Marcus Buckingham: The catalyst for writing Find Your Strongest Life was a workshop that we did for The Oprah Show a year and a half ago. Most of my work has been in corporations, studying how you build an organization that helps people to identify and work to their strengths. Every company wants to know how to find and keep highly talented women in the workplace.
Then I got a call from the Oprah team saying they wanted to do a show on helping women to find success in their careers. We conducted a workshop for 30 talented but unfulfilled women, and the goal was to guide these women toward getting unstuck, to find a new trajectory for their careers and to discover the strength and the passion that they had lost—to help them examine their attitudes, beliefs and strengths, show them how to challenge the people who were holding them back and give them the courage they needed to move forward.
We did a workshop with Oprah sitting right there in the second row, then coached these women for five months, and then we did a show about it, presenting the Before, the Journey and the After. It was a good show, it was fun, and many of the 30 women seemed to have taken great steps. And that would have been plenty if that had been all that had happened. It wasn't.
Oprah.com was deluged with posts and questions from women wanting to take the conversation further. We received literally hundreds of thousands of questions: How do I find my strength in my life? When should I make choices on when to have children or not? How do I balance all the different competing demands that are made of me? How do I make sure that I am living a first-rate version of my own life, not a second-rate version of somebody else's life? We had 2.1 million people download the three-hour workshop. And I thought, "There are an awful lot of really good questions here that require a coherent, detailed, practical answer." I had been planning to write a book about how to live a strong life for a long time. With this outpouring of questions and interest, I knew I had to get to it right then.