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Being PresentEncouragement

The Art of Work: A Book Review

By April 9, 2015June 24th, 20193 Comments

Are you sitting on the floor changing the 14th diaper of the day?

Perhaps you are staring out the window of your office wondering when the day will end.

Or maybe you’re listening to another speech by another successful person about how they “just knew” this is what they were supposed to be doing and all you need to do is find your calling.


Mysterious? Important? Buzz word?

Maybe what you really want to know is why you are here and does your life make a difference.

That’s what I want to know.

Legacy. Calling. Are they interchangeable? Or does calling precede legacy? Does it matter? And how does work fit into this?

As a young mom, I wasn’t really thinking about either of these two words. My reality was trying to keep up with the demands of three young children five and under; to stay current with paying our bills, laundry, meal planning, cleaning, and being a wife to my sweet husband.

My calling at the time was to be the best wife and mom I could be, to learn and grow and become better at the things that were right before me; to make a difference in my sphere of influence.

Jeff Goinsbook, in his book, The Art of Work, says “A calling isn’t something new and shiny. Often it’s something old and predictable, a familiar face that’s easily taken for granted, an old habit or hobby that comes back into our lives. It’s our true self shared with the world.”

Reading this book was encouraging. For many years I’ve struggled with making a difference. I’ve felt guilty because I didn’t know my “calling”. Recently my thoughts have turned more toward what my legacy will be—what will people remember about me when I am gone.

In the beginning of this book, Jeff Goins addresses that question. “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.”

He encourages us to listen to our lives, to look at the threads woven through our experiences, to dream, and to take a step today toward that dream. And, to understand that your calling isn’t a one-time event; it can, and often, will pivot at certain times. We need to be willing to make the pivot.

“…your calling isn’t a single event in your life; it’s the whole body of work you make—including your job, your relationships, and the legacy you leave behind…Ultimately, we are called to call others; we are given gifts to be given away.”

Your calling and my calling isn’t just for personal benefit. We are each here to make a difference in our world through meaningful work and becoming ourselves.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”     ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

To live a life that makes a difference is to live a life full of awareness. And, if you and I are cultivating a fully present life, we see the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of each day. We are creating our “magnum opus” each day that we confront our fears and choose to take the next step on the journey.

The question for me today is “Am I willing to build the next step on the bridge to making my dream a reality?”

Each one of us is given the opportunity to make a difference. It isn’t about success. “Your life, when lived well, becomes your calling—your magnum opus.”

Thanks, Jeff.

Disclaimer: This is a personal review. I’ve received no compensation.

  • Kirsten D Samuel

    I empower Christian wives to discover they are seen, loved, and heard. These women find the freedom to be who they are beyond their partner’s struggles, and find hope that there is a life worth living.

    View all posts


  • great article!! i wanted to LIKE it but it requests my WordPress sign on. tried one. no dice. is there anyway to remove that hurdle for people? what if they don’t have a WP sign on?

    so proud of you breathing fresh air into a smoggy world.

    xoxoxo sara

    Sara Plott

    • Sara,

      I appreciate your feedback and absolutely want to make it easy to like or comment for all who read my blog. I’ve updated the comment requirements. Please let me know if you are now able to LIKE the page without signing in.

  • Anonymous says:

    Kirsten, thank you for your words and honesty and vulnerability – thank you!!!