Signs Of Social Anxiety And How To Get Over It

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It’s a question I’ve been asking myself since forever. For people who know me well, I’m more introverted than the average person. I’d say I’ve come out of my shell over the years but I still have moments where I just don’t know how to interact with people.

What is social anxiety? How does it affect people? Can you get over it?

Well, social anxiety is an irrational fear of being judged, feeling irrationally embarrassed, not knowing how to communicate with other people, social phobia and worrying obsessively about what other people think of you.

I would say I was like this from middle school to my mid 20s, it wasn’t until my late 20s that I was able to feel more confident in my interactions and had enough experience dealing with people to no longer feel anxious.

Some of the social anxiety symptoms and the issues I had during those years were:

Feeling like everyone was watching me and what I was doing.

I could literally be eating a sandwich in the lunchroom and I would feel like everyone would be seeing my sandwich, judging the sandwich I had, how I was eating it etc. I would be very self-conscious about how I dressed, whether I’m re-wearing something very recently and wondering if people thought I didn’t have enough clothes. I thought a lot about the social implications of how I dressed.

Replaying social interactions in my head and self criticizing how they could’ve been better.

They say practice makes perfect but this was just obsessive compulsive disorder happening because for every word I said to someone I would replay it in my head over and over and over. And try to figure out how I could’ve made it better. I realize now socializing like that doesn’t help you in any way. It just makes you more anxious.

Imagining pretend social interactions and practicing them in case I needed to use them in the future.

This was just a waste of time because none of those pretend social interactions ever happened.

Not being able to convey ideas concisely

Sometimes I would just ramble and then I would see the other persons face getting all confused and lost as to what I was trying to say. I would even get confused as to what I was trying to say. I’d lose track of what I was trying to say halfway through the conversation. This would make me even more anxious and embarrassed.

Trying to control other people’s perspectives of me.

I am who I am and, at the time, I guess I wasn’t ready to accept it. That I’m an introvert. I would get really upset if people told me I was shy or that I needed to get out of my shell because it made me feel like there was something inherently wrong with me; when really I’m more of a listener. If I don’t feel like I have something to add or say, I shouldn’t have to fill the conversation with filler.

Avoiding people if I couldn’t remember their names.

I’m terrible with names. Horrible. And if someone remembered my name and I couldn’t remember their name, I would just avoid that person instead of asking them to repeat their name. I felt ashamed for not being able to remember it.

Avoiding people that I don’t know very well.

I still do this.

Not wanting to put myself in group situations and avoiding events where I would have to socialize on my own.

I liked clinging to my extroverted friends and using them as a crutch to socialize. Then feeling lost when they’re not helping me socialize. It was painful of being at parties or at school and trying to look interesting. At the end of the day, my friends were never responsible for helping me socialize.

How did this affect my life?

I was very unhappy. I thought that I wasn’t doing the right things to put myself out there. I was overthinking everything and I wasn’t putting an effort to get to know people who actually wanted to get to know me. It made my husband frustrated because he felt like I was isolating myself. I couldn’t do things that would benefit my life because they were social. I couldn’t go on interviews. I couldn’t make phone calls to strangers. I wouldn’t ask questions if I didn’t understand something.

My life really couldn’t move forward with how much anxiety I was having.

How did I get over it?

I looked for a job that required me to be personable. I decided to do real estate sales. I had always imagined a real estate person being so outgoing, friendly and easy to talk to. I met a hundred new people that year. Putting myself in situations that terrified me actually helped me. I learned that people don’t care if you say the wrong thing. They don’t even care if you’re an introvert or shy. Most people are just worried about themselves. Most of them won’t even remember your name and that’s normal. I went through a lot of awkward moments with clients and at the end of the day they didn’t matter, I still made money, I still got other clients.

I think it comes more with maturity; accepting rejection, accepting other people not noticing you and just living your own life.

Now when I meet people and there seems to be no chemistry or I think they’re not interested in getting to know me, I realize maybe they’re just not my type of people and that’s OK.

I’m still introverted. I still prefer being in small groups or getting to know you one on one but I’m not shy anymore.  I’m not afraid of how people react to me or what they think of me. I’m not concerned with getting them to like me and I’m pretty happy just being me.

