I’m surprised my nightstand hasn’t collapsed under the weight of all the books I have on it!!
I heard once that Bill Gates reads 50 books a year, whereas the average person reads just four.
Warren Buffet dedicates 80% of his workday to reading.
Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Mark Cuban all read far more than the typical person.
Are you surprised?
I don’t think so.
They’re learning and taking in more information, and sometimes I feel like I am hungry for information.
There’s so much I know that I don’t know!!
Last year, I think I purchased about 32 books.
I know I didn’t read all of them, but I’m peeling my way through them!
I hope the three books I’m sharing with you today become books on your bookshelf that you pull out more than once…
I’ve bought several of these books for students in my coaching program and leaders in my program because I want them to know, “Oh my gosh, this is a book you’re going to read over and over and over again.”
The Gap and The Gain by Dan Sullivan (with Dr. Benjamin Hardy contributing)
I love both of these two men and I buy every book I can find of theirs!!
Dan Sullivan created a program called Strategic Coach that I did for three years.
I had to drive to Chicago once a quarter and it taught me how to get my business to run where I’m not working all the time, and that was amazing as I was raising three kids and running this business.
It’s really helped me help my students now to be able to do that same thing.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy, you might know him from Success Magazine, is super motivational and super positive.
I just love his input on different topics that have to do with business.
The premise of this book is that, instead of focusing on the gap (which is how far you are from your ideal), focus on the gain (which is how far you have come).
Take weight loss, for example.
If you’re thinking, “Oh, I’ve only lost seven pounds and I want to lose 100,” you’re focused on the gap.
Instead, you want to think, “Oh my gosh, I’ve changed my lifestyle. I’ve created better habits and I’ve already lost seven pounds. This is amazing. I’m going to get to my goal.” That’s the gain.
I think so many people live in the gap with their photography businesses because they’re saying, “Oh my gosh, I’d love to make six figures or leave my day job or have a studio.”
And so, until they do that thing, they’re beating themselves up and they’re not happy with any of the wins along the way.
It just can’t work that way. You might never get to that goal if you’re living in the gap because all you see is that gap.
My biggest takeaway from this book is how to make yourself psychologically bulletproof from anything that comes your way.
Whatever negative thing comes our way, a failure, bad luck, or some horrible thing, ask yourself, “What did I learn from it, and how has it made me better?”
I know it sounds really simple, especially if you’re going through something really hard, but think back to another bad situation in your life…
How did you change because of it?
How do you handle situations like that better now?
When you do this, it makes you psychologically bulletproof because you’ve already done it.
Of course, we have to hold space for therapy and other things that can help us in our lives.
But imagine what it would feel like to be psychologically bulletproof that sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you!
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
This is a small little, easy-read book.
I think it’s an amazing, gift-worthy book too!
I heard about this book because I read that Tom Brady, the football star, reads it before each season to remind himself what those four agreements are with himself so that he can continue to be amazing.
Because we know just like in anything, it’s not just about the tactics of throwing the football, there’s so much more that has to happen to be great at whatever it is you’re doing.
So I want to share The Four Agreements with you!
Number one, be impeccable with your word.
If you say you’re going to meet someone for lunch, meet someone for lunch.
If you say you’re going to show up, show up.
If you’re running late, let them know.
Your word is all you have.
And if you stop taking care of the word that you promised other people, you’re going to stop being impeccable with the words that you say to yourself, right?
So when you say, “I want this as a goal,” and you’re not showing up for others, you won’t show up for yourself.
Number two, don’t take anything personally.
Ooh, that’s a hard one, isn’t it?
Because when we mess up, we do take it personally.
When someone makes a snarky comment, we do want to take it personally!
But you know what, you can make a choice not to.
You can take it personally, or referring back to what I said about The Gap and The Gain, you can become psychologically bulletproof and keep going.
Number three, don’t make assumptions.
We always make up stories about things.
I can say that because I’m pretty sure all of us do it.
Something happens and we just assume, “Oh, we were left out because of this.”
Come on, social media is terrible when it comes to this, isn’t it?
We read things that are happening, we see that we got left out, or we didn’t get chosen for something and we make assumptions that we don’t need to make.
So start asking yourself, “Am I making assumptions about this, or is this a fact?” Usually, it’s not a fact, it’s just a story you’re telling yourself, which is basically an assumption!
Number four, always do your best.
I think that’s just a good thing to live by, isn’t it?
I think it also makes it easier for you to say no to things if you know don’t have the time and space in your life to be able to do it.
When I was out of college, I started getting all these amazing opportunities to be on a board for the art fair and to serve on this committee or that committee.
I was asked to do a lot of things.
At first, I was like, “Oh, this is so cool. What a great opportunity.” And then I started running out of time.
I realized that I needed to ask myself if I was able to commit to doing my best if I say yes.
Otherwise, I needed to politely decline and say, “You know what, I would love to do that, but I can’t commit to something where I can’t do my best.”
I think sometimes we drift off and we get out of control.
We’re trying to do everything and please everyone.
This is one of those little books that gets you regrounded back to who you are and what you want in your life.
The Ultimate SalesMachine by Chet Holmes
If you know my story, you know that I used to be offended when people connected marketing (what I studied in college) and sales.
I thought salespeople were pushy and obnoxious.
I had a distorted view of it all, not realizing how much I actually LOVE to sell!
Selling is helping people get a solution that they need, and I really love that.
This is a heavier read than the first two books because there are a lot of strategies in there.
It’s a really powerful book.
It was the start of education-based marketing, educating people on what it is you do.
That really resonated with me because it’s a better way to sell!! It’s not just pushy and salesy.
And as photographers, we have to educate people on why digital files are not the solution!
We have to educate them on why printed artwork is important.
This is also the book that introduced me to the famous Dream 100 concept!! Dream 100 is all about finding a few, great partners who you can partner with to build your business.
I even used the Dream100 concept when we wrote our book called Worth Every Penny to get endorsements and the foreword written!
I said, “Oh my gosh, I would love to have Seth Godin, my idol, my marketing guru, say some words about our book.”
And I said, “We’re not going to have a foreword if we can’t get someone like Michael Gerber to write it.”
So, for TWO YEARS, I worked on building relationships with these two men.
And through a twist of fate, it all happened.
I was in tears.
I was like, “All right. Life can end.”
It was the Dream 100 concept that I learned in Chet Holmes’ book back when I was in my 20s that stuck with me and it’s helped me build my business for 25+ years.
When we teach photographers here at Joy of Marketing, we’re not teaching fast, quick, tactics, like discounting and things like that.
We just don’t do those things.
We are working on solid marketing and selling strategies so that we can attract right-fit clients who love us and gush on us, and invest in beautiful artwork.
Here’s the thing, when you’re in business, you’re not just a photographer.
You’re also a salesperson whether you like it or not.
You are enrolling people in trading the money that they have for something they value more, which is the artwork–the images that you have beautifully created.
You’ve got to learn to be a salesperson and a marketer.
Those words don’t have to send chills down your spine or make you feel yucky.
So, those are the three books! I hope you consider them, and I hope you buy them as gifts when you’re looking for gifts for people–especially if they are in business or are just starting a career in business.
I know that reading is one thing that most super successful people have in common.
And what I love about it is that no matter what your education budget is, it’s such an affordable way to grow your skills, introduce you to a new perspective, and keep your mind curious.
So I’m challenging you, friend, to get a library card.
Hit up your local bookstore.
Get an Audible account.
Or, just go to Amazon and get the book and start one of these books this week!