“Trăiește Autentic” de Andreea Săvulescu (recenzie)

Fiind fan dezvoltate personală și sănătate mentală de câțiva ani buni (mai mult de 10), am crezut că am învățat să mă analizez destul de bine. Însă am avut surprize în momentul în care am deschis cartea pe care mi-am pus în gând să o citesc înainte de Crăciun.

În ultimii ani, Crăciunul și-a cam pierdut din magie, în ceea ce mă privește; nu mai este o perioadă pe care să o aștept cu nerăbdare. Ba din contră. 

Totuși, anul acesta se pare că am fost foarte inspirată în a-mi alege cadoul. Am ales să îmi hrănesc mintea cu cele două cărți lansate de Andreea Săvulescu. La pachet. 

Fiind fan dezvoltate personală și sănătate mentală de câțiva ani buni (mai mult de 10), am crezut că am învățat să mă analizez destul de bine. Însă am avut surprize în momentul în care am deschis cartea pe care mi-am pus în gând să o citesc înainte de Crăciun. 

În dimineaţa zilei de 23/12/2019, în timp ce îmi savuram cafeaua, m-am delectat cu ultimele pagini ale cărții “Trăiește Autentic”. Cartea ei a venit ca un balsam pentru sufletul meu – mai ales în această perioadă tumultuoasă din punct de vedere emoțional. Știm cu toții că unii oameni au nevoie de mai multă susținere acum decât în restul anului. Pentru că vedem peste tot luminițe vesele, reclame fastuoase pentru cadouri grandioase, oameni care sunt sau pretind a emana fericire prin toți porii și copii care așteaptă cu nerăbdare momentul întâlnirii cu moșul cel blând și darnic. Unele persoane găsesc dificil înotul în acest val de festin forțat. Mai ales că, datorită consumerismului excesiv, sărbătoarea Crăciunului nu mai este de prea mulți ani ceea ce ar trebui sa fie. Trist este ca mulți oameni “se transformă” în ceea ce nu pot fi în restul anului: oameni buni, cărora le pasă de ceilalți și care împărtășesc momente efemere de fericire. Să recunoaștem: odată cu finalul sărbătorilor, acești oameni se întorc la personalitatea de zi cu zi. O personalitate care nu are nimic de-a face cu măștile strălucitoare pe care le poartă în aceasta perioadă. 

Dar să revenim la cartea Andreei, despre care vreau să vă spun câte ceva. Evident, nu voi dezvălui conținutul, însă voi scrie puțin despre efectele pe care această lectură le-a avut asupra mea. 

În primul rând, vă spun că dacă nu sunteți pregătiți să faceți o călătorie interioară mai puțin tipică (adică înfășurată în lauri aduși la adresa voastră), nu are rost să deschideți această carte. Din punctul meu de vedere, această lectură este destinată celor care sunt deschiși spre adevărul personal, oricât de mare ar fi zdruncinătura. Și va fi un cutremur de multe grade, pentru că Andreea spune lucrurilor pe nume. Iar dacă nu sunteți pregătiți să acceptați ceea ce veți citi, zona de confort este cea care vă va ține în siguranță, departe de acest cutremur și efectele sale. 

Unul dintre lucrurile care au avut un impact extraordinar asupra mea este faptul că, prin intermediul acestei cărți, am aflat câte frici poate duce un om cu sine; și, obiectiv privind, am înțeles câte dintre ele le duc chiar eu. Apoi aflăm despre autosabotaj și cum să ne oprim din a mai face asta. Totuși, ceea ce m-a impresionat la un nivel greu de exprimat a fost “tehnica întrebărilor”. Poate sună ciudat, clișeic chiar, însă – paradoxal – nimeni nu ne învață ce întrebări se ne punem pentru a scoate la iveală informații reale și benefice despre noi înșine. Chiar dacă doare. Pentru că, pe parcursul acestei cărți, veți afla lucruri dureroase despre propria persoană. Însă, odată aflate și (mai ales) acceptate, aceste aspecte duc la o acțiune conștientă; duc la a face primul pas către o existență activă, lăsând-o în urmă pe cea pasivă, cărată în spate de prea mulți ani. 

