Back in the day, I was a self proclaimed “Hater of Self-Help Books”. I was in a book club prior to starting my coaching journey and the book we were reading was You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay. I hated it. I thought it was a load of crap, and I let the group know just how frustrated I was with it. Over the years of being in the service + transformational industries, I got really clear on why I, and my clients, often felt this way about self-help books. I have distilled it down to these three reasons.
Reason 1 - You have the “just get it done” attitude.
You have always prided yourself as being a self starter. You pride yourself on being able to produce, and will work yourself into the ground if it means seeing something to fruition. It can be really frustrating to read self-help books because most focus on the introspective perspective shift and attitude change. After reading them, you don’t feel like you really gained any new skills on how to work harder, do more, or take action etc. Consider that rather than the introspective “here is how you love yourself to get the job done” types of resources, you would benefit more from something that points to how to generate those same results without needing to work hard and martyr yourself to do it. What? Same results without the suffering? Sign me up.
Reason 2- You’re scared of unlocking the gateway drug of woo-woo magical thinking.
I know, that sounds ridiculous (and maybe even offensive #sorrynotsorry). What I mean is that you as an individual most likely have taken a lot of pride in creating a very professional and practical image for yourself. You are reliable, solid, and quick thinking. The reality is that in our society there is still a stereotype around people who like certain self-help books or anything off the shelf labeled spiritual enlightenment.
The thing I have come to learn is there are plenty of people who have created a belief system and life system that works. If you have produced the results you want to produce, and created the relationships you wanted to create, great. No one is asking you to trade in your Tylenol for sage or to sleep with oracle cards tonight. It has been my experience that the people who are so anti-woo have always had a longing to explore these areas more but they are insecure about what that means or where to start. No one is telling you to become a witch or join a coven. Consider that there is no harm in picking up some beginner resources that refresh your perspective a little. You might just be surprised by what you learn about yourself.
Reason 3- You probably have that one friend.
Take a moment and think about it. You have that one friend. You know...the one who has been in a six-month book club for Jen Sincero. The one who whenever they go on social media they post Brene Brown quotes. The one that bought the Gabby Bernstein oracle deck. The reason you roll your eyes at this one friend is simple. Despite them investing all this time and money into these resources, it’s not working or at least not working well enough to see the point to it. At least based on your judgement or perspective. I am not saying that this perspective is wrong. I am asserting that no book- no matter how good, divine, or right it is- will change your life for you. You have to have the motivation and be willing to change your life yourself. It’s not magic. That being said, if you are so proudly self starting as you claim- consider what gold might be in these resources that you can take on. How might you put your money where your mouth is, and take on the actions that could help your friend who is digesting all the info but not able to take the action?
This is certainly not a plea for people to change their minds about self-help books. I definitely pick up some from time to time that I still roll my eyes at. What I am curious about is if you fall in the category of not being able to stop digesting self-help or you used to be a hater- what books have changed your perspective Please share in the comments below.