“We are living an earned life when the choices, risks, and effort we make in each moment align with an overarching purpose in our lives, regardless of the eventual outcome.”
That’s the definition of an earned life. But for many of us, that pesky final phrase is a stumbling block: “regardless of the eventual outcome.” Not being attached to the outcome goes against everything we’re taught about achievement and fulfillment in modern society.
But now, in his most personal and powerful work to date, world-renowned leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith offers a dazzling but simple approach that accommodates both our persistent need for achievement and the inescapable “stuff happens” unfairness of life.
Taking inspiration from Buddhism, Goldsmith reveals that the key to living the earned life, unbound by regret, requires committing to a habit of earning and, crucially, connecting that habit to something greater than the isolated achievements of careerism. By grounding our achievements in a higher aspiration, he shows, we can avoid the easy temptation to wallow in regret.
Goldsmith implores readers to avoid the Great Western Disease of “I’ll be happy when. . . .” He offers practical advice and exercises aimed at helping us shed the obstacles, especially the failures of imagination, that prevent us from creating our own fulfilling lives. With this book as their guide, readers can close the gap between what they plan to achieve and what they actually get done—and avoid the trap of existential regret, the kind that reroutes destinies and persecutes our memories.
Packed with illuminating stories from Goldsmith’s legendary career as a coach to some of the world’s highest-achieving leaders as well as reflections on his own experiences, The Earned Life is a road map for ambitious people seeking a higher purpose.