Evident, există și un aspect de care sunt foarte mândră, și anume acela că unele informații le știam deja, datorită interacțiunii intensive cu oameni înțelepți de dincolo de granițele țării noastre. Cu toate acestea, în momentul în care am citit aceste informații în cartea Andreei, “palma” aceea mult așteptată și-a făcut efectul. 

De ce?

Cel mai probabil din cauza faptului că, la momentul primirii informației dintr-o altă sursă, vedeam lucrurile complet diferit. Mă aflam într-un cu totul alt stadiu al dezvoltării personale și într-o stare emoțională diferită. 

De multe ori pretindem că înțelegem informația primită la adevărata valoare. Însă, așa cum s-a dovedit în cazul meu (și sunt convinsă că nu este singular), aceeași informație – primită în stadii diferite ale existenței noaste – poate duce la consecințe/ acțiuni radicale. În această situație, deschiderea către procesarea informației joacă un rol critic. Mi-e greu să descriu în cuvinte cât de important este să fim dispuși să ne punem pe noi înșine sub lupă, pregătindu-ne să dăm “nas în nas” atât cu subconștientul nostru, cât și cu un sistem de valori și credințe ce nu ne aparține!

Totuși, despre “Trăiește Autentic” vă mai spun doar atât: mi-a deschis ochii, într-un moment de amorțeală. Iar în momentul în care am închis coperțile cărții deja aveam un plan clar asupra ariilor proprii de îmbunătățit. Însă efectele acestei lecturi nu se rezumă la atât. Am înțeles, de data aceasta și mai clar, ceea ce vreau să devin și direcția în care vreau să merg pentru a lăsa copiilor mei acea moștenire importantă la care chibzuiesc de ceva timp. 

În concluzie, părerea mea este că această carte ar trebui citită, cel puțin o dată, de toți cei care doresc să înțeleagă cine sunt și ce rol au pe acest pământ. Din nou, deschiderea este foarte importantă, pentru că informațiile nu sunt nici pe departe ușor de acceptat. Însă dacă sunteți dispuși să faceți aceasta incursiune în adâncurile sufletului și ale minții, cu siguranță îi veți mulțumi Andreei și o veți felicita pentru conceperea și expunerea acestei cărți. 

Urmează “Ziua în care m-am iubit cu adevărat”, pe care am răsfoit-o fugitiv în momentul primirii coletului. Știu sigur că voi găsi multe lucruri de valoare, într-o lectură care se anunță a fi chintesența vulnerabilității unui om frumos. Vă spun mai multe după Crăciun. Probabil așa îmi voi petrece aceasta perioadă – descoperind cum să mă iubesc pe mine, aflând povestea autorului. 

Mulțumesc, Andreea, pentru ceea ce ești, pentru curaj și pentru că – prin împărtășirea înțelepciunii tale – le dai celorlalți ocazia de a se descoperi pe sine, în toată splendoarea. Atât cu bune, cât și cu ariile de îmbunătățit. 

În încheiere, doresc să împărtășesc cu voi vorbele Andreei:

“Să fie cu iubire de sine!”



Cu recunoștință,
A.


#FlavoredWriting #ScrieriAromate 

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[Book review] “Live it, Love it, Sell it”​

As I started reading Jules White‘s book “Live it, love it, sell it” I must confess that I felt as if this book was specifically designed for me.

Why?

Because I never considered myself to be good at sales. Leave alone the act of selling myself. I swear, I saw this as the greatest burden of my life.

Luckily, I came across a challenge (#3winsin2018) on LinkedIn (put out by Jules White and Sam Alsroré), which asked people to describe their greatest 3 wins in 2018. Whereas most people chose to do this in written, I took all my chances and made a video, in which I described all the bold moves I made during 2018, starting with my leap of faith, while having 2 young children. To my surprise, guess what? I won 1st place of this challenge, though I never did it for the prize. It was an amazing opportunity for me to just reflect over past year in a manner no-one pushed me to, until then. So, I understood that I was actually going in the right direction, towards my growth.

