Great Novels and What I Learned from Unplugging

This is a picture of part of my personal development library.

I haven’t read them all. Most of these books were given to me as gifts or were rewards for achieving a milestone in my business. My goal: read at least 10-15 minutes from this genre daily. The words of wisdom from these books help put things in perspective and help me become the most I can be.

One might argue that personal development books simply reinforce the obvious things we already know. I suppose, that’s true, but I’ve also gained a ton from these books that has positively impacted my personal and professional growth.

For a change of pace, during my recent summer vacation I decided to read…wait for it…A NOVEL!

Yes. I, Kit Horton Caldicott, finished a novel in just under two weeks.

This, my friends, is a big milestone for me because this girl has never been the novel-reading type.

The truth: I always felt a little lazy reading any book for pleasure, even when on vacation. And, sitting still to read, as gripping as the novel might be, is not something I can do for very long. As I said, 10-15 minutes of reading feels like a marathon for me.

During this summer vacation, I decided to really “checkout.” No work, no email, no (well, very little) social media.

My first stop was at the local bookstore where I perused the employee “top pics” (since I knew of no good titles) and I selected A Man Called Ove, by Fredrick Backman. Sure, it was a great book, well written, and hit every emotion. But, I have shelf full of great novels just like this one that I’ve started and never finished.

As an entrepreneur, it’s tough to completely step away from your work, even if you set your intention to do so. My work is always in the back of my mind, haunting me. What if I’m missing out on an opportunity? What if a customer or team member has an important issue or question I need to attend to?

But, here I was, feet dug in the sand, sunscreen on, ready to start reading my new novel.

Two hours later, I couldn’t believe I still hadn’t moved. At that moment, I realized the benefits of unplugging and letting go.

I turned off the notifications on my phone and did my best not to give into the reflex of checking it. It wasn’t easy. Throughout the vacation, I set my mind on meditation and having a better human connection with my kids, my spouse and my extended family. As I engaged in conversations with people I’ve known my entire life, I learned SO much – about the history of our family, their life experiences, their perspectives, and their emotions.

Sure, we all know that if we spend too much time staring at a screen, the life that is happening right in front of us—our kids’ childhoods, conversations with our partners, work that we can do to help make the world better—may just pass us by. But, it truly took a concentrated effort on my part to get this.

During this summer vacation, I didn’t read a “personal development” book. But, this experience was another form of personal development. Unplugging by itself probably won’t work some magic in your life. But, if you spend that digital-free time focusing on your relationships and activities you enjoy, now that can make your life better.

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