Learning to love your job is not a destination, it’s a journey. If you’re feeling stuck in the midst of the daily grind and unfulfilled by your work life, this talk from Jeff Goins will have you rethinking what success looks like for each one of us.
The “the art of work pdf” is a book written by Jeff Goins. The book is about the importance of finding your passion and working on it every day.
We had the pleasure of having Jeff Goins, popular author and speaker, visit us for a webinar last week. Jeff presented a motivational talk on his latest book, The Art of Work.
Jeff discussed the outcomes of his many hours of research and personal interactions with some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs throughout the webinar. He found seven common attributes of successful individuals based on his study, and he shared four of them with our audience.
Accomplish you want to figure out what you’re supposed to do with your career? Apprenticeship, practice, failure, and variety may surprise you in how they might assist you in making that discovery.
View the webcast here:
The book’s description:
“This is one of the most honest, straightforward, and gracious books you will read this year about yourself and your life.” It took courage to write this book, and it will take courage to read it. Leap.” Seth Godin (SethGodin.com)
In a job market that is still harsh, an age of fast changing work philosophies, a culture that challenges the value of a college education, and a workforce that is more digital and hence remote… The concept of vocation—living out one’s life’s calling—is more complicated today than it has ever been…
This is not a guide to living a happy life. It’s a blank canvas on which you may paint your own story. It won’t be another self-help program that leaves you feeling passively motivated, and it won’t be a scientific experiment with predicted outcomes. It’s the path of skilled artists and craftsmen, a centuries-old path that demands both patience and commitment.
Click here to purchase the book. Visit www.artofworkbook.com for additional information.
Jonathan: Thank you for joining us for Jeff Goins’ The Art of Work. Jeff is a full-time writer who lives with his wife, kid, and Border Collie just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Jeff’s most well-known book is The Art of Work, but he’s also the author of The In-Between, Wrecked, and You Are a Writer. Jeff’s website, Goins Writer, has been visited by over four million people from all over the world, and his book, The Art of Work, has been praised by business gurus such as Michael Hyatt and Seth Godin, so I think you’re in for a real treat with the content that Jeff will be presenting to you today. With that, I’d want to extend a warm welcome to Jeff. Thank you for joining us, and I’ll hand it up to you.
Goins, Jeff: I’ll simply give you the highlights of some of the key insights from my years of living and researching for this book. First and first, I’d want to express my gratitude to Jonathan and the whole Bplans team for inviting me on. It’s a privilege to be among you. I understand that you don’t simply let anybody speak to your audience, so I’ll try to respect that and make excellent use of everyone’s time.
I’m Jeff Goins, and I’m here to introduce myself. I authored The Art of Work, which was published a few months ago and quickly became a national bestseller. Really, it’s the solution to a question I’ve received from friends over the years: “How did you achieve that?” How did you go from being a part-time writer to a full-time writer? I transitioned from a day job to launching an internet company, and we began to double and quadruple our income every year, allowing my wife and myself, as well as other members of our family, to construct the life we wanted to live.
People naturally wanted to know how it all happened, so I began writing this book as a response to that question, but it grew into so much more as the process progressed. It turned into a series of case studies of individuals who, in the past, not only succeeded, but also had a happy life, accomplished something unique and noteworthy, and left their imprint on the world, which is exactly what I want to achieve with my life. It also became a current study of individuals who are doing that right now, as well as some lessons for those of us who want to do important work in the world and how we may do more of it now. That’s what the book is about, and today I’m going to share some of the most valuable lessons I learned from that experience in the next 30-40 minutes.
Before I do that, I’d want to ask you a question, and Jonathan, please feel free to add your two cents. Every webinar I do, every discussion or presentation I do, begins with a question. I’d want to ask you a couple of questions. The first question is, what is your biggest business struggle right now, what is the thing that you’re troubled with, what is the thing that you’re trying to figure out some problem that you’re facing, or a conflict that you’re avoiding, or just some issue that you’re having, whether it’s personal, in terms of personal development, a skill that you’re trying to grow in, inter-relational, or even organizational? What is it that you’re having trouble with?
Please put it into the conversation right now if you don’t mind. We’d love to know where you’re at and what you’re having trouble with right now, and we’ll do our best to address some of those issues during the presentation. I’d want to hear what people are saying from you, Jonathan. Please accept my apologies; Siri has gone insane on me. What are the opinions of the public? What are the issues that folks are having trouble with?
Jonathan: Without a doubt. Jeff, thank you for your inquiry. Caroline entered the room. Her greatest challenge, she added, is prioritizing and following through on what she has to accomplish. Networking and branding, like [Seren 00:07:18] said. Karen added her two cents, stating that her greatest challenge is selling her company. Jamal found himself in a similar predicament, with advertising prospects but little time to develop his website.
Ken [Cavanaugh 00:07:35] came up with a response, stating that gaining customers is his toughest challenge. [Abenum 00:07:42] stated, as my company progressed from idea to reality. We have a number of other wonderful solutions, such as work/life balance, starting while working full-time so that you can make the transition from working full-time to having your own company. There’s the dread of starting, of concentrating; there’s a lot of struggle simply with the time balancing and having a strategy to employ to get into it. Yeah, that’s the essence of it, but there were a lot of amazing comments.
Goins, Jeff: Thanks for sharing them, they’re fantastic. Okay, one more question, and I’d want a few ideas on it, or even just to think about it; we don’t have to respond, but I want you to think about it. What does it mean to you to be successful? Marketing, networking, getting started, and concentrating are all issues you face. In fact, I can connect to all of those difficulties. I understand all of that as a writer, an entrepreneur, and a marketer.
Now for my second question: how do you define success? What exactly does it imply? I don’t want you to simply answer it outright. I’d want you to think about it for a moment. Is it a yearly monetary figure? Is this a major breakthrough? What does it resemble? I want you to just hold on to that question, because the fact is that most people I speak to, including myself, don’t know the answer to it, and as a result, we’re irritated, struggling, distracted, and feeling like we’re failing. Despite this, we have no idea what the aim is. We have no idea where the finish line is, or where we’re racing to.
