Most of us are constantly facing, juggling, and overcoming challenges–in both our personal lives and professional lives, often subsiding our life’s dreams, wishes, and wants.
Be More by Todd Putman is a narrative of stories and life challenges of people, encouraging each of us to find our own truth. It’s a book for anyone who struggles to answer the question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Because no matter how old, and regardless of life accomplishments, it’s a question we all need to be able to answer—and sets the foundation for a smart career strategy.
The central idea behind the book is simple really, be more. Almost everyone wants more out of life. But until we can articulate exactly what that means, it’s very difficult to get there. Be More provides practical direction in the form of the Skills, Values, Passion (SVP) exercise to help people better understand their innate gifts, and what matters most to them, as tools to articulate what they really want from life.
The book was inspired by the many career-centered conversations Putman has had through the years. He found that there are so many people who are incredibly smart and talented but aren’t able to articulate their dreams. They know they want more but can’t say what that means, and as a result have no clear path for success The result is a colossal waste of potential–potential for good, for innovation, for change, for value creation and more. That waste is what drove Putman to take action.
The book doesn’t fit into a traditional self-help book category. Though the fundamental concepts aren’t new, I found that Be More is practical and helpful guidance. It doesn’t stop at the broadest strokes and it doesn’t make grand pronouncements and then leave readers in the weeds. There are a lot of books out there that encourage people to follow their passions, but Be More challenges soul-searching that goes a step deeper. It offers straightforward direction to get to the answers and then explains what to do next to be more. The book is engaging and accessible while simultaneously in-your-face and ass-kicking.
My top six takeaways to apply to your career strategy:
- There’s so much opportunity for impact and fulfillment just waiting for someone to go after.
- When you help yourself, those around you will want to help too.
- Creating individual success rests solely in the hands of the individual.
- No one is responsible for you except you.
- It’s important to know yourself inside and out, and use that as a filter to guide problem solving and decision-making.
- If you don’t take charge of your own destiny someone else will, and that person may not have any interest in what really matters to you.
Be More is necessary for individual exploration. Understanding yourself and your life’s dreams is hard work. It’s deeply personal and sometimes it’s deeply painful. But the work is worth it. Get started, pick up a copy and read it.
Shawn Parr is the Guvner & CEO of Bulldog Drummond, an innovation and design consultancy headquartered in San Diego whose clients and partners have included Starbucks, Diageo, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, Adidas, MTV, Nestle, Pinkberry, American Eagle Outfitters, Ideo, Sony, Virgin, Disney, Nike, Mattel, Heineken, Annie’s Homegrown, Kashi, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, The Honest Kitchen, and World Vision. Follow the conversation at @BULLDOGDRUMMOND.