The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do

The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do

by Jeff Goins


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On his thirtieth birthday, Jeff Goins quit his job and began his pursuit of becoming a full-time writer. While certainly that was a milestone day, it was still less significant than the ones that lead to that memorable moment. The journey he took leading up to that daring decision involved twists, turns, and surprises he never expected. In the end, he found his life’s purpose, his calling; and in The Art of Work, he wants to share his journey with you and help you, too, discover your life’s work, along with the invaluable treasure that comes with doing so.As writer, keynote speaker, and award-winning blogger Jeff Goins explains, our search for discovering the task we were born to do begins with passion but does not end there. Only when our interests connect with the needs of the world do we begin living for a larger purpose. Those who experience this intersection experience something exceptional and enviable. Though it is rare, as Jeff discovered along the journey he shares in this one-of-a-kind book, such a life is attainable by anyone brave enough to try. Through personal experience, compelling case studies, and current research on the mysteries of motivation and talent, Jeff shows readers how to find the vocation they were meant for and what to expect during the long, arduous journey to discovering and pursuing it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718022075
Publisher: HarperCollins Leadership
Publication date: 03/24/2015
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 237,552
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Jeff Goins is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and popular blogger with a reputation for challenging the status quo. In three years, Goins built a million-dollar business, published four books, and became an online marketing expert, using his skills in writing and business to help others succeed. He is the author of four books, including The Art of Work, which landed on the bestseller lists of USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and Washington Post. He lives with his family near Nashville, TN.

Read an Excerpt

The Art of Work

A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant To Do

By Jeff Goins

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2015 Jeff Goins
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-2208-2


Listening to Your Life

The Call to Something Old, Not New

Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.

—Parker Palmer

You don't "just know" what your calling is. You must listen for clues along the way, discovering what your life can tell you. Awareness comes with practice.

The halls of Emory Hospital were particularly busy that day as Jody Noland navigated the crowds to locate her friend's room. She brushed past people visiting their loved ones, and a queasy thought came to her: How could something so terrible be happening to Larry?

Larry Elliott had recently decided to reprioritize his life, selling his successful insurance business to serve hurting children in the world. It began with serving alongside his wife, Bev, as house-parents at a children's home in Alabama but had led to a leadership position at another children's home outside of Atlanta. He was changing gears in what he thought would be the second half of his life, but he had much less time than he realized.

Larry and Bev decided to take their family on a long-awaited vacation to Europe. This was a chance to spend some quality time together and reconnect with their kids. It was a trip everyone was looking forward to.

The pain started on the flight to Italy, beginning with a throbbing sensation between Larry's temples. In Florence, a CAT scan revealed a mass in his brain, and the family was forced to end the vacation prematurely. On the flight home, the pilot had to fly at a lower altitude to minimize the amount of pressure in Larry's head. The next morning, he was scheduled to go into surgery. At forty-eight years old, Larry was battling a brain tumor.

His room wasn't that difficult to find, as Jody later recalled in her book: "It was the one where people overflowed into the hallway." There was not enough space to fit all the friends he had accumulated in his lifetime. And in spite of the pain, Larry did his best to comfort his visitors.

There was a sense of urgency to his demeanor that day. At one point, he asked his wife if she'd brought a pen and paper, something that seemed odd to Jody. Later she asked Bev what that was about, and Bev explained that Larry wanted to write a letter to each of their children before going into surgery. He didn't know if he would make it out alive and wanted to express his love, affirming what was so unique and special about each of his children.

Larry lived another nine months before ultimately losing his life to cancer.

That same year, Jody lost two other friends who were both in their forties and passed away without warning. The deaths came as a shock to everyone. As Jody watched three grieving families, she thought of the comfort Larry's words had provided his family. She hurt for the children, those "who knew unquestionably of their parents' love, but desperately missed the reassurance and security that their physical presence provided." She couldn't stop thinking of the letter he wrote and the difference it had made.

Jody started sharing Larry's story with others. "Don't you think this is something we should all do for the people we love?" she would say, trying to drum up interest. And many would respond, "Yes, but I'm not a writer," or, "Yes, but I have no idea where to begin."

"One way of knowing our gifting," Jody told me, "is when something that seems easy to us doesn't seem easy to others. I kept thinking, How hard could it be? Maybe I could help people do this ... What seemed so hard for so many people seemed easy to me.

She eventually relented to that prompting.

Jody established Leave Nothing Unsaid, a program and book that helps people of all ages write letters to their loved ones. After Larry's death, she had been inspired, but the idea didn't become reality until she decided to act. She kept thinking someone should do something. Finally she realized that someone was her.

At fifty-eight years old, Jody Noland is beginning to understand how her life has been converging for decades on this very moment. She is doing what she was born to do, and although the circumstances have been hard, even painful, she's learned an important lesson. All along, her life was teaching her something, even in the pain. And if she hadn't paid attention, she just might have missed it.

