Jen Gotch is an inspiring women in a plethora of ways. The founder of ban.do, an advocate for mental health and a debut author, she has important messages to share with the young women and men looking to create a beautiful future for themselves. Read on to get to know more about Jen Gotch in this She Reads interview.
You have an amazing presence on social media, are a role model for mental health advocacy and the founder of an incredible brand. What are you hoping your readers take away from The Upside of Being Down?
My goal with this book is to share my story – of growing up and finding myself and success and failure and self-doubt and family and dancing and eating and aging – because it probably isn’t that different from a lot of people’s stories. We all eventually live some version of that narrative. So this is not a cautionary tale; there is nothing to pity. Life happens – and you look at it and you learn from it or you don’t, and you enjoy it or you don’t. And I hope for readers, that the book helps them skip a couple of these chapters in their own lives (specifically the darker ones), and that they walk away with increased self-awareness, strong emotional intelligence and a feeling that they are not alone.
What’s been your favorite part of the book publishing process?
Obviously writing the book was in the top three, but that part also sat squarely in last place during trying times in the process. I loved concepting out and helping design the cover – book covers are my passion and a skill I have honed with my work at ban.do. Lastly, to be able to work with a team that was half ban.do and half Gallery Books – and we all got to learn from each other and come together during a time when book publishing is being challenged. We decided to rise above.
If you had to choose 5 of your favorite books of all time, what would they be and why?
I’m a huge reader of non-fiction – mostly self help, personal growth and some memoirs. These are some of the books that have helped me the most and/or resonated deeply in recent years.
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
Been recommending this book a lot lately! It is about your relationship with your thoughts and emotions. Essentially, it explains how to understand the voice in your head and why you react the way you do. It helped me a lot with my anxiety, among other things. The basic message is “don’t worry be happy” but explained in a really interesting way. Essentially, we have the power to choose happiness. Chapter five on infinite energy is amazing. Chapter 15 on the path of unconditional happiness is also amazing. Who am I kidding? They are all amazing.
Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
I read this book about a year and a half ago and it blew my mind – especially in relation to every close relationship I have ever had (both romantic and platonic). It dives into the various attachment styles that are formed during childhood and how they affect adult relationships. I found myself saying out loud, “information I could have used yesterday” over and over again. Cannot recommend it enough.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Ruiz is a leading member of the New Thought movement, which is worth Googling. This book encouraged me to adopt my “I DID MY BEST” philosophy. This passage encapsulates it, “Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret…” That is just one of the “Four Agreements” and they are all equally as interesting and impactful.
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
A great book from the 90s that has guided me on my path to enlightenment. That sounds so new-agey, and it is, but the ability to practice mindfulness, or to live in the now, is a powerful tool to have in your emotional and physical toolbox, especially now. When you are done with this, you can read one of his other books, A New Earth, which I feel is incredibly relevant to our current situation.
Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
She wrote this in 1955 while on vacation in Florida, but I still found it so relatable. It’s a collection of essays in which she uses the shells she finds on the beach to connect to and write about topics such as youth and age, love and marriage, peace, solitude and contentment. Really amazing book that can be read in one sitting.
Which books are you most looking forward to reading next?
The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. It’s not a new book (published in 1978), but it is probably one of the most famous self-help/personal growth books ever written. It’s actually kind of weird that I haven’t read it since personal growth is such a huge passion of mine.
What’s your best piece of advice for creators and entrepreneurs who are struggling with their mental health?
Now is the time to look within. To change your relationship to your thoughts, create some distance between thought and reaction and ultimately gain that self-awareness that I spoke about above. Mindfulness and self-awareness have both been huge contributors to my mental and physical well being, along with also being huge contributors in my professional life as a creative.
*Disclosure: The links above are affiliate links. These picks are editorially selected, but if you purchase, She Reads may get something in return. We are a participant in the Bookshop Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Bookshop.org while simultaneously supporting local bookstores.