This is how I felt many years ago, when I was doing a job that I liked, was excellent at, and was a decent job, but not one that I loved. I wasn’t convinced this was the right place for me to spend the next ten years of my life. I used to work as a marketing director for a charity called [inaudible 00:09:48], and I was doing a terrific job. I was imagining what I wanted to accomplish with my life, but I didn’t truly know who I was on the inside.
I just came across this comment by Parker Palmer, an author and activist. “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I have to listen to it tell me who I am,” he remarked. That really touched me, and it spoke to me. Because I was accomplishing things at this organization where I was working, I was continuing to get promoted and receive increases. I was doing some very good stuff, and it was being noticed. But there was a part of me that felt like there was something more I was missing out on.
What it ultimately came down to was what Parker Palmer said, which was that I had no idea who I was. I believe that you must first discover out who you are before you can succeed at whatever it is you’re attempting to do. For me, that trip was an introspective, but also actionable, one in which, at 27 years old, I was searching deep within myself and asking myself serious questions. It wasn’t just about what I wanted to accomplish for the rest of my life; it was also about who I was and how I wanted to do it.
It wasn’t just a case of “Well, I don’t want to work too much,” or “I want to be financially independent by the age of 40,” or whatever. It came down to a matter of values. Who am I, exactly? What do I think? What are the things that are most important to me? Finally, what counts is that when I pursue my aspirations, whatever they may be, I do so in a healthy manner, and that when I reach the end of my life, I can look back and see that I succeeded in the appropriate areas. Keep in mind what success means to you, since one of the purposes of this webinar is to help you redefine what success means to you and to identify where you are on your path. Before we get into that, I’d want to give you a bit more information on me and my experiences over the last several years.
I began listening to my life once I started thinking about who I am and what I wanted to achieve for around two years. I recognized that my life was pointing me in the direction of becoming a writer. What does it mean to listen to your life, you may wonder? Well, for me, it simply meant looking at the things I like, the things I excelled in, and the things that… These activities, whatever they were, had effects when I performed them. I was filling a need in the world, and there was resonance and a feeling of purpose as I did so.
I discovered that writing was something I had always enjoyed but had never pursued seriously. “I suppose I need to be writing more,” I came to the understanding. Working with language and message was a component of my job as a marketing director, but it wasn’t the most important aspect. I became a published author over the course of two years. I wrote and published a book. Over the course of a year, I built an internet company that not only helped me replace my wife’s income, but also helped me replace my own, and we ended up doubling and tripling that income.
Then I unexpectedly resigned my work as a result of it. It wasn’t anything I had planned on doing. This isn’t a webinar on how to leave your job, by the way. Some of you have fantastic employment, and some of you have even started your own enterprises. This is simply a rough sketch of my… What it took for me to discover my calling, as well as how I’ve seen similar patterns in many other people’s life, and maybe some insights for you.
As I previously said, people continue to ask me this subject. How did all of this come to be? How did you manage to pull it off? That isn’t the appropriate question since the way I do it isn’t always the way you’ll do it, or even the way you should do it. In some respects, I believe that “success,” which I will use air quotes around since it means something different to everyone, is a misnomer. Success is subjective, and what it takes for you to reach where you want to go may differ from what it takes for me, or what it takes for your buddy, or your next-door neighbor, or anything.
I believe that there are lessons to be learned from every success story. We may learn from the experiences of others and apply what we’ve learned to our own life. Simply put, the commitment I want to make to you for this presentation is this. You will see the results if you put in the effort. It’s a fundamental idea of sowing and reaping. I grew up in a corn-growing village in Northern Illinois, surrounded by folks who lived by this philosophy.
Work really hard and then have faith in the process. During planting season, farmers would go out and sow a large number of seeds. They would hope for rain, and if it did, they would anticipate a harvest. That nearly always happened unless something horrible occurred. That was a performance, right? Planting a seed is a leap of faith since you don’t have total control over the process, but you can control what you can control by working really hard. This has a tendency to produce outcomes. That, I believe, is the most sincere pledge I could make to you.
I might say that if you follow these seven suggestions or do these four things, you will be tremendously successful. That does not, in my opinion, respect your circumstance. After reading biography after biography, interviewing hundreds of individuals who have discovered their life’s work and are following their calling, and then going through the process myself, I can confidently say that I believe this stuff works. These ideas are correct. They’re true in my life, in the lives of others, and I trust they’ll be true in yours as well.
Your method will be somewhat different, but the concepts will stay the same. That is my pledge to you: if you put in the effort, you will see results. With that, I’d want to go on to the substance of what we’re going to discuss today. So, let’s look at four success secrets, or four success principles. Remember that there are genuine quotations surrounding what it means to achieve today, not just air quotes, because remember what success means to you. You could be thinking about how these concepts might relate to your path as we go through this.
I’m going to attempt to turn some of this around in the end. It might suggest that the item you’re after isn’t truly what you’re about for some of you. You’re asking yourself what should I do instead of pondering who you are. I think that living a purpose-filled successful life, where you end up excelling at the right things, is a marriage between knowing who you are and then doing what you were intended to do, and that the two are inextricably linked.
I’d want to share with you four basic truths from my book, The Art of Work, that I discovered while writing it and interviewing others, and that really illuminated my own path, where I realized, wow, I was going through this and didn’t even recognize it. Then I hope it clarifies where you are in your quest to discover your purpose and find meaningful employment that you are intended to accomplish.
Apprenticeship is the first secret. Because it is an archaic term, let me explain what I mean. Apprenticeship is the process of learning a practical skill via direct experience, which is normally a formal procedure of receiving an education from a teacher. When you take an internship, you’re usually bringing coffee or doughnuts for someone in an office, and you’re not getting to do the things you’re trying to learn. At the very least, you’re watching someone else do it. At worst, you’re doing something irrelevant, which is the unfortunate truth for many people, particularly college students who [enter 00:18:19] many internships.
