Book Review: The Energy Bus

The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy

by Jon Gordon

the-energy-bus-cover

My Rating: ***** (5 stars out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Read:

I read this book because it was recommended to me by several friends who also enjoy books about personal growth and inspiration.

Summary (from Goodreads)

The Energy Bus, an international best seller by Jon Gordon, takes readers on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment – at work and at home.   Jon infuses this engaging story with keen insights as he provides a powerful road map to overcome adversity and bring out the best in yourself and your team.  When you get on The Energy Bus you’ll enjoy the ride of your life!

What Did I Think/Recommendation

I enjoyed this book a lot!  It was a very quick and easy read.  Although there wasn’t anything in there that I hadn’t already heard or read before, it never hurts to reinforce positivity and inspiring ideas.  I really enjoyed the way the information was presented.  It was presented as a story rather than just listing the 10 steps, and that held my interest more than typical self-help books do.  I would read this again, and I would definitely recommend this book to others who enjoy reading books about positivity and personal growth, especially those in a leadership position.

A few quotes I enjoyed:

“First decide what you want.  Then you can start creating it.  Don’t let the world create you.  You create your world.” – p.31

“If you build it in your mind, focus on seeing it, and take action, the success will come.” -p.44

“Invite people on your bus and share your vision for the road ahead.”

 

Find out more about the book at www.theenergybus.com, and read more reviews about the book at Goodreads.

Book Review: The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project

by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project Cover

My Rating:  *** (3 out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Read?

Honestly, I can’t remember why I chose to read this book.  I began it in April, at a time when I was really trying to focus on de-cluttering, so I must have seen it referenced somewhere since de-cluttering is one of the key recommendations for becoming happier.  I really liked the concept of the book as well.

Summary (from Goodreads)

What if you could change your life without really changing your life? On the outside, Gretchen Rubin had it all — a good marriage, healthy children and a successful career — but she knew something was missing. Determined to end that nagging feeling, she set out on a year-long quest to learn how to better enjoy the life she already had.

Each month, Gretchen pursued a different set of resolutions — go to sleep earlier, tackle a nagging task, bring people together, take time to be silly — along with dozens of other goals. She read everything from classical philosophy to cutting-edge scientific studies, from Winston Churchill to Oprah, developing her own definition of happiness and a plan for how to achieve it. She kept track of which resolutions worked and which didn’t, sharing her stories and collecting those of others through her blog (created to fulfill one of March’s resolutions). Bit by bit, she began to appreciate and amplify the happiness in her life.

The Happiness Project is the engaging, relatable and inspiring result of the author’s twelve-month adventure in becoming a happier person. Written with a wicked sense of humour and sharp insight, Gretchen Rubin’s story will inspire readers to embrace the pleasure in their lives and remind them how to have fun.

What Did I Think/Recommendation

This book took me a really long time to finish.  It did not hold my attention as well as I thought it would have.  I expected it to be a really easy read because the topic is something that I am very interested in, but it was not as easy of a read as I had anticipated.  I admire the author for her honesty and the way she points out her own flaws, and I can relate with her in many ways.  The book is filled with many examples from the author’s life, but in my opinion, it was a little too detailed and difficult to get through at times.

There are lots of great tips, precepts, and quotes in the book.  Nothing comes to mind that really stood out or inspired me, but I have done a lot of research on the topic of happiness so there wasn’t much that was new to me.  Just because the book didn’t have a life-changing impact on my life, it doesn’t mean it won’t on others, so I would still recommend checking it out for yourself.

You can find other reviews on The Happiness Project, and find out more about the author at Goodreads.

 

February Wellness Challenge – Acts of Kindness

February Acts of Kindness Challenge promo

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself what REALLY makes you happy?

When I asked myself that question last month while I was taking The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge, my answers surprised me.  But, what didn’t surprise me was that HELPING OTHERS was on the top of my list.

If helping others brings you joy and happiness as well, I would love to invite you to join us in the February Acts of Kindness Challenge. I promise you it will be a rewarding experience!!

How the Challenge Began

When I think of the month of February, the first thing that comes into my mind is Valentine’s Day.   And when I think of Valentine’s Day, I am reminded of love.  So, I thought it might be fun to challenge myself and my family to spread our love during the month by performing at least one act of kindness each day.

When I first suggested the idea to my family two years ago, they were all really excited. I’m sure their excitement probably had something to do with me mentioning a reward at the end if we were able to complete it, but the real reward turned out to be the experience in itself. We took the challenge again last year.  This will be our third year, and we are all on board and excited about doing it again!

