the art of work jeff goins

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he Art of Work is the latest release from author Jeff Goins. Jeff is no stranger to the writing scene. A successful author, blogger, and model of the new portfolio lifestyle, he has successfully branded himself as the guy who can help you be who you are supposed to be.

And he’s done it again.

His latest book The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant To Do is climbing the charts and popping on best-seller lists everywhere. It’s not because the title resembles what’s left after Steven Pressfield battles Sun Tzu. Or because he offered his book to thousands of fans for just the cost of shipping. Or because the cover art re-kindles all the dreams you had when you were eight.

It’s because The Art of Work is awesome writing.

In The Art of Work, Jeff combines wisdom, experience, and storytelling into an inspiring medley of chapters, each one preparing you to take the step you’ve been avoiding—the one you know you should take, but can’t explain why you haven’t.

Jeff explains why. And then he explains how to get moving.

Jeff begins The Art of Work by paraphrasing Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl:

“Human beings, he argued, are not hardwired for seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. They want meaning. In spite of what we say, we don’t want happiness. It’s simply not enough to satisfy our deepest longings. We are looking for something more, something transcendent—a reason to be happy.” 1

This is how Jeff establishes the depth required for a discussion surrounding true fulfillment. While Jeff keeps religious undertones below the surface, the occasional reference to scripture, early discussion on a redemptive view of suffering, and choice of publisher (Nelson Books) reveal a Christian foundation for his worldview. Jeff does the imprint of Thomas Nelson justice, truly inspiring, informing, and invoking real change.

Later in The Art of Work, Jeff references what storytellers call the “inciting incident.” Every person, like a character in a story, must at some point make a choice to be more than a plot in someone else’s story. “This choice, though,” Jeff writes, “is always preceded by something deeper, a nagging feeling that there must be more.”2

And in his section titled “Apprentice to Master,” Jeff writes, “At the times when you feel stuck, the right thing to do is take a risk and go ‘all in’ with whatever the scariest option might be.”3

He writes about the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, and reminds you that “comfort never leads to excellence.”4

“Sometimes the only way to know the difference between a hobby and a calling is to put yourself through the crucible of painful practice.”5

Did somebody say crucible? Sign me up! I’m a firm believer in how author Michael Phillips describes a main component of Marine Corps theology in his book The Gift of Valor: glory is derived through suffering.

So, Jeff, you’re telling us the way to succeed is not to seek happiness, comfort, and pleasure, but to embrace fear and pain? I have so many people I would like you to talk to. Maybe they’ll get your book…

When Jeff tried to learn where the motivation comes from to take the leap (or build a bridge) toward a new you, one interviewee explained, “It starts with a spark. You get a vision of your future self.”6

Indeed, I have found this to be true. Maybe you have, too.

How does a calling happen, you might ask? Jeff answers in The Art of Work, “…not as a lightning bolt, but as a gentle, consistent prodding that won’t leave you alone until you act.”7

Yes, the nag. It hangs around for years. It won’t go away. In fact, I have it right now. And thanks to Jeff’s book, I’m not ignoring it any longer.

the art of work Jeff goinsYou know what Jeff’s not ignoring? The art of working on his image. Bangs that once lay flat are now standing at attention, demanding yours. Poised to pick a fight with Conan O’Brien, Jeff’s new do takes command, issuing marching orders you’ll gladly follow. Surf’s up, and Jeff is sporting the wave. And by the looks of things, he’ll be riding this one in. In other words, it works. Just like his book.

That’s the beauty of The Art of Work. He’s teaches you how to read the ocean, find the waves, and ride them in.

So go ahead. Begin discovering what you were meant to do.

You can start HERE.

1 Jeff Goins, The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant To Do (Nashville: Nelson Books, 2015), 10.

2 Ibid., 15.

3 Ibid., 52.

4 Ibid. 65.

5 Ibid., 69.

6 Ibid., 74-75.

7 Ibid., 95.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers or will assist them in establishing a coherent worldview. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

broad is the path one of the few

An excerpt from One of the FewClick here to receive updates on the release in November 2015!

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f you can manage not to get blown off the ship while navigating the crowded and dangerous flight deck while trying to find your jet, you’ve won half the battle. The landing pattern is different at night and allows for a straight-in approach with the aid of the automated carrier landing system. Similar to a civilian instrument landing system, the equipment provides course and glide slope information to get you to the ball at ¾ of a mile. With the use of coupled autopilot and auto-throttles, the F/A-18 is capable of landing itself on the carrier without pilot input if needed.

