Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post. I didn’t consciously plan to take such a long break but I got so caught up in moving, enjoying the warm weather, and preparing for my daughters’ first year of school that I’ve hardly been able to keep my head on straight. It’s been absolutely worth it because I got to spend a wonderful summer with the kiddos and I now live in a house that I’m in love with. Seriously, I call it my housemate. One of my favorite parts is my new office, which I’m writing this from. I promise to share pictures as soon as I get the last of the prettying touches on it.
Now I’m back and it’s mostly because a crazy thing happened this week: I had time ALONE. That’s right. As I said, my oldest daughter started full time Kindergarten this year and my youngest has preschool part time two days a week. That means, for the first time in 5 years, I get 8 whole, uninterrupted hours to myself each week. I can’t even imagine what this will mean for my writing. No, I mean it. I’ve never had this before. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know my struggle!
The Art of Work
One thing I did do this summer, though, was read this little book called The Art of Work by Jeff Goins. Maybe you’ve heard of it? The premise of the book is this:
Do you know what you want to do with your life?
Like, really know?
Do you know why?
What does success mean to you?
How will you know when you’ve achieved it?
No pressure, right? It’s funny because with each new story I write, I spend so much time trying to decipher and understand the motivation of the characters, but for a long time I haven’t fully understood my own motivations for my goals in life. I know I love to write and I know what kind of stories are my favorite, but why? I’ve always loved to bring people together with a common goal, but what about it makes me so happy? Before I read this book, I wasn’t sure.
But I’ve never been afraid to dig deep. I love to read personal growth books, though usually I find I only take a few nuggets of inspiration away from each one (which is usually enough for me).
But this book…this book blew my mind.
A New Understanding
I won’t be able to tell you everything amazing I read in this book–you’ll have to read it for yourself, and I highly encourage you to do so if you struggle with procrastinating on your goals (me), aren’t sure what your purpose in life is (was me), or you just need a kick in the pants to keep going (always me)–but I’ll share a couple of my biggest takeaways.
- What people really want out of life isn’t happiness but meaning–a reason to be happy. What a thought! He says that there are three main things that give people’s life meaning: 1 – projects, 2 – a significant relationship, 3 – a redemptive view of suffering. I am a projects girl all the way and I feel happiest when I’m actively working toward an accessible goal. But what goal? I wondered. At what point do the projects stop being short-term motivations and start becoming a cohesive focus for my life? And then…
- The best way to discover your purpose in life is to look at what you do that is easy for you and hard for everyone else. Goins brings this up very early in the book and I felt like at that point, I could have set the book down and still gotten my money’s worth. Why has no one ever said it like this before? When I look at those things for myself–writing, technology, organization, leadership–I felt like something I’d been trying to define my whole life came into crystal clear focus.
- Live a “portfolio life.” As creatives, we tend to have so many hobbies that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one, which can make it tough to excel in our current society that values clear labels and definitions. Goins thinks we’re shifting toward a freelance society and I think he’s right. More and more people are becoming entrepreneurs because we want to pave our own path using all of our talents, not just a few of them. And I have to say, I like where we’re headed.
Like I said, this is just small taste of what Goins offers in this book, so go check it out. I’ve already added all his other books to my TBR list!
Getting Focused on My Purpose
I’m excited to share that after reading this book, I’ve realized that writing is my passion and my heart, but that in addition to that, teaching is my calling. Bringing people together toward a common goal and passing on the information I seek voraciously is something that gives me so much joy and that, yes, comes pretty easily to me (just ask my friends who must be annoyed by now with my frequent exclamations of, “hey, have you checked this out yet?!”). With that in mind, I have decided to move forward with a goal that has been on my “eventually because it scares the hell out of me” list and that is to teach more workshops and now, webinars. Writing business and writing life are the topics that I’m most excited about, so if that’s something you’d be interested in, be sure to follow my newsletter where you’ll get first notification of any new events.
So I’m glad to be back in the saddle and with a clearer focus on my goals (and with more time!!). I’ll leave you with this nugget of inspiration from the book:
“When we feel farthest from our purpose, we are actually already on the path, headed in the right direction. This means that when you are confused and failing, when all seems lost and you are just about to give up, you are closer to your destiny than you realize.” – Jeff Goins
So, what is easy for you that is hard for other people?