This week features the next installment in our recurring “Productive Reading” series, this time talking about key takeaways from Life Makeover, written by longtime Houston television news anchor Dominique Sachse.
It’s never too late to make a bold move (or 2) order to make our life more meaningful
This week we are continuing our Productive Reading recurring series. In the past, we’ve talked about the lessons and key takeaways I found in books such as Gary Keller’s The ONE Thing (episode 133), The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg (episode 147), 3 books written by Brené Brown (episode 166), Soulful Simplicity, by Courtney Carver (episode 182), The Free-Time Formula by Jeff Sanders (episode 211), James Clear’s wonderful Atomic Habits (episode 230), Free to Focus, by Michael Hyatt (episode 250), Attention Management, by Maura Nevel Thomas (episode 271), The Minimalist Home, by Joshua Becker (episode 324), Effortless, by Greg McKeown (episode 349), and Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism (episode 366).
This time I’m sharing some of my most important takeaways from a new book by Houston native, journalist, and YouTuber Dominique Sachse.
Who is Dominique Sachse?
From the book’s cover flap copy:
“Dominique Sachse is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who anchored the news for KPRC in Houston, Texas, for nearly twenty-eight years. Beginning her career as a traffic reporter and working her way up to the anchor desk, she quickly became a role model for women. In 2014, she launched her YouTube channel as a place to offer fashion, beauty, and lifestyle tips for women in their prime, and the response was enormous. Today she has nearly 2 million subscribers. She balances her YouTube channel, content creation, and social media encouragement with her own practice of self-care, family commitments, and charity events.”
Why did I read this book?
I found Dominique’s YouTube channel a year or so ago and have enjoyed her mix of beauty, self-care, and mindset topics and found them encouraging. Unlike many so-called lifestyle influencers on YT, she focuses her channel on offering tips and encouragement to women “of a certain age,” and I appreciate her transparency and positive approach. Because of that, when she announced the release of her first book, I wanted to see what she had to say.
On the front flap, it asks,
“Have you ever caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and wondered, ‘Who is that?’ Have you ever been so overwhelmed by a sea of responsibilities or the never-ending pull of other people’s needs that you forgot to make time for yourself? If so, you’re not alone. Dominique Sachse has been there, and she has a powerful message for you: the path to a bold, beautiful, and blessed you starts with just one small, brave step.”
The book is subtitled: Embrace the Bold, Beautiful, and Blessed You and shares both personal stories and tips Dominique has gleaned during her 50+ years on the planet for reconnecting with your authentic self.
She opens the book with a note to the reader that starts with: “This book is for every woman who has ever found herself adrift in unknown waters, as if she woke up one day living a life wholly unfamiliar to her and seemingly powerless to chart a new course. It is equally for every woman who has felt as if she’s lost in a sea of other people’s needs or drowning in endless responsibilities. And it is for every woman who has been simply swept away, her identity all but forgotten in the tidal wave of life.”
Like her YT channel, this book addresses topics related to our outward appearance, but she’s very clear about her belief that beauty is more than skin deep. Appearance matters, she says, because first impressions matter.
“Whether it’s fair or not, we can’t change the fact that the way we look is powerful. It’s the thing that gets our foot in the door, wherever that door may lead. So rather than ignoring that fact or trying to change it, let’s lean into that notion and use it to generate change within us. Let’s consider beauty from the outside in.”
As to why she advocates that approach, she goes on to say,
“True beauty may ultimately come from within, and it is important to develop that inner beauty. But I’ve found it really helpful to start on the outside and work my way in. In fact, what we do on the outside directly influences what happens on the inside. . . . Read any self-help book and you’ll find that improving your happiness, increasing your level of fulfillment, or reconnecting with your passions and purpose–those are processes. They don’t happen overnight, so they require patience. You can’t rush the development of inner beauty. But the good news is: you can rush your appearance. And working on your appearance can give you a jump start on developing the rest of you.”
She then assures the reader, though, that “this is not a ‘beauty’ book. It’s a book about getting where you want to be in your life, about becoming the best version of you there is.”
Investing in ourselves
An early chapter or two cover tips for making a change in your appearance, hair, makeup, clothes, etc. as a catalyst for other changes you want in your life. Nothing in the book suggests that there’s anything wrong with you as you are. The idea is that if you’re looking for change in your life, this is a quick and easy way to start the ball rolling:
“Seeing yourself differently will motivate you to start doing your life differently.”
She encourages the reader to believe that whatever stage of life you’re at, if you’re not satisfied, you can make a change, and you deserve the time, energy, and attention it takes to do so. “I need you to say and believe one essential truth about yourself: I am my most valuable investment.” This is a concept she reiterates throughout the book.
