I’ve read a lot of books by a lot of consultants, coaches and psychologists over the years and the rare thing—the most unusual and exciting thing—is when the author and the book are a perfect match, when there’s no difference between who the author really is, and what their book is.
This is one of those books—written by the extraordinary life and leadership coach, Tina Quinn.
It lines up. It’s that perfect match. The same unassuming, vulnerable, passionate and compassionate qualities that set Tina Quinn apart as an effective, transformative coach are also right here in this book.
With authors in the personal development field you usually get the other thing. Coaches and public speakers tend to load their books up with second-hand stories, motivational theories, already-popular ideas and borrowed opinions. In their books you get what they think—or what they think you should think—but not how they really experience life.
My own books have often erred in that direction, which is why I’m so envious and impressed by what Tina Quinn has delivered to us with this book.
As I was first reading her intimate stories and deeply personal experiences I was almost tempted to look over my shoulder to make sure no one would catch me reading someone else’s private diary.
So when you read her stories, some painful, some joyful, you’ll feel you’ve been welcomed into her world and can share in all the emotions that give it life and color.
Reading this book reminded me of my years in my twenties when I was trying to make my living as a sportswriter. I had always admired (and tried so hard to follow) the words of sportswriter Paul Gallico, who wrote, “It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader.”
You’ll feel that contact throughout this book of illuminating stories. Tina has courageously and skillfully done that, and one stands amazed that she did it in her first attempt at writing a book!
She tells us here that she has a quote up on the wall in her office in her father’s handwriting. It’s a quote from Adlai Stevenson (who was Governor of Illinois, twice nominated by the Democratic Party to be their presidential candidate and later appointed by President John Kennedy to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations). You’ll read his full quote in her book ahead. But I think it’s worth looking at now. Stevenson says he considers “experience” to be a knowledge “not gained by words, but by touch, sight, sound, victories, failures, sleeplessness, devotion, love.”
Those words up on Tina’s wall must have made their way into her mind, heart and spirit because they describe her life and work—and now this inspiring book—just perfectly. His quotation finishes by gently advocating, “. . . a little faith, and a little reverence for things you cannot see.”
That sets the tone and the underlying theme for the entire book. And it does so without really trying, without obvious calculation. It’s just there: the faith and the reverence for things you cannot see. This theme builds from story to story, from experience to experience. It reflects Tina’s own reverence and faith, Tina’s own devotion and love, for things you cannot see. If you have the same experience I had during this entertaining book, you might find your own faith and reverence have been touched and nourished and expanded.
I’m just guessing here about the degree of impact that quotation had on Tina’s life and book. Just as I was just guessing years ago when as a newspaper reporter I got to spend a full day interviewing a young Arnold Schwarzenegger as he was conquering the international bodybuilding world and the world of action movies. He said he grew up with the words “Joy Through Strength” up on a wall in his boyhood home in Austria.
Sometimes words have a magical, life-changing impact for people. It’s clear that Tina Quinn wanted to do for her readers what her father’s hand-written words did for her.
In the beginning of the book, Tina tells about her early-life failures and frustrations, as she was looking for love and fulfillment in all the wrong places until she reached out in desperation to a counselor who helped her wake up to a new life. She writes about the turnaround this way: “I started to believe that the universe was a place that supported me instead of something I needed to muscle through.” And that then she “. . . began to notice the good things I wanted more of in my life and to make choices based on what I wanted to create instead of simply reacting to what I thought society wanted me to have and do.”
To me, these were the invisible things she couldn’t see before. The deeply felt sense that the universe was a place that supported her, and that there was, inside of her, the previously unseen capacity to create what she wanted to create.
You’ll find other invisible things throughout this book, but those were the two I felt the most. I noticed that all the invisible things in this book emanated from the creative power of love itself. They are also both spiritual and real-world practical. Like her very funny story of how she created her own birthday celebrations after realizing it was the perfect solution to feeling they had been under-appreciated in the past. Why wait for the world to catch up with what you see as possible to create?
That real-world practicality permeates these stories of living from the heart. We learn what happens when you apply love to situations most of us would just feel like victims of. And they also give us a clue as to why Tina Quinn is such an effective coach of other people and leaders in organizations. Yes, she’s spiritual and lovingly empathetic. I don’t know anyone who connects with people so soulfully from the moment they connect. But she’s also a truth-teller and can deliver radical wake-up calls to people who are selling themselves short and not realizing their own creative powers. This is the Tina I know in the world of leadership and coaching and human performance.
My unexpected delight comes from the fact that she has successfully captured the unseen spiritual underpinnings of her day-to-day creative energy in this book. And she’s done it not through theories or philosophizing but by the simple, courageous sharing of stories—by which I mean the sharing of life experiences, true events, one after another, that each brought more and more light to her own understanding of the invisible power and beauty behind her life. And she shares it in such an unassuming, almost heartbreaking way, that we ourselves, as grateful readers, can get that she wants us to experience the same invisible things, and is devoting her life to helping that happen.