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Book review: The Impact Code

Or guest blogger today is Eryka Harrison, an independent consultant specialising in change management, with an emphasis on customer experience in complex environments. If you’re interested in hearing more about what Eryka does, don’t hesitate to reach out to her via LinkedIn, or post in the comments below. She’s reviewing The Impact Code.

I’m a sucker for personal development books… but I am very particular about them. I love anything that contributes to my continuous quest for self-improvement to become a better version of myself.  However, I have an allergic reaction to the hyperbole-filled ‘if you believe it, it will happen’ type of rhetoric that seems to fill so many business books today. Nigel Risner’s The Impact Code (Capstone Publishing, 2006) has a little bit of that, but somehow, he manages to pull it off.

Don’t be put off by the cover – a rather moody photograph of the author that has a slight 1990s feel to it (though bear in mind this book is 10 years old). The format of the book is great. Risner recognises that people consume business books in different ways. For those who are pushed for time, there’s a single page summary at the start of each chapter. If you stop here, though, you won’t be getting the real benefits of this book. It’s worth digging into the stories and the exercisesI use these first page summaries as a quick reminder when I want to refer to pertinent chapters.

For the most part, the stories Risner uses are unique and goose-bump inducing. And he’s direct. He makes the point that if you are reading the book seeking some sort of magic bullet, you’ll probably find that the real answer is – you’re lazy. As an independent consultant, my biggest fear is being perceived as lazy – so this really hit home. But he’s right: reading countless books from experts, and then putting nothing into action will get you precisely that… nothing.

The concept of time (p47) and trust (p20) have really stuck with me:

“Each of us is born with a personal bank account. Its name is TIME. Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft.”

The suggestion is not necessarily that you need to be constantly ‘doing’, but that each minute of each day is lived with intent. Even if that means enjoying a cup of coffee, or spending time with friends. Risner suggests a little exercise where the reader wears an elastic band and pings it every time s/he has a negative thought, to reinforce a focus on the positive rather than the fear of failure. It’s a simple, but effective technique!

“So, why risk it all? It’s simple really. A life without other people isn’t much of a life at all. Not only do we need others to achieve our dreams, we need other people to breathe, live and develop. Not every experience will be a good one. Nobody can protect you from bad people, but even bad experiences can lead you to a more positive outcome and better relationships with the remaining people in your life.”

This is about needing to trust yourself and not letting previous experiences lead to a mistrust of others. By not wasting energy seeking to prove your mistrust as accurate, you are able to better use your energy and time. When you are surrounded by the right people you will be amazed at what you can achieve.

The book is filled with all the ‘you must love yourself’ philosophies that we have come to expect from personal development books, but there’s something just a little bit different about this one that’s hard to put my finger on. I think it is because the underlying message is so focused on action – and the perils of inactivity – that it really resonates.

This book is good for you if:

  • You are a personal development junkie and crave a slightly unique twist on the ‘living the life you deserve’ theme
  • You are doubting your ability to see a project through
  • You have a very clear view of the big picture, but are struggling to create the path to get you there

I have seen Risner speak, and he is captivating. I think you’ll find his personality shines through in the book.

 

 

 

 

 

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