- An investment in yourself is not selfish, but valuable and necessary if you’re going to bring your best self to the roles in your life that are important to you, professionally, personally, and relationally.
- “You won’t be as good as you could be in any of those roles unless you start prioritizing yourself. Believing that you have something to contribute – that you are worthy of the investment of time, effort, attention, and love – puts out a message: ‘Get ready. I’m about to do something special, be someone special, and help myself and others feel special.’”
- “And no, the process of self-investment is not selfish. In fact, it’s what makes it possible for you to be truly unselfish. Because your account is full, you’ll be able to pay out increases. You’ll discover new joy in giving because you actually have something to give. You’re not in a deficit anymore, not depleted and in the red. And it all started by believing you’re worth the time and money and effort to improve yourself.”
When she talks about appearance, she’s very clear that although impressions matter, we don’t change our appearance based on other people’s opinions.
Key takeaways and quotes
1.“You are your most valuable investment.”
She acknowledges a lot of us have trouble accepting that idea. “Many women have sidelined their own needs and desires for so long that they lost touch with who they really are and what they really need. It takes a bit of effort for them to lay down everything else long enough to prioritize themselves. So often we define ourselves by what we do instead of who we are. I can say I’m a mom, a daughter, a content creator, an author, and so on, with all of these roles constituting areas of work in my life. But who am I really?”
She suggests an exercise to help if we have trouble answering these questions, encouraging us to think back to when we were 6 years old and try to remember what we were like then, what we enjoyed doing, what we were good at, what was difficult for us, what made us sad or angry or afraid or excited or happy.
“It’s a mental exercise designed to reconnect you with the powerful, positive emotions you felt as a child, when you allowed your true self to lead the way.”
This helps us reconnect with ourselves. “By teaching your mind to release any self-limiting beliefs you may have formed as an adult – any insecurities, and the stories you’ve been telling yourself about who you are – and adopting the mind of a child, you are ‘resetting.’ In the process, you are getting to know the real you better.” She calls this a sort of “cosmic wormhole” back to the real you, and encourages us: “The next time any voice in your head tries to convince you that you shouldn’t be spending time on improving how you walk through life, just take a trip through the cosmic wormhole to remind yourself that you are worth it.”
She offered some real food for thought about the impact of our past on our present and future and invites us to take the steps necessary to identify and let go of those things from our past that get in our way.
“Sometimes to move forward, we have to release the past, the emotional chains that bind and limit our mobility. . . . [For] most of us, there is a deep-seated connection between what has happened to us, how we responded, and the decisions we make in our present lives.”
She shares a story about her difficult relationship with her father when she was younger, and the impact it had on her life as an adult. “The relationship a daughter has with her father can often define her relationships later in life – not only with other people but with herself.”
2. Creating a vision for your life can energize and direct your actions moving forward.
“When you think about your life, are you focusing on the things that really matter to you? Or are you instead placing that focus (and your precious time) on things that are less important to you in the big picture of your life.”
She encourages us to use a vision board to help focus our thoughts on what matters most, and suggests two kinds of vision boards: a passion board and talent board. Their purpose is to create “more clarity, inspiration, and focus.”
Passion board (or journal–digital or analog): “Your passions are simply what you care about most in life, what you love doing, what is meaningful to you at a deep level.”
- Capture them (whatever interests or activities “have the power to engage your heart and your soul”) — if you have trouble identifying them, ask those same questions you asked of your 6-year-old self
- Once you have your list, read through and consider how it makes you feel. “Seeing this list of passions right in front of you should generate a certain warmth and excitement and be a window to your joy.”
- Search for images to represent them. (internet, magazines, brochures, old books. At the same time, look for quotes that inspire you. After you’ve got them gathered, sort and choose the most evocative, then create your board (digital, analog) or journal or box.
“Keep in mind that you might not be in a position to act on your passions right now, but you don’t need to. What matters is for you to unleash your imagination sans limitations and find images that help you visualize your passions.”
Talent board – “images that reflect your gifts, talents, skills, and abilities–your tools for turning your passions into reality.”
- List your talents – “If the word talent intimidates you, think of what you have a knack for, what tends to come easy for you, or what skills you’ve developed over the years. What have other people told you you’re good at? What do you think you might be good at if you tried? What personal resources could help you develop your passions?”
- Look for images to represent them.
- Print, clip, gather, put on a board or in a journal or box.
“Once you’ve finished creating your two vision boards, place them in a spot where you can see them every day – your bedroom dresser, your refrigerator, the front door, somewhere in your office. The process of creating them will have helped you learn about yourself. But the process of referring to them regularly will help them change the way you think and even dream. Let the images and words that represent your passions and talents sink into your very soul. Let them remind you that you are worthy and capable of transformation. And let them be a source of energy and inspiration as you move forward.”
