S.H.E: Share Heal Empower Review and Interview With Author Shannon Hogan Cohen

S.H.E. Share Heal Empower by Shannon Hogan Cohen

S.H.E. Share Heal Empower unveils the stories of twenty-four women from around the globe and across all ages and cultures, who courageously reached within to overcome extraordinary obstacles. Author Shannon Hogan Cohen has carefully crafted each story into mini literary masterpieces and paired each with art from a female artist.

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Wow. Just wow.

That’s what I have to say about S.H.E. Share Heal Empower. For not being the type of book I typically pick up, it grabbed my attention and didn’t let me go.

Though maybe I shouldn’t say this isn’t my type of book because every single memoir I’ve ever read I’ve absolutely loved. From The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls to Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart to Playing With Dynamite by Sharon Harrigan to Educated by Tara Westover (just read, review forthcoming), I’ve found memoirs to be beautifully touching and affecting.

So rather than saying this isn’t the type of book I typically pick up, I should say that I avoid picking up these types of books unless prompted because I don’t like feeling my feelings lol. I feel enough feelings in an average day to last me a lifetime.

You could say my hang up about memoir is similar to the hang up I have about reading World War II fiction, which is well-documented on this blog. Almost always end up enjoying the book (or straight up love it and call it the best book ever), but boy do I have a certain amount of resistance about it.

S.H.E. Share Heal Empower contains twenty-four stories from real women, recounting some of the hardest and darkest troubles of their lives. Each memoir was powerfully moving and inspiring. Reading through some of these stories truly made me grateful for my own life and everything I have.

I sometimes grow fearful that my own struggles have thus far been relatively small – meaning that the hardest times of my life surely still lie in front of me. Sure, I have had some dark moments and days, but compared to what some people have gone through, it’s really nothing. So I try not to think about the fact that law of averages should dictate that there’s trouble somewhere over the horizon.

But for me, reading S.H.E. was inspiring because reading through some of these stories, of these women who have gone through the most terrible hurts and the darkest times, gives me courage that when trouble does come from me, I’ll know that I’m strong enough to withstand it.

Out of the twenty-four stories in S.H.E. I connected most with the stories of Barbara Jean, Desiree, and Sonia Marie.

Barbara Jean because hers is a story of a life lived among horses and animals. She also recounted some heartbreaking experiences that hit me like a stab in the heart and made me tear up.

Desiree because I cannot imagine what I would do if I experienced what she had experienced losing her child in such a horrific way. But her courage to continue on and fight through her grief to a place where she gives back to others is truly inspiring.

Sonia Marie because it’s clear she is a fighter. Not only did she fight through her own terrifying health crises, she fought to be a strong single mother for her two sons, one of whom has his own health problems. And not only did she fight, but she’s another woman who had taken her darkest moments and used them as seeds to inspire others.

All three of these woman (and the twenty-one others in this book) have exhibited great courage in sharing their stories with the world. I have always believed that the best way to heal is to share with others. I think of it this way: when you are burdened with a terrible pain or hurt, every time you tell the story, you break off a small piece of your pain and give it to someone else to hold onto for you. And the people around you that love you are glad to do this for you because your tiny piece of hurt does not hurt them in the same way it hurts you. So they are able to help you shoulder your burden and over time, your own pain diminishes through this process of retelling and giving away a piece of the hurt.

If you’re looking for a moving, inspiring book to read with your book club or share with all the women in your life, don’t miss S.H.E. Share Heal Empower!

I was able to interview author Shannon Hogan Cohen shortly after the release of the S.H.E. audiobook and at the time of this publication, she is giving away a free copy of the audiobook to one lucky winner. Head on over to the S.H.E. Facebook and Instagram accounts to enter. Good luck!

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What Inspired You to Create the S.H.E. Book?

Growing up, I experienced tension between my mother and father and knew my mother was silently suffering but unaware of the extent. As she slowly revealed her untold stories in my late twenties, I began to understand that this woman was not weak, which is how I always perceived her, but primarily a victim of social circumstance. She had done everything she could to conceal her struggles with my alcoholic father, his death at age thirty and her strained second marriage. My probing became healing for her. Her sharing became empowering. This book became an opportunity for other women to feel safe and do the same. I have learned, we are all wounded, we all worry and we are all weighed down by feelings of unworthiness. For me, the bedrock of love, friendship and community is vulnerability. These heartfelt exchanges provided me with connection and consolation, which is my hope for the reader.