Tags: Dealing with Social anxiety, social anxiety support, anxiety cure, feeling anxious, understanding anxiety

Quiet by Susan Cain: Summary and Review

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I’m an introvert and my husband is an extrovert. For some reason we’ve always felt like ying and yang. But for the longest I always felt in a way inferior to my extroverted counterparts. Like there was something wrong with me for not being as pumped as they were about a weekend full of parties or not immediately knowing what to say in a social setting. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I realized my personality had a lot of other gifts, that being an extrovert wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and that being an introvert wasn’t half bad.

Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, pretty much captures the plight of introverts. The book is amazing at explaining the differences between introverts and extroverts, how we became a society that rewards extroverted tendencies and how introverts can hone in on their gifts and embrace their introverted nature.

Apparently our society was not always extroverted happy. We used to be a country built on rewarding those with value. It wasn’t until the 1920s, when salesmanship became increasingly important, that the extroverted personality became highly sought after.

With several case studies, from Rosa Parks to Rick Warren, Cain describes the differences in management style for extroverts and introverts. Turns out that introverts are just as capable when it comes to rallying people. Whereas extroverts tend to inspire action from those who would otherwise been passive, introverts are more likely to take good ideas from the group and implement them to increase productivity.

Cain then goes to discuss working habits. Creativity, she says is directly related to introversion since creativity requires independent contemplation. Have you ever seen an artistic masterpiece completed from a group? Extroverts prefer group work and introverts prefer independent work. In my own personal opinion this is true. I try to avoid the group work environment as much as possible. Unfortunately that’s near impossible, since most jobs love meetings, group projects, etc. I would be more than happy just doing something on my own.

Groupthink has become an increasingly integrated way of working. Many companies are using groups to get projects done. Groupthink relies on the premise that the ideas of the group are greater than that of the individual. Open floor plan work spaces are becoming the norm. Brainstorming eventually caught on as a way of group thinking without judgment. Cain points out many flaws including social loafing-group laziness, production blocking-only one person can create ideas at a time, and evaluation apprehension- fear of looking stupid.

Quiet then goes on to question whether extroversion and introversion have physiological roots. After looking into many studies, she suspects it does. She also questions whether environment plays a role in this. It does, but only to some degree. I find this to be a relief since I had spent my late teens and early 20s trying to be extroverted to no avail. I became a salesperson as a way to break this ingrained habit. In some ways I became extroverted from this, wanting to meet people and feeling more confident, but I was still introverted and wanting my alone time.

The last few chapters she discusses how an introvert is supposed to survive in this extroverted world. She points out a lot of introverts play extrovert when the occasion calls for it. She reflects on a few clients and friends that would put on a show when they needed to. They relied on social cues and body language to navigate appearing extroverted for the sake of others. She also mentioned that this was optional, there were introverts that opted out of faking it til they made it. She acknowledged that some introverts find acting contrary to their natural inclinations as a lie or a falsehood. This really resonated with me because I felt like I had been playing extrovert for so long. Not only that but I was failing at it. Other times I felt like giving up and that I needed to stop lying about who I was. It’s a relief to read that other people experience the isolation of being an introvert and misunderstandings around it. I spent so long trying to fix my “lack of confidence,” not really understanding I was just very introverted and I had other strengths like self-awareness and empathy.

Chapter 10 really piqued my interest. It discussed how introverts and extroverts get along. Of course my husband and I are the typical introvert/extrovert couple. Everything she said in this chapter had hit the nail on the head for us. Our fights were very much as described, with me pulling away moody and him belligerently trying to fix the problem. It could be a match made in heaven or the relationship from hell. One that could only work for with lots of compromise since the two very different styles of communication often led to some sort of conflict long term.

Overall I found this book to be pretty awesome! It was nice to find out I wasn’t just some unconfident, quiet weirdo that couldn’t socialize. I would say it’s not really a self help book, more like a really well researched informative guide to introversion. Susan Cain really did her research as she cited many case studies, personas and personal experiences that help her get her point across about the introverted persons experience. This is one of the most bought book on Amazon and I can see why, she is the expert on the introverted/extroverted personality discussion. This isn’t a very light book though, like one of those self help books you’d pick up as an afterthought at the airport, but one that is highly intelligent, thought provoking and honest.

