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I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord; “plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”



Jeff Goins and The Art of Work

March 19, 2015

Jeff Goins is the author of four books and his newest release – The Art of Work – is a #1 bestseller even before it hits the bookstores as hard copy.

Jeff is also an award winning blogger, prolific writer, host of the enormously popular and respected blog GoinsWriter , and founder of Tribe Writers. Reading Amazon’s description of Jeff for The Art of Work surprised me and the impression has stuck with me. “Jeff Goins, a brilliant new voice counting Seth Godin and Jon Acuff among his fans, explains how to abandon the status quo and live a life that matters with true passion and purpose.” 

Jeff Goins, a brilliant new voice ….explains how to abandon the status quo and live a life that matters.



Jeff Goins 1 -  Image copyright Lancia E. Smith -

The part of that statement that grabs me so is “a brilliant new voice”.  New.  Jeff has been writing for years. Writing. Not dabbling, not wishing, not trying. Writing. Day in and day out. He has published 3 other books – sound, solid, important books.  (The In-Between had me crying my eyes out in two chapters and really sold me on Jeff’s work as a writer and, to be honest, on Jeff himself.)  He has written hundreds of blog posts for his own blog sites as well as guest posting on a dazzling array of other online venues. He has been cultivating, nurturing and inspiring writers by the hundreds, perhaps even thousands, through Tribe Writers, Intentional Blogging,  and the amazingly influential 500 Words a Day Challenge. Every aspiring writer I know knows who Jeff Goins is. I think it is fair to say that while Seth Godin coined the term “tribe” and gave it the more modern cultural definition of “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.” for a few hundred thousand readers (myself among them), Jeff Goins is the one who has given it substance. As a member of Tribe Writers and long time follower of Jeff’s blogs, I understand what Jeff means when he talks about building tribe and acting like a writer because I have watched him doing that faithfully, even doggedly, since the first post I read from him. 

Jeff is a genius at making the complicated seem simpler. He has a decided gift for networking but his special brand of genius shows itself most vividly in the way he builds connection not only for himself but for others. Especially for others. He is transparent, unpretentious, disciplined, encouraging, vulnerable, funny and relentlessly generous.  What Jeff is not, however, is an overnight sensation or a ‘new’ voice offering some sort of trendy catch phrases for the day. What Jeff shares with his readers is the product of his labour, his struggles, his searching, and his hope. His generosity is not a marketing gimmick but a way of life with him and it stems out of his core values. He has faced his doubts and criticism with grace and courage and deliberate bravery. From my observation point, Jeff does not just “talk the talk” – he walks the walk. He is a real-life model of someone carefully, faithfully and honestly fulfilling his own calling living out the very thing he works to help others attain – a life that matters.  

When Jeff Goins climbs the “ladder of success”, he seems intent on taking his entire tribe with him.

 So, let’s turn our attention here to The Art of Work. 

I’ve heard it said by several others that this is Jeff’s best work to date, and I agree. In simple, straightforward, elegant words The Art of Work addresses some of our deepest, most persistent questions as human beings. What am I here for? What does it mean to be “called”? How can I live a life that matters?  In his characteristic way, Jeff writes with kind, inviting strength and simply walks with us as a guiding companion through the complicated issues of our purpose. I love his clarity when he writes “What is a calling? You will hear me use the word interchangeably with the terms vocation and life’s work, but quite simply, it is the reason you were born.” The reason you were born. Those words are like music, like an anchor in deep water, like a light on a far horizon. 

Throughout The Art of Work, Jeff walks the reader through the questions and the discoveries he made in that same search in his own life and also in the lives of hundreds of others he has interviewed on this subject – how you find what you are meant to do.  Like the true story-teller that he is, Jeff skillfully uses the stories of others to illustrate each principle in the process of path -finding and path-taking in the book. He never pretends that there is a cut-and-dried-formula to success for this. However, Jeff does make it clear that there is, in fact, a proven path to finding one’s purpose and that we must take the path if our purpose is ever to be known and lived by us. The core content of The Art of Work is a discussion of seven stages of finding our calling and here is a link to a splendid podcast about that. Every element of these chapters holds some point of revelation and affirmation. 