Whose Story Did You Relate to the Most Out of the Twenty-Four Women You Interviewed?

Chapter Twenty-Four, Joni…my mother and who I dedicated the S.H.E. book to. Her rock solid resilience and unimaginable human spirit is inspiring. Nevertheless, each of the women who honored me with their profound stories gave me both a sense of courage and camaraderie that I had never known before. It has taken me years to put the jagged puzzle pieces of my life together. Life offered me clues to help solve my puzzle, but I ignore them at times. It was refreshing recognizing parts of myself in each of these women, who courageously reached within themselves to overcome extraordinary obstacles. These women and their stories together with the many others who have come into my life have created a circle of sisterhood. S.H.E. was born in the spirit of this.

How Did You Come to Include Art in the Book Alongside the Stories?

Once the chapters began to take shape it felt that a simple snapshot image of each woman was not enough. In addition to that, several of the women in the book chose not to have their actual likeness portrayed. I spoke with my sister Shelby, who is an amazing artist and she liked my idea.  In short, it felt right to invite twenty-four different women artists to create a unique portrait of each remarkable woman based on her storyline. I mindfully paired the artists who were able to read their woman’s chapter and were asked to fashion a specific stylistic piece. I continue to marvel at the insight and perception of each altruistic artist. Their representations came from all types of visual expression: pen and ink, fused glass sculpture, to traditional acrylic painting, and more. All the artists in the book are of different ages and abilities, which match the women they were interpreting.

What Was Your Writing (and Rewriting) Process Like?

I describe myself as an amateur scribbler. My writing process is very raw and rewrites only come after I have my husband read through the initial rough draft (of which he calls “homework”- but politely obliges). An author friend once told me years ago to read my pieces out loud and include inflection. This is extremely helpful during my writing and rewriting process, as I have the ability to be very verbose. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful editor, who understands my messy mind and has the ability to make my words pop off the page. Without her, these stories would not be architecturally solid.

Do You Use a Computer or Write By Hand Before Transcribing?

I am old-school; ink on paper. After each interview with a woman, I will listen to our conversation again and begin crafting the chapter in a black composition notebook. I am a tactile person. It is difficult for me to create from scratch on my computer with a blank screen staring at me. For some odd reason, a blank piece of white, lined paper is more inviting. Uni-bal Air rollerball gel pens are my preference. A cup of steamy coffee is mandatory.

What Were Your Biggest Takeaways From the Journey to Become a Self-Published Author?

The journey was extremely frustrating at times, but the end result was very rewarding. I spoke with several publishing houses, who wanted to tweak or modify my manuscript. This irritated me. I understand the need to “sell” books, but I was not willing to compromise certain women’s stories to appease them. Not knowing which direction to go at times was challenging at times, as I flailed forward not knowing if the decisions I was making were accurate. In the end, it all worked out. People came into my life at the right moments and were great mentors guiding me along the way. It feels fantastic to say, “I produced this masterpiece from start to finish.”

Will There Be a S.H.E. Volume 2?

Absolutely, in fact, I have twenty women already in my queue, who are ready to share their stories. It was prudent for me to take some time off and recharge. My goal is to begin interviewing and traveling to meet the women in late September of this year. My favorite part of the process is listening to the women share their life experiences, take those concentrated nuggets of wisdom and develop a storyline to celebrate their personal victories. I remind myself and the women I interview “We cannot choose what happens to us, but we can chose how we respond.”

S.H.E. book Volume One and the woman I am, and continue to become is the result of S.H.E. Sharing, Healing and Empowering.

 

Where Can People Find Out More About You, S.H.E, and Submit Their Own Stories?

On the S.H.E. website which is www.ShareHealEmpower.com. There is a tab called “Suggest a S.H.E.” which you can use to submit a story. And please connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube (as ShareHealEmpower) to see what we’re up to!

