This interview was first published by The Bookshelf Café August 2, 2022. Please meet author, Frank Sonnenberg.
Would you work for no pay? You might if you were compensated by knowing that you’re making a difference. As Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” We’d like to introduce you to Frank Sonnenberg who is a testament to living life with a purpose.
The Bookshelf Café: You’ve written nine books. When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
Frank Sonnenberg: The truth is, I don’t consider myself an author. I know people who can write elegant prose without even trying. That’s not me. I labor over it. I have so much that I want to share — so I muddle through the process.
There are folks who believe that honor and integrity are niceties or pie-in-the-sky thinking. I’m here to prove them wrong. If you care about your relationships, your career, or even your self-esteem, moral character matters.
The Bookshelf Café: If you’re not an author, what is your background?
Sonnenberg: I’ve been a consultant for most of my career; first as head of marketing for the Management Consulting Group of EY (Ernst & Young) — for over a decade — and then founding a marketing group, where I spent 24 years. When I reached retirement age, I considered teaching at a university, but concluded that I could reach more people by being an author.
I’ve always been a student of life and continue to take every opportunity to learn and grow. As far back as I can remember, I’ve asked myself questions such as: How do people build trust and credibility? What makes a superior role model? What are the character traits of an effective leader? And I’ve made it my business to find out. My goal is to share what I’ve learned.
The Bookshelf Café: FrankSonnenbergOnline has been named one of the “Top Self-Improvement and Personal Development Blogs” in the world and one of the “Best Inspirational Blogs On the Planet.” If you could offer one message, what would it be?
Sonnenberg: There are folks who choose to take the low road. They’re not interested in working hard or making sacrifices to achieve success. They’re only interested in rewards. These folks would rather take than give, build walls rather than bridges, and win at any expense rather than succeeding with dignity and honor. Then, when they fall flat on their face, they cast blame instead of accepting responsibility and learning from their behavior. My advice is to set high standards, remain true to your values, and listen to your conscience.
The Bookshelf Café: Although you’ve received a lot of accolades for your work, you shy away from the public spotlight. In fact, this is one of a handful of interviews that you’ve granted as an author. Why?
Sonnenberg: I don’t do book signings, interviews, book tours, etc. People tell me that’s foolish because I could sell more books. But my goal isn’t to make money, it’s to make a difference. In fact, book proceeds are donated to charity. It’s also important to note that I don’t sell any products or accept advertising or sponsorships for my blog because I don’t want to give the slightest impression that I’m doing this for any other reason than serving the public good. Instead of seeking the spotlight, I focus all my attention on writing. I assume if I create valuable content, folks will find me. That’s worked out pretty well thus far. FrankSonnenbergOnline has attracted just shy of five million readers.
The Bookshelf Café: How can folks support your efforts?
Sonnenberg: As the saying goes, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” My hope is if you find my writing meaningful, share it with others who can benefit from the information. Furthermore, if you’re a teacher, coach, trainer, career counselor, role model, or manager, use the content to drive home key messages to your constituents.
There is power in numbers. One person can get things started; a second person can create some momentum; a third person may influence others to join in. And, before you know it, you’ve created a movement.
The Bookshelf Café: Tell me about your new book, The Path to a Meaningful Life.
Sonnenberg: Everyone is searching for meaning in life, but few people know how to find it. The problem is that most people are seeking validation from others rather than living a life that makes them proud.
You may be thinking, “Who cares? I’m too busy.” While that’s understandable, if you wait too long to identify the path that’s right for you, you’ll never really know if you’re heading off course. While you’re busy, life happens.
Who are you? What are the values that define you? What mark do you want to make on the world? What legacy do you want to leave behind? If you haven’t answered these questions to discover the real you, it may be time to give them some thought. After all, you have an opportunity to define your values and your life as you see fit, or you can go with the flow and let them be defined for you.
The Path to a MeaningfulLife contains over 50 powerful essays that will change the way you think about life.
It’s your life. It’s your journey. Own it!
Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information.
The Path to a Meaningful Life
Listen to Your Conscience. That’s Why You Have One
Soul Food: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life
BookSmart: Hundreds of Real-World Lessons for Success and Happiness
Follow Your Conscience: Make a Difference in Your Life & in the Lives of Others
Managing With a Conscience (Second edition): How to Improve Performance Through Integrity, Trust, and Commitment