Books that changed my life: Justin Kan

I spent my whole life running from negative emotions – I was very conflict avoidant. It takes real courage to say how you feel in the moment, and inspiring others to reciprocate. Being able to wholly feel your emotions and accept them is a superpower.

You are sabotaging your own personal and professional growth if you’re not finding time to read. These are the books that changed my life, and what I learned from them:
1. ‘The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership’ Taught me how to reframe responsibility to take agency, and approac things with an open and curious mindset. It also allowed me to bring emotional vulnerability to work (cont.)
The key to agency is learning how to operate at the zone around 100% responsibility Taking < 100% is a victim-mentality: you are letting things happen to you. Conversely, taking > 100% is overstepping boundaries and playing the hero role
This book helped me reframe situations and react to events in my own life with more measure and clarity.
2. Untethered Soul Introduces the Eastern philosophy of the ‘witness.’ Recognize that you are an observer of thoughts, feelings, and sensations If you’ve been watching the new @Marvel show, #WhatIf, it’s like being The Watcher. (cont.)
Another word for this is mindfulness. Practicing nonjudgmental awareness and building that muscle over time has been really powerful in my leadership and personal growth. It helped me put some space between stimulus and response.
3. ‘Influence’ This is an esp. important one for entrepreneurs: Outlines psychological ways to influence people to use your product, or your team to move towards specific goals. Lots of great anecdotes highlighting the intricate social dimensions of exchange
4. ‘The Artist’s Way’ Even if you are not an artist, a creative’s mind is a useful perspective to have. We are all creative people in our hearts and minds – like any muscle, it needs to be trained consistently in order to free our thinking. (cont.)
Creativity unlocks a freedom of expression that you can always tap into. Many people stop being creative once they grow up; learning to reconnect with that spirit can be powerful for your mindset growth.
5. ‘Shoe Dog’ A memoir by Phil Knight, founder of @nike. Inspiring stories about how close the company came to dying multiple times, yet finding ways to survive.
6. ‘Siddartha’ (Hermann Hesse) A story about the quest for enlightenment, making mistakes, and the importance of learning things the hard way. This book has inspired me at multiple points in my life, especially to value the challenges I’ve faced.
7. ‘Shogun’ (James Cavell) Fictional story about a British sailor who gets marooned in feudal Japan, at the center of political intrigue. Interesting tactics about problem solving that helped us get out of a $150K lawsuit @twitch over a soccer match stream!
8. ‘Dare to Lead’ (Brene Brown) One of the most important books in my business career, if you haven’t seen her TedTalk about vulnerability go check it out Vulnerability = strength
As a CEO and as a founder, vulnerability is often mistaken for weakness. This book changed my mind. The ability to connect with others is one of the most important parts of great leadership. (cont.)
I spent my whole life running from negative emotions – I was very conflict avoidant. It takes real courage to say how you feel in the moment, and inspiring others to reciprocate. Being able to wholly feel your emotions and accept them is a superpower.
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