I invite you to join us and many others in spreading love and kindness all month!  Feel free to make up your own rules, or follow our guidelines:

Act of Kindness Challenge Guidelines:

  1. Prepare.  Print out this February 2016 Acts of Kindness Log for each member of your family.  Use it to record your acts of kindness throughout the month.  Also keep track of the acts of kindness performed toward you each day.  You might be surprised to actually see how many nice things people do for each other each day. 🙂  We put ours on the refrigerator so it stays in view and is easy to remember.
  2. Identify a Reward to keep You Motivated.  If you are taking the challenge with others, take a vote to see how you want to reward yourselves once you have completed the challenge!  In the past, we have rewarded ourselves by going out to dinner together as a family (something we usually only reserve for birthdays or special occasions.)  Come up with something that works for you and your family and that will motivate you to complete the challenge.  Don’t skip this step.  This is the step that keeps my kids motivated to keep going throughout the challenge.
  3. Spread your love!  Each day in February, perform at least one act of kindness and write it down on the log.  Try to come up with something different each day.  My definition of an Act of Kindness is:  any action you take to brighten someone’s day without expecting anything in return.  Also, write down any acts of kindness others performed toward you.
  4. Encourage each other and keep each other accountable.  Each day, share your ideas with your family members or loved ones who are also participating in the challenge.  Talk about the acts of kindness you performed.  Also, feel free to share your ideas and inspiration in our February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook group so we can continue to support and encourage each other and keep each other accountable.
  5. When the month is over, share what you learned from the experience.  Feel free to share your stories with us as well in the February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook group.
  6. REWARD YOURSELF!!  Don’t skip this step, either.  For many of us, the real reward is the experience in itself, but make sure to recognize your accomplishment and follow through on the reward you set in step 2.

I invite you to join us in this challenge and spread your love. It only takes a small act to make a big impact. Let’s make a difference together! “Like” the Facebook page February Acts of Kindness Challenge for inspirational stories and quotes each day, or join the Facebook support group at February Acts of Kindness Challenge to share your ideas and inspiration. 🙂

Feel free to do more than one Act of Kindness a day.  Don’t be afraid to write them all down.  You may already do several acts of kindness each day without even realizing it.  The point here is to become aware of all the good things you already do and realize the impact it has on others.  You may also want to try to take it a step further and do some things you normally wouldn’t do.  When we make a small effort to brighten someone’s day out of love (not obligation), we are rewarded with happiness.  Anything done out of obligation is not an act of love and will only cause you to feel resentment.  It doesn’t matter whether your acts of kindness are random or intentional, but to honor your own self-care, please make sure they are performed out of love.

As you perform more acts of kindness, you may also notice yourself becoming the recipient of more acts of kindness.  Learn to accept these gifts with gratitude.  Many times it is more challenging for us to receive than it is to give.  We may resist acts of kindness toward us because we may feel like we will owe the other person, but when you let people do nice things for you, you are actually giving them a gift.  Learning how to let others help you might be just what you need to learn from this challenge…I know from previous years it was exactly what I needed to learn.Act of Kindness Aesop

RESOURCES

If you run out of ideas at any point during the challenge, this Random Acts of Kindness generator is fantastic!

Check out this link for some great Random Acts of Kindness ideas!

“Like” the Facebook Page The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

Check out the inspiring movie, The Letter Writer. It is a great reminder of the impact our actions have on others, and the difference one act of kindness can make.  If you have some suggestions for more inspiring movies about kindness, please let me know about them in the comments below.

Random Acts of Kindness week is a 7-day celebration of kindness.  This year it falls on February 14-20, 2016!

Check out this inspiring 5 minute video to see how one small act of kindness can make a big impact.  

Do YOU have any kindness ideas, quotes, videos, or inspiration you would like to share? Feel free to leave them in a comment below or share them on the February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook support group. Thank you! 🙂

kindness mark twain

 

Book Review: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying:  A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing

by Bronnie Ware

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying Cover

My Rating:  ***** (5 out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Read?

I read this book because I have heard it recommended from several different sources and it sounded interesting to me.  I am always interested in learning about the wisdom people have acquired through their years.

Summary (from the back of the book)

“After too many years of unfulfilling work, Bronnie Ware began searching for a job with heart. Despite having no formal qualifications or experience, she found herself in palliative care.

Over the years she spent tending to the needs of those who were dying, Bronnie’s life was transformed. Later, she wrote an Internet blog about the most common regrets expressed to her by the people she had cared for. The article, also called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, gained so much momentum that it was read by more than three million people around the globe in its first year. At the requests of many, Bronnie now shares her own personal story.

Bronnie has had a colourful and diverse past, but by applying the lessons of those nearing their death to her own life, she developed an understanding that it is possible for people, if they make the right choices, to die with peace of mind. In this book, she expresses in a heartfelt retelling how significant these regrets are and how we can positively address these issues while we still have the time.