In contrast, even with a formal education, you study all these books and listen to all this knowledge, but you never get to put it into practice. People who found what they were supposed to do, who are carrying out their life’s work right now, through an informal, what I call an accidental apprenticeship, which is one of the keys of success for discovering your vocation. Let me explain what it means for you.
In each successful trip, you must ask yourself, “Who might assist me in this process?” I don’t believe in the idea of the self-made man or woman, that you are who you are and can do what you can achieve just because you believed strongly enough in yourself and pulled yourself up by your bootstraps. I am a firm believer in putting in long hours. The truth is that we are all depending on one another. We depend on groups of individuals to assist us in getting where we want to go.
That, I think, is true for me. If this wasn’t the case for you, I’d be astonished. We tell ourselves all the time that we got where we wanted to go on our own, but when we look back and honestly recall, this thing led to that thing, and there was always someone. Many people often assisted us in getting to where we are now. When it comes to finding a mentor, my suggestion is to quit hunting for the ideal match.
For many years, I had hoped to find some mentor, some older guy who had been where I was, who had done what I wanted to accomplish, and who would take me under his wing, and we would meet for coffee every week on Wednesday morning and chat about life, and he would tell me what to do. I spent years trying and failing to find the ideal person before realizing that some people… There is no such thing as a perfect mentor, and those that exist are very uncommon.
Instead of hunting for the ideal mentor, start appreciating the one, or the ones, who are currently a part of your life. An unintentional apprenticeship is essentially what it sounds like. It’s looking around at the people in your life and bringing them together in a deliberate manner so that you may develop a network of mentors from whom you can gain the skills and information you’ll need to succeed in your field. This is what I like to call the Steve Jobs approach.
If you’re acquainted with Steve Jobs, the late creator of Apple Computer, and his co-founder, Steve Wozniak, you’ll know that he attended college for a short time. Reed College was his alma mater. Steve couldn’t afford to continue in college, unlike Bill Gates, who dropped out, or Mark Zuckerberg, who left Harvard to start this firm. He left out since he couldn’t afford to remain and he wasn’t interested in going to college.
He drops out, but instead of returning home dejected, he goes from dorm room to dorm room, sleeping on his friends’ floors and auditing courses that pique his interest. One of those courses was a calligraphy lesson, which Steve credits with inspiring all of the beautiful font on the original Macintosh, and pretty much every other Apple product afterwards. Then, based on his acquaintance with Steve Wozniak, he goes to work for Atari, where he takes some of Woz’s work and passes it off as his own, landing the position.
Then he travels to India, where he is exposed to a completely different culture. All of these seemingly unrelated events have a significant impact on the job Steve would conduct later. That’s how an unintentional apprenticeship works. When you’re going through life and it seems hectic, it might feel like everything is occurring at once. There isn’t much of a feeling of order or rationale to it. Intentionality is the difference between a lifetime of wandering and this season of unintentionally collecting all of these experiences.
Jobs was deliberately gathering connections, using experiences from individuals he knew to lead him to where he wanted to go, even if he didn’t exactly grasp where he was going or what his aim was. I argue that I believe you are capable of doing the same. Rather of waiting for the right person to come along and pick you up and tell you that they’ll be your instructor, they’ll teach you all you need to know about your industry, sector, and skill. You must look around at the individuals who are now accessible to you and ask yourself, “Who can I learn from right now?” What contacts do I have that I could use and capitalize on to advance my career or company to the next level?
It’s not what you know, but who you know, or who knows you, as you’ve surely heard. I don’t believe any of those statements is entirely accurate. When it comes to networking success, it’s not just about who you know. This was a query posed by one of you. I believe networking is excellent, but I think being an apprentice and studying other people’s work is even better. You will endear yourself to others if you humble yourself by learning from their experiences and tales. If you approach this correctly, you will begin to develop a network of individuals who are on your side and want you to succeed.
This, I believe, is an important aspect of success that most people ignore because they believe their path is a solo one rather than a community one. It’s not so much who you know as it is who you aid, in my opinion. Making a list of individuals you want to connect with right now and finding a method to not just get in front of them or connect with them, but also find a way to assist them right now is one of the finest ways to establish a network of people. To bring worth to whatever they’re doing by accomplishing something tiny but substantial.
It might be as simple as purchasing a product from their firm or connecting them to someone who can assist them. It might be as easy as sending a link to their blog through Twitter. I believe that the more you give, the more you will get in the long run. When it comes to creating a network and learning from others, it’s all about getting to know people and then assisting them.
That was the first and most important secret. “Practice” is the second secret. My take on practice is that it’s not enough to merely practice; you need to immerse yourself in it. I think of what Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code, refers to as “deep practice” as “painful practice” since it’s a touch unpleasant. You must push the boundaries of your abilities in order to become exceptional at anything.
I believe that brilliance is a necessary component of success. That those who really thrive, those who make an indelible impression on the world, are doing something unique. You must practice in order to reach that stage. The question is, how can I improve? How do I go about doing this? Whether you consider your skill to be entrepreneurship or, as in my case, writing and communication, sales, or creating whatever widget you manufacture, Whatever it is, you must be exceptional at it. If you want to make an impression, you must practice.
I believe that many individuals believe that practicing is the only way to improve. I also believe that practicing is the best way to figure out whether or not you want to pursue anything. “If you’re pushing yourself to your very boundaries of skill and you find yourself saying, “I don’t really enjoy this anymore,” then it’s definitely not the thing you were intended to do, but practice doesn’t make perfect; I believe perfection is a fiction. Habits are formed via practice. It does generate a repeating order in your life that provides a rhythm for you to… It will either resonate with you or not.
One of the worst things we can do, in my opinion, is to keep doing the incorrect thing. I believe you may excel at the wrong thing before realizing at the end of your life, “Man, I tried to achieve all these things, and this wasn’t it.” This was not what I was meant to be doing.” Practice is one of the ways we not only become excellent at anything, but we also use it to determine whether or not we should be practicing it in the first place.