 

 

Tribe of Mentors

Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice By the Best in the World By Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss, the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, shares the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure book—a compilation of tools, tactics, and habits from 130+ of the world’s top performers. From iconic entrepreneurs to elite athletes, from artists to billionaire investors, their short profiles can help you answer life’s most challenging questions, achieve extraordinary results, and transform your life.

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Tribe of Mentors was actually my first Tim Ferriss book. It was a Christmas gift and I have been reading it off and on since the beginning of the year. I finally finished it this month as I knocked out the last 200 pages or so during my Miracle Morning reading time.

This was a good book, but it is dense. You don’t need to read it in order or read every page or even read it in a short span of time. Each interview is between 1-10 pages. There’s a forward by Tim where he discusses the methodology and how he chose the questions he asked. But he asked the same questions of everyone, though not all answers were included for each person. So really can just start anywhere in the book.

I read this book cover to cover as I read most things (unless I peeking ahead). But you could just open this book to random sections or just skim through to read the interviews with the people you know and like. I enjoyed the experience of reading cover to cover because I read interviews from a lot of people I had never heard of, but who had great advice to give.

This book is one I would recommend buying since you’ll likely want to underline or otherwise mark up passages. This book was so beautifully bound and pristine I was hesitant to start marking it up myself, but halfway through I decided I was leaving some of the experience on the table by not interacting with the text. At some point, I’ll have to reread the beginning so I can mark that up, too. This is a book I plan to hold onto as I’m sure I’ll revisit it often and get something new out of it each time I read it.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading what successful people have to say and also to anyone who engages in personal development work – this book is a great choice for Miracle Morning reading!

I’ll leave you with the passage that resonated with me the most:

“The entire universe is not just outside, but also within us. We have unlimited power – the power to solve any problems facing us or facing others. We get to create our realities. It’s a simple and small belief, but it can change the course of humanity. Being mini gods mean we never lack. We know we already have everything. We don’t need a million dollars. We don’t need a trillion followers. We are complete. We are full. So full that we can give without counting. The day we will all start acting like mini gods is the day there will be peace in the world.”

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

(Post originally appeared on my other site, www.MinMarketing.com)

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

In today’s fast-paced world of competitive workplaces and turbulent economic conditions, each of us is searching for effective tools that can help us to manage, adapt, and strike out ahead of the pack.

By now, emotional intelligence (EQ) needs little introduction—it’s no secret that EQ is critical to your success. But knowing what EQ is and knowing how to use it to improve your life are two very different things.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 delivers a step-by-step program for increasing your EQ via four, core EQ skills that enable you to achieve your fullest potential:

1) Self-Awareness
2) Self-Management
3) Social Awareness
4) Relationship Management

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is a book with a single purpose—increasing your EQ.

Emotional Intelligence is one of those concepts that is often thrown about in the entrepreneur space. Gary Vaynerchuk in particular often talks about EQ and self-awareness. Emotional Intelligence is a key skill for any entrepreneur, leader, or anyone aspiring to rise high in their career to have. If you’re not sure what Emotional Intelligence is or are looking for a primer on the subject, this book is a fabulous introduction.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 covers four core competency areas with strategies you can use for individual improvement. This is one book you will probably want to purchase if you intend to read it because it gives you a passcode to take their Emotional Intelligence assessment. You can see your benchmark EQ score and then you’ll have the opportunity to take it again later to see your improvement after you’ve had the chance to work on some of the skills.

The four EQ skills covered in this book are Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. Two skills that are more focused on the self and two that are more focused on your interactions with other people. Each skill then has 15-17 short strategies for you to use to increase your skill level.

The book doesn’t go particularly deep in any one area, but is a great place to start from if you’re working on improving your EQ. It’s a slim book that will be an essential part of your entrepreneur library as you can easily pick it up at any time to check in on how you’re doing with your EQ skills.

The Storyteller’s Secret

(Post originally appeared on my other site, www.MinMarketing.com)

The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don’t by Carmine Gallo

How did a Venice Beach T-shirt vendor become television’s most successful producer? How did an entrepreneur who started in a garage create the most iconic product launches in business history? How did a timid pastor’s son overcome a paralyzing fear of public speaking to captivate sold-out crowds at Yankee Stadium, twice? How did a human rights attorney earn TED’s longest standing ovation, and how did a Facebook executive launch a movement to encourage millions of women to “lean in”?

