Have you ever been so engrossed in an activity that you lost track of time? Your work was so absorbing that the obstacles simply melted before you? This is when you have flow or you are in the zone. I most often feel this way when I am working at my lathe or preparing a blog post. At the lathe, I just know what I want to make and even if things aren’t going perfectly I’m able to make adjustments. It’s fun and the time flies by. When I’m writing, flow is when the words fly off of my fingers and they have a hard time keeping up with my thoughts.
Born for This, by Chris Guillebeau, helps you to find the work that gives you flow. Flow is one leg of the career stool that is often overlooked. You want to enjoy what you do, and you want to make money as well. Flow is the focus that adds energy to the mix. Joy, money, and flow are the foundation of Born for This.
This isn’t about identifying which career you are suited for because you have the same traits and abilities as others in the same field. This is also not a generic do these three things to advance your career. The goal of this book is to assist you in finding out what you were born for. There is only one you, and only you can figure this out for yourself.
So this book isn’t about a specific formula or set of guidelines to help you achieve your career or personal goals. It helps you to focus on yourself; your life, your goals, and your ambitions. It does not compare you to anyone else but just you. So it is very much a method of self-discovery. What are you doing that gives you joy, money, and flow? This is where you want to focus your life.
When I was growing up my parents wanted me to do something that I liked doing. Money was considered a foundation, that is, you had to have a job at the end. Joy was part of it, in that you would like what you do. Flow wasn’t even looked at. Both of my parents went through the great depression and having a job that provided for you was the key point. Now our economy is so varied you can select a job that you like and figure out how to get to that position.
No one wants to go to a job that does not bring them joy in some way. With some jobs, you had to work hard to find the sweet spot in your job. Those who do not have joy travel through their days looking forward to the weekend, vacations, and finally retirement. If you are in this situation then you might look for joy and flow in the activities outside of work. Now if you could turn the stuff you like to do away from work into a way to make money as well ….
Again these are the activities that you get lost in. For my Mom and Dad if that happened at work then it was a definite bonus. For my Dad it was bricklaying. While it wasn’t his only job it was something he got to do occasionally. You could see the difference in his attitude when work included bricklaying.
To emphasize the need for all three parts Chris looks at what you get if you only have two out of the three. If you have joy and flow (no money) then you would be a starving artist. If you have flow and money (no joy) then you have success without purpose. Finally, joy and money (no flow) leave you with unfulfilled potential. Born for This is really good at bringing all three-part together.
Now Chris is a realist and knows that you are not always going to have all three or even all three in balance. The goal is to realize what would each part look like for you and then head in that direction.
Along the way, Chris shares his take on typical career wisdom. Let’s take a moment to look at a couple of these.
Winners never quit
I think the purpose for this (heard lots when I was growing up) was to help me persevere when the task seemed too challenging. It has also been applied to striving for goals and excellence until you achieve success. The danger is in not quitting poor tactics to achieve your strategy. If what you are doing is not moving you toward your goals then you have no reason to strive for success. You win when you realize you are spinning your wheels and you need to try a different approach. Winners never quit trying to win, but they change their tactics to find out what works.
You need to pick a career
When I was taking my first sociology class in college the professor stressed to the class that they would have to be open to changing careers. At this point, he had had 7 different careers. I thought he was wrong at the time. My dad had worked very well for one company for 35 odd years, thank you very much! I was headed down that pick your career young path for sure. Within two years I was at a different school on a different track! Over my life, I’ve had several significant changes in my “career”. However, the reality is that my skills and abilities were the basis for what I was doing not the “career” that I was following.
That realization opened my eyes to explore opportunities well beyond my initial career expectations. So Chris has a lot of exercises and questions to open up your horizons and see different ways of achieving your career goals. He presents ideas that encourage you to redesign your current job, try a side hustle, or even go for a new full-time career.
In Born for This, he’s not telling you which one to choose but to consider all of the options. If you want to take small steps like creating a small side hustle to bring in some extra money (from something you like doing of course) then he gives you lots of ideas. If you are looking at making bigger changes then he tells you how to go about that as well. This is a great book to consider what you are doing and will it increase the flow, joy, and money in your life.
I give it a rating of five out of five. It opens your eyes and helps you to see your career from a different perspective. There are lots of great ideas to increase the joy, money, and flow of your career. I highly recommend that you purchase and read Born for This.
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Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.