June 8, 2005
News & Opinion: BOOK REVIEW: What Is Your Life's Work (#4)
According to over 40 Gallup studies, about 75% of us are disengaged from our jobs.
According to the most recent U.S. Job Retention Survey, 75% of all employees are now searching for new employment opportunities.
The New American Dream Survey found that more than four out of every five of us (83%) wish we had more of what really matters in life.
Work is not just an eight-hour interruption in our day. Most of us will spend most of our adult lives and most of our waking hours focused on our jobs.
Scary facts. All too true.
It is against this premise that author Bill Jensen sets out his plan for encouraging us to take action and engage in a process of figuring out what is most important in our lives so we can then work to connect it to a plan that will give your work and, therefore, your life more meaning and purpose.
Rather than ramble on for 200+ pages to prove his point, Jensen proves his premise through actual letters he has collected from those that have taken up his challenge to get outside of their daily reality and look at their life in a different way. By working through a writing process where they either write a letter to someone important to them or a simple journal style entry creates letters that are personal, touching and inspirational.
Everything from dealing with trauma, fear and courage to leadership, priorities and focus are covered in these letters.
The letters are divided into five sections: Finding yourself, finding the lessons to be learned/questions to be asked, finding the choices that really matter, finding the courage to choose and finding joy serenity and fulfillment.
While Jensen encourages readers to not read the book from front to back, I found the sections applicable enough to read them straight through. Unfortunately, taking this incorrect path left me wading through many letters that, although touching, did not connect to what is important to me and decreased the impact, flow and power of the book. If you can try to break out of the cover to cover standard and use the tools provided to personalize the content, you will find it a far more enjoyable read.
After reading the first chapter I suggest you do not copy my mistake. Follow the books suggestion to jump directly to the Quick Search Index that begins on page 223. This approach then allowed me to create a list of letters that focused on the specific messages that had the most meaning and impact for me.
Most importantly, the book concludes with detailed instructions on how to take action and begin the process of writing your own letter or journal entry that will serve as a tool to help you break out of your personal rut and create a space where you can unlock what is meaningful for your work, your family and your life.
If you are one of the 75% that are unhappy in your work and want to know that a) you are not alone b) want to learn what others in your situation have done to break out of the rut and c) follow a plan to create an opening for you to find your own personal solution then this book will offer you a path to take action.
If this topic is of particular interest, I would also recommend Po Bronsons What Should I Do With My Life?
- Howard Mann
Howard is the President of DIG Business Design - DIG helps Entrepreneurs move their businesses to the next level with Truth, Creativity & Power www.digbusiness.com
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.