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Five Books to Motivate and Inspire You

3 Mar 2015 – 12:57 PM EST

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Five years ago, I unwrapped a long-buried passion for a sport I loved as a teen. At the age of 44, I started barefoot water skiing again. In the process of rediscovering my passion, I began to dive into motivational and inspirational non-fiction books. The beauty of reading these books is that you are literally gaining a mentor by being able to tap into each author’s wisdom.

While I loved being a parent, I found I was a better parent when I expanded my knowledge and focused on my passions as well. In the five year’s since I dove into my passion, I’ve read hundreds of books. It was tough to narrow it down to five books:

Aspire by Kevin Hall

Kevin shares 11 words to shape your life around. I especially love the “secret” word: Genshai, a hindu word that translates to: Never make anyone feel small, including yourself.

The Passion Test by Janet and Chris Attwood

This book literally, and I mean, literally–changed my life. A friend recommended this book and I took the Passion Test. I was surprised by my results, but I shouldn’t have been. My number one passion that year was to barefoot water ski all year around. “Don’t focus on the ‘how,’ focus on the ‘what.” That was a profound lesson for me. As a result, I barefoot water skied 11 months that year. The Passion Test is an excellent tool for identifying your top five passions in life.

Born to Win by Tom and Zig Ziglar

When I first discovered Zig Ziglar, I was working in sales for a corporation. I met Tom Ziglar at a business expo and purchased this book. It’s not a sales book–it’s actually a life book. One of the key lessons is being able to balance home and work to ensure success all around. Every now and then, I will randomly open a page in this book and find myself re-motivated to complete new goals or re-think my path.

It’s Not About the Tights by Chris Brogan

This is probably Chris Brogan’s least-known book but one of his best. It’s written from the heart–with the key message that YOU are enough and that you have everything within you to succeed in all aspects of life. You are the superhero you’ve been waiting for. Chris teaches the practice of confidence, acceptance, permission, and execution. Surprisingly, this applies well to parenthood–those four words are a great guide when you’re uncertain how to proceed.

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

I was fortunate to obtain a pre-release copy of this book and I can tell you it’s going to be an instant bestseller when it comes out in March. As a parent, it can be tough to honor the passion within and juggle family life. Jeff takes a whole new approach to how we define work in our lives and how important it is to embrace our calling. When you align with the work you were born to do, you step into the purpose of your journey.