5 Nonfiction Must Reads for Self-Improvement

Five Nonfiction Must-Reads for Self-Development Biljana Hutchinson #personaldevelopment #entrepreneur #nonfiction #selflove #business

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If you have been in a bookstore lately, then you probably saw how big the self-improvement section is. There are more self-help related titles than we could ever read and counting. Although reading is easy, simple and cheap, it can still pose a challenge in a busy world such as ours. Nevertheless, with the recent popularisation of audiobooks reading became even easier.

Books have helped me on many occasions in my life. I love books in all shapes and forms. I love reading them, collecting them, giving books as gifts, reading and writing about them. To share some of my book love, I will give you five titles that are my favourite must-reads in self-improvement department. The ones that have had an everlasting impact on my personal life, professional or both.

A small part of 'What to Read for Self-Improvement' Biljana Hutchinson #personaldevelopment #nonfiction #entrepreneur #business

Here we go.

  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. If you struggle with procrastination, then this book is for you to procrastinate a little longer until you read it. It is a humorous and insightful read about why we procrastinate and how to stop doing it.
  • The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tole. If you are willing to learn how to live your life in the present moment and control your own happiness, this book is perfect for you.
  • The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard & Spencer Johnson. A beautiful story that reveals 3 one-minute secrets on how to lead and manage. These secrets helped me not only in the way I run my business but in the way I parent too.
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. A life-changing read on effective personal management. It had a significant impact on my life when I first read it, and I keep it as one of my favourite reminders.
  • Purple Cow by Seth Godin. How to use creative marketing to avoid being invisible and transform your business by being remarkable. The principles can be translated into our private life too.

What are your favourite titles? Have you read any of the books on my list? If not, what will be the first one you will reach for? Share your thoughts, comments or just love in the comments box below. Sharing is caring.

Don’t forget, Be kind to yourself.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

 

 

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What’s All This Cooking Stuff!?

Maybe these recipes seem a bit random, but I came to love cooking, baking and all things kitchen. When combined with my family’s love for eating – it’s a perfect match.

Before I had children, I was not cooking nor baking for more than one reason: I worked long hours, and I lived on my own. Also, I wasn’t interested in learning how to cook after a 12-hour day in the field, and I mostly ate fast food on the go.

 

What's All This Cooking Stuff!?! How I became a passionate family chef, Biljana Hutchinson #cooking #chef #food #interest

 

My mum, a wise woman and a fantastic cook, used to tell me every time I’d say that maybe I should learn to cook this or that, ‘Don’t worry about it, when the time comes you’ll learn’. Or ‘Don’t worry about it, you’ll learn when you have to’. My menu consisted of eggs in 5 or 6 ways, pasta in 105 or 106 ways and three kinds of soup, two of which were from the packet.

Working in Afghanistan where we had cooks preparing delicious food for us didn’t do me any favours either. Until 2011 when my daughter was born. A few months later the time for me to learn how to cook had come.

Mum was there to help as she did and I started going to a local green market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. I started finding my own favourite local producers, buying meat from the butcher’s, fresh herbs and preparing food for our little girl and for us.

 

What's All This Cooking Stuff!?! How I became a passionate family chef, Biljana Hutchinson #cooking #chef #food #interest

 

I already read a lot about food and knew a little bit about healthy eating, dos and don ts of nutritionism, so this was a chance to apply my knowledge and expand it. And so I did. I read more about healthy eating, I talked to friends that knew about it more than me, I learned and learned and applied as much as I could to our everyday meal rituals creating new and improving our existing eating habits.

I started cooking, baking, brazing, grilling, kneading, you name it. There was a lot of burning of both me and the food at the beginning. But, I did it every day, trying something new, finding recipes and following them to the letter. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.

While exploring cooking, I found that it helped tremendously with my healing too. It had pretty much the same effect on me as my therapy – my mind had a new focus in which I could fully engage not only because I was learning new things but because I could be creative in a brand new way.

Two years ago we moved back to the UK, and it was then that cooking indeed became my new passion in a sense that I started exploring, creating and combining ingredients outside of the recipes I had. I gained enough confidence to test combinations and my knowledge, and I am so happy and proud of myself that it’s working! Wooooohooooo!

So here I am – sharing my own recipes! How cool is that! If somebody had told me only two years ago that I’d be doing this, I would have laughed out loud to their silliness and throw them out for daring to ridicule me in my own house in front of my own kids secretly wanting them to be right after slamming the door behind them…

Cooking makes me happy and is one of the things that gives me a feeling of achievement at the end of the day. There will be plenty more food to prepare and enjoy and many more recipes to share

The Perfect Time

Ever wonder what a definition of a perfect time is?

