Personal Leadership

Boundary Boss

Author:Terri Cole

Published: May 9 2023

Without boundaries living an authentic and fulfilled life is almost impossible.  Boundary Boss offers specific skill and experiential practices that are supportive in consciously taking control in our personal and professional life.   TesseTalks meets TesseReads and with guest reviewer Erin Randall, reflect on the actionable toolkit psychotherapist Terri Cole has designed. Imagine having clarity and focus.   

Boundary Boss demonstrates a pathway towards authentic expression of preferences, needs, limits and healthy living.  The toolkit provides tips, strategies and techniques that steer towards confidence, calmness, health relationships and self-compassion.   

Boundary Boss highlights effective communication and mindfulness practices that can help establish and enforce healthy boundaries while managing sensitive transactions with increased ease.

Pretty Ugly Lessons

Author:Deshauna Barber

Published: 2023

Transforming Adversity into Triumph

Deshauna has made it her life goal to encourage, inspire and strengthen the people around her.   She was a serving officer for over 11 years.  She travels the world as a motivational speaker. 

Pretty Ugly Lessons spotlights strategies to transform adversity into triumph. Deshauna Barber, a former Miss USA and Army Veteran highlights the importance of compassionate leadership which requires self-awareness, intentionality and consistent effort.

The tips she proffers prioritise empathy, understanding and support while creating positive and inclusive environment where people thrive , feel valued, validated and supported. This useful book doubles up as a journal with space for reflections, useful resources and helpful checklists.

Some of the strategies she advocates for is getting good advice, assessing friendships , balancing emotional resilience and increasing self worth. 

Recognising our value can enhance our business and lead to increased sustainability.  

Pretty Ugly Lessons, empowering strategies to transform adversity into triumph charts Deshauna Barber’s  experiences, hardships and life changing teachings.  Its accessibility and applicability is what makes it so endearing. 

From Knock Down to Comeback

Author: Juliet Lamin

Published: 2017

From Knock Down to Comeback is a very personal story of how one woman, Juliet Lamin used her personal tragedy to find her purpose and passion.  Juliet’s darkest days in 2013 came when she got the devastating news that her only son Philip had collapsed on 5th February.  She went to hospital just to witness the lifeless body of her 16-year-old.  She hoped that this was a nightmare and that she would wake up to find it was a dream.    She hoped she could get connection with him again.  Philip had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

A project emerged from the pain.  Juliet facilitated bridge building between young people and the police.  PL9 was born on 10 May 2013. PL stands for Philip Lamin. The number 9 was the number of the shirt he wore.   Number 9 is the most advanced offensive position on the pitch and the footballer is often the highest scorer in the team. This position has freedom to drop deep from the forward position into midfield and create space for the midfield or wide players to run into.   Creating space reflect the life of young Philip who touched the lives of those around him on and off the pitch. 

If there had been a defibrillator in Philip’s school when he collapsed there is a 75% chance, he would have survived.  Juliet took assemblies in various local schools to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest and the need to place defibrillators in local schools. 

It takes far more time for emotional wounds to heal those physical ones.  Juliet assures us that wounds do heal.  We can get through bad times and good can come out of situations when life is not fair.

How we choose to respond to adverse effects can make a difference.  Juliet quotes late former South African President Nelson Mandela

“As I walked out of the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in a prison.” 

Juliet received an outstanding achievement award. She is a coach at John Maxwell Team, a trainer, a key note speaker, a trained community drug and alcohol educator and a licensed grief recovery specialist. 

 She continues to be an inspiration.  You can listen to the podcast review of this book

The man who Mistook His Job for His Life

Author: Naomi Shragai

Published: 2022

Business psychotherapist Naomi Shragai in “The Man who Mistook his job for his life‘ reminds us the  importance of not confusing our professional present with our personal past.  The book comes at a time when the fast nature of work demands even more of our psychological strength.  We all need emotional maturity to navigate the insecurities and setbacks that inevitably arise.    Holding a microscope to issues that cause us problems, pain and anxiety such as imposter syndrome, fear of conflict, professionalism and anxiety we are better equipped to transform how we think about ourselves and our working life.  We unconsciously re-enact our personal past in our professional present even when it holds us back.  We replay and re-enact conflicts, dynamics and relationships from our past.   We can confuse an authority figure with a parent, we can avoid conflict because of the pain squabbles with siblings or suffer with imposter syndrome because of the way our family responds to success.  When it comes to work we can be trapped in our own upbringings and the patterns of behaviour we learned while growing up.  Tolerating strong and uncomfortable feelings, having the insight to distinguish past from present and the courage and imagination to adapt our response to new circumstances leaves us better equipped to succeed in our career.   This is a riveting book with great insights, practical tips, great questions, memorable, interesting and moving human stories. Naomi invites us to explore paranoia, envy,  seeds of irrational conflict, dealing with bullies, tyrants, control freaks, narcissists and knowing when to run.  The inbuilt tension is made explicit “there is an intolerance for feelings, a belief we should keep them to ourselves and be professional. Work wants our ‘good’ feelings but doesn’t allow for our emotional nourishment”.    She tenderly encourages us to change our narrative by being curious, honest and objective.  Self examination can identify the source of our wrong thinking.   Our past should not colour our reading of current events.  Perspectives are vital.  We can get better at tuning into our emotions, expressing,  addressing  and understanding them . We are indeed gifted with tips to thrive at work, integrating the different parts of ourselves and leaving our emotional baggage, replacing these with habits and mindsets that will better serve us.  While stressing the need for personal awareness and insight, it must be translated into change and action leaving us with a future that creates a life that is uniquely ours.