We all aspire to be exceptional at something in the end. We want to master a skill, but I believe it was Dan Pink who stated, “Mastery is an asymptote,” which you may have to check up if you aren’t a math student. In simple terms, an asymptote is a line that gets… This arced line, this curve that approaches an axis, another line, without ever touching it. To put it another way, there is no destination. Mastery, in my opinion, is more of a habit than a goal. It’s something you do every day when you get up.
When I first realized, “OK, I’m intended to be a writer,” it meant a lot to me. “What is the next stage in the procedure?” says the narrator. Well, I guess I’ll have to do what writers do every day, which is wake up and write. That was not my intention. I used to do it every now and then when I felt like it. If I’m going to be good at it, and this is what I’m going to be remembered for, this is the mark I’m going to leave, I’ll have to do it every day. It wasn’t about getting anywhere or simply being good for me. It was all about getting down to the nitty-gritty and doing it on a daily basis, rather than waiting for anything to happen.
What does it mean to practice? Well, I like to take what I refer to as the “Pimsleur approach to this.” Paul Pimsleur was a well-known linguist and language expert. He had this hypothesis that, in terms of language acquisition, millions of individuals have used it to learn foreign languages rapidly, rather than studying them the usual method. He went back to how do people learn a foreign language the traditional way, where you go to school, read a book, take tests, and listen to the teacher talk to you; he went back to how do people learn a foreign language the traditional way, where you go to school, read a book, take tests, and listen to the teacher talk to you; he went back to how do people learn a foreign language the traditional way What is the best way for youngsters to learn a native language? They learn by listening to their parents speak.
My three-year-old can string together extremely lengthy, sophisticated statements, and we’re continually thinking to ourselves, “Man, where did he get that from?” only to discover days later that it simply came out of our mouth; that he’s learning to communicate by listening to his parents talk. The same is true while learning a new language. The Pimsleur method entails listening to a foreign language for 30 minutes every day for 90 days, after which you will be skilled, if not fluent, in that language, depending on its complexity. That’s the notion, and a lot of people have done it successfully.
What I find intriguing, and what I believe is the takeaway for us in terms of how we practice our crafts, is to set aside some time every day, at least 30 minutes, and I believe if your passion, getting better at what you do, is something that resonates deeply with you, set aside some time every day, at least 30 minutes. If you operate a company, you could think to yourself, “I’m doing this eight hours a day,” but what I’m talking about is practicing the one thing that only you can do. Not simply doing it as a habit, but practicing it; doing some serious effort that will help you improve. Many of us, I believe, can spend day after day, day after day, simply doing busy work.
Nobody’s craft here, I submit, is checking email. That’s not your craft if you’re doing it for eight hours a day. You devote at least 30 minutes a day to thoroughly immersing yourself in that activity, learning from it, seeing what other great people are doing, and practicing it on a daily basis. That is what practice entails. It might be as easy as choosing a talent, a hobby, or something new that you want to master that will help you develop yourself or help you take your company to the next level, and practicing it for 30 minutes a day.
I feel that many of us desire to make major choices in our lives and at work, and we believe in the fantasy of arrival once again. One of the things that surprised me about folks who found their life’s job was how long it took them to figure it out. It took roughly ten years for many of them. Which is interesting because, if you’re familiar with K. Anders Ericsson’s study on deliberate practice and Malcolm Gladwell’s, we’ve codified this in the 10,000-hour rule, but the basic premise of that idea is that it takes about 10 years to get great at something, practicing several hours a day for year after year after year, and at the end of 10 years, you’ll have accumulated about 10,000 hours of practice.
Many others, on the other hand, just want to avoid this and go to their destination. What was remarkable was that for the majority of these folks who were extremely successful at what they were doing, both in terms of personal fulfillment and happiness as well as the fruit of their labor, it wasn’t a tremendous jump as we sometimes describe. “Man, I made this tremendous leap of faith and everything worked out,” it wasn’t. They arrived to where they wanted to go via a succession of little steps and everyday practice.
My challenge to you is to not accept the myth of the jump when you’re thinking about being great or achieving something large. Instead, consider how you might construct a bridge. I recommend starting with something as easy as 30 minutes each day. What might you do today to take your company, your career, or your life to the next level, and could you devote an additional 30 minutes a day to it? Immerse yourself in the process to learn more about it. That is what practice entails.
Failure is the third secret (there are two more before we put it up to inquiries). I believe that humans, particularly entrepreneurs, have an odd connection with failure. I’m sure many of you have experienced failure. Even still, if you’re anything like me, you’re still afraid of it. I guess I always ask myself, “But what if it fails?” whenever I’m approaching something huge and brazen that seems right but also dangerous. What if I don’t succeed? Is this a sign that I’m a failure?”
I believe we misunderstand and undervalue the significance of both failure and success. I learnt a lot from this process of researching firms, personalities, and entrepreneurs, including figures like Walt Disney and Mother Teresa, as well as hundreds of others whose names I didn’t know until I began writing The Art of Work. Failure, plenty of failure; seasons of failure, years of failure was one of the things I witnessed again and over again. I learnt that failure is not a barrier to success. It’s the thing that gets you there in the first place.
Any time you fail, I think of it as a pivot point, a fork in the path. If you’re a basketball fan, you’re probably acquainted with this maneuver. At 5’7″, I’m used to watching basketball from afar. That’s all I do with it. In basketball, there’s a move called the pivot when you’re dribbling the court and dribbling the ball down the court, then you come to a halt and have no other options except to pivot. You can move the other foot in any direction if one foot is planted and the other is free. Basically, you can perform a 360. The planted foot cannot be moved, however you may rotate and travel in any direction before passing the ball.
There’s a significant business lesson here: after you’ve exhausted all of your alternatives, there’s always one more. When things go wrong and everything seems to be coming apart, there is always something else you can do, but it necessitates change. A change of course on your part to determine what went wrong, what I misunderstood or underestimated, and how I may learn from my failure and utilize it to succeed.