Beyond the greenish glow of the cockpit lighting was complete darkness. The sea joined the sky—the horizon cloaked by a moonless night. Looming in solitude was a single light marking the meatball’s position. The surrounding ship was invisible—no more matchbox planes, no more flight deck crew—just a small amber light amidst the gloom. I boltered several times after sending the ball up and off the lens by adding too much power.

It was after midnight, and I was the only Hornet left in the pattern. I only needed one more night trap to complete my qualification. “Bingo, Bingo,” came through the headset from the aural warning system. I checked my fuel and reset my bingo number for the established divert. If she squawked at me again, I would be heading back to shore for the night. I only had one more chance to catch a wire.

There I was, bingo on the ball, at night, alone and unafraid. Well, alone. I knew what was at stake. Aircraft carriers have been likened to floating cities. If I boltered again, this city of 5,000 would continue to float in place all day and all night so Lieutenant Ladd could get his last night trap (or so I thought—It’s possible the carrier had other objectives in addition to my carrier qualification).

I glanced down at my kneeboard and thought about checking my divert numbers. I reached halfway down and stopped. No. You’re not going to divert. You’re going to trap. I put my hand back on the throttle and breathed deeply through my oxygen mask. Floating cities and divert procedures would have to be compartmentalized for the next 60 seconds while I focused my attention on lineup, power, AOA, and the ball.

I called the ball at ¾ of a mile and started down on glide slope. I couldn’t bolter again, but bracketing low is the last thing you ever want do at the boat. How much time do you have to fix a low ball at night? The rest of your (short) life.

I had a slightly high ball and worked to chip it down. I pumped the throttles in short spurts being careful not to bring them back too far for too long. The ball crept down towards the datums and sunk one ball low. Easy . . . not too much. I jabbed a short burst of power to arrest the downward trend. Up the ball went. Get it back . . . don’t lose it now. I cut power in small chops lasting fractions of a second. I was over the ramp. Lineup was good. One second to touch down. I glanced one last time to the left to see the ball heading for the top of the lens . . .

Approach on the glidepath. For wide is the corridor and broad is the path that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the landing zone and narrow the path that leads to the 3-wire, and only a few find it.

I had earned the coveted Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, and after completing flight school, I earned wings of gold. But I was also searching for something else that could never be earned. I was landing a fighter jet on an aircraft carrier, but I didn’t know how to make sense of the world. I was seeking wisdom, purpose and some way to know what is true. I was seeking God. I had become a seeker.

 

strength in sacrifice one of the few

An excerpt from One of the FewClick here to receive updates on the release in November 2015!

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he Christian can boldly act in the face of death with an assurance not guaranteed by other worldviews: a promised inheritance of a perfect life hereafter. There is no compelling reason for me to leap from the parapets and charge the enemy foxhole knowing should I perish, I might return as a cockroach or a grub. Karma is a poor motivator for altruism. Neither could I find reason not to abandon my brother and save my own skin if this life is all we get. Posthumous justice for sacrificial heroism has no place in the mind of the Naturalist. Press…

buddhist based training

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his is my response to recently proposed Buddhist-based training in the Corps. While Christ is being involuntary separated from the Marines, the Buddha is expanding his sphere of influence in the military’s latest pilot project to address rising numbers of suicides and cases of PTSD. If Christ is retired as the military’s longest ranking spiritual mentor, he will be replaced by a new General, and the Buddha is looking to get his star. Press…

ratio christi harper collins pete nikolai

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oday I dropped some big announcements on my preorder campaign for One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview: Press…

An excerpt from One of the Few

I was running out of missiles and we already lost one fighter. We managed to hold back the first wave of enemy aircraft, but air intercept control (AIC) was already calling out more groups. There was no time to mourn for Dash-4; he made a tactical error and paid the price. Marine aviation is not unsafe, but it is unforgiving. We’d have to finish out the vul as a three-ship. Press…

blind faith

An excerpt from One of the Few

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins speaks of a dissatisfaction with atheism in the The Blind Watchmaker resulting from “inadequate explanations for the complexity of life prior to 1859 when Darwin’s Origin of Species was first published.” He states, “Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” But not everyone finds Darwin’s theory of evolution so all-encompassing. Christian apologist and author of What’s So Great About Christianity Dinesh D’Souza suggests that the design evident in both life and the universe is not an illusion, as Dawkins suggests, but the work of a Designer. Press…

the routine excerpt one of the few

An excerpt from One of the FewPre-order today, buy a book for the troops, and help me reach my funding goal by March 22nd!

