Book Review: 48 Days to the Work You Love

Do you love your job? Are you amazing, as in uniquely talented to the point that it appears effortless, at what you do each day?

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.”

– Leonardo da Vinci

Most of us aren’t lucky enough to land in our dream job right out of the gate. Even fewer find that their “dream job” was actually all it was cracked up to be. But you’re paying the bills, you’re comfortable, and you just got a 2% raise. It can be a slippery slope to 40+ years of mediocrity and sleepless Sunday nights.

I’ve been looking forward to giving away Dan Miller’s 48 Days to the Work You Love. Most of you who know me are aware that this book is what caused me to take the leap into starting my own business and writing a book.

The title is descriptive of the structure: Miller takes you through 48 days of perspective-changing and insight-oriented activities to help you discover your calling and transition to a career that is centered around your unique talents and passions. Some of the gems that impacted me:

What was I born to do? Too many of us make career decisions around average salary, projected demand, the college we got into, the degree we already have, the industry we stumbled into right out of college, and other pigeon-holing criteria. Better questions to ask, even if you are 50:

  • What do I really love to do?
  • What am I doing when time just flies by?
  • What are others always complimenting me on?
  • What are the recurring themes that I find myself drawn to?

The true risk of indecision is great. 70% of American workers report stress-related illnesses. The risk of a heart attack increases by 33% on Monday mornings. In fact, more people die on Monday morning than at any other time, although male suicides are highest on Sunday nights, before the workweek even gets started. If you put off your calling for someday, you will always be too busy with today. Act now.

Job vs. Career vs. Vocation. Most of us refer to our work as a job, which is defined as “a task, chore or duty.” Layer on one of the definitions of career, “to run or move at full speed, rush wildly,” and you have an interesting perspective of what many of us endearingly refer to as the daily grind. In contrast, a vocation is “what you’re doing in life that makes a difference and builds meaning for you.” It incorporates your calling and purpose.

The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is, on the contrary, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else – we are the busiest people in the world.”

– Eric Hoffer

Challenge your beliefs. In 1954 Roger Bannister ran a mile in under 4 minutes, the first in recorded history. Doctors had said that not only was this feat impossible, the human heart would explode under such exertion. An Australian repeated the impossible 6 weeks later and, a year after that, 8 college runners at the same track meet sealed the impossible as very possible after all.

Often times our own beliefs, reinforced by the projections and fears of others, keep us from acting. What is the worst that could really happen if you threw out all of those old messages and took life by the horns?

Start off on the right foot. Do you spend your first hour hitting the snooze button, rushing around, pounding coffee, and then cursing at other drivers as you attempt to speed to work in gridlock? A logical recipe for a bad day, why not start here and immediately improve the quality of your life? Miller aptly cautions, “Be very careful how you start your morning. You are planting the seeds for what the day will hold.”

Exercise as more than torture for the sake of a swimsuit. This was the single most valuable piece of advice that I took from 48 Days: Walk. Everyday. Do not become stagnant physically and you will not become stagnant mentally or emotionally. Additionally, Miller points out that “…physical exercise is a cleansing process that can dramatically increase your creativity.” Creativity is often underrated, but it is much higher on the list of necessary ingredients for a fulfilling life than you realize. It is the yeast that causes the rest of the ingredients to become a hot, fluffy loaf of bread.

Giveaway! Enter to win 48 Days to the Work You Love in two easy steps:

1) Become an email subscriber if you aren’t already. You can subscribe here.

2) Share what you would do for work each day, if you could do anything, as a comment on this post. Be sure to identify yourself (rather than commenting anonymously) so that I can get in touch if you win!

The most thoughtful comment by a subscriber by the end of the day Monday wins!

Contest is limited to addresses in the United States, including APO/FPO addresses with US Zip Codes. [post_ender]
  1. It is incredible how much more opportunity there is now to turn our passions and talents into income, and yet we continue to internalize old messages – the poor writer, the starving artist…

  2. I would get paid to interview people and listen to their unique stories while recording their narratives on video and eventually create an interesting video biography of their lives.

  3. I would read. All. Day. Long. Should have been an editor or agent. Funny how I automatically assumed that reading couldn’t be monetized when I was making those career decisions so long ago.

  4. Hmmm…I would have a ranch where I spent the day growing my food with a huge garden, orchard, and a bunch of animals.

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