How Reading Changed My Life
Today is Wednesday May 24th and welcome to the 15th Episode of the View 112 Podcast. I am Jeanita Morris. Today I am going to build the case for reading. Last year I read a quote about reading. In the book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin. It says: “If you’re reading this book, it means you’re more fortunate than the nearly one billion people in the world who can’t read, many of whom will be stuck in a life of poverty” p.28. That really got me thinking of where would I be if I couldn’t read or didn’t have such a love of reading. There are a few ways reading has made an impact on my life. Hopefully this inspires you to pick up a book. Like TODAY!
As a young girl: I grew up in a home filled with books and magazines. Parents who are listening, I cannot stress this enough. We had magazines filled with images of beautiful, accomplished black people in Essence, Ebony, Black Enterprise, etc. We had books from Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, etc. Thinking back, I had images of success and beautiful works all around me. How how I got into reading is actually funny. My grandmother, my mother’s mom, Grandma Clyde we called her, was a big time reader. She read a lot of romance novels. Yes those trashy romance novels, lol. I didn’t understand what she was reading at the time, but I always saw her with books and she had loads of books in her bedroom, in her hand bag, in her car-everywhere. She would go to the book store often and she always went to the library. My dad and grandmother always took us to the library, especially in the summer. There was a summer reading program and for every 10 books you read, you would get a gift certificate for a free pizza. I was about that life! I started reading a lot of books to get that free pizza. When I was about 9 or 10 in like the 4th or 5th grade, I found and started reading The Babysitter’s Club. The Babysitter’s Club was a new book series that started off with 4 books. The books were about these 4 girls who started a babysitting business and they had a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Reading these 4 books at that age changed me. I think it was the first time I understood the concept of making money, working and that kids could do this! The book series grew quite popular for girls may age. It grew from a 4 book series to hundreds of books. I could not get enough of this series. I would be so pressed for a new one to be released. While I was waiting, I got into other series like Sweet Valley High. I started to mirror my grandmother and had books with me all the time. I would read way past my bed time. I was the kid reading in my room under the covers with a night light so my mom wouldn’t catch me. Seeing my grand mother and reading that series is how I got hooked. I then loved to read anything! I read teen hip hop magazines like Word Up! YSB (Young Sisters and Brothers). My mom worked at the Washington Post for a few years and of course we had a subscription. I always loved when we would go to her job. She was in the HR department, but I got to see the printing room and where reporters worked. I think seeing how people were writing or typing and then it being printed and delivered to our door made me want to be a writer. I wanted to start making what I loved so much to consume. I am much like that today, I have books with me everywhere. I read way past my bed time, and I still love to read mostly about business. Reading has fueled the writer in me.
As a professional: Many of the leaders I looked up to in business read. When I got my first job out of college many of the leaders at that company would recommend books. Mostly back then I read recommended books about making more money like Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I also read loads of books about sales like How to Become a Rainmaker. At this time, I was about 22-23 years old and I started practicing things I would read in these books and they worked! From then on, I’ve loved reading books about sales, leadership, entrepreneurship, company profiles etc. Reading business books has changed my life. I was an English major without a college degree and no business, sales or leadership experience. I developed myself into the professional I am today with hundreds of books and experience. I think back to that quote about the 1 billion people who cannot read mostly living a life of poverty and am humbled and grateful I can read, learn things and constantly improve the quality of my life. I’ve developed so many skills from reading and those skilled helped me earn a living. Landing clients, negotiating skills, asking for the sale, writing proposals, creating presentations, presentation skills, being a new leader, recruiting, hiring, interview skills, middle management, managing profit and loss, balancing a budget, cutting costs, starting a business…I could go on and on about the things I’ve learned from business books that I’ve been able to successfully apply through experience.
As a writer: Much like when I was a child, reading has rekindled the writer in me. Words are such a powerful tool to create, transform, and inspire. After spending years of consuming so much, I feel the importance of creating content and sharing. To me, that’s the magic in all of this. You can’t just take it all in. You have to give it back. Part of me being a writer and content creator is very selfish. I am so full of thoughts, ideas, emotions, lessons. It is therapeutic for me to let it all go and share. It is an on-going process. When I share things here, on social media, on my blog, in person, it actually motivates and inspires me TOO! Now when I read, I have content creation on my mind. I actually read with a writer’s mind. I pay closer attention to the layout of books and articles. I highlight main points and try to see how the author ties in the message.I question the writer’s intent for me as a reader. I love to read how stories unfold. I notice the tone and writing style. All of these things I learned studying English are actually helpful today. Working on my writing has provided another lane for me to pursue my passion, earn additional income, and connect with others which is something I need to thrive.
I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to connect with you via the View 112 podcast and blog. This is yet another great gift reading has given to me. Right now I have about 10 or 12 books laying around my desk that I have yet to read. The vision of them inspires me to read more, write more, do more just like when I was younger. My favorite books to read are memoirs and business books. The reading of business books inspired me to start the View 112 Summer of Business Reading Challenge. I want to connect with people about books. I want to gain the perspective of other people that are reading. I’ve never hosted or been in a book club before. But I have plenty of ideas and thoughts. I posted a photo of my with the June selection on Instagram: The Spark and the Grind by Erik Wahl. On Instagram Erik Wahl commented that he is looking forward to our discussion on his book! How exciting to have another amazing way to connect. The View 112 Summer of Business Books Challenge officially kicks off on June 1st. Sign up and join me today.
I think I’ve made a compelling case for reading today. I’m curious to know from you who are avid readers, how reading has changed your life. For those of you who don’t read as much, what’s holding you back? I truly believe the extra money you seek, the problem you’re trying to solve, the connection you need is all on the other side of reading. Talk to you next time.