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Looking for Inspiration: Modern Women Reading List

Activate: Leading with Purpose Panel Discussion

When it’s hard to get started getting the to-dos done, gravity feels heavier, and trying to do anything feels like slogging through molasses in slow motion. The to-do list takes on a life of its own with more items than is humanly possible to complete by overachieving self-imposed deadlines.

The nasty, dreaded tasks grow into overpowering monsters with big, drippy fangs hanging over your shoulder and breathing their hot breath down your neck as you try to focus on clicking off just one simple task.

Asking for help feels overwhelming since explaining all the details, and follow-up takes longer than doing it yourself. Even trying to figure out what help is needed and who to ask, add more tasks to the list. There’s so much to do that the idea of the eating an elephant approach of getting things done one bite at a time feels like it will be one bite too many. Stick a fork in me. I’m done.

So, rather than trying to keep churning our wheels to nowhere, it’s time to take a step back. When it gets to the point when every action seems futile, our brains are telling us it’s time to take a break to let the motherboard cool down. Take it up again tomorrow and see if the system has had enough time to reboot.

When I need rest and inspiration, I turn to books. Some books I’ve read have given insight into the direction I need to travel, forking away from the path and tasks I thought were so urgent before. Here are my favorites that have influenced me most. (Click on the pics to learn more.)

Book: Radiating Like a Stone

Radiating Like a Stone: Wichita Women and the

1970s Feminist Movement

Compiled and edited by Myrne Roe

This collection of 69 essays with 79 contributors, edited by Myrne Roe, is part of what inspired the Finishing School for Modern Women and still propels me forward. Reading about women’s battles in the 1970s and realizing how little progress we’ve made inspires me to continue standing for equal rights for all people.

Myrne has a new book just out, Now That I Am Older: Poems and Short Stories. I picked it up earlier this week and am excited to read it.

Book: Playing Big

Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead

by Tara Mohr

I heard an interview with the author on NPR and was impressed with her idea that women often stay “small” when they yearn to play bigger. She helped me realize that waiting for someone to give permission or a job to come along to make dreams come true is a way of holding ourselves back and how to manage the fear that comes from making changes.

Book: You are a Badass

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

by Jen Sincero

When talking before class, the subject of what book we’re reading comes up often. In one class, many people said they were reading and loving You Are a Badass. I read the book and loved it, too, for its no-nonsense approach, belief in possibilities, and occasional butt-kick to shift energy and change the self-sabotaging ways of thinking.

I’ve had the chance to meet Jen and hang out with her after I introduced her at a book reading at Watermark Books. It felt like she was already an old friend as I drove her around Wichita on the way back to her hotel, jumping out of the car at the stoplight to take a picture of the giant disco ball in Café A-Go-Go. Her inspiration is what drove me to write a book myself.

Book: Fat is a Feminist Issue

Fat is a Feminist Issue

by Susie Orbach

Reading this book in 1978 changed my thinking about food, body image, and dieting forever. Even though this book is over 40 years old, the information is still just as valid as when this groundbreaking book was published. (This may be hard to find to purchase. It appears to be out of publication.)

Book: Untamed


by Glennon Doyle

In a quest to fit into the roles we’ve created for ourselves, we try to be “good,” striving for what will make us feel alive, only to end up feeling stuck. In this hilarious book, Glennon tells the lessons she learned when she quit being good so she could be free and learn to trust herself.

Book: Never Finished

Never Finished: Practical advice for Modern Women to inspire your fierce, authentic self

by Jill D. Miller

Of course, I have to include my award-winning book! Taken from the articles I’ve written for these newsletters, the bite-sized essays give tons of practical advice on how to work through lots of life’s challenges. Every piece asks a question to prompt thinking about how it applies to your life, which I hope inspires you.

Taking time to rest and switch gears when feeling overwhelmed is essential for our well-being and productivity. Remember to pay attention when you start to feel the ground-down resistance of increased gravity and get some rest. I'm going to take that advice myself right now.

What do you do to get inspired?

Much love,

Headmistress Jill


Book title: Never Finished - Practical advice for Modern Women to inspire your fierce, authentic self

Did you know I've published a book? Learn more about it here!


Finishing School for Modern Women

Because We’re Never Finished

The Finishing School for Modern Women, located in Wichita, Kansas, offers classes to help women find their authentic selves, not because we need finishing, but because we’re never finished. We bring together women of all ages to learn from experts and each other how to claim our power in business, finance, communication, and life.

To learn more about what we do: for our classes and free social membership.

Contact Us

Phone: 316-841-8927 Email:

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