3. The power of rest: “when you’re overworked, overstressed, and under rested, you don’t do anything well.”
She talks about this being an important part of “the overall message I yearn to share with women: you must create space in your life to discover–or rediscover–who you really are.” According to Dominique, one thing every woman should do to live her best life: “Get your rest.”
“A lack of rest has far-reaching and deeply painful fallout. We must learn how to mitigate the negative effects of the ‘hurry up’ attitude of today’s world without rushing through life and missing what’s really important.”
“We aren’t meant to expend constant effort. Without a balance of exertion and rest, we simply cannot grow–and we also risk creating real damage to our bodies, our minds, and our spirits.”
She talks about rest “snackables”– “bite-sized moments of rest for both mind and body” or “opportunities to recharge your mind and body so you can approach your life, your goals, and those you love from a place of peace and contentment.” Some that she suggests:
- Reading the Bible or other spiritual texts that are meaningful to you
- Getting outside and moving your body
- Connecting with nature
“And although sleep is important, it’s not the only kind of rest we need. We also desperately need mental, emotional, and spiritual downtime–time for ourselves, time to think and dream and just chill out. And to get that necessary time-out in our day-to-day lives, we need to set boundaries. If we don’t make time for rest, no one will do it for us, and our lives will suffer as a result.”
4. Overcome fear with faith (in God and in yourself)
She talks about various types of fears and offers ideas for dealing with fear. I especially liked what she had to say about dealing with fears of other people’s judgment of you:
“Some battles simply aren’t worth fighting. Sometimes it works best to just ignore a threat and let it roll off your back. . . . I found this strategy is especially effective when it comes to those unsolicited judgments. I’m always astonished as to how readily people offer opinions about someone other than themselves. Some don’t mean any harm. They really seem to think they’re helping, as if their assessment will finally get the other person to see things straight.”
She then talks about shifting our own mindset to recognize other people’s judgment of you really isn’t about you as much as it is about them.
“There is an incredible freedom that arises when we stop basing our sense of self-worth on what others think of us and release ourselves from their judgment. You can’t please everyone, so why even try?”
This reminds me of Brené Brown’s suggestion of keeping a very short list of people whose opinion of you matters.
5. Stay classy
This section of the book gave me some things to think about. Dominique certain presents as a classy woman on her YT videos, so I found her advice in this area worth considering.
“Class involves both looks and behavior, appearing and being. It’s easy to identify a classy woman when you see her. She enters the room with her head high and shoulders back, confident and assured. She’s not aloof. In fact, she’s quite aware of her surroundings, catching an eye with a warm smile in return. She gives the impression of dignity and poise. She dresses with taste, clothing her shape with cognizance of both her frame and frame of mind. She speaks from a place of knowledge and listens with respect to opinion, never hastily offering her own.”
One element of class, she says, is grace–extending it toward others and toward yourself.
“A classy woman will listen without interrupting and offer ideas without demeaning others or putting them down. She keeps her speech civil and even–never harsh, overly confrontational, or laced with profanity. She supports her opinions with facts, logic, and reason, and doesn’t let her emotions run away with her. And if somebody doesn’t agree with her, then she’ll gracefully agree to disagree.”
She goes on to offer suggestions on what constitutes classy behavior:
- Take correction graciously
- Treat everyone with respect and kindness
- Watch your alcohol intake to avoid making a fool of yourself in public.
- Do your best to be punctual and prompt
- Listen with compassion and empathy
- Don’t leave a mess and litter in public places
- Don’t think so highly of yourself that you make others feel inferior.
She also gets very practical with a section about staying classing on Zoom, which may be worth reading for those of us who spend a lot of time on video conferencing for work and other purposes.
6. The value of getting a hobby
“basically any activity that is done for love and not for money. . . . the hallmark of a hobby is that it gives us a break from our main pursuits in life.”
“Hobbies aren’t just for fun. . . . they make us active participants in life, with a fuller range of experience. They help us tap into our creativity and explore what makes us the people we are.”
She asks a really thought-provoking question in this chapter:
“What are we writing in our life book, and how are we filling the pages? Are they consumed mainly with duty, displeasure, boredom, and repetition, or is your story about risk-taking, tenacity, great success, and great failures? Are you living?”
Her recommended process for identifying and pursuing a hobby:
- Put time on the calendar for it.
- Search your soul for things that you’re interested in, intrigued by, or curious about. Don’t censor yourself (e.g., you don’t have to be a skilled artist to give painting or photography a try).
- Don’t give up too easily.