It took me a long while to make my own definition and realise when my perfect time is. As usual, I did it by the learning-from-my-mistakes method.

Does it happen to you that, for example, you go through your wardrobe in the morning getting ready for work and you see that dress you bought a few months ago, but have never worn it yet, thinking every time you see it ‘I’ll wear it on a special occasion’? Or, there is that bottle of wine in your cupboard, that you bought in the vineyard last year or during the French wine presentation and haven’t opened yet because it’s not special enough meal? Is there a restaurant that you spotted on your way to the green market and kept thinking of going to but the occasion is not good enough? Or, that new perfume you bought, is too good to wear it for work? Does it happen?

I used to be exactly the same, but I had no definition of a ‘special occasion’. I would leave dresses, perfumes, shoes or drinks for special occasions that I could not define, but I knew that they were not everyday ones (eyebrow up) until I started working in the war zone. Through my work, I met so many people whose lives were interrupted in horrific, unexpected and indescribable ways and many of them regretted little and simple things that we take for granted or we wait special occasions to do.

By the time we realise the definition of the special occasion, if we ever do, it is often too late.

The Perfect Time, Why not just take action instead of wait, Biljana Hutchinson #SelfLove #NowIsTheTime #action #now

A few months ago, a good friend of mine was moving abroad and asked me if she could leave some boxes in our attic. Yes, I said and helped her pack and move the boxes. While packing, we came across a beautiful green silk dress and beige silk cardigan that I fell in love with at first site. The conversation between my friend and me went something like this.

‘Aren’t you taking this beautiful cardigan with you, you can certainly wear it there?’.

‘That is a 350 euro cardigan, too expensive.’

‘Even better reason to enjoy every opportunity in it’.

‘I will destroy it and what if I die?’

‘Well, if you die you were at least enjoying your cardigan, woman!’

‘No’ my friend said, ‘I want it saved’.

‘Saved for what?’, I asked, but my friend never answered and decided that the gorgeous cardigan is better off in a dark box in our attic than on her in summer eves.

A similar conversation happened tonight while I was posting my pile of to-be-read books on my #Litsy account. One of my followers, commenting on one of the books, said that she was waiting for the ‘perfect time’ to read it, but that she was not sure when that will be…

The Perfect Time, Why not act now because now is the perfect time, Biljana Hutchinson #SelfLove #Now #Action #NowIsTheTime

We work long and stressful hours in the offices full of people that we may or, more often, may not like, doing the work that, if fortunate, we love. We hear bad news every single day, we read posts on our social media feeds that have no relevance to our lives, we conform to wishes, plans and rules of our partners, children, family, colleagues, bosses or, if we are lucky, we make compromises.

What can we do to feel better about ourselves?

Indulge ourselves. Make events out of little things that will make a whole lot of a difference in our daily lives. Put on that dress or that favourite expensive shirt and go to work. If there is a particular dress code at work, then wear it when meeting friends for coffee or dinner. Don’t forget to spray that favourite perfume of yours. When you return home, while still in the same glamorous outfit, open that special bottle of wine. Then toss those Prada (or not) shoes off your feet, lift the feet on the table and take a sip. When you’re ready, put on your nighty for special occasions, you know the one (wink, wink), grab a book that you had your eye on for so long and finish that day like a queen or king.

My learning curve to indulge myself had its highs and lows. Lows were really low especially after the trauma I went through. I was not able to keep the momentum during my up times. Then I realised that I need to be proactive. I need to be on top of myself to keep the momentum. Also, I needed a plan. So, I made one. It wasn’t a perfect one, but I had it. I made an essential step in the right direction.

I learnt that every day deserves a celebration. Every time I felt like doing something – I did it or took steps to make it happen. Because that was my special occasion and my perfect time. Exactly when I felt like it. I learnt the lesson, although it took me some time and effort. Why wait, what for? I decided not to. Make any time the perfect time because you deserve it. Chin-chin!

 

Tick Off the Bucket List

Do you have a Bucket List? My Bucket List fluctuates as there are things that I cross off as accomplished but there are things that I add because I find them interesting and I’d like to try them or take part in them.

Parachute jump was one of the biggest things for me to achieve. It’s been on my Bucket List for quite some time and somehow I always thought that it would be too complicated to pull off.

alt= tick off the bucket list
With the help of the amazing Red Devils team, proud to tick this off of my Bucket List!
My husband and I  never shared our bucket lists in full with each other but when, a few years back, I learned that my husband to be was in British parachute regiment, I did mention that I’d like to parachute jump.

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The clouds live  🙂
Fast forward a few years to the early 2016 and one evening, my husband asks me out of the blue if I’d like to do a parachute jump! What?! Where did that come from?! YES!!! He explains that some of his friends are in the Red Devils team and that I can do jump, i.e. tandem skydiving with them if I wanted to.