Happiness Is Overrated

There are two stories we hear when it comes to pursuing a dream. First is the tale of the self-made man or woman. In this story, we see a driven individual overcoming adversity and defying the odds to achieve success. Many of us have believed this is the only way to achieve anything—through sheer tenacity. The process is simple: set a goal, work hard, and achieve your objectives. You can be anything you want, do anything you want; all you have to do is work hard. You are in complete control of your destiny. But things are not always so simple.

In the film The Secret of My Success, Michael J. Fox plays a young upstart named Brantley who is trying to get ahead in the corporate world. After continual rejection, he finally explodes in another failed job interview, saying: "Everywhere I've been today there's always been something wrong: too young, too old, too short, too tall. Whatever the exception is, I can fix it. I can be older; I can be taller; I can be anything."

Like many people, Brantley believed that if he put his mind to it, he could accomplish anything. In the end, though, he realized the secret of success is that sometimes getting everything you want doesn't always make you happy.

The second story is the opposite of the first. Instead of the self-made path, you have a determined one. Whatever will be, will be. Life happens in spite of what we want. You have no control over anything, and in the end, you will look back on your life and understand there could have been no other way. But where is the adventure in that—in having everything scripted out for you? And what of the countless stories of those on their deathbeds, confessing regret? Even when we talk in terms of "destiny" and "fate," we want to believe we have some control over our lives. There must be another way.

The first path says you can be whatever you want; the second says you have no choice. But perhaps there is a third way. What if there was more to your purpose than getting what you wanted? What if there were some things you couldn't control, but how you reacted to those situations made a difference? Is there a purpose to your life, or are we all just bouncing around in a chaotic universe? Everyone from religious scholars to scientists and career counselors has pondered these questions. So let's look at them pragmatically.

Here's what we know. A lot of people are unhappy with their jobs, where they spend a significant amount of time. A recent poll found that only 13 percent of the world's workers are "engaged" in their jobs. The other 87 percent feel disconnected from work and more frustrated than fulfilled. These numbers shouldn't come as a surprise. When a friend says she hates her job or a family member talks badly about his boss, we aren't shocked. This is acceptable behavior. We've been conditioned to think of work as drudgery, a chore you endure in exchange for a paycheck. And this is a problem.

When you are stuck fulfilling an obligation instead of chasing a dream, you aren't your best self. We all know that. This is why we find more and more people moving from one occupation to the next. They are doing their best to be happy but failing miserably. Most of us have done this at some point, quitting one thing for the promise of something better. And we were disappointed to find that the next job or relationship held the same complications as the one we were escaping.

But maybe we're going about this all wrong. Maybe the worst way to be happy is to try to be happy. The work of acclaimed Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl supports this idea. A Holocaust survivor, Frankl had intimate experience with suffering, and it taught him an important lesson. Human beings, he argued, are not hardwired for seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. They want meaning. In spite of what we say, we don't want happiness. It's simply not enough to satisfy our deepest longings. We are looking for something more, something transcendent—a reason to be happy.

As part of his life-saving therapy with suicidal patients and his own experience in a Nazi concentration camp, Frankl learned there are three things that give meaning to life: first, a project; second, a significant relationship; and third, a redemptive view of suffering. He realized that if people, even in the bleakest of circumstances, have a job to do, something to return to tomorrow, then they have a reason to live another day. For Frankl, the book manuscript he had been working on before entering the camp and the hope of seeing his wife were what kept him alive. And in time, he was able to see the purpose in his pain. Because he had work to do, someone whom he believed was waiting for him, and a certain attitude toward suffering, he survived it when others did not. And his memoir, Man's Search for Meaning, became one of the most popular books of the twentieth century, affecting millions of lives.

What we often don't realize is that making our story about us, even about our pain, is the wrong approach. Dwelling on the past or fixating on the future won't help you find fulfillment. The way you beat a feeling of purposelessness, according to Frankl, isn't to focus on the problem. It's to find a better distraction. Which is a roundabout way of saying you have to stop trying to be happy. But doesn't everyone want to be happy? Maybe not. Life is too short to do what doesn't matter, to waste your time on things that don't amount to much. What we all want is to know our time on earth has meant something. We can distract ourselves with pleasure for only so long before beginning to wonder what the point is. This means if we want true satisfaction, we have to rise above the pettiness of our own desires and do what is required of us. A calling comes when we embrace the pain, not avoid it.

Tragedies, unfortunately, are inevitable. Bad things happen to good people, whether we want them to or not. What determines our destiny, though, is not how successful we are at dodging hardship but what we do when it comes. Pain and suffering, though intimidating obstacles, are not strong enough to keep us from our purpose. In fact, they can sometimes be the very catalysts for such discoveries.

That's the lesson Jody Noland learned from her friend Larry and what she almost forgot when her own husband was on his deathbed.

