Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live

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New York Times bestselling author and Life Designs, Inc. creator Martha Beck shares her step-by-step program that will guide you to fulfill your own potential and create a joyful life.

In this book, you'll start by learning how to read the internal compasses already built into your brain and body--and why you may have spent your life ignoring their signals. As you become reacquainted with your own deepest desires, you'll identify and repair any unconscious beliefs or unhealed emotional wounds that may be blocking your progress.

This will change your life, but don't worry--although every life is unique, major transformations have common elements, and Beck provides a map that will guide you through your own life changes. You'll learn how to navigate every stage, from the first flickering appearance of a new dream to the planning and implementation of your own ideal life.

Based on Dr. Beck's work as a Harvard-trained sociologist, research associate at Harvard Business School, instructor at Thunderbird Business School, and especially on her experiences with her clients over the last six years, Finding Your Own North Star offers thoroughly tested case studies, questionnaires, and exercises to help you articulate your core desires and act on them to build a more satisfying life.

“Explorers depend on the North Star when there are no other landmarks in sight. The same relationship exists between you and your right life, the ultimate realization of your potential for happiness. I believe that a knowledge of that perfect life sits inside you just as the North Star sits in its unaltering spot.” -- Martha Beck
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About the author

Martha Beck is a writer, life coach, and columnist for O, the Oprah Magazine. She has a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard. Beck's other books include the New York Times bestseller Finding Your Own North Star, Leaving the Saints, The Four Day Win, The Joy Diet, and Steering by Starlight. Dr. Beck lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her family.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Harmony
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Published on
Jun 3, 2008
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9780307453136
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Personal Success
Self-Help / Motivational & Inspirational
Self-Help / Personal Growth / Happiness
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“Brimming with stories of sacrifice, courage, commitment and, sometimes, failure, the book will support anyone pondering a major life choice or risk without force-feeding them pat solutions.”
—Publishers Weekly

What should I do with my life?

It’s a question many of us have pondered with frequency. Author Po Bronson was asking himself that very question when he decided to write this book—an inspiring exploration of how people transform their lives and a template for how we can answer this question for ourselves.

Bronson traveled the country in search of individuals who have struggled to find their calling, their true nature—people who made mistakes before getting it right. He encountered people of all ages and all professions—a total of fifty-five fascinating individuals trying to answer questions such as: Is a career supposed to feel like a destiny? How do I tell the difference between a curiosity and a passion? Should I make money first, to fund my dream? If I have a child, will my frustration over my work go away? Should I accept my lot, make peace with my ambition, and stop stressing out? Why do I feel guilty for thinking about this?

From their efforts to answer these questions, the universal truths in this book emerge. Each story in these pages informs the next, and the result is a journey that unfolds with cumulative power. Reading this book is like listening in on an intimate conversation among people you care about and admire. Even if you know what you should do with your life, you will find wisdom and guidance in these stories of people who found meaningful answers by daring to be honest with themselves.
Among them:

-the Pittsburgh lawyer who decided to become a trucker so he could savor the moment and be closer to his son.
-the toner-cartridge queen of Chicago, who realized that her relationships with men kept sabotaging her career choices.
-the Cuban immigrant who overcame the strong dis-approval of her parents and quit her high-paying job to pursue social-service work in Miami.
-the chemistry professor who realized, quite late in life, that he would rather practice law.
-the mother torn between an Olympic career and her adolescent daughter.
-the seventeen-year-old boy who received a letter from the Dalai Lama and was called to a life of spiritual leadership.
-the creator of St. Elmo’s Fire, who wasn’t sure he could quit his successful Hollywood life for the deeper artistic life he had always wanted to pursue.
-the author himself. Po Bronson has worked as a bus-boy, cook, janitor, sports-medicine intern, bus-lift assembly-line technician, aerobics instructor, litigation consultant, greeting-card designer, bond salesman, political-newsletter editor, high school teacher, and book publisher. Since then, he has written three books: Bombardiers, The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest, and The Nudist on the Late Shift. But none of those experiences compared to what he learned by writing this book.


“We all have passions if we choose to see them,” he writes. “Most of us don’t get epiphanies. We don’t get clarity. Our purpose doesn’t arrive neatly packaged as destiny. We only get a whisper. A blank, nonspecific urge. That’s how it starts.”

