Books That Help You Get What You Want in Your Career

Are you an assistant? An associate? A VP with unlimited vacation? It doesn’t matter. Because no matter where you are at in your career, you will always have goals that keep you learning. 

The Ignite Your Potential coaches have rounded up 8 books that will advance your career. Each one focuses on a different set of skills, beliefs, or values that are important to the growth-oriented person—at work and in your life. They will motivate you, inspire you, and help you shake up a stale work routine.

So, give the fiction a (short) break, and dive into these titles that will give your career a boost based on what you want right now!

If You Want to Take Your Career to the Next Level

In Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career, from the 99U series and Jocelyn Glei, some of today’s leading minds offer their advice to take your career to the next level. A detailed how-to book, you’ll learn how to create new opportunities, build relationships in the workplace, and unleash your creative potential.

If You Want to Fall in Love with Your Job

Let’s face it: Work is more fun when you enjoy what you do, right? Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness is a guide written by Kerry Hannon to help you transform your boring job into something meaningful. For people struggling to get through the day, Hannon’s tips will help you change your habits and your attitude, so you’ll love your job again in no time at all.

If You Want Work-Life Balance

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington reminds us that there is more to life than earning a ton of money. The constant pursuit of more (and more) has been a one-way ticket to burnout for too many. Huffington encourages people to incorporate self-care into their daily lives. Throughout the book, she also shares personal anecdotes about her struggles with time management and prioritizing her career and family life.

If You Want to Change Your Money Mindset

Have you ever wondered how Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and many of the other successful businesspeople of the 1900s earned their fortunes? Well, my friend, the secret is within Think and Grow Rich, the 1937 classic from Napoleon Hill. Not only will you learn what they believed was the key to their riches, but you’ll also get Hill’s 13-step program that will put you on the track to achieve wealth and success.

If You Want to Recover From a Career Failure

The truth is, we all face failure in life, whether it’s in our careers or personal lives. What matters is how we handle it. But how can you become one of those people who turns his failures into learning experiences? Business blogger Megan McArdle explains just that in her book, The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success. You’ll read stories from people in all different career paths (medicine, education, finance—to name a few,) and their examples will help you see your missteps in a different light.

If You’re Feeling Stuck in Your Career

In Moving the Needle: Get Clear, Get Free, and Get Going in Your Career, Business, and Life, Joe Sweeney provides a detailed system for people who feel stuck and want a plan to make a change. It’s a perfect read for those who crave actionable advice. Bonus: These lessons can be applied to personal aspirations as well.

If You’re Ready to Pivot into a Different Career

Laura Berman Fortgang shares exactly how she has helped her clients successfully make big changes in their lives. If you’re looking for a new job or questioning what you’re meant to do with your life, Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction will help you find the answers in just three months!

If You Want to Start Your Own Company

If you haven’t read #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso yet, what are you waiting for? The founder of fashion retailer Nasty Gal, Amoruso opens up about her troublesome past and how she turned her life around to become an insanely successful CEO. Even if you’re not passionate about the fashion industry, you can benefit from this inspirational story.
Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you get what you want in your career. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Icons Who Will Inspire You to Never Give Up

“Never give up.” It’s probably one of the most cliché phrases you’ll hear as you’re building your career. But there’s a reason this saying is common—you never know when success is around the corner. 

Believing that is easier said than done, so we collected the following stories of icons who definitely never gave up, including J.K. Rowling and Stephen King, for starters. These folks are now household names, but they didn’t become one easily. Read on and get inspired!

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling had just gotten a divorce, was on government aid, and could barely afford to feed her baby in 1994, just three years before the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, was published. When she was shopping it out, she was so poor she couldn’t afford a computer or even the cost of photocopying the 90,000-word novel, so she manually typed out each version to send to publishers. It was rejected dozens of times until finally Bloomsbury, a small London publisher, gave it a second chance after the CEO’s eight-year-old daughter fell in love with it.

