Mix Me Up! Book Review: What Is Your WHAT? by Steve Olsher


Today I’m going to post another of my Amazon book reviews for two reasons: I’m still frantically getting ready for Sunday’s Milwaukee Bead Show so need to be quick today, and What Is Your WHAT: Discover The One Amazing Thing You Were Born To Do is fabulous.

Many or most of you know that I run a small business making jewelry (and a few other things), teaching my jewelry designs, and selling tutorials and kits of my designs. Some of you know that I didn’t always do this and that I was a computer programmer for many years. A very few of you know that job was not my first choice.

My junior year of high school I had an awesome math teacher, so I wanted to be a math teacher. My math teacher my senior year was awful, and I lost interest in being a math teacher. I seemed to have an aptitude for computers and programming, so I majored in computers in college. I didn’t know if that’s what I really wanted to do, but I didn’t know what else to major in.

While there I decided to specialize in AI (Artificial Intelligence), and there were so few women in the computer major that there were no women in the AI track when I joined. (To give you a time reference, this was in 1989 or 1990.) I told one of the guys about my decision, and he yelled up and down the hall, “There’s a woman in AI! There’s a woman in AI!” I really didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but I thought it’d be neat to program robots and to be involved in other experimental things.

Unfortunately I fell into a deep depression (partially because of a man and partially because I had a bunch of philosophical questions in my head I couldn’t/can’t answer) my junior year of college, and by my senior year I was pretty useless. I ended up dropping out after the first semester after scraping by in my computer classes. I took a semester off to regroup, and I switched schools. Again, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I stuck with computer programming and got my Bachelor of Science degree.

Eventually I found a programming job at a small business but didn’t enjoy it. Sure, I enjoyed aspects of the job, but there was much of it I found tedious. Same thing happened years later when I had another programming job with another small company. The parts I liked best were talking with customers, teaching them how to use their software, and troubleshooting problems (when there wasn’t a time crunch).

I’m not going to go into all the details here of either job and what I had problems with, but in 2010 it was decided (by me, my husband, and our parents) that I would quit. Because I wasn’t caught up with what was current in programming, I was more than a little scarred from my last job, I had developed the Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis I’m always complaining about, and a few other factors, we decided that I would start my own business doing web design for creative folks. That didn’t work out very well, so now I make jewelry and teach.

I’m very lucky that Steve can support us and that our parents help us when unexpected expenses pop up. My business is called “Creative Pursuits” for a reason – I am free to pursue my creativity and (with luck) make money at it.

So knowing all that, one might wonder why I picked up What Is Your WHAT?. It seems that through a series of events I’ve figured out what “amazing thing I was born to do”. To be blunt, the author offered an advance ebook version for free in exchange for writing the review I’m about to share with you. Also, I’m curious if what I’m doing is really what I’m supposed to be doing. I love to write (as you can tell by the length of my blog posts), so perhaps I should be focusing on that. Wow, as I write this I’m getting quite the jolt of deja vu. Have I typed those exact words before? :::shiver:::

Anyway. I’ll let the review tell the rest of it so I can get back to preparing for Sunday’s show and a class I’m teaching tomorrow:

I was a bit skeptical when I started reading this book because it opened with six pages of “Praise for What Is Your WHAT?”. Quotes upon quotes touting this book as the best thing since sliced bread. I read them all and was curious if the author could really deliver the “ultimate guide on self-discovery” as Erika Gilchrist says in her review. However, it didn’t take too long to see why so many people came forward to endorse Steve Olsher and “What Is Your WHAT?”.

Instead of diving right into figuring out what your WHAT is, the author helps the reader lay the groundwork for it with explanations of the four stages of learning (and what that means in practical terms) and exercises so you can begin to recognize where you’re vulnerable and where you excel. The author walks you through step by step and encourages you to take all the time you need and even to talk to other people (if you’re up to it) to gain insights into your faults and strengths. Once that’s done, he leads you through designing your ideal life and what you need to do to stop the downward slide and start to live a better life through seven life-altering principles. Once you’ve absorbed all of this, it’s time to discover what your WHAT is and how to achieve it.

The author covers every topic thoroughly with numerous examples from the author’s life and from people who have taken his reinvention workshops. There are many case studies of people who are doing what they’re meant to do and how they got there. He also includes the people’s websites so if you’re interested in learning more about them you know right where to look.

This book is ideal for those who feel like they should be doing more with their lives but don’t know how to get there. I will say that this is hard work and not to be taken lightly. The exercises are designed to really make you look at your life with a magnifying glass. The ultimate goal is for you to live the life of your dreams by doing what you love to do and getting paid well for it, and that’s not something most people can just fall into. You need to shed the bad and cultivate the good, and that takes serious introspection and time. The author is with you throughout the whole process, asking questions to help you along.

I was very impressed with the information presented in this book and will definitely be working through all of the exercises and keeping the seven life-altering principles in mind as I live day-to-day, figure out what my WHAT is (although I already have an inkling what that might be), and become successful at it. I plan to frequently dip into the book to refresh my memory and to plan for the future.

The author also gives a website where you can get another of his books for free. That book is for folks who want to profit online. I already had it but haven’t started reading it yet. Now that I’m comfortable with the author and how helpful he is in “What Is Your WHAT?” I’m really looking forward to it!

If you have any doubts that you’re doing what you were meant to do, read this book. It’s never too late to change careers (the author recommends a slow change, not a dive-in-head-first-like-Traci-did approach). Have your children read it before they go off to college and stumble around trying to pick a major and a career. If you read it and gain any valuable insights, e-mail me at traci@creative-pursuits.biz and tell me about it!