by Steven M. Darter

In this deeply personal self-help memoir, Steve Darter asks himself the question: What is the purpose of my life? Using incredibly entertaining and relatable storytelling, Steve takes you on a journey of emotion, reflection, and insight that encourages you to think about how to live with more meaning, purpose, and success at any age whether young, old, or in between.

Applying the concepts and techniques described in Steve's book will help you:

  • • Identify and engage in work and activity that provides a sense of meaning, purpose, satisfaction, and fulfillment.
  • • Understand and manage your motivated strengths, and prevent them from becoming weaknesses that can damage performance, limit productivity, and create problems in life.
  • • Break free from what may be holding you back, including physical and emotional pain.
  • • Become who you were uniquely designed to be, realize the purpose of your life, and maximize your potential.


Lessons from Life: Four Keys to Living with More Meaning, Purpose, and Success 

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"Exceptionally well written, organized, and presented. . . extraordinary personal story combined with life enhancing, life affirming commentaries. . . very highly recommended"

--Midwest Book Review The Biography Shelf

"There is some really good stuff in this book, guys, it's powerful and if you are stuck in a rut it can help to dig you out. . . I give it 5 out of 5 stars."

--Comfy Reading

"A deep, soul searching, gotta get honest with yourself kind of read. . . great questions, ones that are soul searching. . . Well written, well thought out and extremely useful. . . 5 star rating is right on the spot."

--Elizabeth Speaks

"Thoroughly 'reader friendly', thoughtful and thought-provoking, real world practical, inspired and inspiring from beginning to end. . . very highly recommended”

--Midwest Book Review The Self-Help Shelf

"This is a really enjoyable yet challenging (in a constructive way) book. . . a lot of learning to be gained. . . I can certainly see myself going back to this book in the future."

--Read, Relax, Review

"Merges memoir with self-help. . . I found the stories uplifting. . . Even if you aren't interested in the self-help portion of the book you will find the stories interesting."

--SMS Nonfiction Book Reviews

"Filled with inspirational words. . . one could easily connect to the storyline. . . anyone looking for a life-changing book would enjoy reading this book."

--Review tales by Jeyran Main

"Filled with lessons learned that all of us can use to live a more purposeful life."

--Insights into Books

"Inspirational. . . Engaging. . . Thought provoking. . . Fantastic book for self-reflection and self-exploration. . . Helpful for an adult of any age, no matter where you are on your journey"

--A Book and a Cup of Tea

Lessons from Life

Ranked #1 "Profound Book about Finding Yourself"
Voted 1 of 12 books that wil inspire people to change their lives.

Read what people are saying about "LESSONS FORM LIFE"

“Steve Darter’s book draws you from one page and story to the next. I found the writing to be magnetic, sentence after sentence. The communication is clear and deep; nothing hidden, so painfully honest. The message about life and purpose, consistent and growing, illustrated through struggles, victories, and defeats that are so real.”

—Arthur F. Miller, author of The Power of Uniqueness, The Truth About You, Look No Further, How God Shapes Our Lives, and other books; founder of SIMA International

“The course of my life changed forever after I discovered my Motivated Abilities Pattern® with the help of Steve Darter and his associates. When JRR Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, he thought he was writing it just for his own kids. Likewise, Steve thought he was writing just for his kids, but this deeply personal exploration of how he came to understand his design and what he discovered about applying it throughout his life in his family, career, and spiritual journey make it a useful guide packed with insights for all of us who want to live life to the fullest! This book reveals an amazing, intelligent, and proven way to discover your life’s purpose.”

—Dick Staub, nationally syndicated broadcaster and founder of The Kindlings; author of About You: Fully Human Fully Alive, The Culturally Savvy Christian, and other books

“Steve Darter exhibits extreme courage, humility, and vulnerability as he tells a fascinating story of his lifelong journey leading to self-discovery of his God-given giftedness and life purpose. All readers will relate to many of Steve’s experiences that are often humorous, inspiring, and emotional. But the value of this book goes well beyond the impact of interesting memoirs. In it, through provocative questions for reflection, he encourages readers to understand their own giftedness and life purpose and thereby the drivers of future happiness and personal fulfillment. This book can significantly enhance your life!”

