If you asked me what book has changed my life more than any other, without hesitation I would say Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers.
Honestly, the writing of my book No More Mr. Nice Guy has probably had the biggest impact on my life, but I don’t think I would have ever written it if I hadn’t read Feel the Fear.
I first read an excerpt in a mid-eighties magazine when I was married to my first wife and working as a minister. I thought what it said was a lot like the advice and support I gave to others and a good reminder to face my own fears. I made a mental note to watch for the book when it came out.
Fast-forward a couple of years. I was going through a divorce, I had left my position as a minister, and I was looking for a new job as a therapist. I had child-support and maintenance payments, I was burdened with shame and guilt for leaving my wife and two-year-old son, and I was broke and couldn’t find a job.
At that point, I stumbled again onto Feel the Fear, bought it, read it, and reread it. Its basic message resonated with me in the most challenging and frightening time I have ever experienced. My biggest take-away was the mantra “No matter what happens, I will handle it.”
For months, I fell asleep every night repeating that mantra – with no idea how I would handle it – and woke up every morning with the attitude that I would get through this. Every day, I kept moving forward, repeating my mantra.
I got through that challenging period of my life, and now 25 years later, I still repeat “No matter what happens, I will handle it” and know it’s true. I give credit to Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway for saving my life.
I have recommended the book to thousands of people, and their response is always as positive as mine.
The most recent addition to my favorite books is a small one called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (also the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance). The title, of course, is a takeoff from the ancient book The Art of War.
Like Feel The Fear, The War of Art hits you right between the eyes with both its simple, direct premise and its tools for challenging a core issue that affects pretty much all of us. I first read it last fall and have reread it twice since and given copies to everyone close to me.
Its theme is that “resistance” gets in the way of our manifesting our “art” and passion in life. Pressfield’s description of the many ways resistance dominates our life and prevents us from living up to our full potential is like a baseball bat upside the head.
Like Feel The Fear, The War of Art feels like it was written just for me. Every time I start reading it, I experience a burst of productivity and focus, which is why I keep rereading it.
If you are feeling stuck in any area of life or want a boost for moving forward, I highly recommend both of these books. If you have read either book, feel free to share your experience below.