I am on a mission to help you find meaning and purpose in your work. Feeling stuck? Not sure where you're going? Ask Me Anything!

Dan Cumberland
Mar 12, 2018

Hi everyone!  I'm Dan Cumberland.  Creator of The Meaning Movement blog , The Meaning Movement podcast, and The Calling Course,  author of a 2x best selling short form book on how to find purpose and meaning in your work (free on Amazon right now!).

My work is all about helping you find and do the things that make you come alive.  Whether you talk about it as calling, vocation, meaning, purpose, life’s work, or passion— I don’t care as much what word you use, I just want to see you get there.

I'm also giving away a free Career Growth Library of all my favorite books on these topics.  Join in here.

Ask me anything!



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Every job has its upsides and downsides. When should a person decide that it is time to move on to something new?
Mar 19, 12:56PM EDT0
Is it more important to help yourself, help your family, help your society, or help the world and what is the reason for your choice?
Mar 19, 8:09AM EDT0
What do you believe is the biggest waste of human potential?
Mar 18, 11:05PM EDT0
What activities cause you to feel like you are living life to the fullest?
Mar 18, 5:46PM EDT0
Why do you think that humans don't take more advantage of the fact that they have almost infinite knowledge available to them?
Mar 18, 12:50PM EDT0
What do you say to people who have gone into a field they thought they loved but it turned out to be tedious and they just feel stuck that they have invested so many years studying for it but now they feel like they are unfulfilled?
Mar 17, 7:51PM EDT0
Do you think it's true what is said about millenials that they have committment issues when it comes to work because of the unrealistic expectations they set for themselves when it comes to the work force?
Mar 16, 3:41AM EDT0

Hi Christian,

It's hard to say what is and isn't true about millennials because everything that is said is a generalization.  This means that when it comes to an individual, some parts will be true of them and some parts will be false.  A quick aside: there's a great book about this idea and how understanding the individual is key to success in all fields called The End of Average.  It's a great read.

To return to the question of millenials— yes, generally speaking, millenials change jobs more than other generations.  This can be a fault if you don't stay in a tough job long enough to learn and grow.  But it can also be a strength because you're willing to leave a job that doesn't fit rather than wasting your time.

I prefer to focus less on generational stereotypes, and instead work on understanding your own tendencies and biases and how they help and harm your pursuit of the things that matter to you.

Mar 16, 10:38AM EDT0
Do you think it is healthy for people to stay in the same career path their entire life?
Mar 15, 6:54PM EDT0

Hi Karolina999,

It depends on the person and what you mean by career path.  If it's a career you love and it fills you with life and purpose— then there's nothing unhealthy about it. 

It's becoming less and less common for people to have a very straightforward career path.  Changing fields and industries has become commonplace.  While 20+ years ago major career changes may have made it difficult to advance, that is much less the case today.

Mar 16, 10:27AM EDT0
Do you like reading? Who are some of your favorite authors?
Mar 13, 12:49PM EDT0

Hi Faithninda,

Yes.  I love to read.  I had the goal of reading 52 books in 2017, which I achieved, but it was definitely quantity over quality.

I mostly read non-fiction business and personal development books.  I have a list of my favorites related to work, purpose, and career here.  I'm also giving away a bunch of my other favorites here.

In that genre, my favorite authors include Parker Palmer, Brene Brown, David Whyte, Steven Pressfield, Seth Godin.  I also love poetry and have read just about everything by Mary Oliver and Billy Collins.

Mar 13, 1:13PM EDT0
What are your thoughts about paid book reviews?
Mar 13, 5:53AM EDT0

Hi Biljana,

Paid book reviews are not something that I have experience in.  But I know that finding a way to get reviews is essential to the success of a book.  And it's very difficult to get reviews.  Paying for reviews seems disingenuous to me.  Finding additional ways to motivate your existing readers to read and review your new work is very important, but paying for reviews is a lot like fake news.  It takes advantage of people's trust and erodes your reputation and the reputation of the system.

Mar 13, 10:03AM EDT0
Do you enjoy blogging more than writing books?
Mar 13, 5:16AM EDT0

Hi Pampi,

I like them both for different reasons.

I like the immediacy of blogging.  I can have an idea, write a post, and you can read it right away.  That's really rewarding.  But most blog posts disappear into the archives and don't stand the test of time.

The process of writing a book is longer and much slower, but it has the potential to stay around longer.  A great book could read for generations.  A great book is also a calling card that gets you a lot further professionally than a blog on its own.

Mar 13, 9:45AM EDT0

Did you always want to be a writer from when you were still little? Are you proud of what you have become today?

Mar 13, 1:25AM EDT0

Hi Anna!

Great question.  I wanted to be all kinds of things when I was little: an astronaut, a rock star, a genetic engineer, but I never thought about being a writer.  Even today, "writer" is not a title I use too often.  For me, I view writing as a means to an end: helping people and spreading a message.  Though I am a writer, it's just one of the tools I use.I am proud of who/what I've become and what I've created, and I think that creativity is the major theme through all my life and my childhood.  I've always loved creating.