The Good Kind of Fear

Fear is a powerful deterrent, but it can also be an effective motivator. The fear of failure or rejection can be unhealthy and irrational, but fear of not telling your loved ones how much you care is important. So not all fear is bad. Some people, though, let fear run their lives. They avoid risk, hoping to minimize the chances of failure, and in effect move in the opposite direction of a calling. The trick is to know when to listen to your fear and when to not.

In 2009, Mike Noland, Jody's husband, was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer. Jody started searching the Internet for what she could learn about his prognosis. Realizing he had little time left to live, she began to prepare for the inevitable. Mike, however, had other ideas.

His way of coping was to deny the imminence of death. In Jody's words, he "hunkered down" and refused to acknowledge reality. He didn't read about his condition, didn't ask the doctors any questions, and continued with life as usual—except, of course, for the regular chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

"In the midst of all of that," she told me, "he was concerned about his clients and whether it was time to execute a buy-sell agreement on his business. Doing that meant he was accepting his certain death sentence. The day the agreement was executed, his mind began to fog."

Listening to Jody relate the story over the phone years after the fact, I could still hear the pain in her voice. I could feel the urgency. She pleaded with Mike to write letters to his children, a gesture she had seen make a dramatic impact in Larry's family. In fact, so moved by her friend's gesture, she had begun helping others do the same by teaching a letter-writing workshop that empowered people to share words of affirmation with their loved ones. She wanted her family to receive that same comfort she had provided for strangers. But her husband resisted. He didn't believe the cancer was that serious. And after weeks of trying to persuade him, even resorting to writing the letters for him, Jody finally gave up, deciding to comfort her husband with whatever time they had left.

The cancer killed Mike quickly. Within three months of the diagnosis, he was gone, never having started a single letter. After the funeral, his daughter Nancy asked Jody if he had written any letters like the ones her stepmom had helped others write. Jody was devastated. She felt like a failure. In spite of her encouragement and occasional nagging, none of it had worked. She knew the power of letter writing, the impact a few words of encouragement could make. But there were no letters for Nancy, no words of affirmation from her now deceased father, and there never would be.

After Mike's death, Jody wondered whether or not she should continue the letter-writing workshops.

"My immediate conclusion was that I should abandon this dream," she recalled in her book. "How could I advise others to do this when I had failed so miserably in my own home?" She doubted if this was something she was called to, after all. "I really thought I had misunderstood."

Jody gave away the workbooks she had made, keeping only one as a keepsake, and she let the grieving begin.

A year later, a man called her, looking for a copy of the workbooks she used to have. His wife's best friend was dying of breast cancer and wanted to write a letter to her two daughters. She was desperate but didn't know where to begin or what to say. Jody explained she wasn't doing the workshops anymore but sent the woman her one remaining workbook. "Her death was so imminent," she wrote, "that a courier was sent to pick up the workbook."

Several weeks later, Jody received a thank-you note. Because her workbook had helped the dying mother express her love for her daughters in writing, she was able to spend the last few weeks of her life in peace. Jody wept. All this time, she had been afraid of failing, of trying and not succeeding, but now she understood what was really at stake. She knew the thing she had to fear the most was failing to answer this calling she had received, no matter how much it hurt.

"I would rather go for it and fail than not try," she said.

What We Learn from Fairy Tales

At the beginning of every story, we see something that looks a lot like normal life. Long before the protagonist slays a dragon or embarks on a quest, we see her in some unsuspecting place, dreaming of something more. In Beauty and the Beast (my personal favorite Disney classic), Belle sings of wanting more than "this provincial life." In Star Wars, Luke can't wait to escape the boredom of a farmer's life. And in The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy sings about life "somewhere over the rainbow." Our lives are haunted by the ghosts of what might have been.

It's easy to dismiss such people as dreamers or even downright crazy. But are they really? Before a chain of events sets the hero on course to his destiny, there is a sense that there should be more to life than this. You may be feeling it right now. At an important moment, everything makes sense, as it did for Eric Miller when he realized the clock wasn't ticking away on his son's life any faster than his own and when Jody Noland saw how significant a letter from a loved one could be. This is what storytellers call the "inciting incident," the moment when everything changes and the tale of an average person living an average life becomes one of mythic proportions.

But something must occur for this to take place. The person must enter the story, either by choice or because she's forced into it. Belle goes to find her father. Luke leaves home with Obi-Wan. Dorothy gets swept up in a tornado. In any great narrative, there is a moment when a character must decide to become more than a bystander. It's an important moment that always seems to happen in the mind before it unfolds in real life. This choice, though, is always preceded by something deeper, a nagging feeling that there must be more.

This is why when people are called to some great task, they know it. Immediately they recognize the prompting to step up and do something significant, because they have been waiting for it. Before the call comes, we must possess some sense that awakens us to our purpose.

Awareness, then, is what prepares us for the call.

Before you know what your calling is, you must believe you are called to something. It doesn't matter if you know what. In order to cultivate awareness, you must be willing to act, to step out and see what happens. And once you are convinced that purpose will not find you, that you will have to go in search of it, you are ready. Until you make this choice, though, you will feel frustrated, seeing people succeed and chalking it up to luck or some unfair advantage. And in doing this, you will deceive yourself.