They told brilliant stories.

In The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch on and Others Don’t, keynote speaker, bestselling author, and communication expert Carmine Gallo reveals the keys to telling powerful stories that inspire, motivate, educate, build brands, launch movements, and change lives. The New York Times has called a well-told story “a strategic tool with irresistible power” – the proof lies in the success stories of 50 icons, leaders, and legends featured in The Storyteller’s Secret: entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, Sara Blakely, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Sheryl Sandberg; spellbinding speakers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bryan Stevenson, and Malala Yousafzai; and business leaders behind famous brands such as Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, Wynn Resorts, Whole Foods, and Pixar. Whether your goal is to educate, fundraise, inspire teams, build an award-winning culture, or to deliver memorable presentations, a story is your most valuable asset and your competitive advantage.

In The Storyteller’s Secret, Gallo explains why the brain is hardwired to love stories – especially rags-to-riches stories – and how the latest science can help you craft a persuasive narrative that wins hearts and minds. “The art of storytelling can be used to drive change,” says billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson. And since the next decade will see the most change our civilization has ever known, your story will radically transform your business, your life, and the lives of those you touch. Ideas that catch on are wrapped in story. Your story can change the world. Isn’t it time you shared yours?

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I’ve always believed that stories are powerful. That’s why I became a writer and later got interested in marketing. I believe marketing and writing have a lot in common – they both deal with the art of telling a good story and communicating ideas to other people. I did a talk on marketing last year and I mentioned how when I hire marketing people, one of the things I look for is writing skill. Because if you’ve made it through 13 years of compulsory education plus however many years you spent in college and you still can’t write well, I’m not going to be able to fix that. I can teach you to Facebook and to Instagram and to design email blasts. But if all the teachers who came before me couldn’t turn you into a writer, why do I think I’ll be any more successful?

Anyway.

When I saw The Storyteller’s Secret on display in an airport window, I knew I had to buy it and read it. I didn’t even look up any reviews, I just snapped a picture of it and when I next went to buy something on Amazon, I added it to my cart and started reading the book the same day it showed up at my house.

What makes this book interesting is not that it’s particularly ground-breaking or earth-shattering. I’ve read enough self-improvement and business books over the last 2.5 years to realize that a lot of the same stories end up in the pages of different books. But the repetition doesn’t make them any less powerful. And it doesn’t make me feel any less motivated because I’ve heard that story before. So in that way, even though the The Storyteller’s Secret features the stories of people like Steve Jobs and John Lasseter (read Jobs’ biography last year), Malala (been following her story since the news first broke), and Martin Luther King Jr., an inspiring story is still an inspiring story. And The Storyteller’s Secret contains over 37 of them, succinctly summarized, categorized, and broken down to include a key “takeaway” at the end of each chapter. Plus, the storyteller’s toolkit at the end of the book is an invaluable resource that can help you get back on track if you’re struggling to tell a story that really and truly connects with your audience.

If you don’t yet understand the power of story in marketing and selling your brand, pick up The Storyteller’s Secret. This will be a book you keep on the shelf for years to come, to pick up when you need a moment’s inspiration.

Remember: Anyone who tells you words don’t have power and words don’t matter is a fool. Words can start movements or change the tide of war. And if words can do those things, just imagine what they can do for your brand…

Captivate

(Post originally appeared on my other site, www.MinMarketing.com)

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding With People by Vanessa Van Edwards

As a human behavior hacker, Vanessa Van Edwards created a research lab to study the hidden forces that drive us. And she’s cracked the code. In Captivate, she shares shortcuts, systems, and secrets for taking charge of your interactions at work, at home, and in any social situation. These aren’t the people skills you learned in school. This is the first comprehensive, science backed, real life manual on how to captivate anyone–and a completely new approach to building connections.

Just like knowing the formulas to use in a chemistry lab, or the right programming language to build an app, Captivate provides simple ways to solve people problems. You’ll learn, for example…

– How to work a room: Every party, networking event, and social situation has a predictable map. Discover the sweet spot for making the most connections.
– How to read faces: It’s easier than you think to speed-read facial expressions and use them to predict people’s emotions.
– How to talk to anyone: Every conversation can be memorable–once you learn how certain words generate the pleasure hormone dopamine in listeners.

