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The Ultimate Workbook for Creating Your Own Meaning
on December 31, 2013
Body of Work is a deceptively quick and easy read that will only reveal its depth in the work you do.
If you're looking for step-by-step advice on discovering your purpose or career, you won't find it here. You will find inspiring stories and insightful questions to give your body of work new meaning and chart a future course:
"No one is looking out for your career anymore. You must find meaning, locate opportunities, sell yourself, and plan for failure, calamity, and unexpected disasters. You must develop a set of skills that makes you able to earn an income in as many ways as possible."
What is a body of work?
"A body of work is big and deep and complex. It allows you to experiment and play and change and test. It supports creative freedom. It includes obvious things, like books, software code, photographs, videos, process improvements, paintings, and stories. And not-so-obvious things, like community development, love, movements, memories, and relationships."
How do you find it? "We must tap into our deepest roots." How do you transition from one place to another? "We all need a side hustle," especially if you're still in the corporate arena.
I love that Pam doesn't embrace the Pollyanna effect. She doesn't ask us to analyze successes with a keener eye than challenges and failures. In fact, one of the greatest skills we can develop is to view adversity as a means of growth. Her advice for hard times:
1. Fall apart.
2. Honor what you have.
3. Never forget, but choose to create a new future.
4. Be supported, and support others.
My favorite example: Amanda Wang, a young woman with bipolar disorder who, through therapy and training as an amateur boxer, is helping others with their own fight by making a documentary.
Finally, Pam asks us to redefine our notions of success. She doesn't quote Erma Bombeck, but in a nutshell: "Don't confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other."
It all sounds deceptively obvious, but Pam punctuates each concept with dozens of questions only you can answer. I lost track of the number of times she said something like, "Grab a pen and piece of paper" or "Dig deeper and write."
Body of Work is, in fact, a workbook. Be prepared to write...to fill a journal. I obviously didn't do so on this read through, but plan to over the next several months. If the publisher isn't preparing a workbook edition, I'd be surprised.
Highly recommended for explorers who enjoy taking the road less traveled and digging deep.