Thursday, 1 December 2016

Books: The Elephant in the Mirror - Annette Earl

During this final month of the year I always like to start thinking about what goals I would like to set myself for the year ahead. I’m a bit hit and miss with goal setting, sometimes I’m great, set really clear goals and smash them, other times I’m a bit flaky. I’m not going to beat myself up over it, I’m only human.
I’ve been a bit unclear recently as to what goals I might want to set for 2017, what I really need to focus my attention on over the next year, so when I was given the opportunity to review ‘The Elephant in the Mirror’ by Annette Earl, I jumped at the chance. Annette Earl is a qualified life coach (we all could do with one of those from time to time), and this book promises to help you to “…take charge of your life…” and to facilitate you in “Designing your future and then making it happen”
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I’m the first to admit that I do love a self-help book. My reading pile is currently a patchwork of mindfulness and enlightenment books, and I’ve already shared my little podcast addiction in previous posts. The difference I found with this book is that it seemed more interactive, that is, there are a lot of exercises to do in the book as well as an excellent website (where you can download the exercises if you don’t want to deface the book) to support you through the process.
The book focuses initially on your relationships with others, your environment, your self perception, career and money and trying to unearth exactly what is the elephant in your mirror (or the areas which need addressing that you may ordinarily ignore). Earl talks about confidence and, importantly, authenticity and asks some very direct questions which aren’t always the easiest to answer, after all, as she points out throughout her writing, life is lived just outside your comfort zone. Working through the exercises you begin to reveal the hidden, and maybe not so hidden elements of your life that aren’t serving you well, but importantly there’s a strong theme of self acceptance running throughout the book too, it’s not about becoming perfect (what is perfect anyway?) but about not being afraid to ask yourself the right questions about life, love, money, career, home, work and everything in between.
Earl is very keen to arm you with the tools you need in order to focus your attentions, and as she points out:
“…in some way, you are already the person you want to be. It’s just that you are constantly distracted by all the things you tell yourself you’re not.”
Wise words, I think, I’m often distracted by all the things that Instagram and Pinterest tell me I’m not too!
Having worked on discovering your ‘Elephant’ Earl then goes on to talk you through an ‘Authentic Elephant Action Plan’ and it’s this bit in particular which will inform the goals that I make for the year ahead. For my part, I did some of the exercises, but I didn’t throw myself wholeheartedly into them. As I progressed, however, I realised the importance of completing a good deal of the exercises, and actually, I fully intend to revisit this book AND the exercises during the coming month so that my 2017 goals are clear, well thought out and bring me a step closer to my life aims and values. I’m always happier if I’m working towards some goal and this book is definitely going to help me to concentrate my efforts.

If you too are about to embark on your annual (or more frequent) goal setting mission, ir even if you just want to take stock of where you are right now, then I would seriously recommend this book as something to aid you in that activity. It's a really useful tool, and definitely makes you ask those questions that you would otherwise ignore.
The Elephant in the Mirror is available here on Amazon and between 1st - 3rd December you can download it to your kindle for free. What are you waiting for?

Disclaimer - this book was provided to me free of charge for the purposes of this review

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