5 must-read books to increase your confidence and profits

I'm a total bookworm, and have been my whole life. My idea of the best day ever includes hibernating under a warm blanket, tea in hand, some dark chocolate covered almonds, and a book that I can devour.

Somewhere along the way, I lost the want and need to read. I suspect the birth of my son was to blame, but in reality, I wasn't giving myself enough self-love in the form of alone time and sleep to even consider reading new books. Now that I've put me back on the list of my top 3 priorities (the list now goes 1) me, 2) my family, and 3) my business ... instead of the other way around), my love of reading has come back with a vengeance.

Want to know how to increase your confidence and profits in your holistic health business? Click here to find out the top 5 must-read self development and business books for women to boost your mood and business results, including chapter lengths and kick-ass quotes.

I've already talked about how reading has increased my business profits a few months ago (click here to read the article), and I'm happy to report that the more I make reading and self-development a priority, the more my income goes up. In fact, my January income was at least double what it has been on a monthly basis in 2015. Did I hustle over the end of December? Nope! I had a fantastic holidays, napped, read, snacked, and spent lots of time with my hubby and son.

Some of you may be thinking that you absolutely hate reading or truly don't have time for it, and that may very well be the case. Let me introduce you to audiobooks. Boom, life changed.

I have a member on my essential oils team who works full-time, teaches yoga and personal trains clients part-time, runs her essential oil business part-time, and has a 5-year-old and husband. She really wasn't making excuses when she said she doesn't have time to read. However, she does have a 20 minute drive to and from work, during which she's now turned her car from a total time-suck into a university on wheels thanks to audiobooks. Last month she finished 3 new books this way that have been on her list for the past year.

It's not how you do it, it's the fact that you get over your excuses and just fucking do it already.

There is one-drawback to this whole investing time in book reading, though, and that's when you get a dud. You know the ones I'm talking about, where there are glowing reviews from God and Oprah on the back cover, and a shiny, glowing, beautiful person on the front cover. You get 50 pages in, and you just want to put it down and never read it again because it just doesn't resonate with you.

There are no more worse disappointments in life than a bad book ... except maybe bad sex with a totally hot person who is a great kisser. You just didn't see it coming.

So, here are my 5 must-read books that will increase your confidence and profits, complete with chapter lengths and my fave quotes:

1. "You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life"  by Jen Sincero: I just finished reading this book, and it rocked my world. Like, to the core. I just can't even explain to you how good it is. All that I can say is that if you like my style of writing, you're going to love this book. Jen Sincero is my spirit animal.

Subjects covered: law of attraction, meditation, mindset, money, limiting and subconscious beliefs, spirituality

Audiobook?: yes, click here

How it's broken up: 27 bite-sized chapters no more than 13 pages long. You can totally read one chapter a day in less than 10-minutes, even if you have to do it while you're sitting on the toilet.

My fave quote (oh God, how do I pick just one?! I can't, here are my fave top 2):

"Sadly, we can't just float around our neighbor's pool on a raft with cup-holders, sipping cocktails and being all high frequency while waiting for unicorns to fly down from the sky. We have to take action - hell-bent-for-glory kind of action."

"The Universe must be like, what more do I have to do to wake these bitches up? Make water, their most precious resource, rain down from the sky?"

2. "Big Magic: Creative living beyond fear" by Elizabeth Gilbert: Seriously, who doesn't love Liz Gilbert and her #truthbombs? This book is a must read if you are creative ... and if you're a human being on this Earth, you are creating new things each and every day.

Funnily enough, I never considered myself "creative" until just last year. I didn't recognize that I was being creative when I was making client programs, or coming up with recipes, developing my website, or even when new business ideas were sprouting up in my head. I thought creativity was only for people who danced, sang, made music, or painted. I recognize now that I'm much more creative than I was giving myself credit for, and I bet that you are, too.

Subjects covered: creativity, spirituality, mindset

Audiobook?: yes, click here for the iTunes version

How it's broken up: super short chapters, some only 3 pages long. See my can of whoop ass above under book #1.

My fave passage:

"I recently read a fabulous blog by a writer named Mark Manson, who said that the secret to finding your purpose in life is to answer this question in total honesty: "What's your favorite flavor of shit sandwich?"

What Manson means is that every single pursuit - no matter how wonderful and exciting and glamorous it may initially seem - comes with its own brand of shit sandwich, its own lousy side effects. As Manson write with profound wisdom: "Everything sucks, some of the time." You just have to decide what sort of suckage you're willing to deal with. So the question is not so much "What are you passionate about?" The question is "What are you passionate enough about that you can endure the most disagreeable aspects of the work?" ...

Because if you love and want something enough - whatever it is - then you don't really mind eating the shit sandwich that comes with it."