With humor, empathy, and insight, Po Bronson probes the depths of people who learned how to hear the whisper, who overcame fear and confusion to find a larger truth about their lives. A meditation, a journey, and a triumph of story-telling, What Should I Do with My Life? is a life-changing book by a writer who brilliantly tackles the big questions.


From the Hardcover edition.
In Steering by Starlight, renowned life coach Martha Beck, Ph.D., describes the step-by-step process she uses with her private clients to help them navigate the terrain of their best lives.

Bringing together cutting-edge research in psychiatry, neurology, and related fields in an accessible, substantive, original way, Dr. Beck offers powerful methods for solving the problems that beset ordinary people. Using her trademark wisdom, empathy, and engaging style, she connects you with proven, effective strategies that have worked for the hundreds of people she has coached. For those who have found your North Stars, this book will be an invaluable tool to stay the course and overcome obstacles. For those who still feel adrift, it will provide a way to find true North and follow the path of best destiny.

Dr. Beck identifies three stages along the path to recapturing a satisfying life:

   • "The Stargazer" helps you understand why it is so easy to lose yourself and offers strategies for sighting your North Star
   • "The Mapmaker" uses this newly clarified perspective to evaluate your situation and plot a course for upcoming years
   • "The Pathfinder" discusses the adventures that may be encountered as you travel along this new life course

Whether you are seeking better relationships, a more focused career direction, a more harmonious lifestyle, or the achievement of specific fitness goals, the colorful anecdotes, case studies, and exercises in Steering by Starlight will point the way.
Have you ever met someone with the perfect job?

To the outside observer, it seems like they've won the career lottery—that by some stroke of luck or circumstance they've found the one thing they love so much that it doesn't even feel like work—and they're getting paid well to do it.  

In reality, their good fortune has nothing to do with chance. There’s a method for finding your perfect job, and Chris Guillebeau, the bestselling author of The $100 Startup, has created a practical guide for how to do it—whether within a traditional company or business, or by striking out on your own.

Finding the work you were “born to do” isn’t just about discovering your passion. Doing what brings you joy is great, but if you aren’t earning a living, it’s a hobby, not a career. And those who jump out of bed excited to go to work every morning don’t just have jobs that turn their passions into paychecks. They have jobs where they also can lose themselves for hours in the flow of meaningful work.

This intersection of joy, money, and flow is what Guillebeau will help you find in this book. Through inspiring stories of those who have successfully landed their dream career, as well as actionable tools, exercises, and thought experiments, he’ll guide you through today’s vast menu of career options to discover the work perfectly suited to your unique interests, skills, and experiences.

You’ll learn how to:
• Hack the job of your dreams within a traditional organization by making it work for you
• Find not only your ideal work but also your ideal working conditions
• Create plans that will allow you to take smarter career risks and “beat the house” every time
• Start a profitable “side hustle” and earn extra cash on top of your primary stream of income
• Escape the prison of working for someone else and build a mini-empire as an entrepreneur
• Become a rock star at any creative endeavor by creating a loyal base of fans and followers

Whichever path you choose, this book will show you how to find that one job or career that feels so right, it’s like you were born to do it.
Welcome to The Joy Diet, a menu of ten behaviors you can add to your way of living and thinking to enhance every day’s journey through the unpredictable terrain of your existence. You can add these behaviors gradually and watch your life become steadily more vivid and satisfying. Or you can go on a “crash Joy Diet” to help you navigate life’s emergencies.
The ten menu items are:

• Nothing: Do nothing for fifteen minutes a day. Stop mindlessly chasing goals and figure out which goals are worth going after.

• Truth: Create a moment of truth to help you unmask what you’re hiding—from others and from yourself.

• Desire: Identify, articulate, and explore at least one of your heart’s desires—and learn how to let yourself want what you want.

• Creativity: Learn six new ways to develop at least one new idea to help you obtain your heart’s desire.

• Risk: Take one baby step toward reaching your goal. The only rule is it has to scare the pants off you.

• Treats: Give yourself a treat for every risk you take and two treats just because you’re you. No exceptions. No excuses.

• Play: Take a moment to remember your real life’s work and differentiate it from the games you play to achieve it. Then play wholeheartedly.

• Laughter: Laugh at least thirty times a day. Props encouraged.

• Connection: Use your Joy Diet skills to interact with someone who matters to you.

• Feasting: Enjoy at least three square feasts a day, with or without food.