The tale of Groupon is one of my favorite instances of this in the business world. It began as a charity initiative, a company, and a side project. This student, this business school student, started it because he wanted a way for all of his friends in the Chicago area to donate their time to some charity or something that they could do, and they would use this web site to use social media, social voting to vote on what activity we were going to do, whether we were going to [pin-up 00:35:26] t-shirts, or work at a soup kitchen or whatever; we were going to do good in the world, and we want to ge
The model’s flaw is that it didn’t work. They just couldn’t make it work. It lost a million dollars in its first year, and they were on the verge of declaring bankruptcy and closing it down because it was simply… The model was just ineffective. It wasn’t sustainable, and it wasn’t gaining traction. Then one of the investors offered a recommendation that they had originally brought up, but had thrown down since they didn’t want to do it at the start of the firm.
What if we charge money for this, he suggests. What if, instead of donating our time, we got corporations to give us a group discount for something, and then we went out and found a specific number of people to purchase it, and if we got that number of people, the organization, the company, would give us that coupon code? It worked; it worked spectacularly. Groupon was valued at $13 billion at the time of its IPO. That one small tweak, I mean, they used all of the same technology, all of the same resources that they had already invested a million dollars in building, and instead of being a million dollars in the hole, they pointed it in one direction, in a smaller different direction, and that was a $13 billion decision.
Failure should not be seen as the end of the road. Consider it an opportunity. Failure is not an option, as you’ve surely heard. That, in my opinion, is absurd. We all fail at some point in our lives, sometimes on a daily basis. Failure is a possibility. It’s a critical chance for success. If you retreat every time you fail, you’re losing out on an opportunity to succeed by adopting a “Pivot,” as I call it. The true dilemma is whether you’re frightened of failing or not trying. I’d urge you, even push you, to reframe failure not as a barrier to success, but as a method to get you there, as long as you’re flexible and clever enough to pivot when those times of failure arrive, which they will.
So, here’s the last secret in this presentation and procedure. Really, the study of success, and success for me meant working with people who were doing amazing work, doing what they were called to do professionally, and doing it well. They were being paid to do what they loved, and there was a lot of diversity in that. Some individuals did it, and some of them were quite wealthy. Some folks were just trying to make ends meet. Everyone should go to bed every night thinking, “Man, I’m so thrilled I get to do what I want to do.”
The truth is that the majority of people are unaware of this. According to a Gallup study, 87 percent of the world’s employees are dissatisfied with their jobs. They are unhappy and unsatisfied. They’re punching the clock and going through the motions of their job as if it were a repetitive exercise. Diversity was the last surprise, the final secret in this process. Please allow me to clarify. People asked me, “OK, you’re writing a book, discovering your calling, your mission, this thing that you’re supposed to do,” while I was working on it, and they still do today. Is it necessary for it to be just one thing? Is it necessary for me to have just one passion? Is it necessary for me to have just one thing that I’m supposed to do?
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no In reality, I feel your calling is more than one thing; it’s a combination of things, but… However, there is a catch. You must follow a certain procedure in order to perform what you do or perfect your skill. I believe we’re all aware that you may be doing anything in your company, particularly if you’re an entrepreneur. You might be accomplishing all you’re capable of, but you’re well aware that this isn’t your maximum level of contribution. You don’t need to be a jack of all crafts, but you do need to be a master in some.
I refer to this as “the new sort of mastery.” It’s essentially the process of putting together a portfolio of talents and hobbies that truly connect with you and that you can become very good at, practice, and master, and then combining them in a way that leads to meaningful job. This is referred to as “The Portfolio Life” by Charles Handy. In his book, The Age of Unreason, he argues that numerous sorts of labor exist, and that the clever person, the smart entrepreneur, and the smart worker assimilates that work into a portfolio, not just one little piece of work.
Look at his body of work if you truly want to understand the scope of the cause or expertise. You should look at what he did throughout his blue time and after he entered [Qbiz 00:40:23]. To comprehend his expertise, you must view the whole scope of what he does. The same is true for you, and the fact is that the world is more accommodating this labor, making it increasingly difficult to be a jack of all crafts.
If you want to remain competitive in a global economy where, according to a recent research in the United States, “By 2020, over half of the workforce will be freelanced,” which means they won’t only have one single, one-day employment. They’ll be performing a variety of activities. If you want to remain competitive, you need a varied portfolio that includes not just your job but also your personal life.
My challenge to you, and this is something I’ve seen time and time again in the lives of great entrepreneurs, people who [inaudible 00:41:11] work and accomplish really cool things. Walt Disney was a cartoonist, but when he discovered he was going to be the finest cartoonist in the world, he realized he needed to spend more time building the company, so he became a better leader, and they developed all of these wonderful movies. Then he realized that what I truly want to do is amuse people, so I decided to build a park. There were a lot of tiny pit wits throughout his career that enabled him to produce this incredibly profound master piece or portfolio that definitely left a legacy.
The goal is to locate a few abilities that you can master and combine them, not a hundred. “The future belongs to those who master additional talents and integrate them in new ways,” writes Robert Greene in his book Mastery. I believe you will agree. As I previously said, your calling is more than just one thing. This didn’t surprise me in the least. I used to think it was just one thing you did, but it’s not; it’s a few things you combine in a meaningful portfolio, and that’s the fourth secret of diversity: having a variety of things you do that all complement each other in a way that makes each activity better, so that I’m a writer, but I’m also a blogger, and a speaker.
These activities truly complement one other in such a manner that my speaking makes me a better writer, and my writing makes me a better speaker. I propose… I assume you have access to the same portfolio that I do. “Are you tapping into that?” the question is. Are you aware of it? “Are you allowing yourself to accomplish more than one thing without having to do everything?”
