I'm privileged to be a part of the Virtual Book Tour for Dr. Susan L. Reid's book, "Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman's Journey to Business Success1." This book is an interesting business book in that it grapples with a tremendous array of topics, all designed to help women conquer the trepidation, disillusionment, and other obstacles that must be overcome by a successful woman entrepreneur (referred to as a "Pren-Her" by Dr. Reid).
Now, a lot of the obstacles discussed in this book are the sorts of things that entrepreneurs of any gender can encounter, so there is tremendous advice here for any aspiring entrepreneur - not just Pren-Hers. However, Dr. Reid weaves in some powerful advice tailored to the "styles" and needs of women, exploring differences in bonding and communication styles, and the advantages of women's ability (and willingness) to "go deeper" into the emotional realm of business. For example, there is a chapter on "Womaning - Woman As A Verb" that I really enjoyed - it's a great exploration of how women build relationships. For such a short section in the book, it sure helped expand my perspective.
Keeping it real
Like most books that really "connect" with me, this book is full of wonderful stories of real life experiences. Dr. Reid talks a lot about her own journey through business and life (don't miss the early chapter describing her spiritual awakening). It's through these stories that she teaches us to connect with our "Inner Samurai" -- the voice in our heads that gives good advice and helps you remain centered in the heat of battle. She also teaches us to be more aware of this good voice, since it can easily be drowned out by our less helpful voices.
"Why do we think our thoughts are the truth? Because we form attachments to our thoughts. Instead of listening to our Inner Samurai, we form attachments to what the voice inside our head is telling us. When that happens, we're lost -- lost to focusing on past failures or future dividends instead of present joys. Lost to what really matters in life. We dwell within the domain of ego believing it to be real."
Learning from others
Dr. Reid also shares stories from the people she's coached over the years, and helps to expose us to new tools and insights in the process. For example, one story that hit the mark for me was about a client of hers in chapter 5: "Discovering What You Love: Multiple Streams of Passion." This chapter tells the story of Tina, who felt like she wanted to do just about everything and ended up doing all sorts of jobs because she got bored focusing on one thing for too long. I certainly share some of the same tendencies (for example, a few years ago at my current company, I was VP of marketing, IT, customer support, professional services, PR, analyst relations, and product management -- all at the same time). Like Tina, I've often felt discouraged and frustrated but I didn't have Dr. Reid to coach me through so I've had my share of painful days of reckoning.
Tina's story inspired me. Dr. Reid shares how she took Tina through a great process to help her develop these Multiple Streams of Passion (MSP's). I loved the exercise called "Planets and Moons" that they used to figure out how to focus Tina's interests into a smaller set of more rewarding activities.
The best part of this chapter? I learned I was a "polymath" instead of a psycopath. And I was instantly relieved when I read the first symptom of polymathism:
- "Polymaths are terminally curious.
- It's okay to be curious."
Tools, not just philosophy
The first half of the book is heavy into the psyche and the more spiritual aspects of successful women entrepreneurs. The second half gets into more actionable tools. For example, you'l learn about goal setting, political machinations, time management (and procrastination), and how to deal with chaos.
There is also a meaty chapter on "Your Inner Samurai's Perspective on Networking and Selling" that has so many good tips for making solid contacts (and a bunch of techniques I bet you aren't using yet). This is also where the "Womaning" section appears.
The Secret for business?
One of the notes on the jacket of this book calls it "The Secret" for business. Like The Secret, this book is about adjusting your attitude and other internal expectations to drive different interactions with the rest of the world. If you do the things Dr. Reid prescribes in this book, and nothing will really change about the outside world - but I guarantee the results you achieve in the unchanged world will be much better.
If you're an aspiring entrepreneur, or you've been wanting to make a change but have been too afraid to leave the comfort of your current job, then you owe it to yourself to read this book.
1 - The book links above lead to the publisher's site, WME Books. If, like me, you're an Amazon Prime member and want to get your free 2-day shipping, you can order Discovering Your Inner Samurai from Amazon via this link.