No matter what your long-term goals are, The Joy Diet, written with Martha Beck’s inimitable blend of
wisdom, practical guidance, and humor, will help you achieve the immediate gift of joyful living in the here
and now. Begin your journey today.


From the Hardcover edition.
In Steering by Starlight, renowned life coach Martha Beck, Ph.D., describes the step-by-step process she uses with her private clients to help them navigate the terrain of their best lives.

Bringing together cutting-edge research in psychiatry, neurology, and related fields in an accessible, substantive, original way, Dr. Beck offers powerful methods for solving the problems that beset ordinary people. Using her trademark wisdom, empathy, and engaging style, she connects you with proven, effective strategies that have worked for the hundreds of people she has coached. For those who have found your North Stars, this book will be an invaluable tool to stay the course and overcome obstacles. For those who still feel adrift, it will provide a way to find true North and follow the path of best destiny.

Dr. Beck identifies three stages along the path to recapturing a satisfying life:

   • "The Stargazer" helps you understand why it is so easy to lose yourself and offers strategies for sighting your North Star
   • "The Mapmaker" uses this newly clarified perspective to evaluate your situation and plot a course for upcoming years
   • "The Pathfinder" discusses the adventures that may be encountered as you travel along this new life course

Whether you are seeking better relationships, a more focused career direction, a more harmonious lifestyle, or the achievement of specific fitness goals, the colorful anecdotes, case studies, and exercises in Steering by Starlight will point the way.
Leaving the Saints is an unforgettable memoir about one woman’s spiritual quest and journey toward faith. As “Mormon royalty” within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Martha Beck was raised in a home frequented by the Church’s high elders—known as the apostles—and her existence was framed by their strict code of conduct. Wearing her sacred garments, she married in a secret temple ceremony—but only after two Mormon leaders ascertained that her “past contained no flirtation with serious sins, such as committing murder or drinking coffee.” She went to church faithfully with the other brothers and sisters of her ward. When her son was born with Down syndrome, she and her husband left their graduate programs at Harvard to return to Provo, Utah, where they knew the supportive Mormon community would embrace them.

However, soon after Martha began teaching at Brigham Young University, she began to see firsthand the Church’s ruthlessness as it silenced dissidents and masked truths that contradicted its published beliefs. Most troubling of all, she was forced to face her history of sexual abuse by one of the Church’s most prominent authorities. This book chronicles her difficult decision to sever her relationship with the faith that had cradled her for so long and to confront and forgive the person who betrayed her so deeply.

This beautifully written, inspiring memoir explores the powerful yearning toward faith. It offers a rare glimpse inside one of the world’s most secretive religions while telling a profoundly moving story of personal courage, survival, and the transformative power of spirituality.


From the Hardcover edition.
"He says you'll never be hurt as much by being open as you have been by remaining closed."

The messenger is a school janitor with a master's in art history who claims to be channeling "from both sides of the veil." "He" is Adam, a three-year-old who has never spoken an intelligible word.  And the message is intended for Martha Beck, Adam's mother, who doesn't know whether to make a mad dash for the door to escape a raving lunatic (after all, how many conversations like this one can you have before you stop getting dinner party invitations and start pushing a mop yourself?) or accept another in a series of life lessons from an impeccable but mysterious source.

From the moment Martha and her husband, John, accidentally conceived their second child, all hell broke loose. They were a couple obsessed with success. After years of matching IQs and test scores with less driven peers, they had two Harvard degrees apiece and were gunning for more. They'd plotted out a future in the most vaunted ivory tower of academe. But the dream had begun to disintegrate. Then, when their unborn son, Adam, was diagnosed with Down syndrome, doctors, advisers, and friends in the Harvard community warned them that if they decided to keep the baby, they would lose all hope of achieving their carefully crafted goals. Fortunately, that's exactly what happened.

Expecting Adam is a poignant, challenging, and achingly funny chronicle of the extraordinary nine months of Martha's pregnancy. By the time Adam was born, Martha and John were propelled into a world in which they were forced to redefine everything of value to them, put all their faith in miracles, and trust that they could fly without a net. And it worked.

Martha's riveting, beautifully written memoir captures the abject terror and exhilarating freedom of facing impending parentdom, being forced to question one's deepest beliefs, and rewriting life's rules. It is an unforgettable celebration of the everyday magic that connects human souls to each other.
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