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The Renaissance Soul: How to Make Your Passions Your Life―A Creative and Practical Guide Paperback – October 8, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
Some people just can't seem to settle down: they jump from career to career, from interest to interest; they chafe at being pinned down to one job or self-definition. This need for variety and love of finding new challenges, says career and life coach Lobenstine, can be a positive trait. Lobenstine's aim is to help such people find ways to pursue their varied interests without feeling overwhelmed. Her "focal point" strategy suggests picking a small number—usually four—of interests to pursue for now, interests that might be exchanged for others at a later time. And the author proposes various ways to integrate one's career into these focal points: if you're passionate about your work, it might be one focal point; for others it might be a way to pay the bills while they pursue other interests. One inexperienced older woman with a longstanding desire for a career in the art world found a clerical job at a museum, where she had access to curators and an opportunity to volunteer her graphic skills. Lobenstine has identified a situation rarely addressed by self-help books, and her advice is sensible, concrete and do-able.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Lobenstine has identified a situation rarely addressed by self-help books, and her advice is sensible, concrete and do-able.”
“Here’s one self-help book that is exactly as advertised, well thought out and offering sage advice . . .”
—Boston Sunday Globe
“The perfect career- and life-crafting guidebook for innovative, creative, multipassionate individuals who were not made for the one-track traditional career. Help is at hand! No matter your life stage, here’s a book full of inspiration and practical information on how to create a life and career that fulfills your Renaissance soul.”
—Swarthmore College Bulletin
“Can’t decide which life or career path is right for you? Maybe you don’t have to! In The Renaissance Soul, Margaret Lobenstine offers inspiration, advice, and practical tips for people with more than one burning passion.”
—Laurence Boldt, author of Zen and the Art of Making a Living
“I’m so grateful this book has finally been written! I need, my clients need, the world needs this incredibly helpful, practical, life-changing guidebook for those of us with a multitude of passions and aptitudes. Please, get this book into the hands of every person you know who is a Renaissance Soul. You could change their lives!”
—Jennifer Louden, author of Comfort Secrets for Busy Women and other books in the bestselling Comfort Book series
“The Renaissance Soul will help highly innovative and creative people find ways to make their many dreams come true. I’ve already begun using its wonderful ideas and practices with clients.”
—M. J. Ryan, author of This Year I Will
“Wow! Where was The Renaissance Soul when I needed it during my five career changes? This is a fabulous guide for people who find themselves constantly tap dancing from job to job. Benjamin Franklin would be proud!”
—Julie Jansen, author of I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This
“Sure to speak to Boomers and older people who have done many things well yet feel sidelined by a culture that rewards consistency and focus. Margaret Lobenstine makes the world safer for the multigifted of any age who are well served by her wit and wisdom. Bravo!”
—Marika and Howard Stone, coauthors of Too Young to Retire: 101 Ways to Start the Rest of Your Life
“The Renaissance Soul is welcome news for individuals who just can’t make up their mind ‘what they want to be when they grow up!’ Career coach Margaret Lobenstine shows how you can have it all and create a structure for yourself that blends your many talents, abilities, and intelligences into one vital and satisfying lifestyle.”
—Thomas Armstrong, PhD, author of 7 Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences
“Finally the multigifted have a champion. But anyone feeling that they only need a little sunshine in order to blossom will find this book bursting with light—it has all the creative and practical ideas they need for getting life on toward its purpose.”
—Elaine Aron, PhD, author of The Highly Sensitive Person and The Highly Sensitive Child
Top customer reviews
There are some exceptional insights here, and some wonderful tactics for dealing with your range of interests.
The introductory exercises (Five from Fifty = prioritizing, Many Circles = weighting, Birthday Party = accomplishments) can help clarify things for those caught in the mire of doing. Clarifying your interest, no matter how many there are, is an important aspect of this work.
I particularly like the idea of Focal Points - temporary assignments you give yourself in order to have the freedom to learn or accomplish.
Reverse flowcharts are great in that they force you to see what you are doing that gets in your way. Basically think of how you can ensure something will not happen - there you go, many times that's what you're doing.
I think the concept of Four Frames - which is applied to volunteering - can be used in a far greater sense as well. Not simply limited to convincing a potential volunteering opportunity, but if you look at your larger goals, and your place in your journey - this approach can be used to convince your spiritual self what it is you want to contribute, and why that would be a good thing for all.
The crux of the entire message of the book is "I'd love to help you feel fulfilled rather than overwhelmed."
The author states "Renaissance Souls work best when we can match our activities to our energy flow." I think this is true for everyone, but it isn't something we value in the US all that much (instead we're told to bang our heads for 14 hours and meet that deadline, many times producing a lower quality result). So, without having a specific prescription for each moment of your day, the approach here allows you flexiblity in choice based on your motivations at that time. Yes, balanced planning - I've been waiting for someone else to say it.
My favorite story in the entire book is the one on Mozart, and his pursuing his purpose, becoming what he could be in the midst of all else going on. The author weaves an intricate connection about how this benefited so many others than if he were to try and be something he were not. Very nice... "One of the best things you can do for other Renaissance Souls is to keep growing." And I would add, the best thing we can do for all beings.
Toward the end of the book I felt the work there was less inspired. It focused on examples, whereas I think a book works much better if at the end it brings us back up to that higher-purpose and leaves us with lofty placement. We end on a real high then.
I found the exercises about creating four focal points for your life was very valuable. I have used this exercise to narrow down the things in my life that are important to me now. Having many interests, I decided to go after my MBA. The school I go to has a flexible MBA and an Executive MBA - and as a typical renaissance soul, I picked the flexible MBA program. Another focal point is incorporating exercise in my life. The third is to become a great public speaker - and I joined Toastmasters and am taking a class this summer. My fourth focal point is to get back into my music - as a singer, guitarist and learn piano. Now in these four focal areas there are lots of subsets, so four seemed to me like a reasonable number to excel at.
It is important not to think you have ADHD or that something is wrong with you. Margaret points out that Ben Franklin was a renaissance soul and that Mozart was his antithesis. Mozart knew what he wanted to do from the age of three. Franklin was an inventor, politician, statesman, etc. IN the mid-20th century being a renaissance type peson sort of lost its glow and everyone has been taught to pick one thing for a living and be happy with it. For renaissance souls, this is not acceptable.
In this day of rapid changes in the world and in businesses, there are lots of opportunities for renaissance souls to blossom.
I urge everyone to read it, even if you are not a renaissance soul. It will help you understand those who are.
I took every test I could get my hands on. I bought endless books. I started all of them and finished almost none of them. None seemed to resonate.
And then a friend mentioned "The Renaissance Soul." I was intrigued, but told myself that I couldn't buy another book, that I'd bought too many and it was folly to buy another.
But I read a good sheaf of virtual pages with Amazon's Look Inside! feature, and I was sold.
Labels can be limiting, of course, but I'm happy to identify myself as a Renaissance Soul. It's comforting to know that the phenomenon exists, that I am not a lone person who can't seem to find direction, but rather that I am part of a vast community of people who have many interests aren't wired to pursue life in a linear fashion.
This book offers camaraderie but also some practical approaches to focusing our energies and interests.
I highly recommend it for those who continue to strive to find their place.