Books to Help You Start 2022 Refreshed
Books To Dive into During Your Year-End Break To Start 2022 Refreshed
One of my favorite things to do while I’m on any sort of break from work is to cozy up with a book and enjoy a lazy day of reading. The feeling of a blissfully quiet day (or even 30 minutes!) lost in a book, with thoughts of work deadlines and problems to solve miles away, is a feeling that I think we could all use a little more of. So, in honor, this year – I’m diving into personal development books that will help you crack the code of how to find that “zen-like vacation mode” feeling all year long, even when you aren’t enjoying time away from your professional life.
The books I’ve rounded up this year each helped me to pinpoint ways to improve my work AND non-work life and routines in small but tangible ways. These books will make you think – about how you work currently, how you rest currently, and how you can do better at both in 2022. And by “better” I don’t mean working harder, longer, or more efficiently (although that may be an eventual byproduct!) The goal of each of these books is to help you work more aligned with who you are naturally, so as you head back into work in 2022, you’ll feel more confident, in control, and calm in your work and personal life – even when the crises inevitably hit!
If you find yourself second-guessing your decisions at work and feeling like an impostor, then I would check out…
Chatter by Ethan Kross
This book is a must-read for any fundraiser that struggles with confidence in their role. Chatter was written by a psychologist and researcher, Ethan Kross, who walks the reader through the inner dialogue we are all constantly running throughout our day-to-day, and how that dialogue’s messages affect how we feel and ultimately how likely we are to succeed in all we do. In my experience, much of success in fundraising and nonprofit leadership comes down to having the right mindset and the ability to persist when things are difficult. This book will help all fundraisers improve their mindset, build resiliency, and understand how the messages they send to themselves are more important than any message they send to donors.
If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable or nervous in any of the settings or roles your job requires you to be a part of, then take a look at…
Hiding in the Bathroom: An Introvert’s Roadmap to Getting Out There (When You’d Rather Stay Home) by Morra Aarons-Mele
Calling all introverts in the workplace – this book is for you! Whether you are a fundraiser who needs to meet with individuals you don’t know each week, a new manager learning the ropes of supervising, or an Executive Director begrudgingly stepping up to give those big speeches every so often, many passionate nonprofit pros I’ve come across are not quite as passionate about the extroverted roles they must typically play as they are about the mission they are working toward. If this sounds like you, I highly recommend Hiding in the Bathroom by Morra Aarons Mele. An introvert herself, Aarons-Mele walks you through exactly how she has built up a (highly public) career she loves – and how she has tweaked that career to work well with her introversion. If you sail through this one and are looking for even more similar content, the author also hosts The Anxious Achiever podcast, which explores the intersection of mental health and the workplace. Highly recommend it as well!
If you feel like that whole “work-life balance” thing fell by the wayside for you in 2021, then I would suggest…
Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
What is a “vacation” reading list if it doesn’t include a book literally about relaxing? This book will absolutely make you rethink the role of rest in our lives – and how our work should fit into our overall lives to maximize our wellbeing and happiness. Thoughtful and full of tangible takeaways, Pang’s deep dive into how to live a balanced, creative life will offer you concrete ways to build more productive rest into your life no matter what your day-to-day looks like. If you are struggling to find ways to feel calmer in your professional life as you head into 2022, this book will help. You’ll walk away with a deep understanding of how to set up a work/rest structure that leaves you feeling much more refreshed and recharged than any Netflix binge ever could.
If you need a jolt of creativity before heading back to work in January, then I’d offer…
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Maybe you are struggling to engage in creative tasks at work. Maybe your creative side is humming along just fine, but you want to dive in deeper or get even more inspired. Enter Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert! Technically a creative “manual” of sorts/series of essays for aspiring creatives and writers, this book will give you the kick in the pants you need to get your creative juices in gear, in a charming but no-nonsense sort of way. Gilbert’s stories will have you truly believing that the universe is conspiring for your success, that your message is needed out in the world, and that really, we don’t need to take ourselves too seriously so there’s no sense in being intimidated anyway. And even though these messages were meant for writers – I can’t help but see how perfectly they fit for nonprofit professionals as well.
And finally, for EVERYONE reading this, I’d suggest…
… any and all fiction!
A sure-fire way to disconnect and de-stress? Any fiction. Truly – anything that sounds interesting to you and engages your imagination. So much of nonprofit fundraising and leadership requires creative resources and level-headedness that is difficult to draw upon when you are stressed, overworked, or exhausted. Dive into a work of fiction and escape into the new reality it creates for you – and, in the process, give your body and mind time to recharge before you jump back into your typical work routine.
The only rule? You must promise to stop reading the book if it’s boring you. This is vacation after all!
Happy reading and relaxing, nonprofit pros!
PS. Looking for more good stuff to read? Check out last year’s Banyan book round-up here.