Stephen King

King was broke and struggling while writing his first novel Carrie. He lived in a trailer with his wife—also a writer—and they both worked multiple jobs to support their family while pursuing their craft. They were so poor they had to borrow clothes for their wedding and had gotten rid of the telephone because it was too expensive.

King received so many rejection letters for his works that he developed a system for collecting them. In his book On Writing, he recalls: “By the time I was 14…the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a railroad spike and kept on writing.” He received 60 rejections before selling his first short story, “The Glass Floor,” for $35. Even his now best-selling book, Carrie, wasn’t a hit at first. After dozens of rejections, he finally sold it for a meager advance to Doubleday Publishing, where the hardback sold only 13,000 copies—not great. Soon after, though, Signet Books signed on for the paperback rights for $400,000, $200,000 of which went to King. The beginning of his success achieved!

Tyler Perry

Perry had a rough childhood. He was physically and sexually abused growing up, got kicked out of high school, and tried to commit suicide twice—once as a preteen and again at 22. At 23 he moved to Atlanta and took up odd jobs as he started working on his stage career.

In 1992 he wrote, produced, and starred in his first theater production, I Know I’ve Been Changed, somewhat informed by his difficult upbringing. Perry put all his savings into the show and it failed miserably; the run lasted just one weekend and only 30 people came to watch. He kept up with the production, working more odd jobs and often slept in his car to get by. Six years later, Perry finally broke through when, on its seventh run, the show became a success. He’s since gone on to have an extremely successful career as a director, writer, and actor. In fact, Perry was named Forbes’ highest-paid man in entertainment in 2011.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah’s dealt with a lot throughout her public life—criticism about her weight, racism, intrusive questions about her sexuality, just to name a few—but she never let it get in the way of her ambition and drive. When you look at her childhood, her personal triumphs are cast in an even more remarkable light.

Growing up, Oprah was reportedly a victim of sexual abuse and was repeatedly molested by her cousin, an uncle, and a family friend. Later, she became pregnant and gave birth to a child at age 14, who passed away just two weeks later. But Oprah persevered, going on to finish high school as an honors student, earning a full scholarship to college, and working her way up through the ranks of television, from a local network anchor in Nashville to an international superstar and creator of her OWN network (we couldn’t help ourselves.)

Jim Carrey

When Carrey was 14 years old, his father lost his job, and his family hit rough times. They moved into a VW van on a relative’s lawn, and the young aspiring comedian—who was so dedicated to his craft that he mailed his resume to The Carroll Burnett Show just a few years earlier, at age 10—took an eight-hours-per-day factory job after school to help make ends meet.

At age 15, Carrey performed his comedy routine onstage for the first time—in a suit his mom made him—and totally bombed, but he was undeterred. The next year, at 16, he quit school to focus on comedy full time. He moved to LA shortly after, where he would park on Mulholland Drive every night and visualize his success. One of these nights he wrote himself a check for $10,000,000 for “Acting Services Rendered,” which he dated for Thanksgiving 1995. Just before that date, he hit his payday with Dumb and Dumber. He put the deteriorated check, which he’d kept in his wallet the whole time, in his father’s casket.

“Never give up” still might be one of the most cliché phrases you’ll hear (even after reading these amazing success stories). But our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to better explain why ‘never giving up’ is important when it comes to your career and life. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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4 Ways to Find The Answer to “What Should I Do With My Life?”

What should I do with my life?

Unlike so many other questions you have about your career, this one’s not quite as easy to Google.

The good news is, you’re not alone—in fact, we guarantee that everyone has pondered their career path, finding their passion, or what they’re meant to be doing at some point. And luckily, many of them are willing to share their advice. If you’re at a loss for what steps to take next, read on for the best pieces of advice from a Quora thread on this topic.

1. Talk to People

“Meet or call at least 50 people. They can be your friends, relatives, friends of friends/references. Call them up, schedule a meeting, go see them and interact with them on what they are doing. Don’t expect anything, don’t ask them to find you a job, don’t ask them to give you a job. Just talk and meet and have a normal conversation.” – Gaurav Munjal

You’d be surprised at how much you can learn just listening to other people talk. If you take the time to really listen, you’ll get insight into people’s motivations, hopes, dreams, and ambitions. And when you piece all that together, you can learn how others got to where they are today—and if that’s a path you want to be on, too.

