How many times have we all said these five words to ourselves: “Not another self-help book!” Well, the truth is we do need help right now. These are unprecedented times, and there’s no clear end in sight. The entire world is still navigating the biggest disruption in working, living, being, connecting, and relating it has seen in generations. If that’s not overwhelming enough, many people have lost their jobs, loved ones, and former identities. Increases in depression, loneliness, anxiety, and suicide rates tell the story of a different and equally catastrophic pandemic.
For many others, though, Covid-19 has presented positive shifts in their ways of working, living, and doing. They have been able to re-create their careers, move to locations they’ve long wanted to live, reestablish their work-life balance, and refine their goals—or, at the very least, they’ve been able to slow down and take a deep breath.
No matter which way you look at it, 2021 will be a time of transformation. And just like the caterpillar that morphs into a butterfly, it has to turn to mush inside the chrysalis before it can fly.
We are in that chrysalis as we speak. There is no better time to look within and decide who we truly want to be, and how we truly want to feel. After all, despite how desperately we wish to control the weather, politics, vaccine distribution, our kids, the media, and so on, there is only one thing in life we can actually control: our own thoughts.
It starts with prioritizing space for self-help. It begins by making a path to simply be with ourselves in a newfound way, to get closer to our authentic truths. In many instances, this can look like a coaching or therapy session, a morning spent journaling, an afternoon laughing with a friend, a long nourishing call with a loved one, listening to an inspiring podcast, or even time spent alone in nature. But the beauty of a self-help book is in its richness and depth—the layers of advice from a trusted expert who has been there and done that, and who has spent hours studying the exact space you need help with.
Just in time for the chrysalis, I’ve written my debut book, Be: A No-Bullsh*t Guide to Increasing Your Self-Worth and Net Worth by Simply Being Yourself. We are at an inflection point in our work culture where we can all benefit from building personal brands, whether we work for ourselves or for someone else, so that we can take control of our professional stories and carve our own paths. But before we can go out and build clear messages and smart strategies, one thing needs to happen: we have to believe we are worthy of what we want in the first place. We must believe that we are deserving of living our dreams bravely and boldly out in the world. We must operate from the deep inner knowledge that we are unique and that the world needs our gifts in the way only we can share them.
I believe that most people hold themselves back from living big, sharing themselves online and offline, not necessarily because they don’t have the right tools but because they don’t feel worthy enough of being seen, known, or successful in the first place. As I like to put it: self-worth is the cause, net worth is the effect.
No matter what we need help with as we move through 2021—whether it is finding a new job in a Covid economy, rebuilding an entrepreneurial business, navigating homeschooling with more levity, or staying healthy in the middle of a pandemic—the first step is knowing we are capable and deserving of living the lives we truly want.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Do not be surprised how fast the universe will respond once you have decided.” Self-help, in whatever form, is a choice. It is a visceral, full-body yes that signals to the world around us that we are ready to expand. It is the inner knowingness that we are capable of taking our lives to the next level, and the realization that we actually can do so.
It’s okay to be in the chrysalis. In fact, it’s necessary not only for our personal evolution but for the planet. Self-help books are needed now more than ever. And it starts with putting down the eye roll of “not another self-help book” and picking up what just might be the keys to our ascension, so that we can fly.
Jessica Zweig is the CEO of the SimplyBe agency and the author of Be: A No-Bullsh*t Guide to Increasing Your Self-Worth and Net Worth by Simply Being Yourself (Sounds True).