Buy Now

Check out my other book reviews!

Motivational Book Club: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Motivational Book Club: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck By Mark Manson

Tags: Susan Cain books, The power of quiet, the power of introverts book, quiet book review, quiet book Susan cain, quiet power, Susan Cain introvert book, introvert to extrovert book, best book for introverts

The Biggest Red Flags In A Relationship

Sad couple having conflict and relationship problems

Have you ever found yourself in a relationship with someone who checked all the boxes you were looking for, but after a few weeks together you start getting uneasy feelings about them? Like something isn’t right…

It’s actually fairly common for people to stay in relationships WAYY longer than they should. If you’re someone looking for true love, avoid wasting time with duds by keeping an eye out for these red flags. This advice should be taken with some intuition and a pinch of salt, exhibiting one of these signs does not mean the relationship is unsalvageable. But a LOT of these signs is a good reason to run and cut things off without a second glance.

Compulsive Lying

We all tell white lies once in a while and it’s not uncommon for people to tell each other what they think the other person wants to hear. But what we need to keep an eye out for is consistent lying, dishonesty, and falsehoods. One lie could easily be the start of larger lies or omissions.

To be honest my husband used to lie compulsively. About little things and nothing at all. He would just give me an answer he thought would be the easiest to digest. I always caught his lie and called him out on it. We’ve fought over these useless lies too. “If you can’t even be honest about a small thing, how can I trust you to be honest about bigger things.” He realized I had a point. He really doesn’t lie anymore and we’ve found his triggers and have dealt with them for the most part.

Doesn’t want to introduce you to family or meet your friends

This happens a lot in couples that are not fully committed like friends with benefits or f*ck buddies. Sometimes this happens in regular committed relationships too. If your partner isn’t able to let you hang with family or friends, consider this a red flag. Something to keep an eye out.

Partners who are committed to long-term prospects are more likely to want to meet friends and family. Getting to know you’re inner circle can give them insight into your background, how you were raised and your interests.

Gas lighting

When two people argue it can be hard to keep emotions straight or even keep to the facts but gas lighting is more insidious than occasionally bending the truth to your argument.

Gaslighting is the intentional misrepresentation or recollection of facts to make the other party feel like they are in the wrong. And doing this consistently.

Example:

“Mark, were you able to pick up my prescriptions?”

“Sally, we talked about this. You’re supposed to pick up your prescription every Friday after you go for your appointment.”

“I know we talked about running errands before that appointment but I don’t remember discussing the prescription. You had mentioned you would pick it up nearly 2 weeks ago”

“This isn’t the first time you’ve forgotten something, remember last week we talked about meeting for lunch and you totally stood me up! I don’t know how I can keep being your babysitter.”

“I’m sorry Mark, I swear I thought the time you said was an hour later. I would have met you on time.”

This systematic changing of facts to put you in the wrong is TOXIC. It requires social knowledge of the types of things you won’t remember and a manipulation of truths. This is probably the one red flag that if you see it happening, you should run without second thought. When gaslighting is done, it’s done purposely.

Nitpicking

It’s ok to have things that you like done a certain way. It’s ok to occasionally critique your partner for things that you want done in a specific way.

What’s not ok is when someone is trying to change everything you do and say into their “correct” vision of how people should act.  This kind of behavior is common in control freaks, type A personalities, and perfectionists.

They might correct how you behave, do things, speak, dress, etc.  We’ve all met that type of person:

MIB

Comic courtesy of MarriageIsBliss

Inconsistent or hot/cold

So many people are just so inconsistent or unreliable.  I think this speaks for itself in dating life.  I used to wonder why people who were inconsistent or cold would treat me that way.  It used to be a problem with me that I felt I needed to resolve.  But really it’s not an issue with me, it’s an issue with THEM.

Someone who plays the hot and cold game is just showing you how unimportant you are in their scheme of things.  It has a lot to do with their own ego and narcissism. Stay Away.

Selfish with time

People who are selfish with how they spend their time are also solipsistic, they see the world as existing from only their perspective.  These are people who won’t meet you for a date unless it’s close to them, or will only call you if their weekend is barren.  They’ll make you just through hoops just to plan a date out.

