Let me begin with a disclaimer. I wasn’t going to review my friend/colleague/mentor/blog-challenge-buddy, Kate James’ new book, Believe In Yourself & Do What You Love. I thought I was too close to it to be objective. I’ve worked with Kate on-and-off for the last eight years and have discussed much of what’s included, plus I gave feedback on the manuscript. I also think Kate is a totally awesome human being. So there is just no way in the world I could be unbiased.
But yesterday afternoon I sat down with a cup of tea, read the finished book and came away thinking, “I have to share this”.
So here’s my review. Actually, no, it’s not a review. Here is my biased, subjective response to Believe In Yourself & Do What You Love.
I always approach a book with expectations – not only for what I might find within but also how I might respond or engage with the content. I was familiar with the content of Believe In Yourself already so I thought I’d give it a quick read-through, engage with it cerebrally and see how it all came together as a book.
The first thing that struck me when I received my copy was its design. Presented as a hardcover gift-edition, with design and illustrations by Karen van Wieringen, it is a beautiful object. It is a book that says “Treasure me”, “Find a nice spot for me on the bedside table” and “Give me to those you love”.
When flicking through for the first time, the book doesn’t come across as a serious or preachy self-help book but a light, playful and joyous engagement with some of the biggest questions we ask of ourselves in life – what is my purpose, what are my values, what am I passionate about, what’s makes my life worth living?
What surprised me as I began reading though, was I found myself drawn into the questions, the reflections and the suggestions for tiny changes that fill each of the 50 tips explored.
It was full of nudges. It made me … think.
The first “ohhh” came with the mention of being true to oneself. As Kate puts it, “If we’re not being true to ourselves we become increasingly uneasy, and try to cure the uneasiness with stuff”.
“Stuff” has re-entered my life this year – not in a big way but I’m aware that I use it as a distraction from life. However, when I saw the words “European car” I thought, “Oh dear, that is so me.”
And then Kate brings it back to those core questions:
“Who are you and what do you really want?”
I continued reading and started thinking again about my values, strengths, passions and beliefs – and was then nudged myself with a deal-breaker question, “How do you want to feel?”
This is not another preachy, my-way-or-the-highway, motivational book. Believe In Yourself & Do What You Love is based on Kate’s 10+ years working with folks creating lives they love. Her “50 Tips” are sourced from the things that continually pop up as obstacles and each is addressed with little actions we can take to live happier, more meaningful and creative lives.
I love this book, not just because it’s Kate’s book, but also because it simply helps us engage with the powerful questions that help us live more fully. It’s helpful, beautiful and I can totally imagine giving it to friends who need a little encouragement to follow their hearts and dreams.
As Kate says:
“Create and pursue things that lift your spirits. Get in there. Participate.”
That’s what life’s about.
Believe In Yourself & Do What You Love
Available at all good bookshops and those other online places that sell books as well …