The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. Dr. Seuss
There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that reading has played a pivotal role in most major decisions that I’ve made throughout my life.
Whenever life has thrown obstacles or challenges in my way, I’ve often turned to a book (or books) for the consultation of the professionals that write them. And whether I’m learning to cook a mean Pad Thai, searching for the keys to a happy life, or gaining an understanding of small business management, I’ve always found an answer (or at the very least a nugget of knowledge), that I can use to bring me closer to my goal. So it goes without saying that once the business seed was planted in my mind, I spent several months pouring over relevant books that might give me the knowledge and an edge to succeed.
There are however two books that stood out while I was doing all this research.
The first is ‘Think and grow rich’ by Napoleon Hill. I initially came across this book when I was 24, purchasing it at a charity book fair for $2. Fast forward seven years and I found myself rereading this gem from cover-to-cover, completely engrossed.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of fluff here, and there’s plenty of negative info online regarding Hill and his scamming ways, but the one things that really stood out to me was this 6-step guide to getting rich:
- First – Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. Be definite about the amount
- Second – Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire
- Third – Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire
- Fourth – Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action
- Fifth – Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition
- Sixth – Read your written statement aloud, twice daily.
This comes back to basic SMART goal setting and is back up by Dr. Gail Matthew’s work on goals research among others. The way I figured, I had nothing to lose but time by giving it a go. By now you probably know I own a Canberra based cleaning business (CBR Clean), so I went ahead and took a piece of paper and wrote down the following:
Turn CBR Clean into a $100,000 business by 30 June, 2018
I carry that piece of paper in my wallet and read that statement every day. Six months on, CBR Clean is worth $60,000 in annual revenue and growing.
The second book that gave me the courage to start my own business was ‘Mindset’ by Carol S. Dweck Ph.D
In summary, this book looks at ‘fixed’ vs. ‘growth’ mindsets.
“A fixed mindset comes from the belief that your qualities are carved in stone – who you are is who you are, period. Characteristics such as intelligence, personality, and creativity are fixed traits, rather than something that can be developed”.
“A growth mindset comes from the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through effort. Yes, people differ greatly – in aptitude, talents, interests, or temperaments – but everyone can change and grow through application and experience”.
Before reading this book I was certainly a fixed mindset individual. I was convinced that the traits I was born with could not be changed and that if I was terrible at a specific task, I would remain that way.
Through her research, Dweck proves that people are only limited by their beliefs and that anyone, within reason, can learn new skills, adapt to new situations and excel at new endeavors if they change their mindset and apply themselves to the task.
Taking that advice on board as a new small business owner has been paramount to my success thus far. I’ve become a better communicator, specifically in social or group situations. I’ve learnt to build websites and write blogs. I’m able to quote and invoice jobs and build working relationships with commercial and domestic clients. And best of all, I was able to resign from my public service role, begin working for myself and enjoy the freedom and increased income as a result.
Do you read? if so, what books have played a pivotal role in you life?