When you understand the laws of human behavior, your influence, impact, and income will increase significantly. What’s more, you will improve your interpersonal intelligence, make a killer first impression, and build rapport quickly and authentically in any situation–negotiations, interviews, parties, and pitches. You’ll never interact the same way again.

I first came across Vanessa Van Edwards via a Self-Made Man podcast interview she did with Mike Dillard. If you’re curious, you can listen to that podcast here. I was immediately taken both by Vanessa’s easy storytelling style and the captivating information she was relaying. I purchased Captivate the moment I finished the podcast.

I was not disappointed in reading this book. Captivate is an engaging and interactive read. Not only does Vanessa relate what she’s learned in an easy-to-digest (and apply!) way, she also encourages you to take quizzes and other actions to enrich your reading experience.

During the course of the book, you will learn 14 powerful ways to hack human behavior. The book is divided into three sections, meaning that no matter what your profession or personal social challenge, you’re sure to get something of value from the book. Whether you’re the type of person who has to meet a lot of new people or someone who’s trying to enrich their existing relationships, Captivate is a must read.

I can already see that this is a book that will stay on my shelf and that I’ll revisit time and again. There’s so much good stuff, it would be impossible to really get everything out of the book on a first read. I think an appropriate way to start applying the knowledge of Captivate in your own life is to pick one behavior hack at a time to focus on learning and internalizing. Each chapter features a “Challenges” section with ideas for putting each behavior hack into action. I am looking forward to trying these in my own life!

You Are a Badass

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word. If you’re ready to make some serious changes around here, You Are a Badass will help you: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, blast past your fears so you can take big exciting risks, figure out how to make some damn money already, learn to love yourself and others, set big goals and reach them – it will basically show you how to create a life you totally love, and how to create it NOW.

By the end of You Are a Badass, you’ll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass.

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This is one book that you definitely have to be opened to receiving. I’ve been introduced to the idea of The Law of Attraction before, so this was nothing new to me. But I did find her candidness and enthusiasm for the subject refreshing. I enjoyed reading her own stories and experiences she put into this book. In some ways, it almost felt like reading a memoir more than a personal development book.

I have never read The Secret. But if you are looking for an introduction to The Law of Attraction, this is a great place to start. This book introduces and explains the subject and explains how to put it into practice without feeling too preachy or too woo-woo crazy.

I think this is a great book that everyone should read. There’s sure to be a nugget in here that will resonate with you and motivate you to get in touch with your inner badass!

Getting to Yes

Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury

Since its original publication nearly thirty years ago, Getting to Yes has helped millions of people learn a better way to negotiate. One of the primary business texts of the modern era, it is based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, a group that deals with all levels of negotiation and conflict resolution. Getting to Yes offers a proven, step-by-step strategy for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict. Thoroughly updated and revised, it offers readers a straight- forward, universally applicable method for negotiating personal and professional disputes without getting angry-or getting taken.

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I thought I was a pretty good negotiator. Good, not great. But sufficient. Until I read this book. Boy, do I have a lot to work on!

I feel like Getting to Yes will be a book I come back to many times. I found myself reading a section and then stopping and rereading it because the concepts felt so foreign I had to take extra time to process them.

The major premise of this book is that the way most people negotiate is flawed. Most of us negotiate in one of two ways: by driving an overly hard bargain to get as much as you can from the other person for the sake of “winning” or negotiating too complacently. The book calls this time of negotiating “positional bargaining”.

Getting to Yes posits that there’s a third way to negotiate that people can learn and use to find outcomes that leave both parties feeling mutually satisfied. No particular name is given to this type of negotiation, but it has four main components:

  1. Separate the People From the Problem
  2. Focus on Interests, Not Positions
  3. Invent Options For Mutual Gain
  4. Insist on Using Objective Criteria

This book was pretty eye-opening to me and it made me think of the negotiation styles of people I know well and people in power and it did made me realize that the best negotiators I could think of were using the tactics in Getting to Yes.

This isn’t a very long book, but it’s definitely a must-read even if you’re not in a sales or negotiation profession. The tips in here are applicable to all kinds of problems.