Cat Talk with Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins, a dear friend, was kind enough to take time out of his busy day writing, making guacamole and walking his dog Lyric, to answer a few questions about his latest book, The Art of Work.

POOH

Jeff, “The Art of Work” is a different from your previous books, “Wrecked” and “The In-Between,” where you wrote about experiences from your own life. Why the departure from your previous format in “The Art of Work,” where you interview other people?

JEFF

I wanted to write a book built on principles, not just my personality. But something fun happened as a result of doing this. Telling other people’s stories helped me understand my own story better.

Cat Talk, "The Art of Work"

POOH

Taking cat naps in a sunbeam is an art. How can work be an art?

JEFF

Work is an art when you don’t just follow a set of guidelines but choose to see your life, and vocation, as a canvas on which you get to create something beautiful. In other words, finding your life’s work will be more art than science. It will take tenacity and courage, but also creativity and grace.

POOH

What do you mean Jeff by the sub-title of the book: a proven path to discovering what you were meant to do? Are you saying there is only one job we are meant to have?

JEFF

I actually think your calling won’t be a job. It’s not only what you do; it’s who you are. And in that respect, we never stop realizing our calling until we breathe our last breath. The idea of it being a proven path is based on the research I did, both in interviewing everyday, extraordinary individuals, and in reading countless biographies of people who have led interesting lives. This isn’t just a bunch of ideas; it’s the path towards what a life of impact looks like.

POOH

Did I make a mistake Jeff? Was I suppose to be a mouse hunter and not a writer?

JEFF

Why can’t you do both, Pooh? I think we all need to be organizing our lives more as artists, and by that I mean we should think of what we do as a portfolio. The best writers live portfolio lives. In my case, I’m not just a writer; I’m also a father, a husband, an entrepreneur (and some might argue the world’s foremost expert on guacamole).

POOH

I am so curious. Curious as a cat, to know how you apply the ideas in your book to your own life Jeff.

JEFF

One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about is the idea of legacy, that your great work might, in fact, be a body of work. And that you could spend your whole life creating it. If that’s true, then I should be spending much of my time building something that is bigger than me, that will be around long after I’m gone. And the way that I get started with that now, I think, is by investing in relationships, in doing everything I can to encourage people to find their calling and live the life they were born to live. Practically, that means I am trying to make more room for connecting with people, realizing that the work I do isn’t just about me.

Cat Talk, "The Art of Work."

 

POOH

You are a good friend Jeff and you do a great job encouraging humans, and cats. Now tell me Jeff, what is the best part about “The Art of Work?”

JEFF

I like the Appendix. If you’re averse to reading 200+-page books, it might be right up your alley. Within a page or two, you can basically get the whole synopsis of the book. Think of it like a cheat sheet for busy people.

POOH

Jeff, is there anything I didn’t ask that you would to share about your latest work?

JEFF

Only this: I don’t think people are being honest about this process of find your dream (or calling or purpose or whatever word you use). To me, it is a complicated, messy, sometimes difficult process. And when we say it’s easy or “you just know,” I think we do this process a disservice. It can be hard and confusing, and you may always be questioning yourself, but it will also be worth the struggle. That’s what I discovered about becoming a writer. It was nothing like what people told me. It wasn’t what I expected. But in a way, it was better.

POOH

And Jeff, on a lighter note, why do you have a dog and not a cat? Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and Edgar Allan Poe all had cats.

JEFF

You know, my son loves chasing the neighborhood cats. So maybe you’re on to something there.

POOH

Oh dear Jeff. Perhaps your son needs a cat to manage his life. I can contact my cat friends in Tennessee to see if anyone is available.

Thank you Jeff, it has been a pleasure talking with you on Cat Talk on The Write Practice. You may not have a cat to manage your life, but you do know how to help people manage their own lives. I give this book five mice. Why give stars when you can give mice? The Art of Work entertains and instructs.

To find out more about Jeff’s book you can read about it here artofworkbook.com  The book releases on March 24th, 2015. A day to celebrate. I wonder if Jeff will have a party? I hope he serves mice.

Connect with Jeff on his blog or catch him tweeting on twitter. I wish I lived in Tennessee so I could go for a walk with Jeff and his dog Lyric. I might even try his guacamole.

I am dictating the interview to my typist.

I am dictating the interview to my typist.

PRACTICE

For practice today write about a significant event in your life. This is part of an exercise from Jeff’s book, The Art of Work, to help you discover what you were meant to do. Thinking about your significant life moments will help you bring clarity to your life.

Write for fifteen minutes then share your story here in the comments section. I am excited to read your stories and get to know you better. I love to make new friends.

Please be kind and read someone else’s story and make a comment. We, as writers, can encourage each another to find out who we were meant to be.

All my best,
xo
Love Pooh

Cat Talk