If I wanted to?!?! I’D LOVE TO! We get on arranging THE jump straight away, but at the time we could not match my availability with theirs, so we left it for a while. Until one Monday eve in October. My husband checks his phone and asks me if I was still up for a parachute jump. You bet I am!

Wednesday? he asks nonchalantly.

Wednesday? This Wednesday?!  (Panic. I didn’t expect to be on the schedule that fast!) Hmmm… Ok… this Wednesday…  I’ll do it. I think… What do I need to do? What should I wear? What should I do?!

Screw it! I’ll jump!

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The fall through the clouds
The Wednesday came and we headed to the airfield. I was nervous, excited, scared. The guys were amazing, though. I went through the ground training, got suited up and waited for the take off time.

The scariest part of the ground training was when the instructor explained that I will be hooked up to his front and that he will be sitting at the edge of the door. I’ll let that sink for a second… If he sits at the edge of the door, that means that I am hanging off the plane, hooked to his front with my legs bent below the plane. I’m outside of the plane at the height of 13000 feet!

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WTF, I know, right?!
I got on the flight and was so nervous that I couldn’t talk but I couldn’t take the smile off of my face. At least I think that was the case…

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On the way up…
The jump was a mindblowing experience! The adrenalin rush, the astonishment! I was screaming with the thrill!

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The view from the parachute
I will go back and do it again and I know it will be even better. My husband is entertaining the idea of both of us completing the freefall course so we can jump together. I liked getting out of my comfort zone so I play with that idea too…

 

The Perfect Times

photo-1445129865778-9fcd1363cc0d

Does it happen to you that, for example, you go through your wardrobe in the morning getting ready for work and you see that dress you bought a few months ago, but have never worn it yet, thinking every time you see it ‘I’ll wear it on a special occasion’? Or, there is that bottle of wine in your cupboard, that you bought in the vineyard last year or during the French wine presentation and you haven’t opened it yet, because it’s not special enough meal? Or, that restaurant that you spotted on your way to the green market and kept thinking of going to but the occasion is not good enough? Or, that new perfume you bought, is too good to wear it for work? Does it happen?

I used to be exactly the same but I had no definition of a ‘special occasion’. I would leave dresses, perfumes, shoes or drinks for a special occasion that I could not define, but I knew that they were not everyday ones (eyebrow up) until I started working in the war zone. Through my work I met so many people whose lives were interrupted in horrific, unexpected and indescribable ways and many of them regretted little and simple things that we take for granted or we wait special occasions to do. By the time we realise the definition of special occasion, it is often too late.

A few months ago, a good friend of mine was moving abroad and asked me if she could leave some boxes in our attic. Certainly, I said and helped her pack and move the boxes. While packing we come across a beautiful green silk dress and even more beautiful beige silk cardigan that I fell in love with at first site. The conversation went something like this,

‘Aren’t you taking this beautiful cardigan with you, you can certainly wear it there?’

‘That is a 350 euro cardigan, too expensive’

‘Even better reason to enjoy every opportunity in it’.

‘I will destroy it and what if I die?’

‘Well, if you die you were at least enjoying your cardigan, woman!’

‘No’ my friend said, ‘I want it saved’.

‘Saved for what?’, I asked, but my friend never answered my question and decided that the gorgeous cardigan is better off in a dark box in our attic than on her on summer eves.

A similar conversation happened tonight while I was posting my pile of to-be-read books on my #Litsy account and one of my followers, commenting on one of the books, said that she was waiting for the ‘perfect time’ to read it, but that she was not sure when that will be…

We work long and stressful hours in the offices full of people that we may or, more often, may not like, doing the work that, if fortunate, we love but may not even like; we hear bad news every single day, we read posts on our social media feeds that have no relevance to our lives, we conform to wishes, plans and rules of our partners, children, family, colleagues, bosses or, if we are lucky, we make compromises. What is there that we can do to feel better about ourselves?

Indulge ourselves. Make events out of little things that will make a whole lot of a difference in our daily lives. Put on that dress or that favourite expensive shirt and go to work. If there is particular dress code at work, then wear it when meeting friends for coffee or dinner, don’t forget to spray that favourite perfume of yours and you are so good to go. When you return home, while still in that same glamorous outfit, open that special bottle of wine, toss those Prada (or not) shoes off your feet, lift the feet on the table and take a sip. When you’re ready, put on your nighty for special occasions, you know the one (wink, wink), grab a book that you had your eye on for so long and finish that day like a queen or king.

Every day is a special day and every time you feel like doing something – do it, because that is your special occasion when you feel like it. Why wait, what for – make any time the perfect time and remember it because you deserve it. Chin-chin!