Book Club October Week 1: The Art of Work

by Diane Wolf in Blog, Book Club
October 3, 2017 0 comments

Welcome to October, and our study of Jeff Goin’s book, The Art of Work! I am so enjoying this book so far, as it really speaks about finding your calling. Whether you define the word calling as something spiritual, or just think of it as finding your passion and purpose in life, Jeff has some very insightful ideas that have sparked my interest. As a grandmother, I’m in that life stage of wondering what my legacy is, and wanting to make sure my life has meaning, so it may be speaking to me from that perspective. Goins does point out, however, that Viktor Frankl was a Holocaust survivor whose book, Man’s Search for Meaning, was a seminal work in advancing the concept that ultimately, we all want to know that our lives have counted for something.

Goins is a masterful storyteller, so his book is easy to read. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Chapter One: Listen to your life really clarifies that all of our experiences to date have collaborated in shaping us to be the unique person that we are. Goins recommends that we sit down and write a list of the most profound experiences we have had, good and bad, and look for the common thread or the way they have shaped us. The older we are, the more twists and turns our lives may have, but I can certainly see that, for example, my history of dealing with grief and loss has equipped me well for my interest in mental health and grief counselling. As I study for my degree in Clinical Counselling (yes… I’m almost done a second Master’s degree…come on, you already know by now that lifelong learning is my passion!), I can see that my first degree in neurophysiological psychology is a great foundation for clinical counselling, as I understand a lot about how the brain works. Even though at the time, I thought that degree was going to lead me into a career as a neuro-surgeon, I can see now that it was not wasted. So, this first part certainly spoke to me personally as I look at the very strange twisty path my life has taken.

Chapter Two: Accidental Apprenticeships speaks to the mentors and teachers who come into our lives to help us progress on our journey. I love how he outlines the European system of the tradesmen. In Europe, you are first an apprentice learning under a master, then a journeyman who gets to travel away from the master and work alone, but cannot train others. Only a master can train others, and it takes years to become a master. My husband is an Austrian Master Carpenter, and he was in his early 30s before he achieved that title, and the privilege of being able to train others in his craft. It takes time to excel at a craft, whether it is a trade, playing a musical instrument, or excelling at a sport. We have become such an instant society, and are often unwilling to invest the time it takes to excel at something. Goins reminds us that we need to learn from those who are ahead of us, and we need to take time to learn how to excel. I love masterminds for this very reason. I once heard someone say that you need to be in at least two mastermind groups: one where you give back to those who are coming behind you in your field, and one in which you are more of a beginner and can learn from those who are ahead of you. A mastermind group is really just a formalized situation where you can both learn and teach; to assist others and to be assisted. It’s a win/win for sure. These are the people who champion you, challenge you, hold you accountable, and pick you up when you are discouraged.

So, for this first week’s action plan, I would encourage you to spend some time reflecting on what life experiences you have had, and how they have shaped you. What unique strengths do you have because of what you have gone through, both positive and negative. The negative times are often those in which we grow the most. I know that I have become a far more compassionate person through having experienced loss than I might have been otherwise. What have your rock bottom times given you that you see as a gift? Have you learned endurance by having to struggle to accomplish something? What gives your life meaning? How do you want to be remembered? Are you on a path that will take you there?

I was a bit surprised by the direction this book is taking in terms of really making me think about what is important to me, but I’m enjoying this process. I hope you are able to find some time to do some reflecting this week as well. Here in Canada, we have Thanksgiving coming up this weekend, and it’s always a time to reflect on what we are grateful for, so I’m already in a pensive mood at this time of year. I realize that my American friends don’t celebrate until November, and in other parts of the world, Thanksgiving might not be a recognized holiday at all, but there is never a wrong time to think about who we are, who we want to become, and what experiences we can be thankful for.As always, feel free to invite your friends to join us. AND remember, if you have any suggestions for 2018 book selections, feel free to post in the facebook group.


I’m thankful for my readers! Because of you, I am committed to staying up to date on my reading, and for that I thank you!


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