3. "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek: this is the book behind the super popular TED talk that's been viewed over 25 million times. It makes me sad that you might think that since this book is #3 on this list, that the other two are better. If I could list all three of the above books as #1 and have it still make sense, I would.

This book is a fascinating discovery to how you should market your business. It has all the answers in it if you want to sell more of your programs and services in an authentic, non-icky, non-salesy way, get more engagement on social media, and get people to share your website and blog posts. It explains why Apple has taken over the planet and has a cult following, when other companies are making computers or hand-held devices that are just as good.

Subjects covered: leadership, marketing, psychology of buying, communication

Audiobook?: yes, click here for the iTunes version

How it's broken up: this is more of a traditional book with longer chapters up to 30 pages.

My fave passage

"Henry Ford summed it up best: "If I had asked people what they wanted," he said, "they would have said a faster horse."

This is the genius of great leadership. Great leaders and great organizations are good at seeing what most of us can't see. They are good at giving us things we would never think of asking for ...

They are those who understand the art before the science. They win hearts before minds. They are the ones who start with WHY."

4. "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" by John C. Maxwell: this book is more formal and, let's say, not as swear wordy as some of the options above (John Maxwell left his job as a preacher and church leader to become a trainer for leaders). It's a classic for a reason. There are 21 chapters covering the 21 laws of leadership that John has identified over his 25+ years of being a leader himself, but also training and developing millions of leaders around the world, as necessary if you want to be effective as a leader.

The bonus is that at the end of each chapter, John lists 3-5 actionable steps to develop those qualities in yourself. He knows that there are natural leaders, but those are few and far between, and that most people can learn how to become amazing leaders by looking at their own skills and identifying what they need to learn and put into action.

Subjects covered: leadership, communication, business

Audiobook?: yes, click here for the iTunes version

How it's broken up: 21 chapters, one for each law of leadership, most being about 10 pages long

My fave passage:

"When I teach leadership seminars, I field a lot of questions about visions. Invariably, someone will come up to me during a break, give me a brief description of an evolving visions, and ask me "Do you think my people will buy into my vision?"

My response is always the same: "First tell me this: Do your people buy into you?"

You see, many people who approach the area of vision in leadership have it all backward. They believe that if the cause is good enough, people will automatically buy into it and follow. But that's not how leadership really works. People don't at first follow worthy causes. They follow worthy leaders who promote causes they can believe in. People buy into the leader first, then the leader's vision. Having an understanding of that changes your whole approach to leading people ...

Every message that people receive is filtered through the messenger who delivers it."

5. "Quiet" by Susan Cain: Most people are surprised to learn that I'm a huge introvert. It took me a long time to even learn what the term introvert meant, because I'm definitely not shy. My introvert ways definitely got tested when I introduced essential oils into my existing holistic nutrition business, and I went from a solopreneur to someone with (currently as I type this) 575+ people who have either purchased essential oils OR who I was all of a sudden mentoring in their oil business.

That transition was h.a.r.d, mostly because I didn't know how to manage my energy when I felt I needed to be available to my team and customers 100% of the time.

This book was a breath of fresh air, and taught me that introverts can successfully lead large teams ... but they can't do it the same way as extroverts without burning themselves out. If you're an introvert who is struggling with how to support your clients, whether they be in group programs OR one-on-one, or fellow teammates, this book is for you.

Subjects covered: psychology, psychiatry, brain function, personality differences, leadership

Audiobook?: yes, click here for the iTunes version

How it's broken up: 11 longer chapters, some up to 35 pages

My fave passage:

"First Aron interviewed thirty-nine people who described themselves as being either introverted or easy overwhelmed by stimulation. She asked them about the movies they liked, their first memories, relationships with parents, friendships, love lives, creative activities, philosophical and religious views. Based on these interviews, she created a voluminous questionnaire that she gave to several large groups of people. Then she boiled their responses down to a constellation of twenty-seven attributes. She named the people who embodied these attributes "highly sensitive."

Some of these twenty-seven attributes were familiar from Kagan and others' work. For example, highly sensitive people tend to be keen observers who look before they leap. They arrange their lives in a ways that limit surprises. They're often sensitive to sights, sounds, smells, pain, coffee. They have difficulty when being observed (at work, say, or performing at a music recital) or judged for general worthiness (dating, job interviews).

But there were also new insights. The highly sensitive tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic. They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive ... They dream vividly, and can often recall their dreams the next day. They love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions - sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear."

The more I learn about myself, my tendencies, and my beliefs that I didn't even realize were ruling my life, the more I'm able to expand my comfort zone, ability to be seen, and my business profits. That's why reading (or listening to) books like these are now the #1 business activity that I believe you should be doing, too.

I'm curious: what's your favourite self-development habit? Reading? Listening to podcasts? Napping? Let me know in the comments below!