2. Get Started

“My suggestion is to do something. Even if it isn’t quite the right thing, it is nevertheless a movement that can give you an opportunity to experience. You can spend a lot of time taking tests and getting evaluations for what you might be suited for; ideas always sound good on paper. But words don’t match experience, so acting on something is your best choice.” – Kathleen Grace

Regardless of what you generally want to do, it never hurts to start building something. Start creating a portfolio, launch a career newsletter, or learn how content creating works. There are so many things you can do for your career—even if you don’t know what you want to do.

3. Gather Inspiration From Others

“Walk into your local bookshop and go straight to the autobiography section. Buy three books from across different industries, societies, and cultures. Focus on biographies that document great and successful people’s early lives, before they were great. Read them before bed. Wake up in the morning and write down 10 things you could do differently that day. Do some of them. Do this the next day. And then do it again.” – David Ball

What better way to get started than by learning how others reached their goals? Keep in mind as you’re reading that these people weren’t born knowing what they wanted to do either.

7. Enjoy Not Knowing

“Enjoy the meanderings, the soul-searching, the loves lost, the time wasted. All of it will add up to a complex and very unique ‘you.’ The more you appreciate right now, the more the future will become a fantastic reality. Don’t pressure yourself to be in the future.” -James Altucher

You know how math problems always seem impossible when you first look at them, but then, after taking a break, the answer feels so obvious? Figuring out what you want to do with your life is kind of like that.

By focusing on other less-pressing matters, the obvious answer will come to you when you’re least expecting it.

Just remember that you don’t have to have it all figured out. And that even when you do, you might change the course a few times. So don’t worry about having all the answers—just thinking about it is a good start.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you answer the age-old question, “What should I do with my life?”. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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5 Inspirational TED Talks for Anyone Having a Rough Day

Check out our 5 favorite TED Talks for the next time things are not going your way.

1. If You’re Feeling Sorry for Yourself: Living Beyond Limits 

Amy Purdy talks about the power of imagination. She explains how our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by the choices we make. Imagination allows us to break down borders, to move beyond our circumstances, to create and constantly progress.

2. If You’re Feeling Drained: Your Elusive Creative Genius

“Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

3. If You’re Feeling Sad: The Three A’s of Awesome

Neil Pasricha’s blog 1000 Awesome Things savors life’s simple pleasures, from free refills to clean sheets. In this heartfelt talk from TEDxToronto, he reveals the 3 secrets (all starting with A) to leading a life that’s truly awesome.

4. If You’re Feeling Negative: The Surprising Science of Happiness

Dan Gilbert, the author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.

5. If You’re Feeling Stressed: How to Make Stress Your Friend 

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken, and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

We hope that at least one of these video can get you through your bad day. Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you find cope with tough days. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Turn Your Bad Day Around

“So you had a bad day. Don’t let it spiral you into a mindset of doom and gloom. Get back in your power. Remember you are who you choose to be.”-Karen Salmansohn

Bad days happen. However, if you start to label too many days disagreeable this can cause a lack of productivity. At Ignite Your Potential we often recite the phrase “don’t let a bad 10 minutes ruin your entire day.” Letting a negative moment define a whole day is not only unfair, it can lead to missed opportunities, and distract from your day’s purpose. Continue reading to discover strategies that can improve your rough days. 

Accept Reality

Accepting the reality of your situation doesn’t mean you’re stuck or a failure. The sooner you acknowledge the problem the faster you can find a solution. Denying or pushing away the negative feelings you are experiencing will only delay the process. 

Consider Repeating Out Loud:

  • I acknowledge this is my situation
  • Even though I have a problem, I am okay
  • I have the power to change my situation 

Change Your Point of View

After you’ve accepted your current situation, attempt to transform your viewpoint into one that benefits you. For example, if you’ve been taking punch after punch all day. You may begin with a negative outlook at think something like, “This is happening to me because I’m not good enough.” Change your perspective by reframing your internal dialogue, “This can make me stronger, more resilient, and prepared to turn challenges into future success.” Small changes, like a reframe, will make a substantial difference in your ability to conquer bad days.

