|Me and my girls when I was 22
If I told you that 30 years ago, I was receiving food stamps, feeding my kids with government cheese and peanut butter, and didn’t have $5 to buy a book of stamps to pay my bills, would you believe me?
Like many young people, I made adult decisions with a teenager’s pre-frontal cortex. Married at 19, pregnant 2 months later, and because of complications, was forced to quit college to ensure a successful delivery. My husband at the time (we eventually divorced) was young too and didn’t know how to provide for a family.
My daughter was born and then 10 months later I found out I was pregnant with my second daughter. I can remember looking around at my tiny apartment, the empty refrigerator, and the calendar with the next date circled that I could pick up my supply of government cheese, and had my first ah ha moment. In that moment, I decided that I wanted a better life for my kids and went back to school to become a nurse. It wasn’t easy but 30 years later, I can tell you that it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Now I own and operate an education company (RTConnections), have a doctoral degree; I’m remarried to an amazing man and get to travel all over the world speaking to nurses about topics I’m passionate about.
If you asked me what my most valuable possession is, you’d be shocked to hear my answer.
My most valuable possession is my library card.
When I decided I wanted a better life for myself and for my kids, the first thing I did was I took a trip to the library. There, I reactivated my card and borrowed the maximum, 10 books. I started reading books on personal development, finances, spirituality, relationships, etc.
It didn’t happen right away, but something started to shift in my brain. My mindset changed from being a passive observer in my life to an active participant.
Over the last 30 years, I’ve read close to 2000 books. And I’ve recognized that the #1 action that all successful humans take is that they commit to reading every day.
My personal reading strategy:
1. I read for 30 minutes every morning – no matter what. I get up 30 minutes earlier than I have to, just to make sure I fit my reading into my day. I will go without food before I go without my reading. Reading is more nourishing.
2. If there is a book I want, I get it from the library first. Why? The library is free! If I really like the book and want it to become a part of my personal library, I’ll then buy it on Amazon. If not, I send it back to the library without spending a dime.
3. On Sundays, I spend an extra hour or so reading. I read journal articles, online blogs, and industry newsletters. Carving out extra time enables me to keep up with the mountains of electronic information without getting overwhelmed.
My life is very different now than it was 30 years ago. The reason I am who I am today is because of reading. Reading empowered me to believe in myself. I want the same for you!
Go get your library card today!
Thanks for reading my blog post. Take care and stay connected.
Click here to sign up for my eNews list to get more goodies about nursing professional development.