August 11, 2013
I’ve never been much of a reader. Mainly because reading always makes me sleepy. Also because I have a 2 year old, a work-aholic husband (guilty myself) and a super busy schedule – none of which love to see me sit quietly and peacefully alone for more than a few minutes. A few years ago, though I was driving down the highway toggling through the same 3 radio stations and once again feeling frustrated at the quality of music pumping in my ears. “I feel so rushed and busy all day, every day. This time spent driving seems like such wasted time. Is it pretentious to hire a driver so I can sit and read in the back seat?” I thought to myself. As a Realtor, I do spend a lot of time running all over town. As a mom of a toddler, Sales Manager of a growing homebuilding company and co-owner of a real estate entrepreneurship, most days are spent running around crazy busy from the minute I get up to the minute I crash into bed. It always bothered me to spend so much time in the car listening to some teenage heartthrob lament over her skater boyfriend or an ex-husband whine about how much he loves his dog and hates his wife. I was slowly getting dumber and dumber for listening to it over and over and I was definitely wasting possible productive time.
So I discovered audio books. Myers Barnes, renowned real estate sales training guru teaches a lesson about “Auto University” – using audio books and cds to learn new skills in the car. Now that I’ve tried it and realized the valuable time to learn and grow, I’m an alumni believer.
While I realize some people relax differently than I do, the books I choose to listen too are from the personal inspiration genre (that’s what people call “self help” books when they’re embarrassed of the connotation). When I read these books, I feel like I’m growing. Becoming a better person and getting inspired to manage my life and my relationships better.
Right now I’m absolutely in love with any book by Laura Vanderkam. In fact, she’s inspired me to start blogging. Her books, What the Most Successful People do Before Breakfast, What the Most Successful People do on Weekends and 168 Hours – You Have More Time than you Think are simply amazing. I’m twice through the breakfast book and on my second run of 168 Hours right now. I’ve forced at least 3 of my friends to read them too (yes, I’m pretty bossy so I’m told). These books teach me to look at my time wisely and spend it purposefully. To wake up early in the morning and value those precious hours when my phone and email aren’t grabbing for my attention. When everyone in my world isn’t tugging at my arm. When life is silent and allows me to think. This time can be spent exercising, talking with God, catching up on big rocks at work or simply doing something I love. It sets the stage for the rest of the day and allows me to not feel hurried and stressed from the very beginning. While it does take planning (going to bed a bit earlier and turning off the chime function on the security system so I don’t wake the family up (learned the hard way)), so far I’ve found this to be oh-so helpful.
A week ago now I started my I’m a Morning Person Now ritual. The first few minutes feel like my bones are going to break in half. Like my eyelids are hung with weights. But as soon as my feet hit the floor and I’m out the door a huge smile creeps across my face and the muscles in my neck melt. I’ve allowed my mind to run and to scream and to stay still. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve organized my day. It’s peaceful.
I’ve learned a lot more listening to my audio-university. Much more than I’d learned from country swooners and hipster pop stars in the past. I’m excited to have this new secret and I wanted to tell you all about it too. In the next few blogs, I’ll keep you posted on the lessons I’ve learned in the car and on my morning walks. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your suggestions on your must-read list. It’s ok if you don’t love the self-help books (Ahem, “personal development”) that I do. Someone else searching for a reading list will be weird like you too. So list them below and pick up a few ideas from others too. Our cars will all be mobile libraries of knowledge. How cool is that?