Create Your Growth Plan—Part 2: Book Reading
So you have decided to create a growth plan. Where do you start?
A book reading plan!
Being exposed to new principles and ideas from books is indispensable if you want to be intentional about your personal development.
Authors often spend years researching and documenting their best thoughts and ideas about areas they have wrestled with in their personal lives.
Authors are an amazing bunch! I love listening to them speak about what they have written! You see passion, clarity and truth.
The sight of books removes sorrows from the heart. ~ African Proverb
A book holds a house of gold. ~ Chinese Proverb
So what do you read, and in what order, and how often?
STEP ONE: Decide on the Topics
Which topics interest you most? And in which areas you would like to experience personal growth? Make a list of those and decide on the order in which you would like to read those topics.
For me, I am interested in reading about these six areas this year.
- Personal Development
- Medical Business
For example, your list may be about:
STEP TWO: Decide on the Relative Frequency
Even though I like to read about these six areas, I do not want to read about them in equal proportion. I plan to read about leadership the most, so I read my topics in the following order:
- Personal Development
- Medical Business
(Then it goes back to the top again.)
As I read books about these topics in this order, Leadership gets read three times more than any of the other five.
So if you want to read about teamwork the most, your list may look like this:
STEP THREE: Decide on the Frequency of Reading
How often do you want to read? My goal is to read one book a week. I rarely meet that goal. But as I enter into this coming year, I will make a concerted effort to meet that goal. This is an area in which I aim to grow this year. (Increasing my discipline with my reading.)
STEP FOUR: Make a Reading Calendar on Microsoft Excel
For example using the above list:
STEP FIVE: Decide What Books to Read
Don’t wait to decide what you are going to read until the day you are supposed to start your new book. Decide ahead of time – even a year in advance. Of course, you can change the plan if you decide another book is more worthy. The reason picking the right book should be preplanned is to make sure you don’t end up reading a poorly written book. If you are going to spend the time reading, read the best book you can find in your area of interest – and that takes planning ahead of time.
Here are the principles I use to pick the books I read:
- Someone I respect recommends a book. I write it down and make a list of “future books to read.” On that list, I currently have 200 books. They were recommended by mentors, authors I read or other people I value.
- I look at the amazon.com rating and how many people rated the book.
- If the book does not meet at least one of the above criteria, I rarely get it and read it.
STEP Six: Read
Now this is the most important point. Be disciplined. You can either dedicate a certain amount of time per day or pages to be read per day. For me, I use both methods. I generally aim for 30 minutes of book reading daily. I also look at the book I want to read and divide the total number of pages of pages by 7 (since I am aiming to finish it in a week). This way I know my target number of pages if I aim to finish that book on time.
I will have more blogs in the future about reading. But for now, in establishing the first part of your growth plan for next year, the reading section should look something like this. (Notice that the book titles are already there – you may want to purchase the books now or later.)
January: Teamwork – The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, by John C. Maxwell
February: Parenting – Simplicity Parenting, by Kim Payne
March: Teamwork – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni
April: Marketing – The New Rules for Marketing and PR, by David Scott
May: Teamwork – Great Business Teams, by Howard Gutman
June: Spirituality – Mere Christianity, by C. S Lewis
Also, here is a great blog about why reading is so important to leadership: www.n2growth.com
As you design your growth plan, remember that you have a great purpose! As you read, I hope you are looking for that idea that you are ready to apply – that one idea that is going to make you step up to the next level to fulfill that life purpose.
Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home. ~ Anna Quindlen, author of How Reading Changed My Life
PS – If you believe someone you know may benefit from this blog, please consider sharing!
Reading: This week I am reading the book Principle Centered Leadership, by Stephen R. Covey.