Dan Miller, a life coach, has written a book not about finding a new job, but about discovering what you are going to “be.” According to Miller, failing to make that fundamental discovery is why so many people find themselves in jobs they hate. His book is to help lead you to the vocation you will love.
Motivation for reading:
This book has been included on several must-read career book lists, but it wasn’t until Sarah Ingle mentioned it in her post things I wish I'd been told in college that I decided to read this book. She wrote:
I wish someone had made me read 48 Days To The Work You Love. I know I talk about this book all the time, but it was the first thing I ever read that actually helped point me in a direction. I think every college freshman or sophomore should be REQUIRED to read something like this before they waste thousands of dollars on classes that are useless and have no direction.If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed I’ve been feeling trapped in my career as an accounting manager for some time now. I’ve worked in accounting for 25 years and would like to do something more fulfilling in the next stage of my life. I was hoping this book would provide some insight.
This book is not a step-by-step how-to-guide to finding a new career in 48 days; instead it is a book filled with anecdotes and stories from Miller’s coaching practice, the bible and quotations from other books. Each chapter does end with a list of questions designed to get you thinking about your own life and its purpose. Overall, I thought the book was a bit repetitive. I would have preferred a more logically organized step-by-step book, but reading it was not an entire waste I came away with several invaluable insights. Here is a sampling:
Not only know yourself, but know what is changeless about you:
The power of knowing yourself acts as a compass through change. Popular writer Steven Covey says the only way we can handle change is to know what is changeless about ourselves. You need that changeless core, knowing how God has uniquely gifted you and what you value. With that knowledge you can forge through change with clear direction and unshakeable purpose. (Pg. 31)
On having action plans and setting goals:
A plan of action will separate you from 97% of the people you meet. Everyone has dreams, but very few ever turn those into goals. The difference between a dream and a goal is that a goal is a dream with a timeframe of action attached. (Pg. 48)
Only 8% of the general population can identify goals and only about 3% ever actually write them down. (Pg. 56)
Goals are not written in concrete terms but certainly give you a starting point and a destination. The important thing is you are working on your goals; your life has meaning only when you are working towards goals through with your achieve meaning. After all, success is the progressive realization of worthwhile goals. (Pg. 57)
Indecision is the greatest thief of opportunity:
A recent Harvard Business School Study asked, “What are the top characteristics of high achievers?” At the very top of the list, one characteristic stood out: speed of implementation – having the ability to act quickly. Eighty percent of decisions should be made immediately. (Pg. 55)
When confronted with a decision Dan and his wife allow a 2-week maximum for arriving at a decision. Here is their approach to the process:
1. State the problem
2. Get the advice and opinions of others
3. List alternatives
4. Choose the best alternative
Look for what you love first:
Looking for the best opportunities in career and jobs often leads to disillusionment and frustration. Look for what you love first. Then you will have the confidence and enthusiasm to find success in places others overlook. (Pg. 188)
I enjoyed the chapter on entrepreneurship. It contained one of the best “Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur questionnaire” I’ve seen. It is extensive – at 18 questions and does not include your typical are you a risk taker type question.
The chapter on interviewing pointed out how important it is to appear energetic and enthusiastic during the interview process.
I may not have determined what my next career will be, but I did gain valuable insights from reading this book. I recommend it to anyone just starting out or searching for a new vocation with this caveat - Miller writes this book from a Christian point of view. If this will bother you, you may want to skip this book.
What is the best career book you’ve ever read?
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