We all have something keeping us from becoming our most fulfilled selves, claims cognitive psychologist and coach Amanda Crowell. Here, she explores how to discover one’s own “Great Work,” and then achieve it.
The author defines “Great Work” as that which matters most to someone. “[I]t might very well feel like your ‘reason for being on the planet’.”
She suggests those unsure of their own “Great Work” take 30 minutes to flip through magazines, ripping out pictures of things that spark interest. Then “take the images you’ve amassed and look at them. What do you notice? What desire is staring back at you? What Great Work do you see between the lines?” Once your “Great Work” has been identified, Crowell outlines how to realize it, a little at a time.
Crowell posits that working harder won’t necessarily bring success. Juggling too many projects, working until exhausted, and putting off pleasurable activities only leads to burnout. She cites a law firm associate who was so determined to prove himself that he remained at work two days straight, sleeping on his office couch when he couldn’t stay awake. On the third day, utterly spent, he went home, to discover he’d left the water running in the bathroom sink. It had overflowed, ruining the bedroom carpet. Worse, he then received a call from one of the firm’s partners, telling him he’d made an error in his work.
She advises readers to step back, take a breather, perform some tasks at “B- level,” (good enough, but not flawless) and tend to one’s physical and emotional needs.
Written clearly, with easy-to-understand diagrams, the book presents copious information in a lively, conversational tone. Unfortunately, Crowell’s ideas have all been covered elsewhere, including Stephen R. Covey’s classic The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Rory Vaden’s Procrastinate on Purpose.
Nonetheless, for the uninitiated, Great Work is a practical guidebook that anyone longing for a more rewarding life will likely find useful.