Aug 21, 2008

Review: Take Time for Your Life by Cheryl Richardson

About ten years ago, I saw a woman on The Oprah Winfrey Show named Cheryl Richardson. I'd never heard of a "life coach" before, but that's what Richardson's title was. And she was promoting her new book called Take Time for Your Life.

Intrigued, I bought the book and have loved it ever since. I hadn't touched it in several years, but took it down from my bookcase a couple of months ago, thinking that I might sell it on Amazon. Instead, I found myself rereading it - and remembering why it is such a great book.

The overarching theme of Take Time for Your Life is "extreme self-care." Richardson emphasizes that in order to be happy, and to be able to give of ourselves to others, we must take care of ourselves and meet our own needs. And "needs" refers not just to basic needs like sleep and food, but to nourishment of the soul. She encourages readers to figure out what nourishes their spirit, and offers tools to help fit that nourishment into their daily lives.

She also suggests practical and detailed ways to figure out your priorities, manage time, get control of your finances, and make your dreams come true. Of course, it's not as simple as that, but I do believe the book can help you get there.

I like the many anecdotes in the book about clients she's worked with. They help to illustrate her points with specific examples of how her recommendations work. One of my favorite examples is of the woman who couldn't bring herself to sort through the endless stacks of papers she'd accumulated. Richardson told the woman to sit on the floor with the papers, light a candle, and ask why she had a mental block against dealing with them. That was how the woman realized that her notes for a novel she'd always wanted to write were buried in the papers and that tossing the papers would mean tossing out her dream of writing that book.

I admit that it's kooky, but it also resonates with me. I don't know that I would go so far as to conduct a seance with a bunch of papers, but the story is a good reminder to look beyond the surface and ask myself what's really going on.

That's actually a big part of why I like this book: the solutions presented aren't ones that I would ordinarily think of on my own. I might not actually want to pursue any of them - such as hiring someone to do my housework - but I appreciate having a new perspective from which to view my problems and solutions.

Since the book has been around for a while, it should be easy to borrow from your local library. Alternatively, you might just want to poke around Richardson's web site and maybe sign up for her weekly newsletter, or buy the book used from Amazon for $4.00 including shipping.

As for my copy of Take Time for Your Life? It's back on my bookshelf.

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