Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

001: What Is the Portfolio Life? [Podcast]

You are not just what you do. You were made for more than just one thing. Your life is a portfolio of activities, all of which make you who you are.

The Portfolio Life

In this short, kick-off episode of my new podcast, my friend Jared Easley and I discuss why I’m starting a podcast — and why maybe you should, too.

We also talk about the idea behind the title, The Portfolio Life, and what it means for artists, entrepreneurs, and those who want to make a difference with their work.

I think you’ll like it.

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What is the Portfolio Life?

I didn’t come up with this idea of a portfolio life on my own.

In fact, my friend Keith Jennings introduced me to the concept, who first heard it from Ian Cron. Turns out, neither of them came up with it, either. Like all good artists, they stole the idea from someone else.

As far as I can tell, Charles Handy coined the term in 1989 in his book, The Age of Unreason, which is a fascinating read on the future of organizations and chillingly prophetic.

So what is the portfolio life? In a nutshell, it’s probably closer to the life you’re living than what you tell people you “do.”

A portfolio life isn’t just about what you do — it’s about who you are.

My portfolio, for instance, consists of writing, speaking, blogging, consulting, traveling, and working with nonprofits. Not to mention time with my family and friends, as well as hobbies and pastimes I enjoy.

All of those things make me who I am, and without one, I’m not satisfied.

According to Handy, in the future (which I believe we’re living now), we will all be “portfolio people,” thinking of vocation not as a single career but rather as our whole body of work.

This podcast is aimed at those who want to live that kind of life.

Writers and artists have long had to figure such things out, but as the world of work changes, more people will be forced to think of their work less in terms of a job and more in terms of a portfolio.

And as Handy writes, that’s a good thing.

With the Portfolio Life, I want to help you do three things:

  1. Find the work you were born to do.
  2. Identify what makes up your portfolio.
  3. Get started creating it.

Episode takeaways

  • What you know is more important than what you can do.
  • You were made to do more than one thing, and it’s your job to discover that creative work.
  • Look at your whole body of work and create a lifestyle that allows you do all the things you find fulfilling.

Resources mentioned

What does your portfolio consist of? Also, what would you like to hear me cover in this podcast? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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