How Reading Literature Benefits Leaders
By Marcie Stokman, Well-Read Mom Founder and President
“I never set out to run a business; Well-Read Mom is a ministry to help women, including myself, read literature.” I let Matt know that running a business was not my original intention.
He countered, “If you’re serious about helping women read literature, you need to be serious about establishing solid business principles, or Well-Read Mom will not continue long-term.”
That day, I woke up! Business and ministry go hand in hand. Prudent, strategic, financial decisions help ensure our ministry’s ongoing impact on women, families, and the culture.
Just as I had to wake up to the necessity of learning and incorporating solid business practices in Well-Read Mom, I encourage women leaders to wake up to and take part in the restorative benefits that come from reading and discussing literature.
I know what you are thinking:
“Yes, I believe reading is important, and I would love to read more, but I just don’t have time. Secretly, if I’m honest, I have so much on my plate right now that reading a novel … well, it feels like a waste of time. I need to be efficient. I can’t add one more thing. Something has to give, and for me, that something is reading.”
Who suffers when we no longer read and discuss literature for its own sake? We do. We miss out on the restorative leisure that reading brings to our life. When we organize our life around the criteria of efficiency and productivity, we are in danger of leaving a beautiful part of ourselves behind.
Many women hold a deep (perhaps subconscious) belief that self-care is selfish. They conclude that it’s OK to take care of themselves if—and only if—everyone else’s needs are met. This belief is illogical. A woman spiraling in this direction is in danger of being depleted—and a depleted soul has little to give anyone. This type of imbalance does not enable us to be at our best with our family or the people we work with.
What are the benefits of the regular reading and discussion of literature? Personal growth, relaxation, conversation, friendship, and becoming well-read—to name a few—but the benefits that strike me the most are these: We grow in compassion and empathy. We grow in wisdom and in our capacity to recognize and acknowledge our human condition. We grow in understanding our need for a Savior.
The good we do for others through our work springs from the life inside us. To nourish this life is to maintain the ability to give our best and to help redesign our work environment in a way, as Pope John Paul wrote in his 1995 Letter to Women, that “favors the processes of humanization which mark the ‘civilization of love.’”
Reading helps us grow in our inner life. Join me on the journey to read more and read well. When women grow, everyone benefits.
*This post was originally published on Catholic Women in Business
About Well-Read Mom
In Well-Read Mom, women read more and read well. Our hope is to deepen the awareness of meaning hidden in each woman’s daily life, elevate the cultural conversation, and revitalize reading literature from books. If you would like to have us help you select worthy reading material, we invite you to join and read along with us. We are better together! For information on how to start or join a Well-Read Mom group visit our website wellreadmom.com