The New Year is always a time for reflection and how to improve oneself. Two new books, Best Self by Life Coach Mike Bayer, and #Chill by Bryan E. Robinson, Ph.D, can help advance your goals.
BEST SELF: Be You, Only Better
By Life Coach Mike Bayer; foreword by Dr. Phil McGraw
Dey St.; an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; hardcover, $26.99; available Tuesday, January 8
Mike Bayer is not your typical life coach. Modest and Mellow, "Coach Mike," as he is often called, has spent years helping his clients break through obstacles to live their best life.
Bayer's very successful techniques, driven by acting as a behind-the-scenes superstar, have recently earned him a spot as the first-ever regular contributor on the top-rated Dr. Phil Show, as well as a key member of Dr. Phil McGraw's advisory board, which consists of 18 of the most accomplished and respected health care professionals in the country.
Mike has worked with clients from all walks of life to confront their fears, acknowledge what is holding them back, and transform their lives into ones that are authentic, passionate, and well-rounded.
In Mike's first book, BEST SELF: Be You, Only Better, he provides readers with an action-oriented, personalized plan for becoming their own life coach. This empowering guide is not a self-help book preaching about change, nor a book that you have to read in-between the lines to glean life wisdom.
This is an interactive, inspiring, and self-revealing book that Mike says, "only works if you work it, so work it; you're worth it!"
Best Self is full of revealing quizzes, provocative questionnaires, and creative drawing exercises, while providing readers with problem-solving strategies to examine where their life is now and determine once and for all who they want to be and where they want to go.
In order to begin their Best Self journey, Mike suggests that readers first draw their Anti-Self and Best-Self characters directly in the book. A person's Anti-Self, the side of us that is triggered by negative situations and emotions like fear and anxiety, is important to identify so that we can attempt to reduce the amount of time we spent in this role. Is our Anti-Self a certain gender or inspired by a movie character? Is our Best Self warm and considerate? Compellingly, Mike feels it is easier for people to identify their Anri-Self character than their Best Self and they are shocked by the results.
"Our very first relationship actually begins in the womb - our relationship with our mother," Bayer writes. "Then, we form relationships with those in our immediate family as we evolve from helpless infant to young adult. Puberty sets in, along with a flood of confusing emotions due to hormones, and many of us experience our first romantic love.
"As we prepare for independence, we learn about financial responsibility. We may start out with jobs that don't exactly reflect our life's purpose; instead, they are a solid training ground on which we transition into adulthood.
"Depending upon our upbringing, we may embrace religion or spirituality. Later, we make a conscious decision as to whether we continue those practices, make shifts within them, or choose a new spiritual course.
"The above is all very broad strokes, a big picture view of the most common paths from child to adult. But I ask you this - at what point in that journey do we learn how to connect with our best self?
"Schools don't teach us this skill, our parents likely do not, as they themselves may not be in touch with their Best Self, and even if they are, then it may not be on a consistent basis. Our friends certainly don't have the tools. Therefore, later on, most of us end up with aspects of our life that just feel off. It's not something we can fully articulate, but we know something isn't quite right. The problem? We aren't being authentically ourselves in one area of life or another.
"Life happens around us and through our experiences, we define who we are or who we believe we are."
Best Self is one of the most rewarding books you can invest in, by not only reading it, but doing the creative exercises Coach Mike has created.
#CHILL: Turn off Your Job and Turn on Your Life
By Dr. Bryan E. Robinson
William Morrow Hardcover; $22.99; eBook $11.99; audiobook, $20.99
As 2019 begins, people are following through on pledges to improve their work-life balance "New Year, New You" resolutions, and #CHILL can help you put those into practice.
Dr. Bryan E. Robinson is in a unique position to counsel workhaholics, perfectionists, overachievers, and those who are work-obsessed, as he himself is a recovering alcoholic. The insights in this mindfulness and meditation guidebook are rooted in his personal experiences as well as his professional expertise as a licensed psychotherapist and Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Robinson aims to break the toxic pattern of this era's hectic work environment, where people must do more in less time with fewer resources, by giving readers tips and tools to wake up from a life lives on automatic and become fully aware of the present moment.
Robinson describes the difference between a chilled worker and a workaholic, "A chilled worker is in the office dreaming about being on the ski slopes. A workaholic is on the ski slopes dreaming about being back in the office. If you're a workaholic, you have difficulty turning off your 'task mode.' If you're chill, you are able to balance work and the other areas of your life: relationships, play, work, and self-care."
#Chill has guidance and meditations that are outlined and span 12 months, with each one tailored to a theme. For instance, January, which is named for the Roman Janus, is represented by back-to-back heads simultaneously looking backward and forward. This symbolism encourages readers to look back on what workaholic tendencies have become unmanageable and look forward to changing those behaviors for the better. April is names from the Latin aperire "to open," and that chapter instructs readers to open themselves to self-examination gaining perspective on opportunities lost due to being "busy." A sample of other key takeaways include:
- The 9-5 is dead: The 24/7 mentality has taken over with work slithering its way into every hour of the day.
- Outlast Burnout: When overworking outweighs self-care it's time to recharge and invest in your own well-being.
- Embrace maybe: Being OK with not having a definite outcome and realizing every possibility has numerous ways it can resolve.
- Avoid multi-tasking: While usually celebrated, multi-tasking undermines the ability to focus and often results in half-baked projects.
- Let It Go: That doesn't mean giving up, it means you stop trying to control the things you can't or don't need to control.
This is one of the most rewarding books you will read to start the new year, as its sage wisdom will assist in helping the overworked realign and relearn what truly matters so that they can still excel at their job without sacrificing joy.