3 Personal Growth Books That Changed My Life in 2018

Kim Peterson


Hi Friends! This has been one of my most favorite blogs to write! I love to read and write and so it is only natural that I’d love to write about my favorite writers and reads! For each book, I share why I like and how it helped me. I hope that something here resonates with you and inspires you to add one of these books to your reading list.


Girl Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis

I was actually moved to tears when reading parts of this. And that is saying a lot because I’m typically not a crier. The way I was learned about this book was that a new mom friend invited me to participate in an online book club. I had never heard of the book, but I was intrigued by the online book club idea and so I thought what the heck!?! Now, I have always been an avid reader. But, due to sheer exhaustion and so many other competing priorities, I had honestly not read a book for six years - since the birth of my children. Historically, I hadn’t really ever gotten into personal development type books. This is not because I thought there was anything wrong with them or that I thought I was in such good shape that I didn’t need any personal development! Ha! That’s far from true. But, my genre of choice was always psychological thrillers and mysteries. (Jonathan Kellerman, James Patterson, Dan Brown, and Harlan Coben are a few of my all-time favorites.) Anyway, Girl Wash Your Face is all about helping us unpack all kinds of lies we tell ourselves that leave us feeling overwhelmed and unworthy to that we can become the joyous confident women we were meant to be. In early-2018, my favorite lie was that I’m not a good mom. In the preschool years, I had been thinking I was doing at least an acceptable job. This was based on the fact that my boys seemed happy, healthy, and well-developed. But, boy when we started Kindergarten and started meeting other families and I started using Instagram, that’s really when my feelings of inadequacy started setting in. I started to see all the other ways the other moms were parenting and all their perfect pictures of their perfect lives, I started to feel like no matter what I did – and I was doing a lot, volunteering, working full-time, creating fabulous birthday parties, etc. - all the other moms were doing it better. So when I read the passage, “Mom, you should parent in whatever way works for your family and spend less time worrying about other people’s perceptions of how you’re doing. Can we stop being so hard on ourselves and instead focus on the good work we are doing…” it brought me to tears because I felt like she was speaking right to me. This book has something for everyone that includes honest and humorous storytelling that I guarantee will speak to you in some way too!  There are two main ways this book changed my life: (1) Combined with the accountability of the book club (which I highly recommend) It was compelling enough to open the door for me to reunite with my love of reading and (2) helped me start down the path of giving myself more grace in parenting.


Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

I have to admit, I didn’t love Eat Pray Love. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the story line and the movie, just not the writing style. No offense to the author or you if you like it! And since it sold over 12 million copies in over 30 languages, I realize I might be the only one. So, when on one of her podcasts (did I mention I’m a podcast junkie) Rachel Hollis recommended Big Magic to her listeners, I was skeptical to say the least because of the author. But, again I figured what the heck, I have a lot of deck to sand and restain and a lot of time to listen to an audiobook. And again I actually had no idea what this book was about either. But, I figured if it was inspirational to Rachel Hollis, I wanted to get me some of that! Then, when I started to listen, I became even more skeptical. Ideas as “disembodied energetic life forms?” What? Turns out the focus of the book is to inspire those hoping to live a creative life and a large part of it borders on magical thinking. It all made the scientist in me start to cringe. But, then when she started to talk about how inspiration can strike, I started to get goose bumps. She talks about how if you let yourself get open and relaxed enough to slacken your defenses and ease your anxiety enough to receive inspiration, that’s when the magic can slip through and start doing its work on you through arranging coincidences, signs, reminders and middle of the night awakenings. I HAVE HAD THIS HAPPEN BEFORE. And it’s been happening more and more ever since. I started to think about the circumstances in which I am the most inspired. Since I’ve started intentionally putting myself in those circumstances more frequently, I have never felt more creative and productive. It’s how I started this business, easily came up with an outline for my book and have started working on it. I’M NOW A BELIEVER IN BIG MAGIC. (And by the way, I loved the writing style of this book – which is much different than Eat Pray Love.) If you are looking for inspiration for how to live more creatively, I urge you to read this book even if you are skeptical. 


You Are A Badass – Jen Sincero

Last but not least is this powerhouse of a book. C’mon, the name alone and the bright yellow cover is fun and inspiring in and of itself. How can you go wrong with Chapter names like “Lead with Your Crotch”, “Beam Me Up Scotty”, and “Your Brain is Your Bitch”??? Jen Sincero’s refreshingly funny and sassy writing style and witty story-telling completely changes the image of the self-help and spiritual world from “unforgivingly cheesy” (her words not mine) to one of utter coolness. This book is a quick and easy read because it is chock full of bulleted lists, short chapters, and inspirational quotes – both from Jen Sincero and iconic pop culture personalities ranging from Curt Cobain to Dolly Parton. Truth be told, of the 3 books, this is the one I’ve spent the most time with. I take it whenever we travel anywhere – it even went to the UK and Europe with us this year. I bring it into my office with me during the day and then to my nightstand at night. Anytime I need a little motivation or a pick-me-up, I can quickly open to any page and grab some quick inspiration. I just feel better when it’s around. This book inspired me to make my first vision board and try meditation for the first time. One of my biggest takeaways from this book is that my main job is to be as me as I can be; which is something that I think we could all use more experience in doing!



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