By his own admission, Mike Steib was an A student and overachiever who landed a great job... and was absolutely miserable.

"I had a corporate development job, meeting with senior people, working on multi-billion dollar acquisitions.  A kindergarten teacher asked me to speak at a career day where the kids ask prepared questions like, 'Do you bring your lunch to work?'

One little girl asked me, 'Is your job important?' I answered, 'Capital allocation is a driver of economic value, but I thought I would be a leader and an operator and not a guy making bubble charts...'

"The little girl interrupted me and said, 'I'm sorry, mister, but I'm just supposed to write down yes or no.'

"And I realized the answer was, 'No.'"

That night Steib, now the CEO of XO Group -- which includes brands like The Knot, The Bump, The Nest, and GigMasters -- decided things had to change. The result is the outstanding new book, The Career Manifesto: Discover Your Calling and Create an Extraordinary Life.

Career Manifesto started out as an idea when Steib was working at Google. "It seemed like everyone at my team was an unhappy overachiever," he says, "wanting to know why they hadn't been promoted. They weren't upset because they were bored or wanted to make more money. They just saw getting promoted as a sign of success."

So Steib set out to help them, using his own career as a guide.

"I realized that no one was going to come to some young director of corporate development and say, 'Hey, we heard you want to be a leader.' You have to make it happen yourself."

So he started an intern program just so he had someone he could manage. In time, he became the guy who could manage interns -- and people started to notice his leadership skills. (After all, if you want a higher level job, don't wait until you get the job to display the skills required -- show you can do the job before you get paid to do it.)

Over time he fleshed out his "career manifesto," helping people identify their purpose, what matters to them, and how to craft their own career.

"It was almost like planning a vacation on TripAdvisor," Mike says. "How to think about what you want to do that aligns with your purpose, what roles make sense, what size company, what type of company... every step along the way."

What started out as ten pages is now a comprehensive guide. The first sections help you determine your purpose and your plan; the rest provides an actionable blueprint to becoming more productive, more effective, more fulfilled... and better able to make a difference in the lives of the people around you.

Plus a portion of the proceeds go to Literacy Partners, a non-profit that provides family literacy programs to thousands of people in New York.

Make your life better.

Make other lives better.

Can't beat that.

Published on: Jan 31, 2018
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