Book Review: Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher

See if you can you relate to any of these:

  • you don’t want to specialize in any of the things you love
  • you’re endlessly inquisitive
  • you have an intense curiosity about numerous unrelated subjects
  • you’re always curious to know ‘what’s out there’
  • you spend much time scanning the horizon & thinking about your next move
  • you continually move from one idea to the next

If so, you’re probably what Barbara Sher calls a “Scanner”.

SCANNER: (noun) someone for whom every single thing they see or think sparkles with potential and pulls their attention; they want to do it all!

Also known as: Renaissance person; Jack-of-all-trades; multi-passionate; multipotentialite; polymath; hummingbird person; multipod; squirrel-brain.

Barbara’s passion for helping Scanners (multi-passionates) is evident throughout this book. Here are a few of the quotes I loved most:

…not all Scanners are the same! You still need to find the tips, tools, techniques & life-design models that are right for you.

Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher, page xxvii

…she feels a familiar sense of apprehension that if she doesn’t do something about it right away, she’ll forget it like all the other good ideas she keeps having.

Refuse to Choose, pg.4

If Scanners didn’t think they should limit themselves to one field, 90% of their problems would cease to exist!

Refuse to Choose, pg.5

One of my favorite takeaways from this book was the idea of the “Scanner Daybook“. This is a plain-paper notebook or journal where you write down everything related to being a Scanner — capture your best ideas, and tangents that pull you off those ideas . . . it is meant to be “delightfully out-of-order, impulsive, and unrestrained”.

The best part about this Daybook, though, is that you are not required to DO anything with these thoughts & ideas! You simply notice & write them… no follow-through required!

The very act of considering your explorations worth keeping track of begins changing everything you ever thought about yourself… you’ll find a growing respect for how your mind works.

Refuse to Choose, pg. 13

Barbara writes: “There is zero obligation to act on anything in your Daybook. You simply capture ideas & “play them out on the pages, to see where they go!

Your Daybook lets you go into planning an idea without having to actually produce it… if you never take another step, you’ve had a good time, and risked nothing.” (p.14)

There are a handful of great and practical tools, just like this one, throughout the book.

Barbara also dedicates a chapter to each of the nine (9) types of Scanners she has identified, and gives options for possible career paths for each type (some of which you may never have considered on your own!).

Overall, this is a fantastic book, and I can’t recommend it highly enough! It should be on every Scanner’s bookshelf.

14 Amazing Christian Living Books

One of my favorite things to do is to recommend books! I used to read –on average– 80 books per year ((grins)). So, I’ve got quite the collection to pull from.

Here are 14 amazing Christian Living books I’d recommend:

  1. Crash the Chatterbox – Steven Furtick
  2. Brazen: The Courage to Find the You That’s Been Hiding – Leanna Tankersley
  3. Girls With Swords – Lisa Bevere
  4. What Keeps You Up At Night? – Pete Wilson
  5. If: Trading Your If-Only Regrets For God’s What-If Possibilities – Mark Batterson
  6. Grace For the Good Girl – Emily P. Freeman
  7. Practicing the Presence of Jesus – Wally Armstrong
  8. Battle Ready – Kelly Balarie
  9. The God-First Life – Stovall Weems
  10. Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God – Gary Thomas
  11. Girl Meets God: A Memoir – Lauren Winner
  12. Jesus in the Margins – Rick McKinley
  13. The Beautiful Fight – Gary Thomas
  14. The Jesus of Suburbia – Mike Erre

(Note: This post contains Affiliate links. Please see my Disclaimer page for more information).

On Work Ethic and Fear

Yesterday, I started reading, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. The very first lesson is that “rich people don’t work for money… they make money work for them.” And, within this lesson, another said, “we need to learn to control our emotions — to think before we act”.

Robert shares that most people (the 99%) are driven by the emotions of fear & greed… fear of not having enough money, and then greed about what things they will buy with the money they do get.

These two fears never completely go away. So, we need to learn to control them … to respond (after thinking), rather than react (without thinking).

After finishing chapter one, I set the book aside, needing time to let it all sink in. And, as I put some of my other books back on my shelf (ones I’d been reading the day before), my eye landed on “The Motivation Manifesto” by Brendon Burchard. So, I pulled it down and started skimming through it, as something in my gut prompted me to do so. And, sure enough, there was a whole chapter titled, “On Fear”. So, I sat down, and read through that chapter.

Where I started off, it talked about the “weaklings” — those who fear effort — calling them “worshippers of ease” and “escapists” (all of which struck a nerve). It talked about them having given up their power to absolve themselves of the responsibility of living a remarkable life. Ouch.

Brendon writes, They don’t have the resolve to pursue their highest selves, or any meaningful purpose … [But] what good is a life without struggle? … What mastery can there be without real effort…?

This made me think, again, about how I’ve never been driven towards “mastery” or “excellence” in anything. I’ve never cared to excel; good enough was good enough.

Yet, I’d also researched “work ethic”, this morning (along with what the Bible says about this topic), learning that it’s about dedicating oneself, and giving your all toward somethinghaving certain principles that guide your work behavior. And, in combining that with these two new insights from these books, I’m starting to see that the value of all of this isn’t the outcome or the result. Its value actually lies in the fulfillment that comes from knowing you gave it your all, and –more importantly– that God is glorified by our dedication, integrity, diligence, and commitment to the task at hand.

For me, the outcome has almost never been worth the effort I’d have to expend; it wasn’t worth me forfeiting things I’d rather be doing with my time.

But that, there, is also faulty thinking: that “my time” is my own!

God says we are to be good stewards of this life, including — maybe especially — our time… because my whole purpose for existence is to know God, love God, and to make Him knownto do as He calls me to do… not to whittle away my days, being comfortable, scrolling social media, and gluttonously feeding my ego with motivational quotes.

So, the true fulfillment isn’t in what we get from the work we do (eg. the money, or all that it could buy). True fulfillment lies in giving our all to the work, itself, because that honors God — which is the whole point! In using the gifts and talents God gave us, in service to others (with a good attitude, and with excellence), we are bringing glory to God, and being –proving ourselves– set apart for the Kingdom.

And, honoring, and bringing glory to, God is FULLY worth my time… it’s the only thing that really is!

By knowing that our joy and fulfillment come through doing the work, it seems all the more imperative to me, too, that we choose work that best uses the talents and gifts God has given us… choosing work that brings us joy.

Do you know what work best aligns with YOUR talents & gifts? If not, feel free to check out my self-coaching guides for help with that.