Forget making New Year's resolutions. They are notoriously hard to keep. Instead start down a concrete path to make your work and life more meaningful and satisfying. How? Begin by "finding the thread that ties your story together" suggests Pamela Slim in her new book, Body of Work. Understanding that connective thread, you can find a way to use your multiple interests and talents in a coherent whole that enables you to grow your unique and valuable mastery. That's the key to living the illusive, flourishing life you seek.
Become A Greater Author Of Your Life Story
"Your body of work is everything you create, contribute, affect and impact... It is the personal legacy you leave at the end of your life, including and the tangible things you have created. Individuals who structure their careers around autonomy, mastery and purpose will have a powerful body of work," writes Slim. I heartily agree with Slim when she writes that, "in the new world of work, our ability to create a powerful body of work is what will determine our ongoing employability."
By taking this approach, you can become sought-after by Becoming a Category of One, as Joe Calloway suggests. You can optimize what you know as Marci Alboher outlined in One Life/Multiple Careers, thus sometimes Reinventing You as Dorie Clark advocates for the times when you want to turn the page to a new chapter of work -- and you want others to understand that shift.
Find Your True Path Of Maximum Mastery And Opportunity
Gain a more concrete insight into how you define success for your life and credible way to share your authentic story with others by following her eight-step path. You are more likely to stick to this path because Slim displays warmth then competence in describing her steps: concrete steps with checklists, examples, heart-warming success stories, and perhaps most of all, first-hand examples of her personal success and satisfaction in following this approach. Here are just some of the many takeaways from this book, which I strongly recommend:
Name Your Ingredients
The life-changing event for David Batstone was reading a news story that two women were found dead in their apartment from a broken heating vent that leaked carbon monoxide into it. That's how he learned that the landlord for their building, the owner of his favorite restaurant, was, in fact a major human trafficker. Horrified, and a curious man by nature, he spent a year studying human trafficking then launched Not For Sale, a non-profit to stop it. By founding it, he was able to incorporate many of his personal "ingredients" as an investor, business person and journalist. "My worlds were very separate. Until Not For Sale, I lived a siloed existence. I never saw my multiple interests as a problem. I saw the threads to my story. It was a natural, logical quilt. Not For Sale was the first time I could bring all my worlds together," he told Slim.
Hint: As you identify your most valuable assets, which Slim dubs ingredients -- "skills, strengths, experiences, identity and knowledge" -- you are more likely to be pulled into a work life that integrates more of them. A complementary way to identify them is to recognize what Marcus Buckingham calls "your stronger moments".
Create A "Hook" On Which Others Can Participate
In addition to the many ways Slim suggests you can benefit from your disparate ingredients, Frans Johansson, The Click Moment, suggests you look for the serendipitous moments when things gel in your using those assets. He also advocate your creating a "hook" on which potential allies can hang their support, including providing relevant resources to grow your movement, as Not For Sale is doing. This same approach can work for growing your business as Toms Shoes recently did by "turning a company into a movement" -- creating a "marketplace" for other companies that also commit to donating one product for every product sold.
Taking this approach you are creating a vividly concrete "purposeful narrative" in which others see a role they are want to play in your story, suggests Tell To Win author, Peter Guber. They are moved to add to "our" story, reshaping and sharing it with others. In so doing, they can support, expand and spread your body of work.
Create a Virtuous Circle By Spotlighting Others Who Contribute to Your Body of Work
One of Slim's early hooks was her blog which pulled in diverse friends and allies including Guy Kawasaki, Bob Sutton, Garr Reynolds, Kathy Sierra and Seth Godin - all cited in her book along with a legion of others where she positively and specifically describes exactly how they helped her grow her body of work, thus furthering a virtuous circle of shared learning, appreciation and visibility. That's a priceless way to build a shared living legacy for a flourishing life with others.
Pamela's closing story hits an inspirational high point. In writing her book, she came to realize that the way her father led his life as a productive contributor, following his passions and diligently using his best talents with and for others was, in fact, a blueprint for how she, too, thrives by growing her body of work.