Review of Stepping into More: Lessons from a Recovering Perfectionist by Rachel Karu
Rachel Karu’s Stepping into More is an inspiring story, certainly worth’s an afternoon to read, and I’m sure it will tell you much about yourself as you see her life through her eyes.
This book is written as a memoir that follows the thread of Karu’s lifelong love of singing with her emerging dream of helping people one-on-one. As she was able to find ways of using her voice and perform, she began to move into living her dream. As a memoir, it works because the thread of singing and music holds the story together, and the other, more personal parts of her life are only sketched in enough detail to see how she applies her skills to her life.
Each episode of her life, beginning with her childhood, is followed by a list of questions to help the reader explore his or her own life and become more self-aware. This is not a self-help book, however, as much as an example of how a person can discover and come to accept and work with the parts of one’s personality, despite physical, emotional, and financial challenges.
Karu shares her own experiences to show how being transparent and vulnerable give her the strength to move past her perceived limitations and flaws. She exemplifies how vulnerability works, and why being safe and guarded with one’s talent keeps it from developing.
All of us have Gremlins, Rachel Karu’s name for the personas we develop for ourselves to navigate through our lives, whether they uplift us, like Karu’s Performer, or cut us down, like her Perfectionist.
This book challenged me with some of my Gremlins: Judgmental Jamie, Whining Willy and Excuse Esmeralda. I kept thinking that Karu’s life was so much more exciting than mine was, and that she had more opportunities than I have had, but the truth is that she made more of what was available to her.
As I read, I wanted to make excuses for my own perceived failures, my lack of finding a way to live my dream, and my comparative lack of success: those are the voices of the Gremlins. If you read this book, you’ll find yours too, even if you don’t do the homework.
I am working with a personal coach, and I know the value of this kind of work for myself. This book shows that it is also valuable for the coach, who must apply the same skills repeatedly in her own life.
One nitpick is her use of italics inside quotes every time someone speaks. As an English teacher, I want to smack her editor on the back of the head—a Grammar Gremlin.
Stepping into More is not a fairy tale with a happy ending and a neatly wrapped-up homily. The story is about her inner and outer journeys to find her own voice and to nurture and use it as her primary strength.
Rachel Karu is the founder and owner of RAE Development, a professional and personal development firm committed to helping organizations and individuals achieve success, productivity and fulfillment.
Described by her clients as “a gifted coach and facilitator who is both intuitive and pragmatic,” Rachel brings more than 19 years of Human Resources, training, coaching and speaking support to her clients. Rachel’s clients include Raytheon, Mattel, US Navy, Nestle, Braille Institute, Disney/ABC, and more. She holds an MS in Counseling for Business and is a Certified Coach.
In addition to writing, Rachel is also a soulful singer who enthralls her audiences with songs that evoke Adele, Carole King and Barbara Streisand. Rachel motivates others to maximize their strengths, work through perfectionism, be proactive, and take charge of their lives and careers, in order to live an integrated, fulfilled life. Incorporating singing and music into her programs allows Rachel to creatively deliver these foundational messages in a meaningful way. Rachel is happily married and the proud mother of two amazing children. She enjoys singing, dancing, traveling and spending quality time with her family.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for review from the author. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” All links are affiliate links, and I make a small commission on sales.