The truth is some people do get lucky, and others have been born into special privilege, but what are those things to you? You are still called.

A calling may be many things, but it is not fair. Still, you must answer it.

Before you begin your life's work, you need to prepare. Chances come to us all, but only those who are ready recognize them. You don't need some big plan. You just need to be a little dissatisfied. You need to have some vague premonition that the world is not completely right. That's what awareness is: a sense that something more is possible.


Excerpted from The Art of Work by Jeff Goins. Copyright © 2015 Jeff Goins. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi

Introduction: The Cancer That Couldn't Stop a Triathlete xv

Part 1 Preparation 1

1 Listening to Your Life: The Call to Something Old, Not New 3

2 Accidental Apprenticeships: The Teacher Appears When the Student Least Expects 31

3 Painful Practice: When Trying Isn't Good Enough 55

Part 2 Action 83

4 Building Bridges: The Leap That Wasn't a Leap 85

5 Pivot Points: Why Failure Is Your Friend 111

6 The Portfolio Life: A New Kind of Mastery 131

Part 3 Completion 155

7 Your Magnum Opus: What Legacy Looks Like 157

Conclusion: The Work Is Never Done 179

Acknowledgments 193

Appendix: Your First Steps Down the Path 195

Notes 203

About the Author 212

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The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
sundijograham More than 1 year ago
You don't have to be searching for a new career to need to read this book. You don't have to be lost in life to find your calling. You could be right where you want to be and still need this book. Yes, it's about finding your calling, but it's more than that. It's about stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing something that matters - something that changes both you and others. It's  Jeff's best by far.
WhatEmilyWrites More than 1 year ago
Every now and then, I get asked to be a part of something special that changes my life. For me, being asked to be a part of Jeff Goins launch team for his new book, The Art of Work, was one such experience. I was first introduced to Goins writings through the Influence Conference and my friend Amy. His easy to follow style and “this is what has worked for me” attitude kept me reading his works. (For an insight, check out his I am a Writer ebook). The Art of Work is the latest in a series of books, blogs and groups I’ve been reading about finding the balance between work, art, life and passion. What I’ve discovered is nothing terribly profound, but yet something I need to remember: Life is about so much. Live is about active participation. Life is about risk. Life is about trusting when it’s hard. Life is about finding the thing that makes you feel alive and then doing it. Life is about this brief period we have between birth and death to do something that matters. There are literally dozens of quotes from The Art of Work that I could share, but the one that made me keep reading is right in the introduction: No matter how noisy the world got, no matter how busy you became, there would always be something inside you – a small voice that whispered in the quieter moments of life, taunting you with the shadow of an unloved life. If you listen hard enough, you can still hear it. – Jeff Goins, #theartofworkbook I had never thought of not following my dreams as an “unloved life,” but that phrase has stuck with me between two separate readings of The Art of Work now. The unloved life. The thought that what you are doing isn’t fulfilling the deepest parts of who you are. Goins then goes on to say, Listen to your life. #artofworkbook Your dreams, your calling, that thing that you just cannot stop thinking about – that is your calling. That is where your passion and your ability meet to make an impact in the world. That is where change happens. That is where fear and risk stare down each other and one comes out the victor. Now, I have come to realize, not surprisingly, that I can easily be swayed by fear. I am not a risk-taker. I am not someone who likes to upset the status quo. I am a person who plays by the rules. Risk has always been scary to me. As an adult, I am learning there is truth to the no risk/no reward scenario. It’s easy to stay right where you are, where you’re fine, and know what is coming tomorrow. To risk means the possibility of failure, and that’s not something that I have ever dealt with well. But, without risk comes complacency and the realization that you only get out of life what you put into it. Failure is a friend dressed up like an enemy. #artofworkbook Failure helps you see where your strengths lie. Failure helps you find yourself in your dreams. Failure directs your path. You just have to learn to trust it and to accept that no great things happen without risk. You don’t live the life you dream of without risking the life you have. You don’t leave a legacy without creating something worth leaving. The Art of Work is about finding your calling. It’s about learning to hear the voice directing your path. It’s about embracing the struggles. It’s about not giving in when it seems to hard. It’s about knowing, without a doubt, that you have a great story to tell and your life is important. It’s about the never-ending pursuit of leaving this world better than you found it. The journey is bigger than you expected. #artofworkbook.
scribe1352 More than 1 year ago
Jeff has done it again. This is an excellent guidebook for anyone wanting to discover their truest purpose as well as road markers for the path that lies before them. I own all of Jeff's books. I will read this one again. 
Anne3-20 More than 1 year ago
