How to succeed in business and life – book review

How to Succeed in Business & Life...What's Holding You Back by ...What is this book actually about?
The aim of this book is to help you identify where you have been as well as identifying where you are now and where you want to be. Written by Bernie Allen, she is a business coach with a difference.
Having founded Ekstra Accounting Solutions just over 8 months ago, I am not afraid to admit that I struggled with self-belief. Those gremlins were constantly on my shoulder reminding me that I was not very confident so how could I run a business.
A series of bad experiences with different employers (some worse than others) had left me with very low self-esteem resulting in me constantly questioning my abilities.
Yet within me, there remained a strong desire to have my own business and to prove to myself it could be as great as I wanted it to be. I have always been interested in reading business books especially written by those who have already achieved great success in business who started from humble beginnings.
Chapter 1 – Why did I buy this book?
The book starts by asking the reader this question. The author gives some obvious answers that she has come across such as “Saw others getting ahead and wondered despite all the hard work it hasn’t happened to me” or “Received a lot of negativity and rejection in the workplace resulting in a lack of confidence and self-esteem”
Bernie Allen just happens to belong to The Bizmerang networking group that I am also a member of. Recently she gave a presentation at one of our meetings which involved her starting with her story. I was very taken by this story, the courage, sheer determination and bravery and self-belief to turn from being £100k in debt to becoming debt-free and now leading a luxurious lifestyle. I am always curious when I hear a real success story as to how someone has achieved it, so I asked her if I could buy a copy.
Chapter 2 – If you keep doing what you’re doing, you will keep getting what you’re getting
The second chapter explores the above statement and the author then shares her particular story in more detail. The essence of the chapter is that you cannot lie to yourself, well you can but it won’t make any difference no matter how many times you repeat it or what excuses you come up with. It takes action to make a change.
Upon reading that statement, I instantly realised that prior to becoming self-employed this is what I had been doing. I had been going from job to job, believing that the new employer would be the one, that I could make a fresh start. All I was really doing was repeating the same mistakes again and again. Then last summer, I decided that I finally had enough of being employed by others. I started my accounting firm in October 2019.
Chapter 3 – Camp Someday
Chapter 3 explains what Camp Someday is about. The author gives a dozen or so examples of camp someday. The chapter ends with the following statement. “Work on yourself more than you work on anything else and everything else will fall into place.” I challenge anyone that has not visited camp someday in their life. I know that up to relatively recently I had been a very active member. Someday I will be happy, someday I will have enough money to retire and I won’t have to do this anymore. Someday I will have the time and money to do the things that I like. Really what I was doing was telling myself Someday will never come because I was not actively doing anything about it.
Chapter 4 Why are you here, they ask each other?
In this part of the book, the author explores 13 different responses to this question and explains her learnings and experience of listening to these types of answers. These answers are merely your own justifications as to the reason you are where you are today.
It is so easy to blame others, even yourself. Somehow if you can justify it to yourself you can categorise and file it away with an explanation and that makes it more acceptable. You will always be able to come up with all the reasons why the time is not right. I struggled as a child with the loss of my father and as an adult with infertility. For a long time, I had convinced myself that my lack of ability to achieve career success was to do with these two factors. Thinking this way, along with the constant humdrum of negative self-talk means it has taken me 4 decades to realise that I can do so much more if I apply myself. The author’s conclusion is that all your challenges are your just learning steps.
Chapter 5 – Thoughts and belief
The next chapter, number 5 explores thoughts and beliefs. We all convinced that we are the only ones who have these particular thoughts and beliefs but they are common in all of us. The key reason for this is that we are being programmed all the time with all sorts of information some good, some not so good. Bernie describes our mind like a filing cabinet. What you put into that cabinet is all that you are able to take out. Positive in, positive out. The same is true of negativity, negativity in negativity out. You become who you associate yourself with.
Chapter 6 – When you believe you can, you will be
In this chapter, the author is honest in her statement that she like all of us, at the beginning of her journey to become debt-free she had her doubts. However, she states that she kept repeating to herself that if could happen to other ordinary people then it was possible it could happen for her. She talks about setting out a plan and setting a goal of achieving her dream (to be debt-free) within 5 years. Was it all plain sailing, no and there were times she wanted to give up and she faced plenty of rejection No one says it will be easy but my takeaway from this chapter is if you want it bad enough somehow you will find the determination, courage, and drive to achieve it.
Chapter 7 – The clubs in Camp Someday
The author in this section of the book explores 7 clubs that are within Camp Someday, some of which we will have joined and in some cases perhaps all we have spent a spell in. The seven clubs are
Gonna do Going to do everything but end up doing nothing
If only Have a belief that all the challenges are preventing them from being able to do anything
Marianna (Spanish for going to do it tomorrow). Putting it off until tomorrow when there is no tomorrow
Whenever Have a lot in common with the “If only club members”. Kicking the can down the road
Me, Myself and I A very dangerous club as people get tired of listening to “all about me”
Excuse-it is Always having a reason/excuse for why they cannot do something
Ah But Club Usually those that come across as if they have all the ideas but are actually struggling
In all of these clubs, the author shares examples of each that she has come across in her career working as a business coach.

Chapter 8 – How do you leave the clubs?
Chapter 8 examines the method of how to leave all of these clubs. Bernie says to leave there are three important things you need to know
1. What is it that you want?
2. Why do you want it?
3. What do you have to do to get it?
To be able to answer all three questions you need self-belief, set, and believe in your goals and be passionate about doing absolutely everything in your power to achieving them. You have to question yourself every step of the way “Is what I’m doing at this very moment in time the most constructive thing I can be doing to achieve my goal?” If it is fine, continue on, if it’s not the stop doing it. Bernie recommends a number of books and other authors that you can read for further inspiration and learning.
Chapter 9 – Your success and life lies entirely in your hands
The final chapter, chapter 9 ends with asking the reader the question “What are you going to do with it”. It suggests that you re-read the book and do the exercises that are contained in some of the chapters giving yourself space and time to really think about the questions you are asking yourself and what the real honest answers are.
My opinion of “How to succeed in business and life”
This is a short sort of “self-help” book written by someone who has been there, done it, and worn the t-shirt as they say. It is written in a down to earth, no-nonsense style and is for everyone from all walks of life. I enjoyed the book and could see myself in each of the chapters. I will certainly take some nuggets away from it namely, if you believe you can you will. If I had read this book a year ago I most likely would have reached my decision a lot quicker to leave my job and pursue my dream. For me personally, it was a great reminder and has instilled in me a further determination that if you really want something you can have it. I would recommend it to anyone who feels they are lost or just can’t seem to get where they want to be or is struggling to understand clearly what they are doing wrong.
As always, if you have read this book, or are now inspired to read this book, I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on it. You can get in touch in the following ways:

Email janet.jensen@ekstraas.co.uk

Linkedin www.linkedin.com/in/janetjensenacmacgma

Phone 07458 302 512

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EkstraAS/

Website www.ekstraas.co.uk