My alarm buzzed at 6:00 p.m. Time to wake up. I rolled out of the bottom bunk and stood on the sand-filled carpet I purchased months earlier. The window air conditioning unit was on full blast to keep the small unit cool, and the scent of Downy blew from fabric softener sheets I placed inside the filter. I thought about caffeine and glanced at my burnt-out coffee pot.

The “cans” were our living spaces and ran on 220 volt electricity. Plugging in American devices required an adapter and step-down converter to reduce the voltage. The previous day, I tried to use the coffee pot I received in a care package from Karry. Shortly after hitting the on switch, the power in my can blew out. Using a flashlight, I reset the circuit breaker for the can. I had a spare fuse for the converter, but the coffee pot was toast. I grazed my face with an electric shaver in front of a small mirror hung on the wall, letting the stubble float down into and around the small wastebasket beneath.

I grabbed my toiletry kit and towel and headed for the showers in the adjacent trailer. The sun dipped below the horizon, and I shielded my eyes from sandy wind as I walked in my silkies, skivvies, and flip-flops to the shower area. Something was wrong with the water pressure. Great. Another water bottle shower.  I unscrewed the cap to the first bottle and stepped into the stall wondering what the night’s flight would bring. I poured the cold water over my head and quickly scrubbed my body to create warmth; a cold rinse-down was still luxury compared to a baby-wipe bath.

I threw on my tan flight suit and holstered my standard issue 9mm Beretta. Our squadron spaces were just across the road, and it was dark by the time I arrived. Since I was on the night page, most of my flights would begin and end in complete darkness. It also meant I had to sleep during the day. We kept our unnatural circadian rhythm in its groove with blacked-out windows and careful measures to avoid seeing the sun. It was somewhat vampire-esque—appropriate for a squadron known as the “Bats.”

(SUPPORT THE TROOPS and pre-order a copy of One of the Few to donate to a service member!)

*UPDATE: My initial pre-order campaign was a success with over 400 copies ordered! Thanks to everyone who helped support the campaign. Don’t worry, you’ll have another chance to order One of the Few as the publication date gets closer, currently set for November 2015.

Photo Credit: USMC / PD

whats this religion business

An excerpt from One of the FewPre-order today, buy a book for the troops, and help me reach my funding goal by March 22nd!

During a trip to Florida, I took a detour through the town of Clearwater, the Mecca of Scientology. After walking one lap around the deserted streets surrounding the Super Power Building, I had a clear case of the heeby-jeebies. Author Janet Reitman spent five years compiling information to write the most extensive, objective modern history of Scientology to date. She described L. Ron Hubbard, founder of one of the most litigious religious organization in the world, as “the Madame Blavatsky of 1950.”

Scientology is a religion whose Messiah offered not only healing, but mental and spiritual upgrades as well. Like a fantasy role playing game, you trade your currency for tools and experience in order to level-up. Science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard understood the power of manipulation and the profit in gullibility. The keepers of Scientology reportedly only share their secret theology with the elite (though it is readily available on the Internet), and most services come with a fee.

Later that year, I had the opportunity to speak with a Scientologist manning a small booth outside the local WalMart, sporting the trademark E-meter and stack of books. This individual, whom I’ll call Rod, became a Scientologist in the 1970s.

I spoke with him for about thirty minutes, asking honest questions, and divulging my Christian faith in the process. Rod was very proud of their state-of-the-art facilities. He bragged how people plan on coming in for ten minutes and stay there for five hours—even “forgetting to pick up little Suzie from school!” When I asked him what you had to believe to be a Scientologist and how it works, he replied, “It works because it works! It has nothing to do with belief. Scientology is beyond belief.”

I couldn’t argue with his last point.

He continued, “Anything negative you’ve heard about Scientology—just throw it out the window. The founder hasn’t made a dime off these books. Scientology is pan-denominational; you can choose whatever religion you want. Even if you have to set aside some of your religious convictions, it’s worth it because it works! It’s not a scam. It’s completely above the board. You can increase your IQ; and it can cure headaches, asthma, arthritis—pretty much anything ending in ‘-itis.”

I recalled Reitman’s expose on the organization’s complicated system of manufacturing, services, and licensing. It brought in loads of cash, and Hubbard bragged of his millions stashed in a Swiss bank account. Fortunately, you no longer have to take out a second mortgage to be let in on Scientology’s big secret. All you need is an internet connection or a book from one of the organization’s disgruntled former members.