This book gave me hope. All of us have dreams we want to pursue. A calling on our lives. But sometimes things get in our way of fulfilling that calling. It’s called life. Jeff Goins recognizes that. In his book, The Art of Work, he shares with us about his pursuit to find his calling and the journeys of others as well.. "When tangled up in the circumstances of our lives," he says, “your story will seem less like a series of disjointed events and more like a beautifully complex narrative unfolding before you.”¿¿ And for those of us who seem to be overwhelmed by life so we can’t differentiate what our calling might be, Goins tells us, “Each person is responsible to not only do what she is capable of but also what she is meant to do.” It’s true some know what they are called to, and they pursue it with their whole being. This book is for those who need help on their journey as well as those who may have lost their way.   You will be encouraged, you will be energized, and you will be motivated to go past your obstacles, and face your fears. And you may find out the things you thought were obstacles were actually necessary steps. I highly recommend this book. To those who haven’t as yet determined their calling, to those who are on their journey, and to those who have somehow given up. This book will speak to all of you. I know it speaks to me.
Gymbeaux More than 1 year ago
The Art of Work by Jeff Goins should be required reading for just about everyone. I am in my 70's and the one over-riding thought I had was "he is talking to me!" The book makes you think and thinking is usually very good. This book makes you think about where you have been, where you are now and where you want to be int eh future and how you may only think you know what lies ahead but does it really. Goins gives stories of people who have been forced to make changes as well as people who accidentally made changes. About people who knew where they were going, some made it, some made changes and why those changes were made. Oftentimes the changes were instituted by environment when "things" just change and you change with them. I think that the most important lesson I learned was that we are always faced with opportunities but so many of us are simply too busy to realize we were just offered something that we probably should have addressed and learned from. There is a workbook that you can download from the author's site that helps you work through the book, plus Goins has also posted some very helpful videos that you can download as well once you purchase the book. My theory of evaluating books is very simple, would I read it a second time or even more - YES! Would I recommend it to my friends, YES! Would I give it as a gift, YES! In my book, you can't beat three yeses!
Danny_G More than 1 year ago
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. I have followed Jeff Goins for some time and am currently going through a mini course of his on writing. I find his passion and easy-to-follow communication style something that challenges me to be a better communicator and writer. This book is a bit different than the rest of his books in that he focuses more on finding what someone is meant to do rather than instructing on how to do it. I found that this book was very easy to follow and that he delivered on his goal: helping the reader discover what they were meant to do. One area that stuck out was legacy. Recognizing that it is not enough to be passionate about something but to be so passionate that you think about those who come behind and how to benefit their lives. Many people have the goal to be in it for themselves. Goins challenges that idea and shows that people who live their calling are those who think of others instead of being selfish. I would recommend this book to those who are getting ready to graduate high school and/or college. Many people wander through life trying to find their calling. Goins is a great guide to help those in need.
ctfranklin28 More than 1 year ago
"The Art of Work" is one of the most honest self-help books I have ever read because it diverts from the "everything will be OK if you just think and plan it out" speech that occurs in almost every self-help book I've read. Goins was the first author that I read who said that the process to success would be messy. Not a little messy, but very messy as we figure out who we are and what we want to do. Goins goes beyond that to show that even if we do everything right, it can still end in failure or we can end in place that we still need to figure things out. Despite all of this, "The Art of Work" says keep going. It is this message that kept me reading this book as I encounter another difficult part of my life. Goins' book helped show me that the path to success is not easy, nor does it comes with signs. We are given promptings or "gut feelings" that lead us closer and closer to our next steps. I had never heard of that before in a self-help book. The book is punctuated with many real-life stories (like Goins' other book "Wrecked") that show the complexities of success from the semi-confident writer taking a big leap (Jeff Goins) to the forest ranger who ended up working outside of the park industry. The very last part of his book was a special treat, because it is both spiritual and very practical. I didn't expect it, but glad that he added it at the end of the book as a way of tying the whole process together. I recommend his book for anyone who is tired of the same old "self-help" books and needs a more realistic, but optimistic approach to following your dreams. I read the eBook version and would buy the print version. Note: This book is based on an electronic version of the book provided for reviewing purposes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first met Jeff Goins in Michael Hyatt’s blog. He drew my attention right away. There was something special about this young man. When he put together a writing tribe—Tribe Writers—I was of the first to join. I learned a great deal from him but I am mostly grateful to Jeff for inspiring and motivating me to work towards publishing my story. Having gone through my own life’s long journey, literally and spiritually, I have learned that living love, kindness, and generosity, honor and responsibility is the means that moves the world.  I appreciate Jeff’s maturity and commitment to living with eternal values and for understanding that his outer purpose can only become reality when it coincides with his inner calling. Once that happened, he was passionate enough to share his own lessons so as to help others find their own passion and use it not only to succeed and excel but contribute to a better world.  His latest book “The Art of Wok: A proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do” is an inspiring guide that offers excellent advice that will help readers discover their calling. It reveals wisdom earned from Jeff’s struggles, his attitude about life, and how steps taken through awareness, meaningful connections, practices that lead to skills, and discoveries that hide behind failure led him to find his purpose and be in a position to help many individuals and whole communities. Inspirational quotations add to the points he is making. The steps in the Appendix, the Exercises, and the Questions for discussion encourage and further motivate. Many notes and resources show the depth of research Jeff did to present to his readers a “Proven Path” that can help them find meaning and purpose in their own life. I full-heartedly recommend the “Art of Work” book no matter the path you walk on or the miles you have traveled. This life-changing book will change your reality as you find meaning and purpose, and open up to the infinite possibilities that will be instrumental in fulfilling your everyday life and work when you find your calling. 
