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On my bookshelf: SHIFT by Peter Arnell

If you are feeling stuck in your present, afraid to make a change, nervous about what the world will think of you, or simply like exercising your brain and emotional system this book might interest you.

SHIFT, How to reinvent your businees, your career, and your personal brand by Peter Arnell is an easy read that packs a strong message. It not only gives you the insight to one of the greatest advertising minds in North America, but also insight into his thought process on life, personal branding, and happiness.

By using story telling to keep it compelling and interesting, Arnell takes you through the step by step process to making positive changes anywhere in your life. In his words:

"True change springs from an idea whose time has come. It is powered by dissatisfaction with the way things are. Shift is a change that lets you see yourself in a new light. Shift occurs when you assign ideas and values new priority. It will affect how you see others, and how others see you."

In other words, change only comes if you want it to. We can all get stuck in the status quo. The status quo is safe. There are time in our lives however where the status quo is just not what we want anymore. And if you need more inspiration to make a change in your life, ask your self as Arnell did: "Why not?"

" Why not? Believing 'why not?' is a way of life. If you want to crack open a sense of possibility in your life and work, you're going to have a lot more luck if you show a willingness - a serious commitment - to 'why not?'"

My favourite idea in Arnell's book was the chapter FIND YOUR MESSAGE.

"To develop the new 'you' that you have in mind, you have to build it around who you genuinely are. You have to strip the old facade away, with a big file or coarse sandpaper."

What he said struck a cord with me. Often we try to make a change, and either are too scared or too unsure to make it. But other decisions come easily. All the big decisions in my life I have made in less than 48 hours, and often I made them on the spot. I realized that all of my gut decisions were decisions that felt true to my core, authentically me. However I felt like I had lost this person a bit. Especially professionally.

Having a child, taking maternity leave and then raising an infant/ toddler takes a toll on you mentally. In my case I felt I lost my way professionally a bit, in order to find my way as a mother. Reading Arnell's book helped me find that spark that I had misplaced. The spark of being the best chiropractor I know how to be. The spark that comes when I feel like I've just provided amazing patient care. The spark that comes when I'm learning new ways to provide that care. That spark is the authentic doctor I have always hoped to be. Its nice to find again.

With chapters on "Finding your mission", "Un-writing your life", &"Embracing mistakes", Arnell makes you think about the way you present yourself to the world. He invites you to shed the costume you wear as protection against the world and embrace how you want people to see you, and just BE that person. He reminds you that mistakes are just learning ways NOT to do things and that they promote self growth.

Two big take home messages are these:

"Go HELIUM" : He means that like helium, which is one of the lightest elements but inert, you should float above your problems and concerns and rise as a human/professional/business as high as you can go. He recounts helium as the enemy of fear and small goals. "Helium pushes up, with few discernible drawbacks."

"People or brands that go helium go beyond the obvious. they look for greater benefits, which are often the most difficult to identify because they require vision and leaps of faith... When you go helium you laugh at the idea of failure."

"Go TIGER" : Arnell references a standup comedy session by Chris Rock, where he talks about Sigfried and Roy's tiger that people kept calling crazy. Chris Rock adeptly pointed out that the tiger didn't go crazy, he "WENT TIGER".

"We all get stuck in roles that aren't really us. We're desperate to break away, to break loose, but something keeps us tolling away even if it feels all wrong... If it feels all wrong, it probably is. Ultimately we have to revert to our true natures. We have to ignore the people waving at us to do something their way. We have to leap to our destinies and be who we are. We have to go tiger."

References for all quotes: ARNELL, Peter. SHIFT: how to reinvent your business, your career, and your personal brand. New York, Broadway Books, 2010.

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