s Too Small.
Throughout In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars, Batterson explores the regret of the risks not taken within a biblical framework. The book is inspired by 2 Samuel 23:20-21 and encourages you to chase the opportunities –or lions- that God puts in your path. I am so excited to read ALL of his books over the summer!
I was perusing the shelves at the used bookstore in town a few weeks back, and I stumbled upon I Am That Girl and bought it immediately. Upon doing some digging, I found that the author, Alexis Jones, is AWESOME! She is 33 years old and not only wrote a book about discovering your purpose, but LIVES what she wrote about. Alexis’ book is named after her nonprofit of the same name, I Am That Girl, which helps girls turn self-doubt into self-love.
I could go on and on, but you should probably just go + check out their website and read her book. I’m only a couple of chapters in, but am loving her positive energy and enthusiasm about speaking your own truth and dreaming big.
5. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
I first heard about Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest novel, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, on a fellow blogger’s Instagram account and knew immediately that I had to read it. I love Gilbert’s unique outlook on what creativity means.
Creative living isn’t just quitting your job and traveling the world (which it can be if that’s what you want), but more about spending every day doing the thing that makes you feel alive inside….and that may mean you’re not making a dime doing it! I highly suggest this book if you feel like you’re in a rut and need some thoughtful insight on how to get out.
6. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss
When I was first dreaming up this trip, my friend Amy told me that I just had to read The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. My brother had mentioned this same book to me several years ago, but at the time I was thinking….yeah, I’m a teacher, that’s not gonna work for me. But with new dreams in the back of my mind + two different recommendations, I decided it was time for a read. I inhaled this book, finishing it in just two days.
In this step-by-step guide, Tim Ferriss gives you all of the tools you need to live a location independent lifestyle NOW, instead of waiting years and years for retirement to come. This book is invaluable. There were some portions of the book that didn’t apply to me because of the business I’m in, so I just skipped those parts. And there may be parts of it that don’t apply to you….and that’s okay. This is by far the best book I’ve found to give you practical, actionable items if your dream is to own your own business and be location independent.
7. Business Boutique: A Woman’s Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves by Christy Wright
Words cannot express how excited I am to read Business Boutique: A Woman’s Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves. When I see this book, I see a dream come to life. I met the author, Christy Wright, years ago through our mutual friend, Jenny. I went on a trip to the beach with them, and at the time I didn’t know Christy that well. She had just started working for Dave Ramsey, and I remember driving in that car thinking how I had never met anyone so excited about their job before in my life. That was seven years ago, so it is really inspiring to see her dreams come to fruition.
In her book, Business Boutique, Christy supports women in creating a customized plan to start and grown their own business. She also travels around the country doing 1-Day Business Boutique seminars, so be sure to check and see if they are coming to a city near you!
My dream is to have freedom. Travel is a part of that dream, but the overall theme is to be free to spend my life living creatively and following my dreams without fear of the future. These books are a starting point if you find yourself needing some inspiration to identify and follow your own dreams. I’d love to hear about your hopes, dreams, and fears, as well as any book recommendations you might have on these topics in the comments below.