The Art of Work Book Review

the art of work

This month I read The Art of Work by Jeff Goins.

I’ve been following Jeff’s blog since I started blogging myself back in 2012. I’ve always loved his style of writing and the content he produces. It isn’t only helpful, but also very inspiring. His newest book is very helpful and inspiring, too.

The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do tells us that we are meant to do more than just a job, or career, that we are meant to to follow a passion-fueled calling. And that fnding and following your calling will make your life far more exciting, more adventurous, and in the end it will most likely leave a positive mark on the world.

Goins leads the reader through seven steps involved in not only discovering our calling, but living it, too. Those steps include: awareness, apprenticeship, practice, discovery, profession, mastery and legacy.

“A calling is what you have when you look back at your life and make sense of what it’s been trying to teach you all along.”

I love that Goins includes many different real life stories from people he’s interviewed. Each story is different, different people who do different things, but all of them are examples of people who found out what their calling is and how they decided to go about making that into a reality.

“What it takes to become great at your craft is practice, but not just any kind of practice – the kind that hurts, that stretches and grows you.”

His advice is honest, without any of that fluff that simply makes you believe anything is possible. No, Goins doesn’t get your hopes up only for you to discover it’s not that simple. He constantly reminds the reader that following your true calling can be difficult, and that sometimes you get it wrong and have to move on to something different, and that’s okay.

He also lets us know that it can be a lot of work, a lot of trial and error, and that you can’t just sit idly by waiting for your dreams to come true.

“Dreams are powerful. They are fuel for change. But by themselves they do no good. Hanging out in coffee shops and talking about one day being a writer or an activist or an entrepreneur is just about the worst thing you can do.”

I know for a fact that I have fallen victim to that exactly; I have often talked the talk without walking the walk.

“So what do you do? Stop talking and start doing.”

But my favourite chapter is chapter six, The Portfolio Life.

“Your calling is not just one thing: it’s a few things. The trick is to not be a jack-of-all trades but to become a master of some.”

For a long time I have been having this feeling that although I desperately want to be a writer, it’s not the only thing I want to do. And I kept thinking that I had to choose one thing or the other, that I couldn’t do three things, or four; I couldn’t be a writer and an artist, or a photography and a coach. I had to pick one thing and stick to it. I now realize that’s completely untrue. Although I do plan on dedicating most of my time and energy towards becoming a better writer, I know I will still have time and energy left for my other passions.

Then, Goins also reminded me that not only that I can do more than one thing, but I should.

“The basic idea of a portfolio life is that instead of thinking of your work as a monolithic activity, what if you chose to see it as the complex group of interests, passions, and activities it is? And what if instead of identifying with a job description, you began to see the whole mass of things you do as one portfolio of activity?”

Overall, I really enjoyed The Art of Work. It’s one of those books I am ecstatic to have on my bookshelf and will refer back to time and time again.

Have you read The Art of Work? If you did, did you like it? And if not, will you now?



When Your Daily Routine Needs an Overhaul


My daily routine is a huge disaster.

It’s an unscheduled, messy, lazy and very unproductive routine of waking up late, drinking too much coffee and spending my time either writing and watching TV, or playing with Sidney. At least until I have to make dinner, at which point I finally do a bit of cleaning while also cooking to make my home presentable when Nick gets home. After we eat in the living room, because the kitchen is too hot, Sid goes off on her own and Nick and I talk about our days. After Sidney goes to bed I watch TV for way too many hours (from like 9:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m.) and binge eat leftovers and junk food.

Cleeeearly my daily routine needs an overhaul.

This isn’t how I want to live my life, but it’s a comfortable routine without much structure and that makes it easy to maintain. It also makes it difficult to get any real work done, or make healthy choices.

In an ideal world, I would get up early to do yoga and write. I would eat a healthy breakfast after showering and getting dressed. My day would be spent working on projects (or going to school) and my evenings would be spent with my husband and daughter, either working on our home or enjoying our shared interests. I’d limit my TV time to less than two hours a day and be in bed no later than 10 p.m.

So how do I make that happen?

Well, first, I’d have to wake the f*ck up.

I would wake up between 6 and 7 a.m. rather than roll out of bed after 10. My alarm would go off, and I’d jump out of bed without pressing snooze a bazillion times. I don’t know how to make this happen, because I’ve tried all the tricks; my body just simply refuses to do what my brain is telling it. It’s very frustrating.

So, I guess, I just have to make myself do it. Somehow, my body will have to just listen to my brain. And to be honest, I’m not too good at making myself do things I don’t want to do, but obviously I have to change that. So I will try, starting tomorrow morning.

Then I have to stretch my body and my mind.

Because when I used to do yoga and meditation first thing in the morning my days went better. I wasn’t stiff or lethargic like I have been lately. Yoga and meditation wake me up like nothing else has and it’s a great way to get the day going. Also, drink lemon water right afterwards because it’s so awesomely good. Seriously.

Shower and dress for success.

I have a habit of not putting any effort into the way I look unless I’m going somewhere. The problem with this, is that it makes me feel like a grub, therefore I behave like a grub. And who wants to behave like a grub?! But when I take the time to get cleaned up and make myself look purdy first thing in the morning I feel like a million bucks and my day goes much more swimmingly.

Of course, a healthy breakfast is required.

Breakfast is one of those meals I can easily skip, and apparently a lot of other people can, too. But you shouldn’t! Because it’s good for you and I know this, yet it always feels like this big, time-consuming inconvenience and why bother when lunch is only a few hours away? I’ll tell you why: IT IS GOOD FOR YOU (do you hear yourself, Cole?). So in my new, ideal daily routine I eat breakfast every morning.

