• Tiffany Skidmore

3 Ways to get the most out of self-help books

My clients are intelligent, compassionate, unconventional women who hold themselves to high standards of excellence. They love learning and growth; most of them read self-help books (henceforth called self-development books, a more empowering term imo).

What I’ve noticed is that reading those books and knowing that information sometimes becomes a weapon they turn against themselves.

"I know this now, but I’m not doing it! I suck."

With this orientation, the more we know, the worse we feel about ourselves. (A very tough place to create positive change from.)

I can totally relate.

As a recovering perfectionist, this knowledge of best practice, but lack of execution irl, followed by being confounded, frustrated, and judgmental towards myself due to that gap, is a world I know well.

(And as an English B.A. holder, I reserve the right to keep that ridiculous, previous sentence as is -- you’re welcome. 🤣)

I became so fascinated by how my clients’ pursuit of growth actually landed some of them in more self-judgement, muck, and stuck, that I decided to share my top three tips to getting the most out of your self-development books.

1. Trust that what you need will stick or sprout.

We have all the information in the world at our fingertips. Only some of that information is relevant to you, in this moment and juncture in your journey.

Trust that the most salient nuggets will stick with you or are seeds planted that will sprout at a later date.

Most of the information that we consume will simply pass by us, but the stuff we need is going to call our attention, stay in our thoughts, and show up multiple times in our awareness.

Trust this and allow the rest of that awesome info and opinions flow by like a mountain stream.

2. Reread the most impactful books.

The first read through of any book is just getting the lay of the land.

If you want to go deeper with any given concept, be willing to reread (or relisten) at least once or twice to really grasp the information and begin integrating it in your life. You will be shocked at how much value and new insight/perspective you get on the second or third reading of a book.

3. Focused action.

Often we feel good just by reading or listening to self-development content. However, if we never put anything into action, our lives do. not. change.

Pick one thing from each book or podcast that resonates with you and focus on putting it into action for the next week.

Schedule it in your calendar.

Pull in an accountability buddy.

Create the conditions for follow through to be easy.

Practice the idea, and notice how it impacts your week.

Self-development content is effing amazing. However, it can be something we consume to feel better without actually changing our lives.

It also can be something we begin to use against ourselves if we decide we aren’t measuring up the way we should.

Try shifting your orientation to the content — simplify, allow, trust, and act in small focused ways.

What is the most impactful self-development content you've read or listened to in recent years?

How do you put amazing ideas to work in your life?

Hit reply, I'd love to hear from you.

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