I’m glad to answer questions as long as you’ll have me when I return to the initial question and open it up for Q&A. What does it mean to you to be successful? “A life is not important unless it makes an influence on others,” Jackie Robinson once said. I set out to achieve something, I wanted to be a great writer, I wanted to be successful, I wanted to start a business, I wanted to quit my job, and I wanted to do all of these great things, and I was able to do it, and in the process, I learned that success isn’t just about what you do, but also about who you impact. It’s about the person you become and the people you get to meet along the way.
That, I believe, is the decision that we all face, one that we don’t have to make but will have to make one way or another. Will I invite others along for the ride, or will I pass up these opportunities? I’ve made more money than I’ve ever made in my life, ever dreamt I could make, because I learnt this the hard way, when I polished my first blog, when I had this breakout year, I had taken this successful blog, I began this online company. Coming home one day feeling fairly good about myself after having my first book published made me feel terrific.
Then there was all this back-end crap, like the book being out of stock, and there were always issues with the publisher. I didn’t believe it was selling, so I became enraged and angry, blaming others. I go home and walk into our house, and I’m thinking about all those late nights of arguing with my wife and trying to complete this novel, and I’m afraid my employer is doubting whether or not I’ll stay, and all that. When I come through the door, I’m greeted with a crowded home. My wife had surprised me with a party.
Fresh breeze passed over the cupcake table, and I was ready to bury my sorrows in icing when I saw this card that said, “It’s never been a matter of whether.” It was always a question of when.” I recognized at that time that I was working towards a goal, that I was sprinting towards a finish line, that I was going to run a marathon, and that I was disregarding everyone who had assisted me in getting there. Every tale of achievement, I realized, is essentially a story of community. It’s a powerful tale.
I think that success is about being the person you were meant to be, not about being amazing at what you do. Succeeding at the right things, and those right things depend on your values, beliefs, and so on, but my caution to you, the lesson that I learned through this process, and experience of going into myself, but also interviewing many, many people who had done the same, and done so many more significant things, is that, in order to truly succeed and lead a satisfied meaningful life, you must include ot.
You must learn from those many mentors that [inaudible 00:45:54] and you must practice in the presence of other individuals who know how to accomplish what you must do. You must understand that your personal and professional lives are intertwined. You’re putting together a portfolio of work that will serve as your life. It’s not just one thing you do; it’s the person you become and, most importantly, the legacy you leave behind. As I previously said, we can learn more about all of that, and you’ll have to work, but that’s a general summary of the book. I believe Jonathan and the Bplans guys will provide you links on that, but that’s a general overview of the book. It’s known as the “Art of Work.” You may learn more about it at artofworkbook.com, and I’m always happy to answer any questions.
Jonathan: Thank you very much for the presentation, Jeff, and for these four success secrets. That was fantastic. I had a few questions for you that I wanted to ask. What do you think about the apprenticeship that you proposed and recommended to John? Our younger generation is less inclined to choose an apprenticeship vs going to college, graduating, and looking for work. How do you feel about that?
Goins, Jeff: Yes, first and foremost, I believe that our… Our educational system, at least in the United States, is in desperate need of reform. College is getting more costly. My wife and I started a college savings account for our kid, and they calculated that it would cost $180,000 for him to attend a State University.
Jonathan: Oh, my goodness, my goodness, my goodness, my goodness, my goodness, my goodness
Goins, Jeff: No, I believe something must be done… Something needs to change, yes. The economics of what I believe are shifting, as is the practicality of it. I have a few of sisters who just graduated from college, and it’s very discouraging to see how little education has prepared them for the job market. I don’t care whether you go to school or not; I went to college and liked it. It was a terrific social time, but the things that actually prepared me for life and, more importantly, for running a company and doing what I wanted to do, were all of the things that looked like they worked from the main course. It has to do with extracurricular activities. It was standing time in the midst of a crowd.
Having a variety of mentors was really beneficial to me. As I already said, I became really irritated as a result of this. I didn’t have a single mentor like this. Then, when I reflected on my life, I realized that all of these various individuals had come into my life at just the correct moment to assist me in getting to where I needed to go. It was only more beneficial than saying, “Oh, hey, thanks,” when I acknowledged the function that individual was performing. Thank you for your assistance. Now it’s time for me to move forward.”
I believe that individuals will appear in your life, and all you have to do is acknowledge them. In his book, The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho states, “Basically, the world is conspiring to help you uncover your destiny.” We must be alert to the indicators. I may have sounded a little mystical, but I believe the practical fact is that there is someone in your life, in your town, or in your immediate vicinity who is an untapped resource that you just need to tap into right now.
If you’re a young person, maybe a professor, instead of sitting in your college or passively collecting the material of the lecture, you show up when it’s time for office hours, take deep breaths, and strive to understand what they… Try to learn as much as you can from them. I believe the majority of us have more resources than we realize. My supervisor was one of those resources for me. I was working at a job when I realized, “I’m not going to leave you someday,” and instead of saying, “Well, this stinks, and I’m just trapped here till I get out,” I said, “Well, this sucks, and I’m just stuck here until I get out.” I took advantage of my existing situation to reach where I needed to go. To the point that I was [inaudible 00:49:52] for a long time and then I was really happy for you. He was joining me in my joy. Although not every mentor will do so, some will.
Jonathan: Thank you very much for your response. Yeah, this reminds me, Bplans, we just established a podcast called the “BCAST,” and our most recent edition included a guest, Caroline Cummins, our VP of Business Development. She appeared on the show and offered us a piece on “How to Find a Mentor.” One of the things she said was the concept of “don’t search for…” It’s similar to what Jeff stated today: don’t search for a single mentor who will be everything to you throughout your career and have all the answers; instead, focus on articulating and clarifying a need. Clarify what you’re searching for assistance with if you have a particular request.
Then locate someone who can assist you in answering that question and demonstrating how to execute that particular task. That may be the extent of that relationship: they take you through a road to accomplish that one thing, and then you can find someone else to teach you how to do something else you don’t know how to do. Jeff, I liked what you mentioned about the possibility of having one instructor up there if you can obtain all the answers. It’s a fabrication.
