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Published on 5th September 2019

Self Development

I can be quite an avid reader. I tend to go through spells of reading lots and listening to audio books but then get overwhelmed with the volume of ‘stuff’ in my head and stop for a while. It’s a keenness to learn and be better. Having checked out my, fairly extensive bookshelf, there are, well many books. I have read books on behavioural change, leadership, coaching, change management, habits, business, marketing, sales…. The list is quite extensive. But some have really stuck with me and are the ones I go back to because they are really good and have those real nuggets that can be (if used) transformational.

I want to talk to you about one of my favourites and why I would recommend you read it.

Triggers. It’s the second time I have read Triggers by Marshal Goldsmith. I also have it in my audible library and have listened to that too. It’s one of those books that is packed full of practical yet transformational stories and learning points, that you could read many times. In fact, having got to the end for the second time I am still going back to earlier chapters to ‘refresh’ my memory and understanding.

So, what’s it all about and why read it?

It’s about sparking and making positive change. But rather than focus on how to make changes Marshall spends time explaining why we do what we do and that is where the book is really engrossing. The title of the book is Triggers and that is what Marshall unpacks for us using real examples that we can all identify with. He explores those familiar Triggers, and as we are all so very different, how different Triggers impact different people positively and negatively.

One of the things that really resonated with me is that understanding we are mentally stronger in the morning than later in the day. The more we do, the more decisions we make the less resilient we become and the more likely to be impacted by a Trigger. For me I have a ‘no wine on a working night’ – which for me is really Sunday evening to Thursday evening.

I am absolute about it and my reasons for doing it first thing in the morning. However, when I get home after a longer than planned day; where I have maybe faced more challenges than expected it can be really easy to say, ‘I deserve a glass of wine’ and go ahead and pour one.

I thought I just didn’t have any willpower but when Marshall explained it as ‘Being Under the Influence of Depletion’ it made sense. Dealing with challenging situations, making decisions in a fast-moving environment is all depleting and that’s why when we get home and someone asks, ‘what would you like for dinner?’ We are likely to reply with ‘I don’t mind, whatever you have in mind’. It’s not that we don’t care, we are just depleted.

But we can change and can improve, if we want to. It’s a choice and as Marshall says, ask yourself ‘Am I willing, at his time to make the investment required to make a positive difference on this topic?’

If you are then great – his daily questions approach would be a good way to start some form of personal investment change. If not – then let it go and move on!

The clever blend of psychology made simple, real life stories and situations most people can identify with. That’s what makes this book so valuable. Trouble is there is so much good stuff in there that I can very easily see myself reading this for a 3rd time. Is that a bad thing? Probably not. Although the irony of needing to read a book on behavioural change multiple times in order to digest everything and put things into consistent practice isn’t lost on me either.

If you are looking to make some changes in work and in life Triggers is worth the read, or 2 or 3.