Finding Community and Clarity Through Books

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Today’s post comes from the lovely Donna, who just about personifies what it means to be a Wildfire Woman. If you’re a fellow self-dev book junkie, we think you and Donna will get along like jelly and ice cream…

I’ll always remember my very first ‘self-help’ book. As a naïve 12year old on her first holiday to the USA I selected ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul from the shelves of Walmart’. That sounds pretty interesting, I thought. Not about actual Chicken Soup I later realised but a collection of essays about love and loss, life and death. It was a world away from my packed bookshelf of fiction at home.

Then, through a series of unfortunate events in my mid-twenties I was gifted my second ‘self-help’ book. A book that changed my life and changed my vision for the future. The book was called ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma, if you’ve never read it – I urge you too. It gave me so many lightbulb moments. All the stress, all the anxiety, all the uncertainty of leaving university and the constant ‘hustling’ to hit the big time in a huge agency. All that pressure I put on myself.

I needed a reality check. I needed to look at the bigger picture in life and to take some time to stop ‘trying’ to be this person I felt I had to be and to just be me. That was the moment I decided to enter the world of becoming a freelancer – now that’s another story.

It was also the moment I realised that there must be many books on this planet that we don’t read. Yes, there’s the classics we’d ‘love to read just because’ but what about all these incredibly uplifting, motivating, genuinely helpful books that are out there that we seem to shy away from just because they sit in the ‘Self-help’ section of Waterstones. We’d hate it if our friends spotted us hanging out there, wouldn’t we? But why?

I decided to create GozenGirls off the back of this exact conversation with a group of friends. ‘I’d hate someone to see me buying a book about mental health’ said one pal. ‘How can you read THAT book in public’ said another.

And so that was it – I knew us ladies needed a platform. We needed to remove the stigma behind books that help. We needed to create a community to support authors. And most of all we needed to encourage more people to take 5 minutes out with a book that will give something back to the soul, instead of 5 hours scrolling and refreshing Instagram.

GozenGirls has become a community of just over 200 females. We share books we love, we meet and chat about books we’ve read and we support one another. We’ve built a community of friends and we lift each other by a mere suggestion of a book to help through a tough time or to guide through a business start-up. We’ve also become a place to support the work of the authors that create these incredible stories and a place where even fiction can spark conversation about life and its journey too. There’s something so magical about where the project is heading.

Books have given me clarity. Books have brought me a community. And it’s something I aim to give to you, fellow Wildfire Women, too.

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