Part of the prize was this amazing book, that I received in my mailbox pretty soon after being announced as winner. And yes, I can proudly say that it’s signed by the author! But not just that. Having had the great opportunity to actually interact with Jules and discover her genuine way of being, I had yet another reason to increase my eagerness to open her book. Should I add the fact that she is the winner of a tough sales competition, called Dragon’s Den? Who would have ever thought I’d ever have the chance to speak to someone like her? LinkedIn’s magic…


"Live it, Love it, Sell it" front page with author's signature

What’s so special about this book?

Going straight to the point, let me tell you that the first thing that impacted me hugely was the first line written on the back cover of the book, which sounds like this:

Does the thought of selling your product or service make you shiver with fear or horror?

Back cover excerpt

Now, do you understand my confession from the beginning of this review? Not yet?

OK, confession #2. “Yes! Damn, yeah !” This is my answer to Jules’s question. Having worked in call centers and having been compelled to make cold calls was one of the greatest challenges of my life. Not to mention that I also tried door-to-door sales, in my 20s. And all that adventure left me with such a bitter taste! I considered myself doomed to sales failure forever.

As I began reading her book, as a writer myself, I was curious about the introduction, acknowledgements, foreword… You know, all those sections that people usually avoid reading as they seem boring. Well… Bubble bursting time: not boring at all! The foreword is actually very well written (of course, it’s by another gifted writer, from what I see!) but it’s put in such a way that makes you want to never reach the end of it. Oh, man! It finished, eventually! Well, life…

Anyhow, the acknowledgements section has so much HEART in it! And so does the introduction. So, if you’re one of those people who usually avoid these parts, please take a minute and just read them. I promise you won’t regret it!

Editorial aspects

Leaving the content aside for a moment, I would like to first make a few remarks from an editor’s standpoint.

Consequently, from a technical perspective, this book is for sure one I really enjoyed reading and I will recommend it to anyone, due to its clear structure and easy-to-understand language. The structure is simple: 3 parts x 3 chapters each.

The phrases are well constructed, on point, without useless details, yet having some “salt and pepper” here and there. The examples and exercises are of exquisite quality and very thought provoking – after all, this is what this book should do, right ? It helps people like me understand their fear of sales, how to deal with it and how to adapt the given advice to their own needs.

One thing that I always consider from an editor’s point of view is related to repetitions of the same message, under different forms. There is one thing that is repeated many times along the way, yet there’s a strong reason behind it (that thing can be found below, as one of my favorite quotes, and the reason will surface as you read the book). Other than that, I could not find anything to “scratch my retina”, so this detail brings additional value to this piece of writing, from my perspective.

As a reader, I enjoyed the flow of it. The first part revolves around mindset, part 2 is all about caring (a.k.a making use of humanity) and part 3 covers practical tips about the selling journey itself.

Content review

The following rows will bring you a few impressions about each part, as I chose to write this review literally in parallel with reading the book.

"Live it, love it, sell it" front cover

Part 1 – Live it

Moving on from the introduction, the first page of chapter 1 does what I never expected – tears down some myths. Even more, who did ever put an exercise for the reader on the first page? Well, Jules. She did. What better way to start such a reading than with a brilliant exercise.

(Oh, well, you’ll need to discover it yourselves; I hate to ruin the pleasure of discovery, but I can tell you that it’s worth it. And I NEVER recommend something I don’t believe to be worthy.)

Going through the first chapter, she tears down some hundred-years-old dragons (the myths I mentioned before) in detail, with clear explanations of why they are no longer actual. As a hint, she highlights the power of word of mouth and social media.

In chapter 2, the reader gets a real introduction into the buyer’s mind. What’s fabulous about it is the fact that it opens our eyes towards our own buying habits. Everyday life has at least one buy, even if at no cost, and that is an idea (or advice). Of course, the chapter has a lot of brilliant insights and 2 interesting exercises which will certainly make you think about your own decisions.