“It has to be between this time and this time.  Before I have this appointment and then after I’ll be meeting up with some friends I haven’t seen in 5 years.  Let’s meet up at this location because it’s close to the two places I have to be.  I can’t wait for our date!

Not gonna lie, my older sister is kind of like this.  She tends to prioritize her needs over the needs of others. If she’s visiting home, one of my parents will have to drop what their doing to pick her up from the train station and again to drop her off when she leaves.  Even though she’s a doctor and could easily afford a $10 Uber or cab ride.

My parents threw her a birthday party and she didn’t even help set up or clean up! She was too busy with her own appointments and catching up with friends.  Not cool! Red flag!

Doesn’t like your family

This isn’t obvious, especially when you’re young but if your partner has a big problem with your family, then it’s time to reconsider the strength of your relationship.

As relationships grow more serious both families will eventually become more involved in supporting you.  K and I, we’re both are close with our families.  Over the years our siblings and especially our parents have helped us and supported us.  If he or I were unable to get along with each others parents or siblings, I don’t know how our relationship could have worked.

Family drama can be avoided by choosing partners that are compatible with, not only you, but your family too.

Of course this red flag should be taken with a pinch of salt. Not everyone is super close with their family so I would imagine this wouldn’t pose such a problem with them.

Keeps in touch with exes or has lots of girls who are friends 

This is a huge red flag.  A lot of people miss this and think, naively, that these relationships are platonic.

There are very few friendships between opposite heterosexual genders that come without strings attached.  You might disagree with this and think that your friendship is the exception, maybe it is, but most likely it’s not.

It’s even more of a red flag when there are multiple women who are in your partners life that were past love interests.

The past is in the past! Why keep them around?

In my honest experience, men and women who are keeping “friends” around, are generally keeping backup options who will fill your place once your relationship ends.  I’ve never found it to be a healthy dynamic and would generally say to watch out for people like this.  What seems innocent, can easily not be.

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That’s my list! Let me know your thoughts and own experiences with red flags you’ve found in your life.

Feel free to comment, like, share and follow!

Other Posts:

What is Love?

Dating in Your 30s vs Dating In Your 20s

Why Dating Culture Doesn’t Work Towards Marriage

How To Make A Change in Your Life

I’ve been thinking a lot about change lately. There’s a lot of change I want to bring into my life.

I know so many other people who want to make changes in their life but can’t. I know people who are afraid of change and avoid it at all costs.

But why not just embrace change? I’ve realized that change is inevitable and something we can’t always control. Sometimes I’m sitting in my room thinking about the day my parents get too old to visit me or if me and K ever get sickly and one of us have to stay home full-time. I think about our retirement and whether we’ll have enough. I think about my daughter and that in 13 years she’ll be off to college.

Some of these are good changes and some of them are bad, but the reality is that some or ALL of these changes will happen at some point.

Right now I’m not so happy with how things are going. I have enough money now but not enough TIME. I’m always clawing for more time, with my husband, my daughter, our family, and for myself. I’m working or doing chores at home. Working a 40hr week plus commuting 12-15 hours a week plus a child plus a husband is a LOT. I’m trying to move away from that and maybe use this blog as an outlet to make that happen.

I’m ready to make a CHANGE.

I could be unhappy and take it out on the people around me. Kind of play the blame game. So many people do that when they feel helpless in their situation but that’s not the type of change you really want to make in your life. See, blaming others for changes that are or aren’t happening in your life makes you lose your sense of responsibility over yourself. It puts you in the hands of someone else to fix your problems. Almost all problems can be fixed by taking ownership of your problems, making a long-term plan to fix the problem, and then following through with action.

“If you always do what you did, you’ll always get what you’ve got.”

I heard this quote somewhere and it struck a cord with me.

Sometimes you have to do something different to get the result you want.

I have a handful of friend that are still doing to same things they used to do in their early 20s but are bemoaning that they can’t find a good guy. I’m sorry, if you sleep with a guy on the 1st or 2nd date and that hasn’t really worked for you in 5 years, shouldn’t it be time to, I don’t know, change things up? Maybe you can go with a different persona than fun, carefree and sexy girl, since that’s not getting the strong, serious and responsible guy you’re looking for.