 One of my favourite statements from Jeff and The Art of Work is this:

Every story of success is, in fact, a story of community.

This is the quote from the book that I framed for my office because I need the reminder every day. Jeff models this in such a real and dynamic way in his own life but I have also seen this to be true in countless others as well. Everything about Jeff, and especially as it is reflected in The Art of Work, echoes with a fresh voice of assent with so much of what I have loved concerning collaboration and community. I first heard those words used positively together in the work being done by Diana Pavlac Glyer, author of The Company They Keep and her upcoming book “Bandersnatch”. She, more than anything other writer in the field, introduced the idea of positive permission to collaborate and removed the connotation from something attached to treason. (For many younger people born after World War II and Vietnam this will seem strange, but for those of us born in the shadows of those two wars the word “collaborate” was synonymous with “traitor”. This was as true for artists and writers as it was for soldiers and civil servants.)

I see these strong parallels rising in lives separated by space but not in thought or inclination as they relate to collaboration and community. Reading The Company They Keep was the first time I ever heard the beautiful news that art cannot really be created alone or in a vacuum, but really only is born in community. Diana Glyer is the first author since Madeleine L’Engle – for me – who so clearly speaks to the issue of permission to collaborate with other artists in our processes of creative endeavors and the work she does in illuminating the lives and relationships of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Inklings. The model I have studied for decades now in the Inklings is a pattern I see magnificently alive in Jeff Goins and his collaborative way of living, working and teaching of others. Diana Glyer primed me for Jeff Goins and Jeff in turn has born out the living proof of what Diana first voiced. The longer I have known both Diana and Jeff, the deeper has become my respect, admiration and trust in them as individuals, writers, and thought-leaders. 

Thankfully, Jeff is a thorough man. After addressing such an emotionally disarming set of issues, he doesn’t leave the reader hanging with a bundle of heart-moving stories of other people’s processes without somewhere to step next with all that. He gives us a beautiful, compelling chapter called Your Magnum Opus about what legacy looks like and that chapter all by itself is worth the price of the book and the time taken to read it. And in addition to The Art of Work itself, he has developed a companion workbook and a 20-part coaching course to provide tangible material and support for those hungry and brave enough to pursue their calling but still maybe a tad bit afraid or uncertain. If you want to explore more about this for yourself or someone you know is struggling with this issue, click here –The Art of Work . Jeff is offering some special gifts and opportunities for The Art of Work for a limited time, but believe me when I say – anything you ever get from Jeff Goins is value-laden, and a bargain at any price. This is one of my favourite posts from Jeff in his recent series on calling – Listen to Your Ache – Jeff Goins. I know the ache he is referring to here and that ache tells me with great clarity what my own calling is for. Listen to yours and see what it is saying. 

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 Deeply engaging, intelligently and insightfully written, The Art of Work gives both companionship and courage to its readers hungering to live lives that matter. 



 Here is a set of some related media resources for your exploration and enjoyment. –  love what Adam has done with this – very inspired and inspiring! – delightfully good piece, albeit a bit tongue-in-cheek – beautiful, revealing, lovely read 




 The image of Jeff Goins above was made in Franklin Tennessee and is (c) Lancia E. Smith. 


Lancia E. Smith


  1. Jeff Goins says:

    Thank you so much for your kind words, Lancia. And thanks for reading the book and getting the word out. I appreciate you.

  2. Jackie says:

    Lancia, thank you once again for such a well considered, illuminating, and thought promoting piece. Not provoking … promoting. This has given me much to think and reflect upon. I so appreciate what you share on your lovely website. And thank you for your writings, Jeff – I will definitely seek out your work further.

  3. Lancia Smith says:

    Jackie, thank you so much. I love your expression – thought-promoting. I am delighted to introduce you to Jeff Goins. And as always, I am delighted to have your lovely presence here. Many blessings to you!

  4. […] Lancia Smith: Jeff Goins and The Art of Work […]

  5. […] other things which you can read about here, Jeff Goins is the founder of Tribe Writers. “Tribe Writers is a complete online learning […]

  6. Jeff, you are most welcome. It is an honour to share about you and your work. I appreciate and admire you so very much.

  7. […] Author and speaker Jeff Goins has written about calling and one of the things Jeff has said is that we are often not called to […]

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