Chapter 3 spoke to me on many levels, as it gives details about human interactions, making a parallel between friends / family and clients. You definitely need to read this, as the main focus is on the word “Understand”, which fully resonates with whomever wants to grow, especially as a human being. Another part which fully resonated with me in this chapter consists in the following 2 quotes:

“You choose your own relationship with fear” – whether befriend it and create an alliance or punch it in the guts. It’s a matter of choice.

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. I will be very transparent about this: it’s a phrase that has been told to me too many times lately (by different people, from different corners of the world), so you can imagine what a great impact it had on me to find it in this book too!

Part 2 – Love it

Part 2 of the book starts with knowing yourself. And what better manner to learn about something than starting with your own self? You nailed it, Jules !

You then get taken on the real journey of self-discovery, with practical exercises. But the purpose is extended to also stepping into your ideal client’s world. You will learn how to assess yourself and your client, with a soul.

One of the most beautiful quotes, from my point of view, which is sprinkled with various occasions along the reading (remember that I mentioned this at the “Editorial aspects” section?), is “Life skills are sales skills”. And Jules will prove it throughout the book, with her art of exposing facts. Beat this!

In the last chapter, part 2 brings up an extremely useful exercise, called “Hell to Heaven”, which will challenge your imagination. And the purpose is for you to understand better the adventure awaiting for you in the sales world.

Part 3 – Sell it

In part 3, as you may have probably guessed, the author presents the necessary tools to actually start selling, with the confidence gained over the previous 2 parts. This is the part I will keep some mystery around, so I’ll only say this: it’s NOT that typical section which can be found in any sales book. It’s meant for people who are openly willing to try new ways of approach. If you are ready for it, you will find tremendous value in the last pages of the book.

Conclusions

All in all, this write-up gets a score of 5 starts from me. And that’s not just because I received it as prize. If you still think like this, then you have not read or listened to anything that I have previously put out there. When I provide an opinion, I rarely involve feelings. I love objectivity, integrity and, guess what, truth.

Of course, all this review is solely my opinion and should be taken as such, but I will clearly state that “Live it, Love it, Sell it” has reached its purpose for me. I won’t say it makes wonders, because reading a book is nothing if you don’t actually digest and apply the advice. But it did radically adjust my perspective in regards to sales and I fully recommend it to people who are scared to get out of their shell and sell their service(s). But not only to them. I also recommend it to entrepreneurs, even if they have driven their activity so far based on “long-proven” techniques. Especially as an entrepreneur, caring about the relationships you build and how your client FEELS should be top priority.

I, for one, am tremendously grateful for the opportunity to read this book! *****

Article initially posted on LinkedIn, on Feb 10th, 2019

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[Book review] How to survive the Turkey and other family gatherings

A family is a system itself. It has its own scale of values and management “procedure”. Communication is an important key and the reviewed book reveals this aspect with plenitude.

How to survive the turkey is a book written around the Christmas holiday habits, but the principles the book is built on are worth giving it at least 1 read. And the lessons in it will help you see things differently, from various standpoints. Written by 2 magnificent women (a systemic coach – Karen van Hout and a NLP guide – Sylvie Mellenbergh), this book also reveals the power within the female brain.

On the other hand, the book empowers everyone to pay a closer attention to their family, analyze its structure and find the pain-points of it. Once found, these can be worked on – if there is enough willingness – and hardships can become history.

I enjoyed reading this book from a very personal perspective: the first debate you will find there is about the old and the new. What if we merges the 2 trends? Can they actually be brought together, on the same page of our thinking process?

As I’ve been analyzing both of these perspectives myself for a pretty long time now, this book has definitely spoken my language. And, having 2 kids myself, now it’s easier to understand where friendship should stop, in order to establish a healthy relationship.

Another interesting aspect: learning about the difference between relationship-oriented people and the task-oriented ones gave me an insight about why I can’t connect with a certain type of  people. Not to mention the importance of the 4 communication styles! But did I mention the 15 assertive fundamental rights? They’re all in this book. I know I should print the latter and stick it somewhere, so that I can easily see this list every day!

Additionally, you may enjoy the practical exercises, smoothly inserted within the pages of this thought-provoking piece of writing.