Goins, Jeff: I’ll add one more thing: don’t refer to that individual as a “mentor.” This is something I’ll teach you. I said in the book that you don’t need to locate just one mentor. Asking for a mentor is the worst way to obtain one; the greatest way is to acknowledge the one who is already there. People will genuinely read it and contact me asking, “Will you be my mentor?” “Did you read the book?” I’ll say next. The worst thing you can do is ask for one. It’s not that the official connection is terminated at some time. I’ve never asked a mentor, “Will you be my mentor?” I’ve never asked a mentor, “Will you be my mentor?” I’ve never asked a mentor, “Will you be my mentor?” That’s a serious commitment.
It’s like proposing marriage on the first date. You can grow closer to them by just hanging out with them, visiting with them, reading their blog or books, learning from them, and then formalizing it with titles afterwards, but I believe it might be frightening for a lot of people… “A lot of older men and women don’t feel like they have anything to answer,” a friend of mine who runs a mentoring network recently told me, “and so when you’re asking them to be your mentor, they’re intimidated by that because they’re insecure about their experience, and they’ve just been going through life.” Titles may be misleading at times.
Jonathan: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes Another instructor had a question regarding how to strike a balance between working experience and merely beginning a company. I believe you could provide us an example from your own life, such as when you were working as a marketing director and transitioning to your blog and becoming an author. How much work experience do you need to start your own company, and can you retain your day job while still dipping your toe in the water? What’s the point of balancing here?
Goins, Jeff: I’m a proponent of doing things on the side depending on the enterprise, since some ventures are simpler than others. That is something I am aware of. It’s not simple for someone who wants to be a fireman to train at all hours of the night or early in the morning. I urged her to get it, but I think there’s a myth that we all believe: that I have to wait for the right weather to go for a run. I’m going to wait for the ideal situation, the ideal conditions, to begin. It occurred to me that this is just not the case. There will be no such thing as a perfect occasion.
All you have to do now is start, but how much experience do you need? This is why I began with Parker Palmer’s comment, “Before I can tell my life what I want to accomplish with it, I have to listen to my life telling me who I am.” I believe there is an essential step that must be completed before I can accomplish this for you. It’s all about awareness. It’s about paying attention to what you’re already doing and listening to your life. I like to ask these three questions, which are referred to as the “Sweetspot exercise” by various persons at different periods. This is something I came up with on my own.
I’m just going to ask you three things that are already true about you right now, since dreams are often something we expect to happen in the future. One should actually be looking back in time to figure out, “What should I do next?” It’s not that your history should govern your future, but it should help you understand it. The three questions are: What am I good at, what am I good at, and what am I good at? What am I passionate about? What does the world need, or what is in high demand on the market? It’s really three distinct places. Passion, talent, and demand are all present.
What do I like doing? What do I excel at? What have I been doing for much of my life, or for the previous two years, that in some way is accidental preparation for the next time what I’m going to do, and then, what is a gap that I perceive in the world? What’s anything that appears self-evident to me as a requirement up there? Isn’t that the case? When I have this urge, there is a chorus of “Yes, this makes sense” responses.
Writing was something I really like doing, and I never imagined I’d be able to do it full-time, but I told myself, “OK, I’ll forget about that.” That isn’t the case… It had something to do with it at the time. This is fantastic. I’ve been doing that for most of my life without even realizing it. I was taken aback. I was writing as a pastime on and off. Then, whenever I spoke to people about writing, anytime I assisted someone with their writing, whenever I instilled confidence in them, it was always fantastic. “Hey, you’re very excellent at this,” others would say. Something that was recognized by, there was a need that I was experiencing, and I believe that anything you should do should fit into parts of those three questions: passion, skill, and demand.
When you do it, it resonates with you, and it resonates with an audience, with the market, so you can monetize it, earn money off of it, and keep your love and expertise alive. What I believe you’ll discover is that some people have already been acquiring some experience to get them where they want to go. It’s not a question of “I want to do something new and I have to acquire all this experience,” but rather “I have already been acquiring some experience to get me where I want to go.” For me, it was discovering that not only was I a writer, but I had also spent seven years as a marketing director. I know how to capitalize on my audience.
“What should I do?” I wondered when I chose to write. So, I suppose I should take all of the knowledge I’ve gathered over the last seven years.” I wanted to be a marketer, but I also wanted to communicate my message with the rest of the world, so I applied what I learned about developing a brand to a personal brand. I started a blog and utilized every tactic I knew to get in front of people, which helped me to fast establish my personal brand, get published, create a company, and do everything else.
I didn’t expect to do that, I didn’t expect to utilize those seven years of wondering what I was doing and why I was doing it, and then realizing, “This is all practice and preparation for what’s to come,” while I was doing it. There’s a quotation from an unidentified author. “Everything that has occurred to you so far in your life is preparation for what is to come,” says an unidentified author. That, I feel, is correct.
Jonathan: Yes, that’s excellent, and I’ll simply add those ideas on bplans.com. We’re all for beginning and planning your own company, and we’d like to suggest that if you want to start your own business, keep your day job initially and attempt to do it on the side. However, this should not be a deterrent to getting started. Don’t make excuses like “I need more experience before I can start anything,” since the only way you’ll obtain that experience is to start it.
The minimal viable product is something we promote, and you may be acquainted with the term from lean planning and lean startup. What’s the least quantity you can make that still works as a product or a concept that you can essentially put together, slap on a market, and start testing, and while you’re still doing your day job or continuing your career, you’ve got this running, and you’re receiving a brief… Jeff’s life is an example of how to start a blog and manage it while working full-time.
Typically, we observe that it takes a couple of years at the very least before you start to see it develop, and you learn from those experiences before you can even consider switching to full-time and leaving your previous employment. If you’re interested in learning more about it, you may go to bplans.com. We have various articles on the subject of converting a hobby into a company or running a side business while working full-time. I strongly advise you to look into it. One final question, which relates to mentorship and apprenticeship for you, Jeff, as we near the end of this webinar, who was the mentor who kept those who have impacted, guided, and shaped your life and career?
