Written by: Andrea Owen
Reviewed by: Sarah Fentum
The Premise: The second book by nationally sought-after life coach and author, Andrea Owen, How to Stop Feeling Like Shit examines ‘how life knocks you down, but habits keep you down.’ Each chapter examines behavioural patterns that many women fall into, and Owen doesn’t hold back when she calls your inner critic an Asshole! With a straight-talking style, she examines the patterns of these habits that keep women down by connecting the dots from your past to your present. Owen draws on many personal examples of how women speak to themselves in a negative way, illustrating how these life-long habits sabotage personal happiness and then provides the reader with tools to overcome these habits.
The Bottom-line: I enjoyed reading the book and the author’s honesty about her own life put me at ease. Her style gives her credibility as she offers up many suggestions on ‘how you could be happy,’ including examples from friends and colleagues who have also repeated behaviour patterns she calls ‘checking out,’ ‘feeling like a fraud’ and living in a ‘perfection prison.’ This last one is one of her favourites, as she says it’s self-destruction at its finest. I love the quote from the chapter Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters, which sums up this perfectionism that reads, “We are the girls with anxiety disorders, filled appointment books, five-year plans… we pride ourselves on getting as little sleep as possible. We are the daughters of feminists who said ‘you can be anything’ and we heard ‘you have to do everything’.”
In each chapter, Owen explains a behaviour the reader may or may not have, and at the end, she helps put the lessons from the chapters to practical use with exercises to do on your own. She calls this the ‘Ask yourself the hard questions’ work. Not just self-reflection, but REAL homework. And to help you to do the work to break these habits, you also get tools to use ‘to fix them’ – everything from ‘naming your bad habit’ to ‘validating your feelings’ to ‘learning to trust yourself and your feelings’ so that you really can stop feeling like shit.
Roundtable Recommendation: All in all, I would recommend this book for leaders who would like to set themselves free of old habits that may be holding them back at work or at home.