Review and thoughts on Born for this by Chris Guillebeau

I first learned about Chris Guillebeau from another one his of books called “The $100 startup” and then started to read a few more of his books such as “The Art of Non-Conformity” and “The Happiness of Pursuit”. When he published Born for this, it was almost an automatic buy not just because of the author but also because of the subject and tagline “How to find the work you were meant to do”.

It’s not that I’m unhappy at work, but ever since I started publishing books, driving for Uber, creating Udemy courses, recording audiobooks and doing other things on the side, I’ve been trying to hustle a bit more to figure out what passive income and side businesses I can get going and I think this book really gave me a few awesome ideas which I hope to implement in the near future.

Here are some of the key takeaways that I got from the book (after reading it through a second time):

  • Use the Joy-Money-Flow framework to guide your career – when you only get two out of the three things, you will be missing something crucial (missing joy – you’re not going to be happy at the job, missing money – you’re not going to make a living, missing flow – you’re going to find your job tedious)
    • Joy – the things that make us happy
    • Money – the things that pay the bills
    • Flow – the things that use our unique skillset
  • “To find the work you were born to do, you need a strong match with both the right content and the best working conditions” – it isn’t just about the job, it’s also about the environment that you are working in and whether it gives you flexibility, accountability, collaboration opportunities, social co-workers and other things that will contribute to a great workplace (and it doesn’t have to be inside an office, it can be at home as well)
  • “Dont make decisions on the fear of missing out” – the job market is tough and I better take the first job offer I get offered otherwise I might not get another job offer. This is dependent on everyone’s situation but remember that you have to reframe it as exploring job opportunities (Design your life).
  • Maintain a good career insurance policy – how do you ensure that your life remains secure?
    • Have multiple sources of income – just like how you wouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket when investing, why would you invest all of your time into a job that you might not have the next day (due to the economy, injury, illness, etc.)
    • Keep expenses lower than your income – a basic premise to allow you to save money and to weather the storm when things get rough
    • Maintain good relations – you never know when you’re going to run into coworkers or even subordinates in your next job or career and if you didn’t treat them well, it could come back to bite you
  • Your hard skills are often vastly improved by key soft skills
    • You may have something unique but there are a lot of soft skills (e.g., marketing, communication skills, negotiation skills) that exponentially increase the usefulness of those hard skills (e.g., technical programming, engineering)
  • Do you lack business ideas for a side hustle / business? Try this: identify a unique skill that you have and offer 15 minute free sessions with everyone in your network (at least 100 people). As you provide this skill and time, note down the key problems that people have and identify how you can solve those problems (that are probably not unique) for others (either digital products like an ebook, online courses).

Overall a fantastic book and one that I will read and re-read as I figure out other side hustles to take on.

Wang