—Fred Sievert, retired president and vice chairman, New York Life Insurance Company; author of God Revealed: Revisit Your Past to Enrich Your Future and Grace Revealed: Finding God’s Strength in Any Crisis

“This honest story of your life’s journey is such a powerful way for you to help us all reflect on and better understand our own journeys in such a constructive frame of reference. Having had the pleasure of knowing you, watching you MAP® and positively impact the lives of hundreds of our highest-potential people, and being so influenced by you in my own life, the sharing of your life’s journey is a powerful and inspiring experience. I found myself laughing at times and shedding tears of emotion at others. I literally couldn’t put your book down after I started it. It was like holding up a mirror for me to think about my own life’s journey and how many similar struggles I have shared with you. How powerful self-reflection can be, and as with so many other things in life, it gives me comfort to know I’m not alone as I reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly. Everyone who reads this will benefit from its honest self-reflection and will be inspired to find the hidden strength their life journey has to make them better people.”

—Kenneth Klepper, Cofounder, Chairman, and CEO, ReactiveCore; former president and COO, Medco Health Solutions, Inc.; business board director, U.S. Department of Defense; and board of directors, U.S. Naval Institute

“In this thoughtful and deeply personal book, Steve Darter addresses one of the most important and central questions in life: How can one find more purpose and meaning in his or her life? While there are many ways to answer this question, in Lessons from Life Steve makes the case that one path is to boldly engage in a journey of personal discovery and development. For him, this journey began by first recognizing we all have God-given talents and gifts that, when managed well, can lead to joy, but when mismanaged can lead to disappointment. Armed with this insight, he subsequently discovered that to make full and proper use of these talents, it is critical to let God into your life, to express your goodness in every day acts, and to understand that life will become more meaningful once you accept that difficulties and challenges are an essential part of clarifying what your true purpose is in life. Much more than an engaging autobiography, this thought-provoking book is a call for reflection and action. I highly recommend it for anyone who ever has or currently is seeking to find more purpose and meaning in his or her life.”

—James W. Fairfield-Sonn, PhD, Professor of Management, Former Dean of the Barney School of Business, University of Hartford and Author of Corporate Culture and the Quality Organization

Lessons from Life seeks to tackle life’s biggest questions—questions of meaning, purpose, and truth. Given his background, Steve Darter is uniquely positioned to explore such heady topics, and he does so marvelously in Lessons from Life. Throughout the book, Steve distills incredible wisdom from his own life’s experiences—a life that cannot be described as anything less than a grand and wild adventure. Written with wit, humility, and heart, the stories Steve tells convey immense emotional strength. I often felt in myself the very emotions that Steve must have experienced in his stories—frequently laughing one moment, only to be startled by a moment of great poignancy the next. Lessons from Life truly conveys the full spectrum of human experience. Steve incisively mines his life’s experience to come to a deep understanding of his own meaning, purpose, and truth, and simultaneously equips us to do the same. I definitely enjoyed learning about Steve through the book, but more importantly, I learned a lot about myself.”

—Greg Baumer, senior vice president and chief growth officer, naviHealth; author (with John Cortines) of God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School

“In Lessons from Life, Steve Darter distills years of wisdom and experience into a compelling and concise narrative, as engaging as it is inspirational. The questions at the end of each chapter help readers connect their own lives and goals directly to the lessons Steve has gathered from his own vast experience. After working with Steve and identifying my Motivated Abilities Pattern®, I expected to find myself at a professional crossroads. What surprised me was discovering that I was at a spiritual turning point. After completing our work together, I reconnected with my core values and invited God back into my life. Our gifts and talents are just that blessings from God that, when fully identified and nurtured, can focus our energies and magnetically pull goodness and success into our lives. Lessons from Life leads the reader directly and clearly to the center of life’s purpose. Truly a life-changing book!”

—Robert Rex Waller, Jr., Associate Professor of Writing, University of Southern California; playwright, author, singer, and co-song writer for the critically acclaimed roots band “I See Hawks in L.A.”

“The Big Question facing all of us has to be what is the purpose of my life? Why am I here? Steve Darter dives deeply into this question in his new book Lessons from Life for the benefit of all who search for insight, direction, and answers. Drawing on his many years of professional experience guiding others to find meaning in their working environment and on his belief in God, Steve gently provides the outline, palette, contours, and framework of an image of ‘the purpose of a life’ that resonates deeply and, upon reflection, results in a compelling basis for the reader to complete the picture for his or her own life. His words, examples, and message are clear, simple, and to the point: come to know and embrace your God-given design, and let that be the foundation for all you do, experience, and give to others as you evolve on your journey.”