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying gives hope for a better world. It is a story told through sharing her inspiring and honest journey, which will leave you feeling kinder towards yourself and others, and more determined to live the life you are truly here to live. This delightful memoir is a courageous, life-changing book that will leave you feeling more compassionate and inspired to live the life you are truly here to live.”

What Did I Think/My Recommendation

I loved this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in living a happy and authentic life and having no regrets when they get to the end of it.  I think Bronnie Ware is an excellent writer, and I find her life to be fascinating!  The book is a memoir, so she takes us through many stages of her life.  In her earlier years, she was so carefree!  On several occasions throughout her life, she entered unknown lands with no possessions and no plan in place.  She enjoyed a life of freedom that many people would envy, but that freedom was only possible because of her deep faith and complete trust that God would provide all that she needed.  The following quote demonstrates the deep sense of faith she possessed during this time period and throughout her life: “As every move was done intuitively, I tried as best to always move forward with trust, knowing I would be looked after.” p.30  She allowed her life to flow naturally, trusting that she would be taken exactly where she needed to be to live the life meant for her.  This took her through some dark times throughout her life, but those times were necessary so she could ultimately live a life true to herself.

Sadly, death is a subject many people fear and they do not want to think about it until it is too late and they are forced to.  We are all going to die someday.  The sooner we accept that truth, the sooner we will be able to set our own priorities and live a life focused on the things that are really important to us.

In this book, Bronnie Ware reveals many of the regrets that her dying patients admitted to her.  The #1 regret her patients expressed was not living a life true to themselves.  Instead, they spent their life pleasing others and living the life that others expected of them.  Other patients expressed their regrets of working too hard, not keeping in touch with friends, not being able to express their true feelings, or not allowing themselves to be happy.  I am grateful to Bronnie Ware for sharing this wisdom with us in this book, and I believe we can all learn from it so we will not come to our own deathbed with these same regrets.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book are as follows:

“If we are able to face our own inevitable death with honest acceptance, before we have reached that time, then we shift our priorities well before it is too late.  Once we acknowledge that limited time is remaining, we are less driven by ego or by what other people think of us.  Instead, we are more driven by what our hearts truly want.”

“The only way to experience love is to accept people totally as who they are and have no expectations of them.” p.45

“The freedom to be you is the greatest freedom of all.” p. 193

And my favorite quote of all:

in the end bronnie ware

I think it’s all great advice!

For more reviews on this book or for more information about Bronnie Ware, visit Goodreads here.

The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge is Now Available!!

Do you want to live a more authentic, peaceful, and purposeful life? Do you want to live your life to the fullest and use your natural gifts and talents to make the world a better place?  If so, I am SO excited to introduce you to my very first book, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge!

The_31-Day_Self-Love_Cover_for_Kindle

This 31-day guided journal will help you learn to recognize your worth, identify your purposes in life, and develop the habits necessary to become healthy in body, mind, and spirit.  It is intended for anyone who is starving for a little bit of alone time, or anyone who is willing to dedicate a little more time to get to know and love yourself more. If you know anyone who could benefit from this book, I would be grateful for your recommendation. It is currently available through Amazon here.

Also, if you enjoy inspiring quotes or would like to follow my journey as an author, please “Like” my FB Author page Stacy Rancourt.

Inspiration Friday: 39 Secrets to Happiness and Peace

We’ve all heard that happiness is a choice, and that is true.  It is not what happens to us, but our attitude and the way we react to situations that will determine our happiness.  Here are a few “secrets” I have discovered so far in my 39 years that have led me to a life filled with happiness and inner peace.

attitude of gratitude

1.  The attitude of gratitude will ALWAYS bring you happiness.  Find something to be thankful for.  We are all constantly surrounded by so many gifts and blessings.

2.  View every encounter and experience as a gift.  Even the seemingly bad situations are a gift in the end.  Try to recognize and appreciate these gifts every day.

3.  Be kind to everyone, but spend the majority of your time with like-minded, positive people who are also committed to improving their personal and spiritual growth and are willing to support you on your journey.

4.  Fill your mind with only positive, inspirational and uplifting ideas and thoughts.  Turn off the news and leave the disturbing books at the library.  “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” ~ Philippians 4:8 (my favorite bible verse)

5.  Eat real food!! (It’s amazing how much energy you will have!)

6.  Do not multitask.  Do one thing at a time, give it your all, and be fully present in everything you do.  Heaven on Earth happens in the moments when you are fully present.