If you still need valid points, maybe you should consider reading this book for the “Conflicts management” section. It’s an eye opener!

The authors wrote it in an “easy to read” manner of approach, which makes it even more valuable. Therefore – by all means – I will describe it as a personal development book, which will earn its place on your shelf, without a doubt!

Here are some interesting quotes from the book:

“By receiving, you give the other person an opportunity to do something for you. Therefore, you make someone else happy.”

“If you change, your family will change.”

“Behavior is not who you are, but how you express yourself.”

” You don’t have a relationship, you create one.” – Karen van Hout

“While juggling, everything is considered equally important.”

Make sure you check out the English version (initially published in Dutch, in September 2017). You can purchase it from Amazon. Be kind and leave the authors a review there, so that everyone finds out about the value within these pages.

Happy reading!

*****

Article originally published on LinkedIn, on December 11, 2018.

[Book review] “The Upbringing that Encircles Me: A memoir”

“The Upbringing that Encircles Me: A memoir”, a book categorized as non-fiction, written by Victoria Brewster (a former violin orchestra player), is a piece of writing which clearly breaks any boundaries of the conventional.

The first 2 paragraphs of the book will represent the delight of old-fashioned critics, as they will find plenty of reasons to misinterpret the actual message within this book. The author uses several terms that “should not be debated”, according to certain cultures and beliefs.

Nevertheless, the original, unconventional style of writing, in a raw and very open manner, is exactly why one should purchase this book. The writer takes the reader from some very dear memories of teenage years to the hardships life has thrown at her. She clearly voices her mind about standing against discrimination, as well as about her marital challenges and the struggles of raising her children by herself. From car accidents she survived without a scratch, to moving out several times, to attempting a “direction shift” to witnessing many (various) cases of death.

Her life experiences, both on personal and professional levels (she works mostly with elders over the age of 65), have taught her not to fear death or to avoid talking about it. In fact, nowadays, Victoria Brewster envisions bringing together groups of people who can openly talk about this topic, share their fears and learn how to overcome the inherited ideas that death is a taboo subject.

Additionally, Victoria is a member of the Service Professionals Network (SPN) Group on LinkedIn and Facebook social networks, has an End of Life Specialist Certification from Doing Death Differently and she is part of the End of Life Doula Network.

“The Upbringing that Encircles Me” is the second book Victoria has written, the first one being co-authored with Julie Saeger Nierenberg and entitled Journey’s End: Death, Dying and the End of Life (released in July 2017). The two ladies are planning a continuation of their collaboration and they are currently working on a second book on the same topic, that will be called Journey’s End: Cultural, Ethnic, and Religious Perspectives on Death and Dying.

The present memoir of the author covers a plethora of subjects many of us witness, on a daily basis, yet few of us find a voice to speak about, due to the stigma society places on our shoulders. Main subjects: converting from a religion to another, creating inter-cultural families, co-parenting with an ex-spouse, miscarriages and many more.

By the end of the book, the reader will also find a series of happenings that changed the author’s life for good, as well as her plans for the near future.

As a plus to the above mentioned reasons, this book should be purchased due to its pretty good degree of uplifting content, a readability score of 5 (on a scale from 1 to 5 – not too lengthy, but concise, with easy to understand terms and a clear structure).

Victoria Brewster

The author is also available for providing trainings and/ or consultations and attending speaking events. She can be reached, by email, at mswwrites.vbrewster@gmail.com or contacted via her LinkedIn profile page. Her blog posts, writing activity and details about current and future projects can be viewed by visiting mswwrites.com

*****

Article originally posted on LinkedIn on November 8, 2018.

[Book Review] “Siddhartha”

This book is the core of my writing. Is the spark of my belief in a better world and is the book that took me to the peak of my personal development search. This book was recommended to me by a very dear friend of mine, in times of deep troubles of mind. He said: “Read this. You may find your way”.

I read it breathless… Every day, on my way to work, with my headsets on, I would lose myself in the world of the young seeker, just to learn more of his adventures.

