In the animated feature film Rise of the Guardians, Santa Claus talks to Jack Frost about his center or what he was born to do. He does this using a Russian nesting doll version of himself. As he takes apart the doll, Santa describes various characteristics that others probably see in him: jolly, mysterious, fearless, and caring, until he finally gets to smallest doll. It has big eyes, open in wonder. Santa explains that this is his center and that keeping wonder in the lives of children is his life’s work.
This scene is a good way to think about the concepts in Pamela Slim’s fantastic new book, Body of Work. She is a genius at helping people find their center and then supporting them as they create whatever is needed to do the work they were meant to do. In her book, a Body of Work is the evolution of that 20th century concept known as the Career.
This broader view recognizes the role our roots play in our work and also recognizes that both ups and downs are of value in the bigger story. Even time not working in a formal, paying job contributes to our body of work. This framework helps us make sense and find the meaning of what we are doing, even in a world of constant change and occasional employment uncertainty.
Because people are much more complex than a nesting doll, the process Slim describes is involved, requiring a certain amount of introspection. It includes a look at values, strengths, skills, experiences and more as the ingredients that combine to create a body of work. She also shares her wisdom on how to execute your life’s work including chapters on fear, collaboration, and defining success. This book is a detailed and beautiful guide for examining and understanding your body of work, full of stories, insights, exercises, and how to’s.
Helping people figure out their center and their next steps is some of the most exciting work I do as well and I am very proud to be certified in Pamela Slim and Michele Woodward’s Career Invention process.
If you were to take apart a nesting doll of yourself, do you know what you would find at the center?
Would love to hear about your body of work.