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Chelsea Frank, Founder of Life and Limb Gel, on How Books Revealed the Path to Self-Improvement

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Chelsea Frank is the Founder of Life and Limb Gel, a company that offers both hot and cold gel packs, suitable for several needs and budgets and aimed at soothing and relaxing your muscles.

Chelsea’s story is a delight to follow: she worked as a prosthetist/orthotist, having the opportunity to help people by creating customized bracing solutions, and even artificial limbs. During those years, she saw the opportunity to make things better, as some of the options available in terms of shoulder braces at that time were not all satisfactory. Her boss listened to her suggestions and, 2 months after increasing her budget, Chelsea was able to create custom shoulder orthoses with an excellent fit. The result? Hundreds of patients healed after their surgeries.

This win was a clear sign that Chelsea was good at inventing solutions and moved on to the next problem: the cheap and poorly designed gel packs used inside the shoulder orthoses. That’s how Life and Limb Gel was born. At first, it was mostly Chelsea, in a corner of her garage, inventing and testing. Since safety is important, she made sure that her gel packs are made of environmentally safe plastic and filled with food safe ingredients.

Fast forward to today, Life and Limb Gel is now a top choice in the hot and cold therapy industry.

Aside from this amazing story, Chelsea has also provided us with an amazing list of reads and the stories behind them!

What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

If you ask my favorite book, it tends to be something currently in my mind. I don’t know if I could choose an absolute favorite. My recent favorite book is “The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage” By: Mel Robbins.

Listening to it on audio is a real treat, too. She shares how to get yourself motivated to do… anything! It was light hearted, informative, and fun. While one may argue that the book could be summed up into a “just do it” Nike add, and while it was sometimes distracting to have a repetitive feel and multiple examples of how the 5 second rule helped people, it is really much more than a “get-‘er-done” attitude as it explores our nature of goal-related impulses, instincts, anxiety, focus, and emotions. My favorite part was learning about the “pros” of creative procrastination. I am a creative procrastinator at heart and enjoy looking at it part of a positive creative process. The 5 second rule provides a unique approach to eliminating unhelpful procrastination.

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What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)

I was reading a book, “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character” by Paul Tough on a recommendation by my sister, a Middle School teacher. At that time I considered myself a great mother with natural intuition and did not go to the book as a means of “self-help” but of leisurely pleasure. However, I was perplexed when I discovered that even the most intelligent, diligent, and natural parents fail their children on multiple levels. Intuition was not enough. The day I finished the book I went to my son’s baseball game ready to apply my knowledge but found that the words out of my mouth were not necessarily those recommended in the book. Then it hit me: what if everything in life weren’t necessarily “intuitive”? I had learned so much about parenting even if I thought I was doing an excellent job already. What more could I learn about being content, happy, or successful in life?

Before that moment, I would have possibly been embarrassed to read a book from the “self-help” section, but after that day I made it my mission to read as many books on how to be the happiest, most successful person possible and I continue being amazed how much I learn on subjects I thought I knew a lot about. I love gaining new insights and perspectives, being able to apply my knowledge and grow as an individual, parent, partner, and friend. I have read countless “self-help” books and plan to one day piece together my new knowledge and share it with the world.

What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

One of the things that lead me to entrepreneurship was my lack of contentment at a 9-5 job. I felt that no matter how hard I worked or how innovative my ideas were, I was not in control of my own destiny as long as I worked for someone else. I turned from desperation to empowerment when I decided to hire myself and have never looked back.

So many books I turn to for inspiration are from a perspective of overall happiness, satisfaction, and wellbeing. If I know about myself and what makes me happy, I can funnel that knowledge into my life as an entrepreneur. Also, many books I read about successful people make me turned off by their definition of success. That’s OK! A concept from a recent book “The 10X Rule” was that even bad books can teach us something. Personally, I thought “The 10X Rule” was just that: a bad book. Grant Cardone, author of the book, was not someone I wished to become in any way, shape, or form. While I felt that if I met him in person I wouldn’t want to be his best friend, I did take away some gold clumps of knowledge from a book on which I did not share the same perspective. Many books on the most successful people in business are very compelling. I recently read “Steve Jobs: An Autobiography” by Walter Isaacson followed by “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” By Ashlee Vance. The parallels of the success of the unique individuals as well as their personalities was very interesting. I am quite sure, however, that their definition of “success” resembled something I would not wish to hold. I was also very sure that while they may both be considered some of the greatest minds in our history, they both struggled deeply with inner happiness and contentment.

The past two years, here are some great reads:

More Career Oriented Books:

I read everything with an open mind, often challenging myself by choosing books with an odd perspective or religious/spiritual views. These books do not reflect my personal feelings but are books that helped shape my perspective on life, love, and happiness.

I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

I try to read a few books at a time. This way if a book gets too depressing or makes me think too hard, I have something light and fun. I only listen to books… even the Bible! I usually listen to books for between 1 and 6 hours a day.

How do you make time for reading?

Audio makes it so easy! I enjoy listening to books while working, cooking, even taking a bath. It can turn a mundane task like dishes, dusting, or tidying into something fun.

Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

When I hope to take away a message from a book, it helps to take notes. So often I find myself sharing a quote from a recent book when I realize I’m missing something. With audio, I can hit the “bookmark” button and save that place. When I’m finished with the book, I go back to the bookmarks and listen again just at those clips, and I often type out the important points. This is obviously only with books where I’m hoping to gain knowledge or find inspiration.

How do you choose what books to read next?

Often, I just start reading! I don’t put a lot of thought into what comes next.

Do you prioritize the books recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

My little sister is an English teacher and avid reader. I love asking her what she’s just finished or just learned from a book. My father always seems to have excellent recommendations for me as well.

Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

I am currently reading several books. “Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama” by David Garrow. I was inspired to learn more about our country’s leaders by my father, who has read a book about nearly each of our USA Presidents and I have decided to follow suit. I try to choose a book with a somewhat biased view that is opposite of my own feelings towards the country’s leaders. The facts are still the same, but it challenges me to think. 🙂

I’m reading “Far From The Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity” By: Andrew Solomon and have nearly finished it. It is quite long at nearly 40 hours, and a little depressing at times, but very insightful. When children are born that do not share the same identities with their parents and are considered “different” by being deaf, autistic, transgender, or genius, parents often struggle to relate, connect, and support their child appropriately. On the other hand, perhaps diversity is what unites us. Hundreds of stories of parent-child relationships are presented over his 10 years extensively researching for this book and over 200 pages of citations support his work. I also love his TED Talk and have bookmarked “Love, No Matter What” for future enjoyment.

I’m also reading “Finding Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You” By Simon Sinek, David Mead, Peter Docker. I hope it helps direct me to finding a direction for my business.

Links where you can follow Chelsea Frank or find out more about her projects:

All books mentioned by Chelsea Frank in this interview:

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