Or the friend that complains that they don’t have the career they deserve yet, and no opportunities. Meanwhile, they spent their younger years high as hell, partying and having fun.

We all reap what we sow. We shouldn’t rely on chance or luck to get us what we want in life. The life we want can only come through conscious change.

My sister S loves to live in the past. She’s all about growth and finding herself so she looks to the past to understand herself and see what could be in her future. She said her biggest issues stem from her childhood, she doesn’t feel she got the right support from our parents.

I was like, “how does that help you change your life, by knowing that?”

She replied, it helps her to make good choices now and when she acts out, she can understand where it’s coming from.

I don’t know…it didn’t seem like she could really make a change in her life with that way of thinking. Yes, she understood what was holding her back but she wasn’t able to move past it.

Looking at the past is only half the story. You also have to look to the future too to make real change in your life.

People hate thinking about the future, it gives them so many bad thoughts about failure, shortcomings, mortality. But the future is HOPE, a part of your life that has not been written. It’s a part of your life that you can still alter and make right. So to make a real change in your life you need to look at the future too.

You need to envision the future you want and then stitch together how that’s going to happen.

Example: P wants to be able to move out of her parents house, they don’t have money to assist her, and she doesn’t have enough savings yet to make the move. P does have a job, summer is around the corner and she’s about to get more hours at the restaurant she waits at. P wants to move closer to the city so she can start a new career in fashion and meet the love of her life.

Scenario 1) P spends her whole summer hanging out with friends, going to the beach and enjoying herself. She could have picked up a few more shifts but decided she’d rather just take it easy this summer and have fun. She’s been talking to her parents about helping her move but together they still don’t have enough to make it happen.

Scenario 2) P sits down and thinks it over. She thinks about what she needs to do to make what she wants to happen.  First she’ll need money.  She’ll need to go out less and maybe take on a few extra shifts at work.  She also needs to find a roommate.  Sharing housing costs will make it easier to financially afford the move..  She thinks about all her friends who would need a roommate.  So she puts up a post on FB and finds an old friend that lives in the area that she wants to live in.  There’s going to be a spare room opening up in 2 months.  The deadline is tight but this gives P a goal.  After 2 months of grinding and saving, she’s able to put 95% of what she needs away.  Her parents, seeing her work so hard to meet her goal, decide to help her make the 5% difference so she can move.

Planning ahead and putting together steps to make positive change takes discipline.  And there will always be that voice in your head that says, “What if I can’t do this?”  A small seed of doubt.  My advice is to trust your gut on what steps you’ll need in your future.  You’ll never be able to predict the outcome of your choices or the changes you’ll make, but an educated guess is better than no change or action at all.

There are people who wait in life for luck to happen to them and there are those who take a stab in the dark, make things happen, and make their own luck.  It’s through change we’re able to do that.  Which person are you?

Feel free to like, comment, share and follow if you thought this post was useful.

Check Out My Other Posts:

The Power Of Change

The Power Of Positivity

On Gratitude…

Be Charismatic By Mastering Small Talk

 

 

Motivational Book Club: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

It’s been a while since I’ve written a motivational book review post. But this is a meaty book with lots of knowledge and information. I initially thought it would be another “how to be successful” type book but surprisingly it wasn’t. It’s more like how to be successful in all aspects of your life.

Stephen Covey is a motivational business man, life coach, relationship coach and a lot of other things. His book focuses not on his own successes but on carefully curated stories about others that tie into 7 Habits.

I will admit, it’s a very meaty book that requires your full attention. It’s highly conceptual so bear with me.

He has 7 habits that will help you take your life from mediocre and without vision or direction, to a life that has purpose, intention and success.

Habit 1: Be Proactive

This is mainly about how to build your character and also make choices in your life. It’s pretty solid advice considering most people are living their lives in autopilot. He basically says build your character so you know what you stand for and what your strengths are, then get ahead of yourself and make choices in your life that matter.

Here he tells us to question our Paradigms: our assumptions about how the world works.

Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind

This was a bit confusing for me. All the stories and examples he gives can really make you lose focus on the message but I think I got the gist.