Get sh*t done!

And by this I mean, work my butt off because nothing will get written, no emails will get replied to or new products created unless I actually make myself do the work. And in September this means going to school and burying my head into my school work and acing those assignments and exams (and managing my business and blog in between classes). This, of course, is the one part of my routine I absolutely cannot bail on and it’s also the most fun.

But then, I have to stay productive.

It’s not enough to just show up and diddle-daddle the day away. When I’m at school, or working at home, I have to keep distractions like Facebook and Instagram far away from myself (and the Sims Freeplay…) so I can focus on the task at hand. This also means breaking my work into chunks: answer emails first thing in the morning for no more than half an hour, only spend one hour promoting and yadda yadda, you know the drill. Social time and play time come later.

And after the work or school day is done, I’ll tidy my home and prepare food.

Because apparently I hate cleaning and I hate cooking, but it’s this never-ending thing I just have to keep doing day after day after day. But if I spend an hour or two in the evening prepping food and cleaning my home, it’s all done and it’s out of the way, and I can spend the rest of my day relaxing.

But do I relax? Not yet, because I need a social life and maybe I should workout.

During my ideal day I would spend my evenings after dinner playing with my kiddo (board games anyone?), or going out for an hour, or visiting a friend. Maybe I even join a gym and work my bod’ for an hour? Maybe.

And finally, now I can relax.

After I force that kid of mine into the bath, and make her brush her teeth, she’ll go to bed and I’ll have an hour or two to catch up on my favourite TV shows and check through my day planner for the next super awesome, clearly organized and productive day ahead of me. After all, I just made it through my wicked daily routine overhaul.

Yes, that is how I would like to spend my day. So, let’s give it a try tomorrow and I’ll let you know how that works out!

What would your ideal day look like?


Why You Should Share Too Much Information




Over the weekend Nick, Sid and I attended our friends’ wedding.

It was a lovely ceremony and reception, and our first wedding attendance as a family. Then, around 10:00 p.m. my other friends took Sidney with them for a sleepover so Nick and I could have a few drinks and stay later. I honestly can’t remember the last time I went out anywhere without my daughter in tow, so it was a nice surprise when they offered to babysit.

Towards the end of the night when everyone was winding down a bunch of the guests were sitting out back of the hall deciding what to do afterwards. We had bonded over beers and crazy dancing, and no body was quite ready to call it a night shortly after 12:00 a.m. Then, a young woman commented on my willingness to be so open about myself.

It wasn’t the first time I had someone say that to me. I’m starting to realize that perhaps they are right, I do share a lot about myself and my life with the world, both in writing and in-person (at least once you get to know me).

I’ve also realized that not everyone is like that. I myself wasn’t even like that until recently.

But there’s a reason I believe in being brutally honest, in not withholding too much information about yourself, and not being scared to lay it all out on the table, at least, once you feel safe doing so.

Honesty builds strong relationships.

In my own experience, I’ve noticed that when someone is honest about their life or something they’ve been through, it makes them seem more human, more real. They’re easier to talk to, to connect with, and that can build a true relationship. But if someone is closed off because they’re either scared of what you’ll think, or too embarrassed to admit something they’ve done, it almost makes it impossible to be friends with them.

I once had a friend (we were more like best friends) and she kept a huge part of her life secret from me. When we hung out we had a great time, but I eventually learned from other people that when we weren’t hanging out she had an entirely different group of friends, ex-boyfriends and experiences she never shared with me. We had been friends a long time and I couldn’t believe that my “best friend” had a secret life, one she was too scared to tell me about, let alone invite me to, and even lied about it. It wasn’t long after I found this out that our friendship slowly diminished until nothing was left. I felt heart broken and betrayed.

And it goes both ways. You, too, have to be open with your friends and family. I’m not saying you can’t have some secrets, we all have secrets, what I’m saying is this: you have to be honest with people if you ever want to build and maintain a strong relationship.

It can also help other people.

When you’re willing to share a personal story about yourself it helps other people who’ve been through something similar because they no longer feel alone.

For example, now that people are finally starting to talk about depression more openly, we learn that more people than we had realized suffer from depression and it makes them more comfortable to speak out and get the help they need. And this goes for everything from abuse or assault, to different mental illnesses, and more.

The more we are willing to talk about it, the less scared others will be to open up about it, too.

Talking openly helps you, too.

Being open about yourself and your life does wonders for you.

It shows the world you’re not embarrassed or ashamed of who you are and that opens you up to new relationships, new experiences and new opportunities that you will be totally into.

When I started my internship at the library for school they asked me if I wanted to make promotional videos. I lied and said I would enjoy that because I didn’t want them to think I wasn’t committed to my new role in their public outreach department. I wasn’t being honest with them, but after they took a look at my blog and the past work I’ve done they could tell I was more of a writer than a videographer. So I had to admit that no, no I didn’t like making videos, even though I know how. That embarrassing moment could have been spared if I was simply honest to them about who I am and what I enjoy. But, after I admitted I was wrong I was so happy I did because I no longer had to produce videos and could spend my time there writing.

And, of course, when you’re honest about who you really are, there’s no need to worry about people not liking you for you. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not because your friends, partner, even your boss, will already know who you are and what you’re all about, and chances are if they are your friend, your partner, or chose to hire you, and you were honest from the start, they already love you for you, and that’s a friggin’ amazing feeling.

So, are you an honest and open person?