I wish I could read more, but in spite of my good intentions, it’s sometimes hard to follow through. I’m busy with work and other hobbies and it usually takes me forever to finish the books I do start! That was not the case with The Art of Influence by Cheryl Polote-Williamson. I attended a webinar at which Cheryl spoke, and she was amazing. I was so blown away that I decided to read her book, which inspired me to devote an entire episode of my podcast, Unicorn in the Boardroom, to discussing it. You should definitely give the latest UITB a listen, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some of my “book review” with you here.

Words of Affirmation

Cheryl is a motivational coach whose advice is focused on helping you achieve your goals by improving your mindset and focusing your energy and efforts in positive, practical ways. She talks about improving both your inner and outer selves, how you treat yourself and nurture your spirit, and what you bring to others and how you influence them.

Cheryl is a big fan of using manifestation and words of affirmation. Being positive and encouraging yourself to reach new heights can influence your day-to-day actions. Throughout all her work, you’ll find a constant reminder to dream big. For example, don’t just say “I want to be a millionaire.” Say “billionaire.” Don’t just write down “start a business.” Be specific about that business and aim for the stars. At all times, Cheryl recommends making descriptive lists to help you stay focused on what matters most to you. We are all so busy with distractions, and having a list gives you a visual reminder every day to work towards goals.

My Manifestations

Several goals come to mind when I think about what I want to manifest. I would like to achieve consistency in living a healthy lifestyle (e.g., exercising, eating right, etc.). I can see how manifesting the results I desire can be a motivating factor, so I’m excited to try Cheryl’s advice and hit the gym. I also have a dream of having a fitness clothing line, which has recently been revived as I’ve shopped for new outfits and found nothing that fits my personality or body! It’s the kind of goal that can absolutely get lost in the shuffle, so I’m going to try and keep that from happening through written manifestation.

Lose the Deadweight

Cheryl also stresses the importance of avoiding distractions and removing deadweight from your life. Identify and lose the things that are holding you back, whether they are habits you want to break or relationships—personal or professional—that are draining and dragging you down. Cheryl reminds us that relationships should be two-way streets: Surround yourself with positive people who support you and your dreams and who keep up an effort in maintaining your relationship.

Dealing with Adversity

One thing that can derail anyone, myself included, is getting flustered when things don’t go as expected, often as a result of not being prepared. Life and business are going to have their ups and downs—and not in equal amounts! Being prepared can help you weather issues that arise.

I learned this while working in our marketing department early in my career. I flew to Philadelphia with our VP of Recruiting to make a presentation to a potential client. A snafu with cables meant the presentation couldn’t be projected, but luckily I had a paper copy on deck. Why? Because my dad literally told me to print one out, just in case. I remember thinking to myself as a then-24-year-old, “Who uses paper anymore?” But I also listened to his wise advice. He was totally right. And I’ve never gone without a back-up plan since.

It was a great lesson, and after reflecting on it, I realized it was a good example of Cheryl’s advice in practice. Avoid things that can derail your plans and you’ll be able to focus that much more on reaching your goals. Learning not to get upset at the things we can’t control and preparing for what we can is a better use of your energy. Maybe you don’t land the contract you expected or get the promotion you went for, but if you remain calm and collected, an answer will come to you. They tell you in golf not to get upset with a bad shot. In fact, doing so may prevent you from seeing the way out of that sand trap. Though it may feel like you will never get there, step back and take a breath. We are still amazing, and our path is still in front of us.

Cheryl’s book reminded me of important lessons that I’ve heard before and also gave me new ways of looking at life. She made a big impression on me, and I’m excited to put into practice some of the advice she offered. There’s so much more than what I’ve covered here. Be sure to listen to my podcast, Unicorn in the Boardroom, and to read Cheryl’s book. I highly recommend it!

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