7.  Do not judge others.  You have no idea what anyone else is going through.  Everyone has reasons for their beliefs and actions.  We are all unique and just want to be allowed to be ourselves and be accepted for who we really are.  Only then can our true gifts shine through.  “If God is infinite, then nobody is wrong.” ~ Panache Desai

8.  Think before you speak.  Is it true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, or kind?  If not, keep it to yourself.

9.  Forgive.  Holding onto anger never hurts the other person.  It only hurts yourself.  Let it go and let God take it from there.

10.  Do not gossip or spend your time consumed with other people’s lives.  Put your time and energy into improving your own.

11.  Practice acceptance.  Everything happens for a reason, and always for the overall good.  Even the most tragic situations result in more good than bad over time.  Unfortunately, sometimes it may take years to see the good, but just trust that it is for a reason.  God doesn’t make mistakes.

12.  Go for a walk every day.  Outside!

13.  When you’re feeling stressed, go outside.  Take a deep breath, look up at the sky, admire it’s beauty, and say “Thank You!”  An instant moment of peace!!

14.  Spend some time alone every day.  God speaks to you in the silence.  “The morning breeze has secrets to tell you, do not go back to sleep”~ Rumi

15.  Do less.  Downtime is NEVER wasted time. (It took me a very long time to learn this!)

16.  Do something creative every day.  Write, draw, cook, paint, anything.  Just create!

17.  The answers are all within you.  Stop looking outside of yourself for them.

18.  Focus on cooperation rather than competition.  There is an infinite supply of love and abundance in the world.  Collaborate with those who have common goals rather than competing with them.  Working together will benefit everyone!

19.  Stop trying to mask your true self.  Learn to fully love and accept yourself as you are.  If you NEED makeup to feel good about yourself, or you NEED substances (like drugs, alcohol, coffee, or even sugar…yes, sugar is a drug) to keep you going or wake you up each day, those things need to be eliminated from your life.  Your passion for life should get you out of bed each morning, not coffee!

20.  Embrace who you are and stop worrying about what others think.  Once you do this, others who are like-minded will enter your life.  You are never alone. (Although you may feel like you are for a while…just hang in there.)

21.  Go on dates with those closest to you (your spouse, each of your children individually, your mom, etc.)  Let them know they are special and worthy of your time and undivided attention.

22.  Remember, you do not set the master plan for your life.  Embrace distractions and view them as gifts.  Everything is happening in its own perfect time, so stop trying to rush everything.  Stop trying so hard and just let go and allow God to work through you.

23.  Don’t do anything out of guilt or obligation.  Only do things out of love.

24.  Have no expectations.  You will never be disappointed, and you will begin to view everything in your life as a gift and blessing.  Every day is full of wonderful surprises!

25.  The best things in life are free!!

26.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  We are all connected.  If you love yourself, that love will pour out onto others.  If you hurt yourself, you hurt others.  The opposite is true as well.

27.  Every action is a choice toward love or away from it.  Always choose the path toward love.

28.  Guard your time.  Only spend it on things that are truly important to you.  Don’t ever feel guilty for saying no.  Doing something out of guilt or obligation is not an act of love.

29.  Dedicate one day a week to rest and to be fully present with those you love.  Turn off the technology on this day and enjoy your time together creating, exploring God’s wonderful creations, and just enjoying life and making memories together. (For me, that day is Saturday and is ALWAYS my favorite day of the week and always filled with love, blessings, and gratitude!)

30.  Let go of your attachment to your possessions.  Nothing (and no one) really belongs to you.  Rather, view everything you have as a temporary gift from God that can be taken away at any moment.  Stop to appreciate those gifts often.

31.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  In the end, nothing really matters except your relationships…with yourself, with God, and with others.  Spend time on what really matters.

32.  Listen to music!  Dance!  Sing!

33.  Keep a journal.  Write in it as often as  you can.  You will be amazed at the wisdom inside you.

34.  Never stop learning.  Read, read, read!  And take advice from those you admire.

35.  Clear out the clutter in all areas of your life.  Clutter drains energy.

36.  Get adequate sleep so you wake up feeling fully rested each morning.

37.  Let go of your desire for perfection.  Everyone and everything can always be improved, but at some point you must let “good enough” be good enough.

38.  Focus on giving rather than getting.  “Turn your focus from “What’s in it for me?” to “How can I serve?”~Dr. Wayne Dyer

39.  You are not an accident.  You are here for a purpose.  Turn within, learn to love and accept who you are and identify the gifts within you.  Use those gifts to make the world a better place.  🙂

Note:  This list was originally posted last year on my blog JourneyToCompleteWellness.

I hope you enjoyed my list.  Do you have any “secrets” I may have missed?  If so, leave a comment below! Have a HAPPY day! 🙂