Consider:

  • Asking yourself: is this productive thinking? Does it serve me?
  • Visualize other perspectives
  • Focus on what is in your power
  • Use productive and positive language when you’re talking to yourself

Take a Break 

Attempting to work while your mind is overflowing with negative thoughts is ineffective and will reduce productivity. A study conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign concluded that brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods. Time off is necessary to regroup to get your mind back on track.

Consider:

  • Talking to a friend or family member
  • Meditating 
  • Moving your body, go for a walk, stretch, exercise

Socialize

There are many studies that show the emotional support you give and get during connections with friends and family enhances psychological well-being. When you are feeling down, reach out to the people who love and want to support you. 

Consider:

  • Visiting your neighborhood coffee shop
  • Making plans with friends or family
  • Volunteering

Are bad days seem to be occurring more often? Ignite Your Potential Center coaches will provide you with emotional support and skills that will help you achieve your goals. We are the #1 coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise. All of the award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session, see if we are the right fit for you.

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Take a Risk: 10 Inspiring Quotes

Ignite Your Potential coaches want you to experience all life has to offer. You will never know where you can succeed if you stay within your comfort zone, so be brave and take a chance at the possibility of uncovering your life’s purpose. To find self-love and confidence, learn something new and discover unknown opportunities, consider some strategic risk-taking. Embracing positive risks will change your life in unexpected ways.

Need some inspiration? Read these fuel firing quotes:

  1. “Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
  2. “I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity, is daring to dare.” — Maya Angelou
  3. “…If there is no risk, there is no reward.” ― Christy Raedeke
  4. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” ― Michael Jordan 
  5. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” -Henry Ford
  6. “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
  7. “Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  8. “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go.” — T.S. Eliot
  9. “The biggest risk is not taking any risk…In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” ― Mark Zuckerberg
  10. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

Whether it is investing in a property or applying for a job that you feel unqualified for, we hope this list of inspirational quotes inspired you to take some risks. Don’t want to take this adventurous journey alone? Ignite Your Potential Center coaches can be by your side every step of the way. We are #1 in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise. Remember, all of the award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you meet your life goals and career goals.
We challenge you to step out of your comfort zone today.

How do you create your wonderful life?

I often see people compromising before they even get started.

It’s terribly sad to me because it’s a self-imposed trap that comes about because we believe we can’t have what it is we really want.

Lean in: this is an illusion. The people you see who are successful…they keep their eye on what it is they desire. They tune into themselves. They ask this important question and they take the answer very seriously.

What do you desire? Keep asking yourself this question, like a mantra: What Do I Desire? What Do I Want For Myself If I Can Have Anything? And when you begin to hear the answer from the deepest part of yourself. Only then, are you ready to move forward. To create the life of your dreams.

Here’s Alan Watts guiding us through this process:

So I always ask the question: What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life? Well it’s so amazing as the result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say ‘Well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers’ But as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way! Another person says ‘Well I’d like to live an out-of-door’s life and ride horses.’ I said ‘You wanna teach in a riding school?’

Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do? When we finally got down to something which the individual says he really wants to do I will say to him ‘You do that! And forget the money!’ Because if you say that getting the money is the most important thing you will spend your life completely wasting your time! You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living – that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing! Which is stupid! Better to have a short life that is full of which you like doing then a long life spent in a miserable way. And after all, if you do really like what you are doing – it doesn’t really matter what it is – you can eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way of becoming the master of something, to be really with it. And then you will be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much, somebody is interested in everything. Anything you can be interested in, you’ll find others who are.

But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like in order to go on spending things you don’t like, doing things you don’t like and to teach our children to follow the same track. See, what we are doing is we are bringing up children and educating to live the same sort of lifes we are living. In order they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing. So it’s all retch and no vomit – it never gets there! And so therefore it’s so important to consider this question:

What do I desire?

