I am not typically a reader of self-help books, but when I finally closed the pages of Celia Ward-Wallace’s A Woman’s Guide to Having it All: Life Lessons to Live By I somehow felt stronger. With 30 life lessons divided into 30 chapters, there’s a lot to learn from this certified life coach and inspirational speaker. Whether you are seeking a healthy relationship, a better job or just want to be lifted out of rock bottom, this book is full of ways to find balance.
Not only a light and airy read, A Woman’s Guide to Having it All is a source for your own journaling, documenting--basically a “figuring it out” guidebook. Perhaps the greatest source for learning comes within the blank lines at the end of each lesson where you can fill in your own thoughts. I, for one, felt Life Lessons 20 and 21 in particular spoke to me: “You Teach Others How to Treat You” and “Ask for What you Want.” Listing ways to spend a few hours taking care of myself really made me re-prioritize my life for the better.
The book opened with Celia’s own unique story. She details her upbringing as a white girl in a very diverse Los Angeles neighborhood. Her parents were organizers, supporting the labor movement and the people around them. Ultimately, it was the loving home where Celia was brought up and the appreciation and acceptance her parents showed for others that led her to a life of helping others, herself. She went on to study intergroup conflict and prejudice as well as civil and women’s rights at UCLA and the People’s College of Law. After college, she spent several years directing a community center offering programs and services dedicated to helping people discover a better quality of life. Even when times weren’t rosy in her own life, Celia pushed through, kept learning and took nothing for granted. If that’s not being Made, I don’t know what is.
As you read the book it shifts focus further and further from Celia’s life to the reader’s own, as all self-help books should do. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the tidbits Celia shared about her own life to illustrate an example in each chapter. I felt I really got to know Celia by the end of the book. Her warmth radiates beyond the pages and her support of you and your own goals is genuine. The interplay between author and reader is what makes readers want to ultimately explore more and more about themselves.
What did I learn about myself after completing this book? Sometimes it’s OK to seek the help of another through the published word. This book is an easy read, not preachy and makes you feel like you are sitting down to chat with a good friend. Lesson learned, indeed!