Mar 13, 9:41AM EDT0
Do you earn from your blog? Can you share how?
Mar 12, 5:59PM EDT0

Hi Anas!

Yes.  I do.  I mentioned it a little be in one of my other responses, but I'll share more here.  Though it's a passion project, I know that the more I can pay myself for my time, the more time I can put into the project and the more people I can help, so I've worked hard to monetize the blog.  I make a small amount of revenue through affiliate links, like the ones on this page.  I also have a course called The Calling Course that is a paid course (though I have a great free mini-course there if you'd like to see what it's about).  I also work one-on-one with people and have a few other offerings available.  You can see those here: themeaningmovement.com/offerings

My strategy is to give as much value as possible for free and to have a paid next step offer for people who want a more curated and guided experience.

Mar 12, 6:23PM EDT0
How are some of the challenges faced when trying to find out what makes one come alive?
Mar 12, 9:09AM EDT0

One of the biggest challenges to finding what makes you really come alive is the process of parsing out your voice from the many other voices in your life and story.  We've all been shaped by the families, cultures, organizations, and institutions we've been a part of— for good and ill.  They all have told us stories about who we are and what we should and shouldn't do/try/be.  Some of the most important work that you can do is to understand the messages and stories that have had power over you and where they have come from.  If you're uncertain what makes you come alive, it's likely there's a story that needs to be explored and exposed in order to diminish the power it has over you.

I have a blog post that lays out a process to finding your calling here, that you might find helpful.

Last edited @ Mar 12, 12:34PM EDT.
Mar 12, 11:20AM EDT0
Are you planning to write more books in the future?
Mar 12, 7:54AM EDT0

Yes!  I've just begun working with a publisher on full-length book.  I can't share details yet, because it's much too soon.  But I'm very excited!

Mar 12, 11:22AM EDT0
What inspired you to create The Meaning Movement? Were you stuck in an uninspiring job?
Mar 12, 7:46AM EDT0

Yes!  It's a long story, but I ended up in a job that I felt like I was "supposed" to be in, but didn't fit.  I struggled a lot and was getting more and more depressed.  I started doing my own work around identity and personal development.  I went to conferences, read books, did a lot of therapy, and sought out mentors.  Along the way I had a few people mirror back to me that I had a different energy around ideas of vocation and calling that I should pay attention to.  I finally left that job to go study around the intersection of identity and work, which lead me to get my Master's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on identity, psychology, culture, and personal formation.Then I started the Meaning Movement.

Looking back I can see how what I felt like I was "supposed to do" was more about fulfilling the expectations of authority figures in my life, rather than pursuing my own way and identity in work.  There's a long back story there.  You can listen to some of it in my interview on Jeff Goin's podcast.

Mar 12, 12:32PM EDT0
Did you design your website on your own?
Mar 12, 7:20AM EDT0

I did.  Can you tell?  haha.  I started with a wordpress theme and customized it from there.  It's very much in need of an update!

Mar 12, 12:12PM EDT0
What if there are many interests and activities that makes one come alive? How does one choose the best interest to turn into a vocation?
Mar 12, 6:57AM EDT0

I love this question for many reasons!  It resonates with my own story as well as the struggles of many— particularly those of us who identify with the millennial generation in some ways.

There are a couple important ideas here:  First is that meaning can be found in a lot of ways.  Sometimes we get so focused on one specific expression of our work that we don't realize that there are other expressions that we may enjoy just as much.  The key is to look for the themes.  It may not be about the work itself, but about something happening around the work.Second, when it comes to turning something into a vocation— you have to think about what is the best intersection of what you enjoy, what others need, and what will pay you.  You won't be able to make a living at everything, but with some work you can find an expression of your work that is fulfilling and pays the bills.

Mar 12, 12:57PM EDT0
What are some ways in which a person can promote their podcast and which of these do you prefer, and why?
Mar 11, 5:22PM EDT0

Great question.  There are others who would have more expertise in this area, but here's what I know and what I do:1) Get on other podcasts.  It's easiest to gain listeners through the same medium.  If you want to grow your podcast, you need to find podcast listeners— and that's the best way to do it.2) Keywords, titles, and descriptions help a lot.  I get a lot of listeners from people searching for words like calling or career change in iTunes.3) This is beyond just podcast promotion, but it's important.  The podcast is just a tool for building relationships with listeners and spreading your message.  On it's own, my podcast's metrics aren't that impressive.  I'm not in the top of iTunes.  I'm not getting book deals because of it.  But what it does is give me another point of contact between myself and my audience.  Additionally, it's a more intimate connection that just reading my books and blogs— because people get to know me and literally hear my voice.

Mar 12, 1:09PM EDT0
How should a person build trust with their colleagues?
Mar 11, 1:48PM EDT0

The best way to build trust it to show up consistently.  Be reliable.  Be supportive.  Be dependable.  And do it over and over. 

Mar 12, 1:10PM EDT0
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