Read to Lead

Author: Jeff Brown; Jesse Wisnewski

Published: 2021

As an avid reader I really liked this book. It offers smarter ways to read books. invites you to know your why, set realistic reading goals, set micro goals,  share learning. while implementing what you learned. .  It heralds the importance of building blocks of habits, creating momentum through book clubs, bolstering relationships and building leadership skill., experimenting with speedreading apps..  It offers very practical tips to encourage reading in the face of competition for time in our digital age and to provide tangible ROI..  Nine ways to free up more time to read are advocated as ways to encourage reading. Some pointers include  reading at lunch, in the evening and before going to bed.  Read to Lead reminds readers of the importance of reading..  These include increasing professional opportunities, improving decision-making skills, reducing stress, helping sleep, improving the ability to lead, increasing smartness, increasing creativity and  improving communication, .  Using a notebook, reviewing notes, summarising what you read, reinforcing your reading  and taking action are tried and tested  techniques to lean on..  Benefits of consistent and intentional reading  enrich wisdom,  support personal change, personal development, personal enrichment,, spiritual enlightenment,   The reader is advised not only to read  and listen to do so is likened to  “chewing on a piece of nutritious food and then spitting it out”. Embracing lifelong reading is a must for the effective leader. It is helpful to be encouraged not to be too busy not to read.

If You Were There 

Author: Francisco Garcia

Published: 2021


Author: Kathryn Mannix

Published: 2021

Listen , how to find the words for tender conversations, is a powerful book about life, death, relationships, mental heath and how to talk about what matters. It is an incredible guide towards connection.  Kathryn Mannix masterfully captures of power of listening. When I am listened to, I  experience being held with wisdom and kindness where deeply tender conversations are transformational and  reflect my experience of setbacks, difficulties and unanticipated outcomes.  Both the listener and listened are enriched by the experience as they  build the jigsaw one piece at a time. Strong, connected and engaged teams create shared perspective and vision, allowing for inclusivity and diminishing reactivity.  As a team member I am better able to separate myself from the person and the problem and not become part of it.  I find myself saving  energy and being impartial with increased wisdom to limp over the hot coals of my mistakes and acknowledge the anger of unmet expectations, recognising where I  have made unwise choices.  Tenderness shows up as a virtue that requires strength as  I remain alongside others who are experiencing emotional storms.   Listen offers  the invitation of listening, of  being open to changing my world, demonstrating  conscious of  how I show up in the world and masterfully communicating with myself and others..  Masterful communication is  borne out of more intentional listening,  helping others in their growth, broadening my  capacity to learn, grow and to better communicate with an increased  commitment to change.  I find that I bring my attention to the present with helpful questions,  tender listening and a  gentle way to get alongside someone in distress. With curiosity I come not as a problem-solver but as a person prepared to share uncertainty and support others in distress. Superior  listening enables me  to make space for suffering, to walk alongside others to  process their distress –  an important component of support and care. Suffering is not judged, discouraged or minimised. – As an effective listener I understand the depth of their sorrow.   In the listening spaces  I may not be able to make it better, .but I  can hold space for healing, comfort and repair. Reconciliation  becomes the place of restored friendship in a relationship of love.    Collectively we become a community where we are able to tell and hear each others stories and expanded hearing changes people, We consider when we should call for help either for the other person or for ourselves.   Powerful stories offer a style guide; a set of skills to recognise in, or add to our repertoire Together we can rethink  our roles is in the conversation. l tell myself I  am truly  here to listen, to understand, nothing more and I hold that sacred space with courage, braveness and care.   Kathryn Mannix has written a wonderful master piece.

No Cure for Being Human 

Author: Kate Bowler

Published: 2021

No Cure for Being Human is an excellent read.   It is a tear jerker, it is funny, it is reflective, it is challenging and it is ever so realistic.   Once I started reading it, I was totally hooked.  I could not put it down.  While it deals with the really serious matter of a terminal illness, is funny and ever so alive.    Kate’s words- ‘ I have so much work to get done’ as she travels through her illness is an indication of her courage and determination to be well.  Yet she admits that what keeps her going are her family, her friends and her community.  Throughout the book we are reminded of cliches we hear and the truths we need.  Pain is described as a narrow gate and there is a lens on the new economy of scarcity that skips arguments.  

Kate is reminded that her best work is yet to come.  In her own words she  says she ‘never felt more alive, more determined, never felt more determined, never knew what really matters, than when she learnt to live each day’.  She was able to honour the promise to those who had gone before by living with a feeling of purpose, leaving room for growth  and living her life with courage.    We are often trapped between a past we can’t return to and a future that is uncertain.  It takes  guts to live in this place and look forward without hedging our bets too much, living in the space between anticipation and realisation.  We are never done, even when we’re done.  As life is unpredictable, we learn to face uncertainty with courage, toggling between the past, the present and the future.   Facing the past is part of facing the future. . We learn about people who have learned from difficult times  and we come to understand why it is so hard to speak frankly about suffering.   A book of hope and fortitude this is a must read.

Digital Goddess 

Author: Victoria Montgomery Brown

Published: 2020

Victoria’s book is absolutely amazing.  She has a down to earth style and is transparent and honest about the experiences she had when things did not go well for her.   Her encounter with mental health made her endearing to me, as I know how bad a struggle it can be when a person is not at peak performance.   Her successes and triumphs are an encouragement to any one who has a dream and who can reach for the stars.   Victoria is a success because she knows how to skilfully weave the highs with the lows and to reach the stars.  I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be assured that dreams can come true.  Ms Montgomery Brown is indeed a digital goddess!