VickiLH More than 1 year ago
This is a beautifully written book. It delves deeper into the concept of vocation than most career and life purpose books, pointing out the stages through which people journey on the way to discover their true calling in the world. I enjoyed the examples he drew from real life, to illustrate the ways in which others have encountered their callings through a wide array of life experiences. In fact, I enjoyed this book so much, I bought 2 copies and donated one to my local public library. I think anyone can benefit from reading this book.
lovecavaliers More than 1 year ago
Fantastic well worth reading The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do (Paperback) I thoroughly loved the book - it went right to my heart and really spoke to me on so many levels. It really is so right on. I think he is doing some great writing with this book and it will resonate and move so many people.
Katherine_Anne More than 1 year ago
Very exceptional piece of writing! Easy to understand how to pursue one's calling. Jeff Goins has that enthusiasm that makes me want to do it. And, believe me, I needed it. His books is my booster shot to get me going. And going I am!I am pursuing my calling as a graphic designer/writer; and I am loving it.
RS_Writer_15 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It was a confirmation of my calling to be a writer and a counselor. Since reading the book, I have developed a writing habit and landed a job in my field! I am excited to see what God is going to do after He walked with me during many trials in the recent past. I look forward to more inspiring books from Jeff!
blueblanket21 More than 1 year ago
I was about half way through the first chapter when I had my first 'a-ha' moment reading the book. So far, I have seen so many events in my life, but mostly just this past year, has lead me to where I am today.  Shortly into this book, I found my 'calling'. And it was really right infront of me for quite a while. A MUST read!
Kristian-Of-Lillestrom More than 1 year ago
In simple words.... If you can dream of something, then it is a potential reality. How? Jeff's book will give you pure insight to help you get there!
Flutterbella More than 1 year ago
Don't read this book if you are looking for a step by step guide on what to do with your life. The proven path that Jeff talks about isn't a clear cut list of ways to improve life. Instead Jeff shares lots of wisdom through stories to show you how to identify things your life is already showing you. Guiding you through seven themes or stages that you will pass through in life. Often he uses the stories of others to show this. sometimes I find that the stories hinder the message. While I enjoy a good story as much as the next person having more than one story in a chapter just gets confusing. I would have preferred less sharing of others stories and more discussion of practical steps to take. At the same time, I have gotten a lot from the book and have witnessed many people making progress towards their goals as they read it. God has opened my eyes to certain things as I have read. I also at least know how to describe it. I realize that I need to move forward toward my own calling. Jeff grants us permission to get it wrong without giving up on our calling. A must read if you are still trying to figure out what you should do with your life.
Nancy233 More than 1 year ago
I had high hopes when I started this book. I've read books by this author before, and I have enjoyed many of his blogposts. The part of the introduction where the author talks about letting go of what could have been led me to write of list of what to let go of and what to embrace instead. It was cathartic. Then came a brick wall.  I was dragging myself through the first chapter which is entitled Listening to Your Life. It all seemed rather touchy-feely, vague, and 'out there' to me. I was about ready to put the book down and stop reading altogether, but an acquaintance who'd finished the book encouraged me to read on. I'm glad I listened. The parts that were bothersome in this chapter were completely clear by the end of the book. This book delves into the why's and how's of meaningful work in ways I hadn't considered. The author provides real world examples to illustrate his points, and he uses people from all walks of life. He helps readers to see that there is value in nearly any kind of work, and the value isn't necessarily a money thing. (What work doesn't have value?...illegal things,stuff like that.  My assertion here, not anything the author blatantly says in the book) I underlined and highlighted again and again, and if a friend wanted to borrow my copy of this book I would instead buy him a copy of his own. I wouldn't want to risk losing the notes, etc, that I made while reading.  Read this book. It's worth the time. 
Saviexplorer More than 1 year ago
Have you ever wondered what you were supposed to do in life or thought about your calling? Maybe you don’t know how to find your calling. Well I am here to tell you that this book is for you! I have personally read the book and I loved it. In the book, The ART OF WORK, I believe Jeff shows us that while discovering our calling the road we travel may be rocky, but it will be worth it, for we are embarking on a beautiful journey. In this book Jeff shows  you how to find your calling through real life examples. He does an exceptional job explaining the process of finding the path to your  purpose.
