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Do the Work by Steven Pressfield

Do The Work 400 "A work-in-progress generates its own energy field. You, the artist or entrepreneur, are pouring love into the work; you are suffusing it with passion and intention and hope. This is serious juju. The universe responds to this. It has no choice..." -- From Do the Work

I've you've read Seth Godin's Poke the Box, or even Pressfield's The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, you're pretty much getting the same stuff in Do the Work.

It's good stuff, mind you...very inspirational. It will get your off your butt if you're slacking and not "making it so". Here are some gems illustrating the type of motivation you'll find in Do the Work:

"A home-run swing that results in a strikeout is better than a successful bunt or even a line-drive single."

"Ignorance and arrogance are the artist and entrepreneur's indispensable allies."

"A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It's only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate."

"Don't think. Act. We can always revise and revisit once we've acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act."

However, if you're an Intiator like me--someone who's ballsy, passionate, innovative and productive--you may need something a little deeper. For example, here's a phrase from the book that echoes some of what Seth asserts: "Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it."

When Seth, or Pressfield, start getting into "soul's evolution", that's when it all breaks down for me. You see, I'm a Mind/Body/Spirit author and expert, and the quest (and discovery) of meaning is one of my passions--especially helping others find it. For me, the world view above had steered me to much frustration, disappointment and even heartache.

Poke large Or, rather, the lack of specificity as to what determines "importance" or "call to action". Now, I'm not being picky here, honest. It's just that I've discovered that The Resistance often disguises itself as a "creative mandate", a "productive should" or a "thing I must do".

Just because you feel an urge, even an obsession, doesn't mean it's your "soul" (or even a "calling" to expand your soul's parameters). Why? Because The Resistance often hides itself in the goals, brass rings and expectations of others--tribe, country, family, religion, cultural mores, "the factory", etc.

That's The Resistance, not the soul. And gauging importance doesn't necessarily come from a sense of urgency as much as a niggling sensation that won't go away. It's what we daydream about. What makes us excited. What makes us wonder, "What if...?"

And that kind of soul-nourishing fun doesn't necessarily breed The Resistance or fear (though, admittedly, it can...especially if you're not used to taking risks or care too much about what others think).

This distinction matters to me as an Initiator, because I often have many opportunities to "Do the Work"; my challenge is to pick only a few so I don't get burned out. So advice like "do it, do it, do it...push through" are worse than just counterproductive for me, personally.

So with that caveat, if you enjoy Steven Pressfield's work, or Seth Godin's, then by all means get Do the Work. You'll likely feel a shot in the arm that comes from someone "understanding" you, or cheering you on to Initiate, Risk, Act and Produce. It's not an entirely balanced approach to life, but it's a bold one...one that the world can certainly use more of, that's for sure!

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)

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