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April 21, 2011

Working Smarter, Not Harder & JillFit Summer Reading List

Ok, so it’s not officially summer yet, but we are all already working on our summer bikini bodies (right?) so why not get a jump on our poolside reading!  The other night on Facebook, I posted my ridiculously-cluttered bedside table, stacked high with about 25 books, most of which are mid-read about everything from relationships to diet/exercise and business (ok, I admit there might have been a Twilight book in there somewhere too!). Based on the amazing responses from all you fit gals, looks like many of us are in the same boat.  So I decided to ask everyone to offer up their ONE most highly recommended book in the realm of inspiration, business, health/fitness or spirituality  in order to compile a list of book reccos created by fit, educated, introspective ladies for other fit, educated, introspective ladies.  Everyone was only allowed ONE recommendation so that only the best of the best showed up.  Here is the list, mine is at the bottom :)  Enjoy and happy reading! ox Jill

Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook
Mind Gym
Creating a Life You’ll Love
The Alchemist
The Four Agreements*
90 Minutes in Heaven
Who Are You and What Do You Want
Complete Idiots Guide to Detoxing Your Body
The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want
The 4-Hour Body
Captivating (picked twice)
Lone Survivor
Small Business
Good Calories/Bad Calories*
Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It*
The Weight of Glory
Bruce Lee Artist of Life
The Same Kind of Different as Me (picked twice)
The Power of Now
The Road Less Traveled
The Happiness Advantage*
Celestine Prophecy*
Good to Great
Maximum Achievement
As a Man Thinketh
The Metabolic Effect Diet* (picked twice)
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think*

*Denotes a JillFit/Metabolic Effect Runner-up! :)

I had such a hard time choosing my ONE most highly-recommended book since I have read many that have resonated with me on a spiritual, career or inspirational level.  However, if I had to choose one book that changed my life the most it would probably be The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris.  It is a business/lifestyle read, but when I read this book in 2007 I was literally running around like a crazy person with zero time and at the same time, not getting anything done.  I was working all the time and yet never working.  I was personal training 12 clients a day, spread out from 5:30am to 8pm everyday, weekends, all over town and teaching 10 fitness classes a week!  I was taking whatever money someone would pay me and I was miserable.  I felt ineffective at moving forward because I was a slave to my schedule and the hectic lifestyle I had created for myself, as well as the need to make ends meet.  I had no time to start on any new projects, as I always felt like I was playing catch up.

Both my mom and dad, as well as my step-dad and step-mom, are very hard workers and if they all taught me one thing, it is hard work and responsibility.  Growing up an only child, my parents divorced when I was two and my mom was a single mother working full-time from the time I was 2 until she remarried when I was 9.  She started as a programmer and worked her way up with the same company and retired as a senior VP after 30 years with the company at the age of 55.  (Ironically, she now works for JillFit–what a waste of talent!) In short, she worked her ass off.  I don’t think she ever took a sick day in her life, and yet she was never a victim. Never complained and never felt sorry for herself.  She is probably the person I respect the most in my life whose example gives me strength every day to know that I can do anything.

My mom and me :) Do I see a mini-baby-bicep?? lol

My dad, also a very hard worker and someone who always taught me to follow my dreams.  Unlike my mom, my dad started several successful small businesses of his own, worked his ass off for them and always followed his heart, wherever it led him. He has been nothing but a loving, supportive and extremely generous friend to me throughout my life.  I remember being like, 3 years old at McDonalds (yes, I went to Mikky D’s when I was 3, never again though! lol) and wanting more ketchup.  Guess who had to walk up to the counter and ask the person behind the register for more? Me. At 3. Needless to say, both my parents installed a very strong work ethic and a mindset of “if you want something, it is your responsibility to ask for it or go out and earn it yourself.”

Thus, my natural inclination is to be someone who just puts my head down and grinds it out.  I don’t ask for help, I hardly ever feel sorry for myself and I am quick to take responsibility for myself and my actions. Guess what. For someone as work-driven as I was, I had never felt more ineffective in my life.  I wasn’t living the life I wanted, I was a slave to long days of energy-draining work (full-time trainers may be able to relate).  By the time I got home at night, all I wanted was quiet. No talking, no thought stimulation, no interaction with anyone else. Even if I had wanted to do something like write a blog, I could barely muster the mental energy to do it. I knew something needed to change, and it was then that Jade introduced me to The 4-Hour Work Week and it was like a lightbulb went off in my head.  Time to do things smarter, not harder.

I began cleaning house and making some serious changes with my business and schedule:

  • Though it was a huge leap of faith (where would I make up the money?), I used the 80/20 rule to fire some clients who either undervalued the training (showed up late/no shows/late payments, etc) or whose schedule wasn’t flexible enough to train at convenient times for me (I found another great trainer who agreed to take them on).
  • I booked my days so that I trained clients back to back (no more 30 or 60 minute useless gaps) and either all morning 6-10am OR all evening (3-7pm) but not both. I finally had big chunks of time in the day to start new projects and the mental energy to finish them.
  • I also started charging more because I knew I was worth it. It was a really stressful time because I was worried about how old clients would react (would they leave?) and what if no one could afford to pay my prices? I would end up with no clients and no money!
  • Well, some strange things started happening.  As soon as I implemented all of these changes to improve my schedule and optimize my lifestyle, my income immediately went up and a new slew of clients came on board, all able to work with my set schedule and willing to pay my prices?  As soon as I recognized and owned the value of what I had to offer, others did too.  I freed up valuable time and felt in balance for the first time in a long time. Incredible!  :) AND most importantly, it granted me the time, energy and belief system that allowed me to start JillFit Physiques!

There are really a lot of other changes I made after reading this book whose outcome has been nothing short of magical on a personal and professional level, but I think I might bore you all to death!  If you have not read it yet and feel like I did, like you wish you could become more effective with your time, it is definitely my #1 must-read!  Even one or two small changes can make a HUGE difference!  This is honestly the way I live my life now and I have never been happier.  The old saying “time is money” is no longer true–time is worth more than money.  Become a master of your schedule :)

Related: Lovers & Haters Part 2: Transformation into a Fat Loss Lifestyler

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