Goins, Jeff: I don’t echo, but I do echo your echo. It took me two years to build, and I did it on the side, so I’m a huge admirer. Instead of taking a risk, construct a bridge. I recall meeting this family who had relocated to Burundi, the world’s second poorest nation in East Africa. They established a coffee business. “How did you accomplish it?” I inquired. “Well, we took a risk,” she said, and I replied, “Oh, alright.” How old did you have to be to do that? “How does the procedure work?” “Well, we went to South Africa and lived there for 10 years, and then we spent a few years trying to figure out how to go to Burundi, and then we worked for ten years for a charity in South Africa, and then we relocated to Burundi.”
“OK, so you took a risk and it took 10 years to get to the other side,” I said. That’s almost like a slow-motion jump. It was really a process of everyday focused hard work, and I adored that location on that particular night. [inaudible 01:00:57] is the same. Michael Hyatt was a pretty key mentor who you mentioned; he was someone I [inaudible 01:01:04] from for two years from afar, and then I went out to him around five years ago and asked if we could meet. I tried to make it convenient for him, so I followed up when we were both at a conference, and he lives in this town, so I said, “This is an example of someone who is in my vicinity that I could reach out to you that I was like, “Oh, I don’t have any possibilities.” “I have no acquaintances.”
I was living in [inaudible 01:01:34] in a little town where you can interact with a lot of people who are interested in what you’re doing, but I wanted to do writing, publishing, and speaking. “Sunday we might meet for coffee somewhere,” I said, and he replied, “I’m quite busy, and I’ll be.” He’s spoken with my sister. “He might make a mistake two months from now at this time,” she warned, to which I replied, “Brave, I’ll be there.” I met him, and then we got into each other at a conference a few months later, and it was about seven months [inaudible 01:02:00].
I just kept in contact with him. I volunteered to help… I offered him a favor. I volunteered to assist him, and we ended up having a Twitter interview, which he had never done before, and it was a lot of fun. It had the feel of a romance. I believe that if you really want people to invest in you, you must pursue those connections. The easiest approach to get started is to familiarize yourself with their work. Can you tell me how many individuals have requested a coffee date with me after reading one of my books? I’m not interested in spending $12 for a book, but I’ll gladly take an hour of your time over coffee to discuss the same topics.
That, I believe, is one of the most effective methods to get in front of people. Show that you’re interested in what they’re doing and that you’re acquainted with their work. We became friends throughout the course of those seven months. That was a really powerful friendship… That bond was responsible for a lot of my achievement. There’s him, he’s gotten into this other person about whom I’ve largely learnt from afar, and for many, many years. Then there was… There are lots of non-famous mentors, such as my buddy Marc Almond, who is truly the one guiding me through this dilemma.
One of the things he helped me see was that at the end of these two years, I had constructed this bridge and was earning enough money to no longer need to work my day job. I was ecstatic, enthralled, but I was also terrified, terrified that this would all come to an end. “Jeff, what’s happened to you is unusual,” he told me. You must examine the possibility that this is not an accident. This is where you belong. This is something you must accept. It’s like disobedience to the calling if you don’t do it.”
That bothered me. “Well, I’ve been thinking about how this looked,” I realized. I’ve been thinking that this is a selfish thing to do, but I’ve been considering the cost of not doing so.” That is to say, a mentor can assist you in doing so. They assist you in comprehending the benefits and drawbacks, as well as the expense of doing so, as well as the cost of not doing so. I believe that many people, maybe someone listening right now, many people listening right now, are thinking about something, and that something sparked an emotion in you as a result of this talk. You felt compelled to go do something you hadn’t done before. Perhaps it’s time to leave your day job and pursue your dream of being a full-time entrepreneur. Maybe it’s pushing your company to the next level, or abandoning one and establishing something new that you’re really enthusiastic about.
In a fear-based response to that task, I believe the initial fear [inaudible 01:04:35] reaction is, “What if I fail?” “What will happen to you, to your soul, if you don’t at least try?” I believe a better question is, “What will happen to you, to your soul, if you don’t at least try?” What happens if you don’t give it your all? It’s a case of “Yes, we’re terrified of failure,” as I have said. I understand, but I’m more terrified of failing to attempt.
Jonathan: Well, thank you, Jeff, just to circle back around to your Michael Hyatt tale. You’ve just released a new book. They’re unemployed, and Michael was kind enough to provide a review and a suggestion for that book. “Jeff gives a clear framework for recognizing our calling, developing our expertise, and maximizing our influence in his book The Art of Work,” he adds. This is the strategy we’ve been waiting for from a man we can trust,” he says. It’s great to see that friendship blossom again, and even better that he’s endorsing the book. You can get a copy of the book if you’re a listener or a webinar participant. It’s presently available on Amazon. The Art of Work by Jeff Goins is now available for purchase.
You may also go to artofworkbook.com for more information. We just want to thank you again, Jeff, for taking the time to share what you discovered while writing this book, and how our audience members may study and build their talents to get to the point where they can do what they want and find their calling. Last but not least, some logistics. This full-recorded webinar will be followed up with an email. It will take approximately a week for us to put together the video and send that email to you, so it will be coming soon, as I said. Thank you very much for joining us, Jeff. I believe we should call the webinar to a close right now. Thank you for all you’ve brought today.
Goins, Jeff: Yes, Jonathan, thank you. Thank you for your help, bplans. Thank you everybody for taking part in this. You’re welcome to look at the book’s website, as Jonathan suggested. You can learn more about it, and getting there is free. Contact me on Twitter @jeffgoins if you have any questions or haven’t received a response. I’ll gladly respond to them as well. Thank you for having me, and I hope you have a wonderful day.
Jonathan: That’s incredible. Thank you very much. Thank you so much, everyone.
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