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career-renegadeWe had just finished putting on our full-body suits, our BCDs, weight belts and air tanks. The waves were about 4 feet tall as we waddled out with what felt like a ton of gear on our backs. Given our experience, 4 feet is high but we noticed the waves are coming in groups of 5, then there is a lull. We had timed our entry just right and thought we were safe.

As we get to about thigh deep, all of the sudden the waves started getting bigger and coming at us non-stop. With the weight of our gear and the pounding of the waves, the effort to keep moving out beyond the break-point became exhausting. As soon as we would come up for air, another wave would hit us, which gave us little time to catch our breath. At one point, someone in the group started panicking and froze. I saw her going under water. Immediately, I swim over, grab her inflation hose and air shoots into her BCD. She is now safely floating on her back just beyond the break point, but suffering from shock and exhaustion. I grab the back of her tank and begin the dead mans tow further out to sea, safe from the surf.

A Passionate Struggle

This was my first beach dive. I was getting PADI certified for open water diving. My instructor was named Justin. Justin loves diving. He’s is an amazing instructor and it was obvious to me that his passion for diving consumed every fiber of his being. I knew what to do at that instant because he taught it to me in a way that made me excited to learn about it. I’m a terrible student, but I respected his passion for what he does and it got me through my first trial as a diver my first time out without much thought.

Justin had a thing for a friend that took the class with me so I got to know him a bit more than the others in the group. Among other things, I learned that drives a beat up old truck, lives in a so-so part of town and has to work as a waiter during the night just to pay his bills. At one point he admitted he was barely getting by and doesn’t dive nearly as much as he would like to due to expense. He told me teaching more would allow him to dive more often, but it didn’t pay well enough to cover the bills.

In career theory passionate people are generally fall into a category known as specialists. Specialists want to do nothing more than what they specialize in. Great artists don’t become great artists by getting bored and becoming gardeners, they keep building on their greatness. Generally these passionate people are stuck behind a desk doing something they’re not so passionate about. Sometimes that gives them the funds they need to do what they love whenever they like, but more often they’ll earn barely enough to finance their passion.

It has always bothered me that good, passionate people are so deserving of a comfortable life, yet many are barely getting by. I know talented musicians, artists, wood workers and teachers who all fit into this category. It doesn’t seem right to work so hard to obtain a respectable skill in one area of life only to struggle to find the means to spend time doing that skill.

There is Hope… If You’re Willing to be a Career Renegade

When Jonathan Fields offered me an advance copy of his new book, Career Renegade: How to make a Living Doing What you Love, I jumped at the chance to receive it. I had learned about Jonathan’s blog a few months ago and became a fan of his writing, and attitude towards life, almost instantly.

Career Renegade starts off by telling us about Jonathan’s history. He is an ex-attorney who worked himself sick — literally. After putting in 72 hours straight to close a large deal for one of his clients, he collapsed and had to be taken to the emergency room for abdominal surgery due to stress caused by his work schedule. This was a wake-up call for him and put him on a new path to find his passions, work with people who shared them and help others whenever possible. This book is a guide for how others can find the same path.

What I like about Career Renegade is that it is far more practical than other career books I’ve read. It doesn’t preach that you should simply find your passion and do it until others around you notice it and reward you for it. It doesn’t say you should live as a pauper because your passion is what really will make you happy. He recognizes that you have to feed your family and deserve to live well doing what you love.

Career Renegade: How to make a Living Doing What you Love is an easy read from beginning to end. Jonathan’s writing is both practical and inspirational. I particularly like the use of case studies to illustrate points keeps the content fresh and easily digestible.  Often chapters will end with a practical call to action or exercises designed to get you going. It also offers a plethora of resources throughout the book, which are extremely relevant, cost-effective and stand to save hours of research.

Career Renegade: How to make a Living Doing What you Love offers the inspiration and information you need to embark on your own renegade path. I highly recommend Career Renegade: How to make a Living Doing What you Love to those or you who are searching for, and often deserving, greater meaning and reward from the work you do.

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This is the first post of many over the coming months as part of an ongoing attempt to help shed more light on bloggers who aim to help you get more done and reach your goals. If you’d like to suggest a blog, check out my original post “How to Help Great Productivity Blogs Get Discovered” and leave a […]

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I hope everyone out there in the US enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday! Many of us enjoyed a 4 day weekend away from work or our normal responsibilities. As for me, I spent all but about an hour completely disconnected from the Internet world. The greatest part was that there weren’t any of those nervous ticks that I might have expected. […]

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I was at a dinner party the other day and observed the following fascinating exchange (names have been changed to protect the innocent ): Cheryl is enjoying her wine and poking away at her Blackberry when she notices her acquantance Jude had just arrived. Cheryl gets up and walks over to Jude. They greet eachother with a hug’s and hello’s. Jude asks, “Hey! How […]

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It is my observation that writers of niche blogs have a fairly predictable shelf life.  Most non-news-telling bloggers that see some early successes last a good 2-3 years before they stop posting. Most of the time the value posts are made within the first 12 months and it goes downhill from there. (Side tip: whenever you discover a new blog […]

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I have a confession to make. Actually, I’m pretty sure most lovers of GTD have a similar confession, but first I need to start by expressing some assumptions about most of us who are reading this right now (and feel free to challenge any of these via comments). Most of Us… Most of us have […]

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About two years ago, I first laid my hands on a copy of Getting Things Done by David Allen. I tore through it and feebly decided that I wanted to share my discoveries and ideas with the world, so this blog was born. There have definitely been ups and downs. I went from posting like […]

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I’ve read a lot of posts out there in the blogosphere trying to answer whether Basecamp or Backpack is the best solution for managing projects. The fact is that there is no reason that you should have to, or want to, choose one over the other. I have been using both for about a year […]

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Not only am I a GTD late bloomer, I’m a Twitter late bloomer too! Before giving the service a fair shake, I kept reading blogger after blogging telling the same story: “I didn’t get it until I tried it for a week, now I love it!” I tried it for a week, I didn’t get it. […]

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OK, maybe it’s not “easy”, but there’s certainly no magic to it. Books upon volumes have been penned about this fairly straightforward topic; books full of hacks, wisdom and tricks that will help you maintain your focus and not get sidetracked. But I’ve got some news for you, Jack… It’s entirely up to you. Anything […]

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