book4children More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most beautiful and sincere books I've read. Jeff Goins takes a different approach to discussing your career and your life. His advice does not come from a position of simply making money, becoming famous, or pursuing self-serving objectives. This is a book that everyone should read. It's uplifting, encouraging, and eye opening. After finishing this book, I had to ponder the author's advice for a few days. It's the kind of book you savor, going over it again and again. It left me feeling empowered, motivated, and ready to move forward instead of simply letting life pass me by. It's about finding your priorities and living your life to its full potential. It's about finding fulfillment in every day you live. It's about embracing the setbacks and setting your own expectations for success. Do you feel like there is something you are meant to do? A specific life you are meant to live? I've always felt that way, but I've always felt like whatever it is, is just out of reach. The Art of Work showed me that it might not be as far from my finger tips as I thought. It might be within my grasp and I don't even know it. The trick is to figure out what you're supposed to do, and then do it. It probably won't end in fame or fortune, but it will bring fulfillment and purpose to your life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AlyciaM More than 1 year ago
When I heard that Jeff Goins was releasing a new book – one focused on discovering our true calling – I was super excited. I started reading it thinking I’d already experienced most of what Jeff would be discussing. What I discovered is that my calling isn’t just one thing, nor is it segmented into the various aspects of who I am and what I do. For the first time I heard the term “portfolio life.” And Jeff brought to my attention that my calling isn’t one particular thing or another that I will receive at one time or another. My calling (and yours) is a journey. “A calling is more than a career; it’s the purpose and direction of your life. Which means that it doesn’t just apply to what you do; it’s who you are.” – Jeff Goins, The Art of Work If you are wondering what you’re called to do/to be and what your life legacy is supposed to be, I highly recommend Jeff’s book. If you think you’ve already arrived at your calling, you may want to consider reading The Art of Work to find out if there’s something new to discover (like I did). This book would also be great for a group discussion. I would even recommend employers buy copies for their employees. If they love their job, it may renew their passion. If they hate their job, it may encourage them to move on to something new, opening a space in your office for someone who will love their job. Pastors could use the book to encourage their ministry teams to find their purpose and calling. I wish I’d had this book when I was a high school senior. I could have saved myself a bunch of time and money had I known what these pages hold. Honestly, I would recommend this book to everyone. No matter where we are in life, it’s never too late to do what we’ve been created to do and to become who God created us to be. The Art of Work will not disappoint. While reading this book, I discovered the answer to a question I’d had for years. I always knew I had a heart for women and their issues. I also know my personal testimony. For years I’ve wondered what that looked like as a calling. While reading the book, it became evident, and I immediately pursued it. Thanks to Jeff Goins and God, I now know what I need to do. Soon, I’ll be participating in a training session to learn how to minister to those immersed in sex trafficking so that I can get involved in seeing them set free. I hope you’ll pick up a copy of the book and see what God reveals you, too. I was given a copy of this book for review. This does not sway my review. I honestly love this book, and my copy is now heavily highlighted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are 100% certain where you are supposed to be and what you're supposed to be doing with your life, you might think you've grown beyond the message of this book. If you're 100% uncertain about what your future holds, you might think it's too huge an endeavor for one little book to change. But you'd be wrong. In The Art of Work, Jeff Goins manages to address people on both ends of this spectrum--and everyone in between. No matter where you are in the journey of your life, no matter what you do or what you want to do, you'll find wisdom and encouragement and even a little bit of hard truth about what it will take to get there. And what your responsibility is once you're there. This book won't tell you exactly how to be a writer or an engineer or a CEO. But it can lead you into a personal journey to live out whatever it is you are passionate about. How will this book affect you? I can't say. Discovering your life's passions and then pursuing them is a uniquely personal journey, and you have to want it more than anyone else wants it for you. Do you?
LanciaESmith More than 1 year ago
Jeff Goins' newest release - The Art of Work - is arguably his best work to-date. It is a culmination of his own experience and the distillation of hundreds of others he has interviewed on this subject. The Art of Work is written in Jeff's vintage clean, transparent, imminently quotable style. It shines with wisdom, grace, and hope. Speaking to the heart of so many of us searching to come to terms with the ache of an un-lived life is a rare gift and a serious responsibility. Jeff has been faithful to that call. He is one of the most remarkably and relentlessly generous writers working in the writing industry today and all of his work is coloured with that value-added quality. Stepping along side us to help us ask - and answer - the hard questions, Jeff never pretends he has all the answers but kindly helps steer us to find the ones that are true for us as individuals. If ever there was an author focused on empowering his readers and calling them into thriving communities, Jeff Goins is the one. I cannot recommend this book or this author highly enough. He is the real deal and he walks the walk.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The stories will inspire you no matter where you're in life. Whether you're just starting out or are farther along in your work or life journey, you will learn and learn some more. It's a timeless message not to be satisfied with the status quo, but to keep on going, stepping out of our comfort zones, recognizing what's possible and going after it. I was fortunate to be part of the launch team and have read it twice so far. There's not a chapter in this book where I didn't learn something valuable.  I highly recommend it!