It will come as no surprise that the religion founded by a science fiction writer contains a creation story via handwritten space opera on a single page. If you’re into aliens and spacecraft and volcanoes, you will find the story entertaining. I will spare the details and simply say that Scientology posits the existence of spiritual parasites attached to our bodies, and the goal of Scientology is to clear the body of those parasites. This should enable you to now do all the great things promised by the nice guy in the booth, or the cute girl in the bookstore.

When an evangelist explains Scientology as non-religious or pan-denominational, you should take it with a grain of salt. No, a whole pillar.

(SUPPORT THE TROOPS and pre-order a copy of One of the Few to donate to a service member!)

*UPDATE: My initial pre-order campaign was a success with over 400 copies ordered! Thanks to everyone who helped support the campaign. Don’t worry, you’ll have another chance to order One of the Few as the publication date gets closer, currently set for November 2015.

Photo credit:

officer candidate school

An excerpt from One of the FewPre-order today, buy a book for the troops, and help me reach my funding goal by March 22nd!

Day one began in a parking lot where a Sergeant Instructor assembled the new officer candidates. He instructed us to dump out our sea-bags for a contraband inspection. The list of prohibited items included weapons, electronics, non-prescription medications, alcohol. Alcohol? I began to sweat. I packed those alcohol wipes to clean the marker off my maps. Dang it! What about alcohol based pens? Do those count? How strict are they going to be? I’m already blowing it. Should I say something? Surely, they can’t mean wipes and pens. It’s going to be a long six weeks. I called myself out, not knowing whether to be more embarrassed about having contraband, or lacking the common sense to know that it was not contraband. Nothing came of it, and we received our next period of Marine Corps instruction.

Every day was similar. Get up early, PT (physical training), eat breakfast at the chow hall, attend classes, eat more chow, conduct field exercises, go to more classes, receive leadership training, eat chow, clean weapons, clean the squad bay, go to bed and repeat. Developing routines and habit patterns would serve me well; routines were crucial to succeeding in flight school, strengthening my faith, and being a father. Nearly every minute was spent under the instruction of two intense Sergeant Instructors and one Platoon Sergeant. Their job was to mold young officer candidates into Marines they would be proud to serve, but for six weeks, we could not stand them.

“Freeze, candidate, FREEZE!” At their command we froze like statues, no matter how awkward the position while they gave instructions or corrected a deficiency. When your life unravels, sometimes it is best to freeze and let a veteran help correct your shortcomings. Inspections during the summer were miserable. We stood at attention in the sweltering squad bay for an eternity. Sweat from my hand slid down the barrel of my immaculately cleaned M-16 and pooled onto the spit-shined floor. I fixed my thousand-yard stare at the candidate across from me, tried to empty my mind, and kept perfectly still.

A sergeant verbally ripped into someone else down the line. In those moments, a bit of humor goes a long way. Getting chewed out is a horrible feeling, but it can be quite funny when it is happening to someone else. A quivering lip on my opposing candidate broke my gaze, and then he cracked a smile. My bearing faltered. He snickered as the other poor guy was berated for poor hygiene and the improper execution of his weapon inspection. I gradually lost the ability to suppress the internal crescendo. Fearful of receiving my own face full of a barking Marine, I chopped it off with a quick nasal grunt.

My bearing had been challenged before. We conducted inspections during NROTC where new midshipmen provided plenty of humor. Laughter in the face of instruction, though, is the ultimate form of disrespect; I needed a technique to kill the giggles. My trick was to physically bite my tongue. An effective solution and undetectable by upper-classmen, inflicting pain was the only way to effectively squash the instinct to laugh out loud. Just before losing it in the squad bay, I chomped down hard until my body stopped trembling. The din of reproof and all associated humor was supplanted by the taste of pain. I relaxed my face, took a breath and waited for my turn. When the formation was finally dismissed, I looked down at the front sight post of my rifle: it was speckled with rust. Whether you are biting your tongue during an inspection, or holding it from speaking evil, you must control it. Otherwise, you may be next in line to receive the enemy’s wrath.

(SUPPORT THE TROOPS and pre-order a copy of One of the Few to donate to a service member!)

*UPDATE: My initial pre-order campaign was a success with over 400 copies ordered! Thanks to everyone who helped support the campaign. Don’t worry, you’ll have another chance to order One of the Few as the publication date gets closer, currently set for November 2015.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Kathryn Bynum