Finding your calling: Jeff Goins’ The Art of Work

Even readers skeptic of self-improvement books will get lots of helpful ideas and inspiration from Jeff Goins’ book about the hard work of finding your purpose(s) in life. His combination of true stories to motivate and practical methods to get started on your life’s work makes the book a fast and fun read that will get you on track to leaving your legacy.

The Gist: Everyone Has a Calling

 We all have a calling, we just have to be brave enough to let our lives point us to what it is and persistent enough to stick with it, even when things are hard. Your calling isn’t something you just know you’re meant to do. No one becomes happy and builds a legacy overnight –no matter how it may seem when we read about other people’s success. In the Art of Work, Jeff tells stories—about people he knows, himself, and even well known historic figures to illustrate how our ideas about “just knowing” what to do with our lives, innate talent, and the road to a meaningful life are far off the mark. Firmly, but with patience, he brings the reader around to the idea of listening to their own life experience and the people that know them best to find their path—accepting that most of us will change our plans more than once.

The Best: Moving Stories & Practical Tips to find your purpose

 The storytelling in the book is moving and expertly woven with why we owe it to ourselves, our loved ones, and the world to find our calling, making for a quick and inspiring read. The tips about how to put these ideas into action, as well as links to further materials on the book website are really handy. The discussion questions included at the end make this a great book for a book club or workshop.


The Worst: Sometimes it gets Preachy

Like so many self-help books, occasionally the advice can be a little overwhelming, overbearing and borderline preachy.

Some Favorite Quotes: Inspiring words

 “Putting an activity through painful practice is a great way to determine your direction in life.”

“If you can do something when it’s not fun, even when you’re exhausted and bored and want to give up, then it just might be your calling.”

“The lesson of the accidental apprenticeship is that long before a person is ready for his calling, life is preparing that person for the future through chance encounters and serendipitous experiences”

“…What we’re really saying in these moments of not knowing is that we want the journey to be safe. We want it drawn out for us—no surprises or setbacks, just a clear beginning and end.”

“You don’t need a specific address to begin. The path to your dream is more about following a direction than arriving at a destination.”

“…pain is the great teacher and failure a faithful mentor.”

“Every calling is marked by a season of insignificance, a period when nothing seems to make sense.”

“You must be careful not to succeed at the wrong things. You have to pay attention to passion and beware the temptation of success.”

“It’s not enough to be good at something, you must focus on what you are meant to do.”

“Most authors I know live portfolio lives…they don’t do just one thing but instead embrace a diverse set of activities that form a complete identity.

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