People often tend to define themselves and their lives by their ability to serve those around them and make others happy. They are so desperate to please spouses, children, friends, co-workers, bosses, basically all those around them, that they fail to look out for someone who really holds the key to their happiness and harmony—themselves.

This crucial look into the mirror is the focus of Today I Choose Me: From Empty Nest to Full Throttle (J. Mosley Publishing), a series of six essays by women discussing the struggles and challenges they’ve faced, the choices they had to make (good and bad), and how they eventually came to the realization they have to look out for Number One above all else.

Choosing How To “Show Up in the World”

“During my more than 30 years of mentoring, coaching and helping others release self-limiting belief systems to achieve personal success and prosperity, I saw the impact of putting oneself last,” writes Dr. Lisa Lewis Ellis, who compiled the essays.

Ellis, in the book’s kickoff chapter, talks about the choices she had to make—and the life-altering decisions—after she was diagnosed with cancer. She describes how her choices would affect her faith, her finances and her freedom as she entered a fight for life at a different level.

“Occasionally, there are major crossroads like a cancer diagnosis that forced me to see my life differently,” writes Lewis. “This has been a time of reflection, purging and repurposing.”

She adds, “I’ve learned that I and I alone am responsible for my choices and how I choose to show up in the world. Life happens.”

“Living full throttle leaves little time for holding on to old baggage, old ways of thinking and old self-sabotaging belief systems. We live and die by the choices we make—not in spite of it all but because of it all.”

It is hoped that from this collection of essays, women will recognize themselves and their own tendencies, and be inspired, encouraged and empowered to make what Ellis calls “heroic” decisions. The writing can best be described as raw and real. It is not elegant prose, just important words with poignant endings and messages.

Many Stories, One Message: Choose You

Each of the five other contributors besides Ellis herself focuses on a particular choice they had to make that would shape their lives:

  • Dr. Canzada Twyman on “The Power to Release.” “I was facing a life sentence,” she writes. “Society had labeled me a career criminal and said I would never amount to anything.”
  • Dr. Carleah East on “My Journey to Emotional Sobriety.”
  • Devonia Reed on “Trapped.” “Don’t allow your purpose to remain trapped inside you,” she writes. “Discover it and manifest yourself.”
  • Elizabeth Clamon on “From Empty Nest to Full Throttle.” “When you surrender to God’s plan for your life, there’s no telling the direction He will take you.”
  • Felicia Petit-Frere on “Staying True to Me.”

Fittingly, in her own essay, Ellis quotes television producer and author Shonda Rhimes in noting, “There’s nothing wrong with being driven. And there’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first.”

That’s what this book is all about.

Today I Choose Me is now available for purchase.

About Dr. Lisa Lewis Ellis

Dr. Lisa Lewis Ellis, the “B.S. Boss,” is a certified John Maxwell Team certified coach, speaker, teacher and trainer. She also is an author, spiritual strategist and CEO and founder of Kick Boxing Believers. She is currently working on another book, Cancer Healed, Other B.S. Life Lessons and Me.