Wow! Half of 2017 is already behind us. We hope your 2017 is going well. If it’s not, let us know how we may be of assistance, especially in your professional development journey.
Back in January we charged the masses on our Facebook page with stepping up their reading game in 2017. We called it the #ABookAMonth challenge. Less that 40% of folks crack a book after finishing school. For those that do, the average American reader finishes about 12 a year, or one a month. We wanted to encourage more to pick up the habit, which pushed us to come up with the challenge. Our goal is to push that 40% even higher, but most of all, we simply want you to pick up a lifelong habit of learning that you’ll surely personally and professionally grow from.
With all the silly internet challenges that abound, why not pick up one that will enrich your development? Many of our teammates have picked up the torch and led the way this year, including MAJ Kevin Lewis, MAJ Xkoshan Arnold, MAJ Alvin Cavalier, MAJ Jason Kolodziej, CPT Collin Richards, CPT Eric Curry, CPT Kelvin Riddle and many others. True to internet form, many have been tagging each other, summarizing their book for the month and providing a synopsis for others to learn from as well. There’s been a wide variety of titles, authors and genres, from military history to leadership lessons and even the prison industrial complex. We’ve been proud to share and learn along the journey.
If you’re a part of the challenge, stay on it and be encouraged! We know it’s hard to keep up the task and are proud of you. Hopefully it’s become a fun and enjoyable routine! Don’t forget to encourage others and share the #ABookAMonth hashtag. If you’re not participating, ask yourself why not and jump into a book or an audible today!
Undoubtedly, leaders are readers – President Harry Truman told us that “not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” For those that may want to jump in the challenge or build the habit and for those that started but may be struggling with keeping up the good fight, here are a few reading tips to consider:
- Set aside a time to read. Instead of closing the night on Facebook, take 30 minutes to turn a few pages. Crack a book everyday at lunch. Routinely reading at the same time daily will build the habits you need to become a deliberate reader.
- Get a buddy or two. If you can encourage someone to read with you, just like working out, you may be a little more committed to the task at hand. Build a group or have a gathering to discuss what everyone is reading.
- Read widely. It goes without saying that you should read what interests you. You should also stretch your interest into parallel and periphery subjects to jog your mind away from the same ol’ same old. Get rid of your boredom with the same topics over and over by varying your reading diet.
- Check out some lists. Some of your favorite role models, mentors, heroes, idols, etc. may have rewarding and enriching reading lists. Look them up or ask if you can – you may find just the work that’ll change your life.
- Vary your style. Maybe physical books don’t do it for you. Maybe audio books while you commute or while you work out are better. Maybe the opposite is true, but you need to underline, highlight, and journal alongside your reading to make it more interactive. Maybe reading two or three books at the same time keeps it interesting. Find your own niche that speaks to you and sparks the reader inside!
Joseph Addison once said that “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Mark Twain stated that “the man who DOES NOT read has no advantage over the one who CANNOT read.” Garrison Keillor quipped that “a book is a gift that you can open again and again.” We want you to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge that flows through the authored pages all around us, exercising your mind and spirit with a gift that certainly keeps of giving. Maybe it’ll even start a conversation that will spark a transformation. Happy reading!