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SoulWork: Finding the work you love, loving the work you have

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Product Description

By Deborah P Bloch, Lee J Richmond

Published: 2007
ISBN: 978-0-9775742-3-0
Pages: iv+204
Imprint: Verdant House


Attending to how individuals can balance many aspects of their lives including career issues is an important counseling issue.. Harmony which comes from finding satisfying work can help individuals develop a strong sense of appreciation and understanding of their world and their lives.

Richard S Sharf

Connecting your work to spiritual values ensures that work will also bring meaning and depth into your life. Coaches often have to assist clients to find that balance, and many clients have jobs that on the surface contribute to a dispirited life. SoulWork can not only assist clients to seek out life-enhancing work, but also create such a workplace within their current employment.

Rey Carr
Peer Resources - Best Coaching Books

What programs address career development in an holistic way, including issues of meaning and purpose, spirituality, and 'work within a life'?

Written for career planners, executive coaches, life change counselors, HR and human services managers and all those interested in employee development, workplace values, life-career assessment and personal transformation, this book helps to connect your career to the spiritual values that give your life meaning.

SoulWork: Finding the Work you Love, Loving the Work relates your career to spiritual themes, and aims to provide advice and support to people in working through their personal choices. Updated from 1998, the revised edition places career choices in the context of holistic, personal, spiritual development and internal change.

A spiritual approach to integrating work/career with all life issues.

This book examines the concept of careers within the context of seven themes, including chapters on:

Change, Balance, Energy, Community, Calling, Harmony, Unity, Exercises

Each starts with a story and then offers career issues, reflections on various aspects of the chapter theme and a set of applications that includes self-administered questionnaires and exercises. The authors take a systematic approach, use clear language and examples that many people will be able to relate to.

The value of this book lies in its practical focus on the issues of matching work life to life in its totality. It offers an opportunity to reassess one's career and connect it to the spiritual values that bring meaning and depth to one's life.

SoulWork offers a refreshingly unconventional approach to the quest for satisfying work. Rather than focusing on matching occupations against personality traits as many other books do, this book advocates finding one's ideal job through one's calling. That is, drawing on strengths, life experiences, personal needs, and goals to arrive at meaningful work.

Cindy Patuszynski
ForeWord Magazine

This is a great self help book..a very powerful book.. There are great summaries at the end of every chapter, as well as exercises to do that pertain to that chapter.

Gina Hinds
Marina CA, USA

The notion of spirituality being a factor in career counseling often takes both beginning and experienced counselors by surprise. Bloch and Richmond wrote Soul Work in 1998. It brings together a number of different views of career development. They describe 7 themes: change, balance, energy, community, calling, harmony, and unity. When they describe change they are talking about external and internal change that prompt emotions and feelings that individuals must deal with. Most theories of career development do not talk about balance. Attending to how individuals can balance many aspects of their lives including career issues is an important counseling issue. Energy is another important concept. Often doing hard work in a field that one really enjoys can be exhilarating rather than tiring. Likewise harmony which comes from finding satisfying work can help individuals develop a strong sense of appreciation and understanding of their world and their lives. Some clients and counselors relate well to the spiritual way of looking at the role of career in client lives.


Article by Richard S. Sharf

Table of Contents

Read Me: Introduction to the Revised Edition vi
Acknowledgments x
About the Authors xi
1 Change: Allison’s Awakening 1
2 Balance: Helen on the High Wire 33
3 Energy: Bob’s Barbeque 61
4 Community: Beatrice at the Beginning 85
5 Calling: Manny the Millionaire 111
6 Harmony: David in the Dollhouse 141
7 Unity: Kevin Crashes 175
Bibliography 205


Reviewer: Paul Waight
Lecturer in Management/HRM
School of Management and Informatics
Central Queensland University
Rockhampton, Queensland

Published: Journal of Management & Organization - volume 14/1 (April 2008)

The revised edition of Soul Work by Deborah Bloch and Lee Richmond is an interesting volume that would appeal to those seeking a more spiritual understanding of the place of work in their lives. The book may not be for everyone however; the authors encourage readers to delve deep within their spiritual and psychological beings. For those that are comfortable with this approach and find benefit in introspective reflection, Soul Work has much to offer. Having said that, the more pragmatic reader may well benefit from the applications and exercises in each chapter.