—David T. Emott, retired CFO, Ensign-Bickford Industries; author of Practitioner’s Complete Guide to M&As

 “Steve Darter describes, in a compelling manner, his life’s work in pursuing the identification of what it takes to have a best chance of finding a rewarding, meaningful, and successful career and life. Using expertly told stories from his own experiences as a business consultant and mentor to many different individuals, he presents our dual challenge: to determine those talents we are motivated to pursue and to find the roles to play in society, using that skill set, that is most rewarding. I met Steve in the late ’80s and began working with him to find better direction for my career and my work as a CEO. Applying the motivated abilities analysis approach to my work and exposing other senior management to it was highly rewarding to the team. I have used the principles in subsequent positions successfully and wish I had been exposed to them in earlier jobs. Steve discusses all the features of this fascinating approach: defining your strengths and managing them, how God enters the picture, implementing findings in a rational and loving manner, and learning from challenges and successes. I highly recommend Steve’s book for everyone desiring to use their God-given gifts to their fullest in a more fulfilling role in their professions—and in life.”

--Stephen D. Ban, PhD, former president and CEO, Gas Research Institute; retired member, board of directors, UGI Corp, Energen, and Amerigas

“Steve probes deep into understanding what makes us more complete as people. Using himself as a real-life example, through marvelous storytelling he effectively summarizes and develops four key aspects that have led him to be more in alignment with his life's purpose and to experience joyful, positive emotions along the way. Intriguing, courageous, and thought-provoking, Lessons from Life caused me to take an inventory of my personal situation and is encouraging further exploration and alignment with my life’s purpose.”

—Frank Pacholec, PhD, VP Strategy and Corporate Development, Stepan Company

“Steve’s engaging life stories—each with important lessons for all—point to the imperative of finding one’s unique design and purpose to be fulfilled. He shares years of experience of giving people their Motivated Abilities Pattern®through a powerful process of discovery that benefited me so many years ago! I agree with him that each of us has a unique, God-designed purpose that is discoverable. This book will move you in that direction.”

—Robert C. Andringa, PhD, President Emeritus, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

“Coupled with wisdom garnered from guiding others to leverage their true giftedness, Steve offers us the powerful reflections that have emerged from his own life story. The chapter exercises guide us to face the mysteries, storms, fears, and risks of personal change and to unpack and celebrate that which comes to us naturally and easily. Steve shows us how to acknowledge joy in the journey of doing what we were designed to do and being who we are meant to be. This is a book you will read, reread, and gift to others.”

—Zara F. Larsen, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Engineering, Werner International POC GmbH; former president, The Larsen Group and live talk radio show host

“With the wisdom of the years, Steve Darter presents a sincere reflection on life’s journey. Learning to appreciate and manage his own giftedness, Steve shares insights with illustrations from his own life. He offers reflection questions for the reader to ponder. Because we all yearn to live a meaningful, purposeful life, there is something for everyone in this book.”

—Margaret Crowley, RSM, PhD, a Sister of Mercy; founder of several education and health care organizations and, most recently, developing programs in workplace spirituality

“Steve’s writings embrace a common thread of longing that we all share—that is, to simply be where (and who) we are meant to be. His stories share the ebb and flow of being human while the ‘gift of purpose’ is revealed. The framework of belief that we are made with specific gifts and talents takes real and living form as we walk with Steve through moments of discovery. Clearly Steve’s journey is ongoing, as all are, and his book reminds and heartens patience within our own and one another’s path. For those who have found learning in school difficult and frustrating, Steve’s experience and insights should be very helpful.”

—Edward Bouquillon, PhD, superintendent of the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School District

“Whether you are early or late in your life journey, there is much to learn or relearn from Steve Darter’s Lessons from Life. When I had an unplanned exit after thirty years as a senior executive for a major insurer, Steve showed me my Motivated Abilities Pattern®, which convinced me to radically change my career. What a great run—a new challenge almost every day, friendships with countless new people, and unexpected financial success! Steve describes many lessons he has learned that have helped him live a productive life. His book has convinced me to write my own life experience to share with my children and grandchildren. I encourage others to do the same!”

—Sam Havens, retired president, Prudential Health Care; former chair of the board, American Health Insurance Plans; and currently a solo entrepreneur working as a board member and advisor to early-stage health services companies

“Have you ever stopped and taken the time to thoughtfully consider what makes you special—that is, your unique gifts and natural, God-given abilities? Well, here’s your chance. Steve Darter helps us explore and identify our life’s purpose by sharing his own personal story. He courageously shares his successes, failures, and experiences with thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter. Join Steve on this personal journey of reflection and growth and, like me, get a deeper, more meaningful appreciation and understanding of your life’s purpose.”

—Ed Landry, founder and leader, Jobs Assistance Ministry