She encourages us to never stop learning and reminds us that “In order to learn something new, we have to be taught. But we also learn by being the teacher. Whether in the role of teacher or student (both of which can happen at any age), we all have the opportunity to impart wisdom or to absorb it.”
She also has a thought-provoking chapter about mentoring–both finding a mentor and being one.
Dominique’s tag line is “be bold and be blessed,” so it’s not surprising that she talks in the book about being bold–and what it means to be bold:
“summoning the courage to choose positive change and to act on that choice when the time is right for you, even if you’re not sure what the result will be.”
She encourages us to take bold steps, reminding us that:
“Bold moves can be hard and sometimes scary, but they are necessary for growth and discovery.”
I especially appreciated her reminder to be bold enough to take charge of our own life, no matter what stage of life we’re in:
“Your age or stage of life has no bearing whatsoever on your ability to make bold moves and important changes. There is, in fact, no excuse for sitting on the sidelines or letting someone else call the shots in your life.”
This doesn’t mean making rash, impulsive decisions without forethought. “A bold move has a better chance of succeeding if you count the cost.”
It also doesn’t have to be a huge thing to be bold.
“Practicing boldness in little ways is a great way to prepare yourself for bigger bold moves when the time is right. For instance, what is one thing you could do differently today? Can you work out in a different way or change your eating habits or maybe start learning a new language? Sometimes making just one move today leads to making more, bolder moves tomorrow.”
She offers ideas for small bold moves–maybe “a life hack or tweak that helps you live better and more wisely, reducing waste, cutting costs, and using time more critically. Who doesn’t want to live a more purposeful, intentional, thoughtful life? Or it could be a decision to reach out to someone you would like to know better–either someone you’ve never met or someone you haven’t talked to in a long time.” She talks about bold moves she’s been making to simplify her life, such as:
- Sorting through belongings and getting rid of what’s not needed.
- Paring down your schedule
- Purchase with a purpose
There is even more in the book.
Steps to take when you’re ready to make a bold move
- Look at your vision boards to reacquaint yourself with who you are and what matters to you
- Ask yourself questions:
- What are three things I have control over in my life right now?
- What is one change I could make in each of those areas?
- How would those changes impact my life?
8. It’s never too late
This was a meaningful message for me at this stage of my life:
“You are never too old to grow. Please don’t get caught up in the judgment, whether self-imposed or laid on you by others. At any moment at any time in our lives, we have a chance to hit the reset button. It’s the ultimate gesture of grace we can offer ourselves, aside from seeking forgiveness from God.”
“To redirect and redesign your life, you must do two things: (1) analyze the past and see where you possibly sabotage yourself, and (2) look for traits that served you well and can serve you in the future. The ‘cosmic wormhole’ and vision board exercises . . . can help you do this.”
The key message of the book: “you must create space in your life to discover–or rediscover–who you really are” AND it’s okay to give yourself that space: “you are your most important investment”. Basically the idea is to change ourmindset from thinking it’s selfish to “take” time for yourself to seeing it as an investment that will help you show up as your best self, empowered to make a real and lasting difference in the world
Some final thoughts
I would not classify this as great literature but it is well written, like a personal letter from an intelligent, articulate friend. It doesn’t go deep, but touches on a broad set of topics relevant to women who want to make a life that matters but maybe have felt stuck or held back. Life Makeover is a good summer read for some inspiration and practical ideas about how to get started.
What do you think?
Have you read Life Makeover? If so, what did you think? Share your takeaway with us. If you haven’t yet read it, what’s a productivity-related book you’ve read recently that you’d recommend? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or send me an email
Resources and Links
- Life Makeover: Embrace the Bold, Beautiful, and Blessed You, by Dominique Sachse
- Dominique’s YouTube channel – new videos every Thursday
- TPW episode 133-The One Thing, by Gary Keller
- TPW episode 147-The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
- TPW episode 166-Lessons from Brene Brown
- TPW episode 182-Soulful Simplicity, by Courtney Carver
- TPW episode 211-The Free-Time Formula, by Jeff Sanders
- TPW episode 230-Atomic Habits, by James Clear
- TPW episode 250-Free to Focus, by Michael Hyatt
- TPW episode 271-Attention Management, by Maura Nevel Thomas
- TPW episode 324-The Minimalist Home, by Joshua Becker
- TPW episode 349-Effortless, by Greg McKeown
- TPW episode 366-Digital Minimalism, by Cal Newport
- Please share your questions or thoughts in the comments section below this post or on The Productive Woman’s Facebook page, or send me an email. Also, don’t forget to tell a friend about this episode, share it using the social sharing buttons at the top of this post, or leave a review in Apple Podcasts.
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