A Few Things I Know About You

  • You deserve to be loved deeply and to feel like you belong.
  • You can trust yourself.
  • You feel empowered when you speak what is true.
  • You have it within you to get through.
  • When you soften into self-acceptance, where you know and own who you are, it feels right, like a breath of fresh air…a relief…an oasis.
  • When you look inward and listen close enough, you know the answer.
  • When you come near the end…you will know you played this game of life full out.

The Best Pep Talk You’ll Get All Day

This exhortation by Kid President is just the boost you may need.

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How Do You Tell Your Story of Success?

I help people clarify and meet their goals but I also help people feel stronger and more confident about who they are.  Today I’m sharing a “behind the scenes” strategy I use to help my clients remember who they really are and feel more self-assured.

There are many reasons why a person might not feel as successful as they deserve to feel.

  • Maybe you’re in a job that is no longer challenging, is not aligned with your personality, or is not treating you with the respect you warrant.
  • Maybe you’ve suffered a loss such as a death of a cherished loved one, the end of a long relationship, a personal illness.
  • Maybe you’re juggling career, children, and household and it’s all just too much.

Whatever the reason, we all have times when we feel a lack of personal power. And while there is a time to get in touch with your emotional state…drawing the emotions out even…sometimes the name of the game is to transform this state.

So let me ask you…if you were to think back, way back….

How can you tell your story through the lens of success?

Whether your life has been one of challenge or ease, with a favorable attitude, search for a narrative in your life where you were successful. No matter what happened in your past, dramatic or mundane, there is something to admire.

Sit down now with a piece of paper, use a voice recording app, or just get ready to daydream and begin tell a story of a time when you made it happen.

Remember, the thing about storytelling is not how worthy the story is, it’s about the feeling the story conjures. You have already been successful…whether it was getting back in shape after putting on the college 20, landing an impossible job, mastering a sport, or getting around in a foreign country using an unfamiliar tongue. Tell this story of success and you will begin to remember, you will begin to feel successful again.

My Story

When I was very young I had fantasies of traveling. I often felt suffocated amid strip mall after strip mall in the suburbs and longed for something more fertile. I talked about it with my family but often got the message that girls didn’t go off traveling on their own.

When I became old enough I packed my bags and hit the road. I travelled with friends, and sometimes alone, for about five years. I saw most of the U.S. this way, living in my car, working at restaurants, saving up enough to keep going.

In my mind’s eye I can remember so many experiences from then…I see myself driving a late night on a curvy Appalachian mountain road while a gigantic low orange harvest moon met me as though we had a deep clandestine plan. As though it had been waiting for me all along.

Private and rich moments such as this meant so much to me, but at the same time I didn’t classify my experience of traveling across the U.S. as brave. I didn’t see myself as successful.

By the time I went back home and decided to “do something with my life” I felt rather insecure. What did I have to offer? What skills did I have? What had I even been doing all those years? My perspective was that I had to start from scratch and build something of my life. What I was lacking was confidence and the ability to tell my story of success.

I had had a dream, albeit a daydream, but nonetheless, I had a desire to travel across the country and I made that happen. That is what success is all about.

I eventually found my way past that sense of insecurity and moved on to the next phase of my life. Still, when I look back now, I realize I was quite bold and brave. During those years, I had moments of fear and doubt, and I put one foot in front of the other and kept moving forward. I learned a lot about people, about thinking outside the box, about living with ambiguity, creative problem solving, and following my gut. Now, taking the time to tell this story, I feel rather grounded and strong. And that’s really the point here.

If you’re still uncertain where to begin your story of success, here are a few questions that might get you recognizing and telling it:

Was there a time when you felt stuck and you did something to change that?

Was there a time when you were very scared but you moved forward anyway?

What would you consider one of the biggest challenges of your life? What happened?

Can you think of an obstacle you overcame?

Can you think of something you didn’t know but then learned?

Can you think of a time when you had a profound realization? What came of that?

Has something ever happened in your life that changed you? What was it? How were you changed?

Please inspire us and tell us your story of success in the comments.