LornaFaith More than 1 year ago
Jeff's amazing book, helped me to find clarity in the steps in my own narrative. While reading the many messy stories of real people and how against all odds, they became aware and started to move toward their calling, I was inspired. You see, I thought I needed to have everything 'perfectly clear' in my head in order for me to take steps toward my calling. Jeff's words helped me realize that it's okay to keep following your instincts - even if all you have is 'an idea' of the next step.  So if you're at the place in your life where you have a sense that there should be more to life than what you're living right now. That's an important moment. It's the inciting incident in your story. Embrace that part in your story and start to change your tale of the average person to a life of mythic proportions. This book will show you how.
Kitty_Writer More than 1 year ago
Before I pen a brief review of The Art of Work, I’d like to tell you why Jeff Goins means the world to me.  I discovered the brilliance of Jeff Goins on a turbulent flight from Maryland to Chicago.  When obsessing about plummeting to death got boring, I desperately sought some distraction. My snoring husband was of no use and the remaining passengers seemed blissfully oblivious of the untethered object that was veering dangerously through the skies. Oh – I hated them! ;)  That’s when my eyes fell on the back pocket of the seat in front of me. My Kindle was poking out, almost daring me to pick it up! Sighing, I gave in to the inevitable. I closed my hands around it and picked it out of the pocket. I browsed through the titles with trembling hands – caffeine and fear don’t gel well together! Nothing caught my fancy, but just as I was about to shut off my E-Reader, I noticed an intriguing title in the mix: You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins Shrugging, I decided to give this guy a shot.  I swiped to the first page of the book and read the first three lines: “Hi. My name is Jeff. And I am a writer” Instantly, I was hooked. Here was a guy who had spoken the very words – “I am a writer” – that I had longed to utter all my life. I wanted to know his story. I wanted to find out how this Jeff guy acquired the courage to call himself a writer. I wanted to get ‘closer’ to him.  For two hours, I was lost in the honest and heartfelt story of Mr. Goins. Bear in mind that I am VERY slow reader, but I almost finished this book during the flight. When I finally hopped out of the death-ride, I felt lighter, happier and braver. I rushed home and began writing the words: “I am a writer” on every available surface! I wrote these four words until they embedded themselves in my soul. And soon after that fateful flight, I too said those same words aloud for the first time: “I am a writer”. I was liberated. Jeff Goins is one of three people who are responsible for my courage to listen to the whispers of MY CALLING (to write), which is why he will forever have a very special place in my heart. Over the next year, I subscribed to his blog, commented on his posts, and shared his humble writings. When I got the chance to be a part of the launch team for The Art of Work, I dove in head-first and bagged an Advance Reader’s Copy couple of months ago.  While I shall always be partial towards “You Are a Writer”, The Art of Work is a MUST read for ANYONE who wants to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life in the service of others. Utilizing an irresistible combination of vivid stories and RICH insights, Jeff empowers us to pay attention to life’s lessons and craft a hopeful, loving and resilient existence. Jeff could have made the book all about himself – he could have described his own ‘steps’ to success –  but then it wouldn’t have been as impactful. Jeff could have also highlighted the stories of famous luminaries, but then the book wouldn’t have been as relatable. Our society is a huge proponent of the MYTH that only few are slated to achieve greatness – we glibly dub these ‘gifted ones’ as geniuses, which offers US an easy way out from doing work that matters. But Jeff wants us to recognize and realize that within each one of us lies a limitless potential to achieve greatness. In his own words, “In these seemingly ordinary accounts, I think we better understand our own stories, which often feel far too ordinary for our liking.” So instead of writing about himself OR popular success stories, Jeff smartly chooses to present the tales of ORDINARY men and women who have displayed EXTRAORDINARY grace, grit and gumption in the face of extreme adversities. From a woman who was shunned by her family and friends for becoming pregnant before marriage, to a boy who has forged a meaningful life despite being ravaged by cancer at age 5, the book shimmers with humility, audacity and creativity.  After coming across countless stories from people who have found their calling, Jeff identified the following seven common characteristics. You could think of them as ‘overlapping stages’ that propel you forward in your own journey: (a) Awareness; (b) Apprenticeship; (c) Practice; (d) Discovery; € Profession; (f) Mastery; (g) Legacy Jeff recounts several amusing anecdotes that reveal the import of each one of the aforementioned ‘phases of life.’ But if I were to choose just ONE THEME to describe The Art of Work, it would be: courage.  It takes courage to listen to life. It takes courage to take action. It takes courage to practice. It takes courage to collaborate. It takes courage to lead a ‘portfolio life’ (read the book to know more!) that lends joy to OTHERS. It takes courage to leave a legacy. And I cannot think of a more qualified person to tell these stories than Jeff. His words might seem deceptively simple, but their underlying meaning will transform the way you dream, commit, act, learn, share and LIVE.  You Are a Writer gave me the courage to call myself a writer. The Art of Work gives me the courage to trust life and my passion to lead the way.  Bravo, Jeff!