The subtitle 'Finding the work you love, loving the work you have' sums up the approach the authors have taken to the challenge of work/life balance. Each chapter pursues a theme that is pertinent to work and how we experience it. The first chapter is titled Change, and sets the tone for the volume. There is little doubt that change is not only inevitable, but a necessary part of life. The book then explores the themes of Balance, Energy, Community, Calling, Harmony and Unity. These chapters meld into an interesting discussion of the philosophical and spiritual place that work has in our lives.

Each chapter consists of four parts, opening with a short story that helps illustrate the theme using descriptions of situations that we are most likely familiar with, or at least can understand and identify with. From the illustrative story, the authors list the career issues that have been raised. The bulk of the chapter then goes on to reflect on these issues using a mixture of spiritual, psychological and organisational theory along with practical ideas and suggestions. The final part of each chapter consists of exercises and applications that the reader can apply to their own circumstances.

Chapter 1 discusses change from four perspectives; change and self-image, change and emotional roots, change and work, and change and synchronicity. This chapter discusses some of the causes and triggers of change experienced in life, and especially in regard to work. The chapter also introduces the concept of the 'wise person' who might offer unexpected insights that inform understanding and decision making. The applications in the first chapter give the reader an opportunity to explore themselves, where they came from and the strengths they possess. As with the other six chapters, a meditation is offered with suggested affirmations.

The second chapter looks at the balance, or lack of it, in our lives. The illustrative story discusses the difficulties of a working mother balancing the demands of her job with those of her family; familiar territory for many. Balance is discussed regarding our relationship with others, our relationship to circumstance and the balance within ourselves. The applications and exercises at the end of the chapter provide the means for readers to explore their current balance with others, circumstances and self, and develop means by which a more desired balance might be achieved.

In our increasingly hectic lives, we often seem to run out of energy. Chapter 3 discusses energy and where it comes from. After delving into the physics of the universe and relating this to our own personal energy, the reader is left with an interesting picture of the relationship between energy and matter, energy on the job, and where we can find sources of energy. The applications and exercises in this chapter include a type of strategic visioning and how energy should be harnessed to achieve career objectives. For those not familiar with the ideas behind positive self-talk and neuro-linguistic programming, the meditation in this chapter may create insights into how we can reprogram our own minds.

Chapter 4 discusses our place within the various communities in which we exist and discusses issues relating to how we find meaning through connection with others, the various types of communities in which we exist/interact, and the kinds of connections that exist within communities and between community members. The chapter and applications explore such things as goodness of fit between individual and community along with types of participation that individuals experience in communities.

In keeping with the spiritual theme of the book, chapter 5 explores the concept of 'calling'. The authors assert that 'calling is the harmonious connection to whatever you are doing, to the tools of work, and to the people with whom you work' (p.119). The chapter discusses what it feels like to answer your calling, knowing what your calling is and how it relates to your interests, knowledge and skills, and finally, knowing how your personality, characteristics and values relate to your calling. This chapter encourages the reader to explore their own characteristics, and draws on the work of Jung, Holland and Myers-Briggs.

The penultimate chapter is all about harmony. That is, harmony between self and work. Once the idea of 'calling' has been understood, it is easy to understand that work that is not harmonious with our calling is not likely to be satisfying. Thus, the authors suggest that we should pursue work that is in keeping with our interests, knowledge and skills, and fit our personalities. The chapter reflects on harmony and the adventure of seeking, understanding when it is time to seek career information, asking the right questions about what we want in our work, and finding harmony both externally and internally. The applications at the end of the chapter assist the reader's understanding of what work they think is important. That is, what work should be done, and then pursuing that type of career.

The final chapter is aptly titled Unity. It is about getting everything together. The philosophy of this chapter, and the whole book, is summed up in this paragraph:

The trick in life is to believe in unity and, because of this belief, to trust the universe. Trusting the universe does not mean being unprepared for life's changes. It includes both being prepared for changes and understanding that your preparations may be needed in unanticipated ways. This belief in unity is the essence of spirituality. (p.180)

This chapter is about letting go, and in so doing, finding what we really want. The chapter pursues the idea of unity from the perspectives of career, others, energy and spirit. The applications again encourage self-exploration, and bring together the six other themes addressed in the volume.

This book is a spiritual, yet practical, exploration of work and its relationship to people. The approach taken may not be to everyone's liking, but for those who are willing to explore the spiritual side of work and careers, an interesting one indeed.

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