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5 books a transformation coach revisits daily

5 books a transformation coach revisits daily


by Niamh Ennis
18th Feb 2024

They each offer different things but all of them inspire, comfort, encourage, inform and ground in equal measure.

I’ll be honest, I used to be very much a one-book woman. I remember a time when I totally believed that if you didn’t finish a book, it was tantamount to sacrilege. As a result, I would remain incredibly loyal and respectful to the author until I turned the final page, even if I was bored rigid or just not enjoying the story. It was my late mother-in-law – herself an extremely avid reader – who first suggested to me that “if you’re forty pages in and you’re not feeling it, then let it go. Life’s far too short to read a bad book.” She would also say, “before you give it away, ask if the reason you weren’t feeling it, was down to you or the book. If it’s you – you might come back to it. If not, let it go.” Wise words from an always wise woman.

These days I must admit to having three or four books on the go at the same time. I can only imagine what younger Niamh would think of such blasphemy. And to add confusion to what may already seem a chaotic scenario, these books comprise a mix of what I affectionately call my ‘books for work, books for interest, and my books for when I don’t want to have to think!’

In fairness, a large part of my client work requires me to keep informed of ongoing developments relevant to the coaching space. I believe that I have a responsibility to keep my finger on the pulse of new discoveries and new ways of thinking and doing things. When it comes to my own writing and in the name of research, I’m constantly tempted by book titles that belong to the self-improvement field. In fact, I’d have to say I’m a lot like a magpie and books are my shiny things. My postman wouldn’t disagree as he attempts each day to get past the dog with one more Amazon delivery!

Yet while the pile by my bedside grows at an ever-increasing rate, there are a small number of books that sit on my desk and are opened daily. They each offer different things to me but all of them inspire, comfort, encourage, inform and ground in equal measures. Each day, once I’ve finished my journaling practice, I’ll open one or two of them and read a small piece from each. These are the five that have been residing on my desk for the best part of a year now.

books

Devotions by Mary Oliver
American poet and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984, Mary Oliver’s poems have this unique way of always speaking directly to my soul. There’s just something so relatable about how she puts her words together. This volume in particular is an impressive representation of her life’s work. I love being able to dip in and read one of her poems just to see how it leaves me feeling and to observe if I’m still thinking about it during the day – which inevitably, I am. The Washington Post in its review of this book says, “No matter where one starts reading, Devotions offers much to love… provides respite from our crazy world and demonstrates how mindfulness can define and transform a life, moment by moment, poem by poem.”

 

books

A Year Of Miracles by Marianne Williamson
Lecturer and author of multiple books that have been featured on The New York Times bestseller list, including A Return to Love, The Age of Miracles and The Gift of Change, Marianne Williamson was also a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The reason I adore this book is because it offers 365 simple but profound readings, one for each day of the year. They urge us to remember each day that we’re not alone, that the universe is ready to shower us with help and miracles when we meet it halfway! Her intention throughout is to keep us focused, hopeful and centred; which to my mind, she most certainly achieves. I was gifted this book at a really challenging point in my life and this book showed me that it was possible one day at a time to rebuild my life.

books

Same Soul, Many Bodies by Dr. Brian Weiss
This one might appear a little controversial! My reaction to this book, when I first read it, (I’ve read it five times already) was surprising and incredibly transformative. Within the covers of this book, I found answers to questions I didn’t even know I was struggling with. Psychiatrist Dr. Brian Weiss reveals how our future lives can transform us in the present. He believes that we have all lived past lives and that indeed all of us will live future ones and how what we do in this life will influence our lives to come as we evolve towards immortality. It might sound heavy and a little out there but he presents the concept in a very tangible way. Every time I read this book I feel comforted but I also love how it expands my thinking and makes so much sense about what will happen to us after we die.

Light Is The New Black by Rebecca Campbell
Rebecca has what can only be described as the Midas touch. Every book and every programme she creates, I devour. As well as being an international bestselling writer she is also a visionary and mystic. Her books, oracles, courses and workshops have been translated into over 20 languages and she has supported hundreds of thousands of people to answer the calls of their souls. Light Is The New Black was her very first book and it most definitely prompted me to answer my own call. The layout of this book is perfect for an everyday read and is inspiring in a way that is so needed in our world right now. I honestly come away from each read wiser, softer and more connected to myself.

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
Finally, my fifth companion is a very compelling page-a-day guide that offers up inspiration or wise words to help you to live a better life, or at least to be more conscious of what it takes. Each page has an empowering quotation from philosophers such as Epictetus and Rufus, writers such as Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, all included to help you navigate life’s inevitable challenges and locate the calmness, courage and resilience you will require to come through them.

I believe that when we are learning we are truly living. Nothing substitutes that feeling of being halfway through a book and knowing that you’re getting so much out of it that you dread finishing it. It’s happened to me so many times that I know this to be true. Each of these five books did that for me and they have truly shaped the person I’ve become, which might explain why I am so drawn to reading them time and again. My hope is having heard about them now, that you will too.

Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading Transformation Coach and author of Get Unstuck who through her private practice, writings, programmes, workshops and podcast has inspired and helped thousands of people to make significant changes in their lives. She’s an accredited Personal, Leadership & Executive Coach and the Lead Coach in the IMAGE Business Club. Niamh is hosting an intimate, online group programme later this autumn. If you wish to join the priority list to be the first to receive the details click here. Follow Niamh on Instagram @1niamhennis or at niamhennis.com.

This article was originally published in August 2023.