Even from the first paragraphs of chapter 1, the reader discovers the depth of our hero’s mind and his thirst for knowledge. I was intrigued by the life of an Indian young man who, from early ages, knew that something greater was waiting for him. He was not pleased with the life he had; there was always something missing; even though “He already knew how to speak the Om silently, the word of words, to speak it silently into himself while inhaling, to speak it silently out of himself while exhaling, with all the concentration of his soul (..) one with the universe”.

With all the practices and wise men around him, Siddharta started questioning the nature of gods and the purpose of life.

Consequently, he left his parents’ home and started the journey of self-discovery, accompanied by his best friend – Govinda.

As you may be able to tell, that was the exact moment I let myself entangled by the story; the moment I said the first:”A-ha!”; and the moment I knew that book was, indeed, meant for me to read. And the timing was perfect!

So, here he is, a young man that could have had everything in life (as the son of a Brahman), leaving everything behind, in search of a higher purpose. In search of answers the wise men could not have provided. In search for… himself.

He goes from giving up everything he has for living in the forests – with the Samanas – to becoming a very wealthy businessman, to meeting the wise ferryman. A life journey, that happens within the span of just a few years.    

When someone asked him: “What can you do?” he answered: “I can think. I can wait. I can fast. (…) I also know magic spells, but I do not want to speak them any more. I have read the scriptures (…)”. What a magnificent answer! Some may think it is shallow, yet – digging below the surface – some great amount of wisdom may be revealed within these words.

When he met the ferryman for the second time and had the chance of telling his tale to the old man, Siddhartha was astonished by his new companion’s silence.

Cartoon created by the author of this review

When he finished the story of his life, he said to the ferryman: “And I also thank you for this, Vasudeva, for listening to me so well! These people are rare who know how to listen. And I did not meet a single one who knew it as well as you did. I will also learn in this respect from you.”

Siddhartha” was written by the German-Swiss multi-talented novelist, poet and painter Hermann Hesse and first published in 1922. The quotes in this review are from the free on-line version of the book I was fortunate to find and read here. There is also a beautifully narrated audio-book version, here.

By the time I finished reading it, I knew why my friend told me those words. And I knew something different was ahead of me. As a result, I am now writing this, in hopes someone will get curious enough to visit the links above and learn what I learned.

This book has, literally, changed my life. And I hope it will change many more !

*****

Article originally posted on LinkedIn, on July 31st, 2018

[Book Review] “My revenge on life”

My revenge on life (originally written in French – “Ma revanche sur la vie” – and afterwards translated in English), by Virginie Lemay-Vriesde, is a real life story. I’m sure it will be an inspiration to many people, as this is the reason it was written for.

It is literally the author’s life, exposed in the most transparent of ways. And Virginie’s story goes from a normal life to a tragic accident, to turning up as an uplifting story…

One moment and her life took an unwanted turn. During several months of tremendous pain, she was still happy to be alive. She was strong and so determined to go on with her existence, that she fought against all odds. And she managed not to lose her faith, despite all this.

Moreover, the author has ever since changed her mindset completely. She managed to understand that this painful experience was meant to teach her a valuable lesson (or several – to be discovered), with the exact purpose of turning her into the person she is today.

Nowadays, if you connect/ talk to Virginie, you will never guess what she went through. She is so full of life, joyful and grateful for everything her life has become, that learning her past is somehow shocking.

I know I am grateful to have been so fortunate to meet her! She is an extraordinary coach, who helps expats and professionals working in international environments to overcome their challenges and optimize their potential. Her natural way of being and ability to speak 6 languages lead to an excellent capacity of building relationships.

Virginie
Lemay-Vriesde

After learning her story, the reader will admire the author’s perseverance and willing of living, as well as understanding how she found the strength to “rebuild herself”.

My revenge on life is an inspirational story that should find a place in every home.

If you’d like to find out more about the author and how you can also overcome your stormy times, you can purchase the book in both languages (French and English) from ALL Amazon marketplaces (amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, amazon.de, amazon.it, amazon.in, amazon.com.au, amazon.com.mx, amazon.jp). They are available both in e-book/Kindle version and paperback format.

*****

Article originally posted on Linkedin, on July 30, 2018.