"Imagine Being In A Life You Love," according to authors Kristin Andress and Jaqui Jeanes-Lowry, was written to help others "know you have the right to imagine a life different from what you are now living" and "being the person you've always dreamed of is within reach."
Andress, a native of Pittsfield, runs her own company, Andress Consulting, in Southern California. Jeanes-Lowry, who lives in England and Spain, is a coach and consultant for USA Consultants. Together, they have taken the typical how-to, self-help book to a new level.
Their book presents tips interspersed with their own personal stories of struggle and survival, as well as stories from others. Quotes from famous people help illustrate lessons learned during the journey to a better life. And throughout each chapter, the authors pose questions to help in digging deep into your psyche to "get to your core." The last 60 pages of the book are meant to be used as a personal journal with space given to write in thoughts, answer more questions and develop an action plan.
Divided into five parts, the authors show how you can truly "Imagine Being" - the cause, the opportunity, the reason, the energy and the light.
The book invites more than a mere cover-to-cover reading. Just flipping through chapters, focusing on the review questions, gets your ideas flowing. Picking out an enticing chapter title helps to zero in on a specific area that you might like to imagine as being different in your life.
Some of the points aren't new, such as taking responsibility for your choices. But, the authors say, approach things by being aware of TEMP: time, energy, money and people -- excuses that sabotage the best of intentions.
How often does someone say, "I don't have time to exercise," or " I don't have money to buy the right food to diet," or "It's so and so's fault that I didn't get the promotion at work?"
Andress and Jeanes-Lowry talk about resolutions -- ones that should be made throughout the year, not just at New Year's. They argue you must consider carefully the intention behind your resolution but also the gap -- anything that might create difficulty in achieving a resolution. Armed with the realities that you know might cause you to fail, you can develop a plan of action. They give examples of how to design a workable action plan complete with a timeline listing goals and periodic progress reports.
The authors use clever acronyms and wording to convey advice. Give yourself LIP service -- Living in Possibilities service. Learn to manage and seek meanings from the PINGs, the high and low times that come at you like unexpected pings but that are life's inevitabilities, and Box in/Box out -- finding ways to hold yourself accountable (box in) so you can come out of your box.
This book is arranged to be used in a thoughtful, lingering way. It is obvious that the authors are personal coaches in their day-to-day lives, and they've written their book to be the coach. There is something that makes you keep coming back to the book, choosing a question and taking time to really think about it, even to let it roll around in your head while out for a walk or going about your normal routine. They prod and push, but in the end they coach you to write down your innermost thoughts, and then they coach you into taking action.
Let yourself answer the questions honestly -- and why not, since no one has to see them?
Think, ponder, imagine BEING in a life you love.
Story published Friday, July 2, 2010 ( Volume 5, Number 4 )