Covey suggests to create a personal mission statement and think hard and long about who we are and what we stand for. Through this we’ll be able to act through our principles, that we chose for ourselves, and make sound decisions. Most people make decisions based on motivations from friends, family, financial, selfish, professions and other influences. Having a set of principles that you carved for yourself and built will allow you to be consistent and make better decisions long-term.

There is also an exercise called “visualization and affirmation” that helps you to really dig into yourself, visualize the behavior in yourself you want to change, then create an affirmation you can use to remind yourself to follow the vision.

Habit 3: Put First things First

Covey makes it clear you must master Habit 1 & 2 before you can get to 3.

It’s mainly about time management. Truly efficient people know how to time manage. He recommends focusing your time on things that are important but not urgent towards your growth/business. This is the area that’s most ignored by pressing but not urgent matters. And this is the area that’s going to result in the biggest impact.

Also learning how to say no is a must. Because we all have the same hours in a day and limited time, saying no to one thing means saying yes to something else.

Covey recommends planning to do lists on a weekly basis. It forces you to prioritize and focus on your long-term vision.

He also touches on the power of delegation. True delegation, giving fundamental instructions but not micromanaging.

Part 4: Public Victory

Covey Starts off talking about dealing with people. Essentially you want to act towards others with integrity and honesty. Because with every moment that you prove your character, it’s more likely to pay off when you really need it.

He reminds you that building relationships take time. Never go for the quick fix, that doesn’t work.

The things that will help you build your relationship:

1. Understanding people

2. Small acts of kindness

3. Keeping Commitments

4. Clarifying Expectations

5. Showing Personal Integrity

Covey discusses the importance of interdependence, the idea that you can be independent but also that you need other people and they need you. A type of Win/win scenario

Habit 5: Seek to Understand, Then Seek to be Understood.

Empathy is an absolute must. You need to put yourself in the shoes of others. Often we want to be understood first, rather than take the effort to understand others.

Empathy is actually a personal strength of mine, so I found this chapter to be very obvious but I definitely would recommend this section for people who struggle with connecting or understanding people so to be persuasive.

“If you really seek to understand, without hypocrisy and without guile, there will be times when you will be literally stunned with the pure knowledge and understanding that will flow to you from another human being.”

Then Covey discusses “how” to be understood. You have to explain your point of view though other people’s perceptions. And you can only do that once you understand other people.

What??

It’s actually quite brilliant and efficient. So the empathy portion is vital to being persuasive and getting your point across..

Another way to build open communication is to really invest time in the people in your circle of influence, like your family, friends and coworkers. If you’re nice to them, they’ll be nice to you.

Habit 6: Synergize

This is a shorter chapter but he goes over making using habits 1-5 all together and watching the success that follows.

Covey follows the idea that using all the habits together is more powerful than the sum of each part. Is damn incredible! He says.

Using habits 1-5 require you to be courageous, authentic, and true. Which can be uncomfortable but growth never came from comfort.

Synergize isn’t about just compromising.  Compromising means that both people get part of what they want but not all.  Synergize is about coming up with solutions that please everyone, so that no one feels like they are getting the short end of the stick.

Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw

Covey starts this chapter about a man sawing down the tree.  The conversation reveals that, he had been going at the tree for 5 hours.  It’s suggested he should take a break and sharpen the saw, a sharper saw will make him more efficient.  The man replies that he doesn’t have enough time!

This chapter is about taking a break sometimes.  We all like to be efficient and productive but not giving ourselves rest is a recipe for disaster.

But specifically we need to rest so we can achieve a balanced life in the areas of spiritual, mental, social, and physical activities.

This is quite a hefty book, though I’m glad I read it.  It kind of confirmed a lot of things I thought about life and made it easy to understand why character and integrity, though not obviously important, are essential for any successful person.

This book is a must read for those who are still figuring their way out of life.  It kind of puts things into perspective and allows you to dig deep inside of yourself to find the answers that will change YOUR life.

If you’ve read this book, feel free to tell me more about what you think!

Check out my other motivational book posts here:

Motivational Book Club: The Defining Decade: Why Your 20s Matter, by Meg Jay

Motivational Book Club: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck By Mark Manson

Motivational Book Club: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

I’ve included a few places for links above to purchase the book if you’re interested.