Overview & Comments

This book can be purchased on Amazon in print and digital. Please seek the latest edition of April 2017 which is the most complete. 

An overview (from the Introduction)

What I hope every reader will find in these pages (and I include the coaches, counselors and helpers who may be sought out to provide guidance in this process) are many thought-provoking ideas for your consideration. You will find conversation starters, prompts for reflection, an impetus to share your life story with others. You will also find plenty of encouragement to get into action so that you can create your own islands of meaning, joy and service in our currently challenging world.

Part One opens the conversation about “calling” and “contribution” with very broad strokes, using the examples of others. When you discover and act on your own, most true impulses, where can it lead? What are the possibilities that resonate for you as you consider the variety of ways and venues to which others have been called?

Part Two begins laying out the queries you may want to pose to yourself. You get a chance to explore what you know about your unique passions, gifts, desires and calls to service—the ones you may already be expressing, and the ones you may want to express more consciously.

Part Three invites you to pause. You will have arrived at a place where you may have gotten some of the information you need about yourself. How might you want to proceed?

Part Four provides a “big nudge” for you to tell more of the truth about what you really want to be or do—no matter how new or intimidating. You get the opportunity to align your intentions at all levels, and to admit and transform any reluctance you are feeling about going for what you feel compelled and excited to do.

Part Five offers guidance illustrated by those who have taken action on their own behalf in the world. Hopefully it will serve as inspiration for some of the ways you may choose to move forward onto your desired life path.

Part Six acknowledges that as life proceeds, natural talents form into new and uniquely clustered gifts. Life purpose may take different forms, and it’s important to return to reflection: “What’s my authentic role at this time in my life on the planet?”

An Appendix contains a few resources that I have found useful to the lifeshaping process which are beyond the scope of the book to discuss in detail. The second printing includes an additional Appendix E, where I felt compelled to discuss the societal context in which we are now making our life choices. A fourth printing in April 2017 contains more current resources and introduces a likely sequel which includes the three current challenges of our “third chapter” of life; Living Fully, Aging Gracefully and Dying Well.

And finally, I offer this gift in hopes that you, the reader, will find your right place, honor the beauty of your own gifts, and dare to express them. Allow the questions and the examples of others to lead you “home” to yourself. Have patience with your inquiry and be willing for it to last as long as it takes. Know that you may find some sections easier than others, depending on your own comfort with reflection and introspection. It’s important to remember that the questions, the steps, and the illustrations contained herein are not designed to “prescribe” answers for your life. Rather, they invite reflection, point a direction, and offer some gentle guidance. After all, it is only your own best answers that will work for you. Your best answers will come when you seek them, when you are ready for them and when you have the courage to lean into them. The world awaits you—and me—no matter how old we are!



Why Not Do What You Love, like a mirror you look at each morning, asks the simplest question in the world, and one of the wisest and most compassionate. It tells real-life stories about people who are neither famous nor rich, they just do what they love. The book both provokes and reassures, challenges and clarifies, and demands nothing from us readers except for one thing: that we care—passionately—about the life we have been given to live. And it’s written by someone who has walked her talk.
 ~EVE MARKO, Founding Teacher Zen Peacemaker Order


I love the way Martha has written WHY NOT DO WHAT YOU LOVE? as a friendly conversation with the reader. She gently poses questions while the readers search inwardly to “discover their best gifts and to explore ways to use these gifts.” Her concept of aligning our passions, our innate gifts with life’s callings has helped guide me in my reflections on the life journey I’ve taken these past 70 years. Moreover, it has helped me to begin to systematically seek more clarity as I navigate into my future years.
~RICHARD LAKIN, Author of Teaching as an Act of Love (free e-copy)


Thanks for orchestrating a fantastic morning program for some of us from the Family Business Center. Our discussion and participation was well structured with just enough time to ponder and reflect on the themes of your book.
~KIM DURAND, Normandeau Communications, Inc.


Rich with insight, illuminating exercises, down-to-earth guidance, and inspiring anecdotes, Martha Johnson leads us on a journey to the wellspring of self-knowledge and inspiration residing in our own hearts and souls. If you have ever dreamed of being paid to do what you love, if you have ever yearned to use your talents to help make a better world, I urge you to read this book and follow its gentle guidance. It can deliver on its promise – to bring you to the place inside yourself where mysterious powers lay waiting to be discovered, powers that can help you create the life you have always dreamed of living.
~TOM MONTE, bestselling writer, including Unexpected Recoveries and co-author of Taking Woodstock.


What a wonderful honor it is to be included in your book! I think you couldn’t have picked a more important subject and it is so timely, as so many who had focused purely on making money now take stock of their lives and wonder how they find more meaning through helping others.
~DAVID MAZOR, Founder Reader-to-Reader


More comments by “reviewers” on Amazon.com.