I have a confession to make.
I am an absolute, 100%, self-help junkie. And I have been this way for as long as I can remember.
I mean we're talking about buying confidence-building books in middle school while all my friends were enjoying tween magazines and vampire romance novels.
But I'll be honest, while I loved reading anything personal development I could get my hands on, it wasn't penetrating my daily life.
I would get all amped up about speaking up and being heard, and then an hour later I'd find myself staying quiet and meek in my relationship.
I would read from these powerhouse authors and feel that fearlessness light a fire under my butt only to say, "Tomorrow I'll start taking more risks and really going for it."
And each time I realized just how engrained all my negative patterns were, the more futile it seemed to fight them.
But 2 years ago, everything changed.
A girlfriend of mine recommended the book, You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero and my life was forever transformed. And no, that's not hyperbole, I mean everything about my life changed after that one book.
This time I didn't just read, I devoured every word. And more than that, I started to actually live the lessons.
So what was the difference? Was it the book? Was it me? Was it just the years I had put in prior that finally allowed everything to sink in? It may be partially all of these things.
But the biggest, most tactical difference I can point to this time around was my mark up process.
You hear me talk a lot about shifting from living life passively to living life actively. Well this is where that started. I didn't just passively let the words wash over me, I became an active participant in learning.
I decided on 4 life-changing letters: Q, A, C, and D.
Q stood for "Quote".
A stood for "Article".
C stood for "Coach".
And D stood for "Do".
Meaning, every time I came across a line or paragraph that really resonated with me, I would underline it and write in the margin one of the above four letters.
If it was a quote I wanted to remember or share on social media, I'd write Q.
If it was an idea that I wanted to expand upon in a blog post, I'd write A.
If it was a point I thought would apply to a client, I'd write C.
And the most important one of all, if I found an action step to take on the page, I would underline it and write D.
It was a game changer.
Suddenly I wasn't falling back into old habits and ruminative thoughts.
Suddenly I had marching orders, I had direction, I had a plan, and I had follow through.
And with every "D" that I carried out, my life would shift, improve, and grow in ways I never thought possible.
Want an example?
One of Jen Sincero's "assignments" was to not just wish for more money. She had you write out in detail the lifestyle you wanted, what you wanted to do, how many hours you wanted to work, and how much money you would have to make to bring this dream into reality. She then directed her reader to focus on that number with consistent intensity.
Within 3 months of putting this exercise into practice, I was making my monthly income goal. And within a year, I had doubled my income to reach my ultimate yearly goal.
Since then, I have applied this practice to every book I read.
And truthfully, I don't carry out every single "D" I write down. But even if I can get 2 or 3 solid action steps from a book, that's almost always enough to move the needle forward and get me closer to the life I want to live.
So here's my challenge to you: stop looking just for more inspiration, and start seeking out action steps you can take that will create real transformation in your life.