Self-reflection is not something most busy #EventProfs (or editors) have time for. You are busy planning events, finding ways to be more strategic, clawing out some modicum of respect for your position and your industry. You may feel overwhelmed and stressed out, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? We know the perfect event—or event professional—doesn’t really exist, that, as Jessica Leigh Levin says in her new book, “Obstacles can be a blessing. They drive us and give us reasons to push forward.”
So why is that the attitude we bring to our work—that things will go wrong, that people will disappoint us, that no one is perfect, that Murphy’s Law will prevail (but so will we)—so hard to bring to our personal lives? That’s something that author, speaker, and award-winning entrepreneur Jessica, a very familiar face around the meeting industry who also is “chief connector” and president of Seven Degrees Communications, takes on in this, her second book. (Full disclosure: I've been a fan of Jessica's for a long time—she is super smart, yet approachable, and knows this industry inside and out.)
While I’m not in love with the first half of the title, Everyone Has Sh*t: Unsolicited Advice for Being Human (or the poop emoji on the cover), I do love the emphasis throughout the book on how OK it is to let ourselves be human. Yes, we all have our issues, even those whose lives look perfect from the outside. Let’s own it, manage it, and become better people—even if it entails poop emoji.
Each short chapter tackles a specific variety of challenge, beginning with the whole idea of giving and receiving advice, solicited or otherwise. And each chapter ends with a box of “lessons for being human” distilled from the research, interviews, and personal stories she shares to illustrate and illuminate how much we all have in common—and how much we don’t. And how that’s OK.
Sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, always honest and insightful, Jessica gently leads what feels like a conversation on paper, weaving personal insights and research, stories and data and dead-on quotes. By the end of the short, hard-to-put-down book, I felt like I really had the tools, and more importantly, the motivation, to actually kick some of my own stuff to the curb and live life more fully.
That’s a lot of heavy lifting for a 110-page book to pull off, and yet it does, so masterfully. I was so busy being entertained that I didn’t really realize just how much I was getting out of it until I hit that last page and immediately start thumbing back to my favorite parts.
Everyone Has Sh*t (and Jessica’s first book, Perfect Pairings: The Art of Connecting People), are both available on Amazon in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats.