James Smith – Not a Life Coach was our focus book for September. Previously I had listened to the audiobook but this was a good opportunity to read through properly and make notes on a hard copy.
James Smith has been an inspiration of mine for several years; he was the first online PT I followed, I used to watch his lives late at night after my pub shifts, and without knowing it at the time, he was the first online marketer I paid attention to. His dedication, authentic approach (very blunt, lots of swearing) and consistency, is admirable, although to everyone’s taste! Another lesson in business, don’t try to please everyone – be yourself!
Since I began following him, he has released 2 Sunday Times best-selling books; Not a Diet Coach and Not a Life Coach.
Firstly, I love the name ‘Not a Life Coach’, as ‘Life coaching’ is something that has never resonated with me, on a personal level – I don’t like all the labels amongst the ‘coaching’ industry. I still don’t even know what to call myself!
I like that Smith is a PT, with a passion for personal development. He makes it very clear, from the preface, that he is no ‘expert’ or ‘guru’, but someone who has learned valuable insight throughout his life and is now passing it on to others; ‘giving the advice you’d like your younger self to hear’ was the term he used in his preface.
‘I am a kickboxing coach, and that can help you transform your life’Jessica Fleischer – Founder of I am Fighting Fit (Me)
The way the book is written makes is easy to read. It’s very conversational, but also well researched and with references.
There are 5 parts; environment, values, foundations, identity, comfort zones and escapism. These are then broken down into smaller sections, for example, limiting beliefs. This makes it easy to refer to, or without reading the whole book you could choose to read the topic most appropriate to your needs, as required. As Smith develops upon previous ideas and concepts it reads well in chronological order, but he references to specific previous parts, as required, so it is not necessary.
You will be the same person in 5 years as you are today, except the people you meet and the books you readCharlie Tremendous Jones
In the first section of the book, Smith explains the importance of our environment. Not just our physical (which does have an impact on our success, health and happiness – it’s a good job I tidied my desk last night, and put the washing up away, whilst making my tea this morning, before sitting down to write this!). If you want to change something in your life, you will have to change who you surround yourself with.
This could be socially, romantically, professionally…
Perhaps it’s time to take the leap and quit the job that’s paying you that comfortable salary but giving you no fulfilment. Or, spend less time with the friends you’ve ‘always had’, who are happy meeting for a wine at the weekend, but don’t share your determination, drive, and ambition. Or spend MORE time with those you love – go home early one evening and enjoy the time with your partner, perhaps?
I’m not here to tell you what to do, and neither is Smith. But maybe you can take a few moments to give it some consideration; deep down you will know.
You know where you want to go, and what’s holding you back. And if you don’t know, that’s okay too. Is there someone who can help you, or have you considered some coaching?
The second section is values and Smith explains how success is internal and based upon our values – we should not seek success with the aim to please other people.
You do not need to be the best in the world to be happy, as long as you choose the level you want to be happy atJames Smith
You can choose to be happy at any level. If you know what you value, you can make decisions based upon that, so that your actions today are taking you towards your vision tomorrow.
There’s no point in trying to become a CEO, or a world champion, if you value ‘time with friends and family, time to relax, with flexibility and freedom’, above all else.
If you value discipline, challenge, and growth, and are willing to make the ‘sacrifices’ to succeed, maybe climbing that competitive ladder is the right one for you.
There is no right or wrong, it’s about working out what you want to do with your precious time on this planet, letting go of comparison and judgement.
Moving into parts three and four; foundations and identity. These two sections give you a deeper level understanding on how you can change your life, through changing your mindset, and identity. Our mindSET is not SET. Neither is our identity. We can choose to change our current identity. It will be changing over time naturally as we are always adapting to our environment. When you regularly play sport, you become an athlete, or when you regularly write (and structure that writing into a book) you become an author.
All you need to do is change your actions, habits, and behaviours to support such changes.
I’m not saying it’s easy, hence there are many books, videos, and coaches, to help you with doing this. It is an ongoing development, which begins with YOU, and working out who you want to become.
This, as it happens, is one of my passions – personal development, and helping others with theirs. Writing this blog is part of my own process of changing my own identity, to someone who writes well/ is a writer.
In part five, my favourite section was ‘lessons from Jiu jitsu’. Smith mentions his passion for the martial art several times throughout the book but in this section, he sums up the life, and confidence, transformational benefits. Like my own experiences with kickboxing. And, you may not know, I have also trained and competed in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu too, but I’ve never dedicated to it like I have kickboxing and boxing. Also, whenever I mention it, people often assume I want to transition into MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), which I do not!
To conclude, James Smith has written a great ‘all-round’ book on ‘mindset’. I am glad I have now read it, opposed to just listening to it, as it has made me realise the greater depth of understanding I now have, mainly through my own study of hypnotherapy (alongside other personal development and coaching). I would recommend this book if personal development, and life coaching, is completely new to you, as it has the potential to transform your life if you apply the lesson! Also, if you know a little more on the subject, it can also make an interesting read, as Smith writes in an anecdotal way and gives plenty of insight into his own journey if that of interest to you!
Our next book club book will be ‘Mans Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl.
If you would like to buy a copy of Not a Life Coach by James Smith, here is my affiliate link (I will earn a small % commission, which I will use to buy more books!)