Book Review: Body of Work

Body of WorkEvery once in a while a book comes along that can change your life. Pamela Slim’s newest book, Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together is one of those books.

Whether you are just starting out at your first job, a corporate employee, or a successful entrepreneur, Body of Work introduces a framework and a roadmap to that will not only help you weave together your strengths, skills and experiences in a new way, but will help you tell a better story to the world.

Pam defines your body of work as, “everything you create, contribute, affect and impact. For individuals, it is the personal legacy you leave at the end of your life…For organizations, it is the products, property, inventions, ideas and value they share throughout the course of their existence.”

Through this lens, she broadens the scope of what create a rich, meaningful and impactful career and life. It means that it can include obvious things, like books, systems, designs, conferences, awards and processes. And not so obvious things, like love, compassion, philanthropy, movements and relationships.

Pam gives many examples of those with a deep commitment to a cause or problem that is bigger than any one job title or profession or business. For example, David Batstone’s commitment to end human trafficking with his nonprofit advocacy organization, Not For Sale, and Glenda Watson Hyatt, the Canadian writer and motivational speaker with cerebral palsy who writes with her left thumb.

The way that we work has changed dramatically in last few years – no longer does a college degree guarantee a plumb job position post-college. Today’s economy values agility, creativity and innovation more than ever. It’s increasingly important to be connected to what drives you and eloquently communicate your passions, strengths and skillsets in a cohesive way.

Pam Slim

Pam writes, “Focusing on building a body of work will give you more freedom and clarity to choose different work options throughout the course of your life, and you’ll be able to connect your diverse accomplishments, sell your story and continually reinvent and relaunch your brand.”

Throughout the book, Pam explores eight specific skills and steps involved in creating a Body of Work. They include:

1. Define you root: Which ideas drive you emotionally? Whom do you want to help? What specific changes do you want to create in the world?

2. Name your ingredients: What are your skills, strengths and ideas? Which life experiences make you unique, talented and capable?

3. Choose your work mode: What positions have you held in the past and how do you work best? Do you want to be an employee, entrepreneur or freelancer?

4. Create and innovate: What do you want to bring to life at this stage of your career?

5. Surf the fear: Define, understand and manage your fears and anxieties. They are a key part of any endeavor.

6. Form your team: Gather a specific group of peers, mentors and collaborators to help you reach your goals.

7. Define what success means to you: Identify specific, relevant and meaningful financial and personal goals.

8. Sell your story: Tie it all together to create a compelling story to convince potential employers, clients or partners why you are the perfect person for the mission.

Filled with examples and exercises to get the juices flowing, Body of Work is more workbook than book. Be prepared to pick up your pen, write and uncover some of your deepest beliefs, values, desires and dreams. Body of Work is meant to be more than read – it’s meant to be used, absorbed, practiced and shared.

Part cathartic, part academic, part gospel, this book will change your life. If you let it.

If you want to get clear about your meaningful career path and define success on your own terms, then pick up a copy of Body of Work today.

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