In today’s working world, we hear a lot about personal and organizational transformation often without fully comprehending how much transformation is already embedded within the work we now do.
When I began my coaching practice in the early 90s, the ‘pain’ most clients spoke about was underutilization. Whether it came from managers concerned about productivity losses or employees concerned about boredom, they saw underutilization as being the source of their workplace stress. However, stress does not have an external source.
I witnessed clients working at jobs for which they held no passion. They were advised by parents, career counselors or managers to seek employment based on their aptitude for the work. In the 1970s and 80s this counsel was still considered good advice. Most of us from that era suffered a rude awakening when we hit mid-life and realized we were not satisfied with our chosen careers and lifestyles.
With the advent of the millennium, this new ‘pain’ — a lack of fulfillment and joy — had fully emerged within my client base. Accompanying this awareness came the recognition for a need to combine talent and passion as our contribution to the world of work. The subsequent self-reinventions dramatically impacted the working world. En masse, we are no longer willing to ‘work to live’ or ‘live to work’ but instead are making work choices based on talent and passion. For most, this means reconnecting with joy, which is not an easy job when we no longer know what it is.
As is the way of the day, most seek happiness only to discover that happiness is not joy. As Gary Zukav (2010) aptly states, happiness is temporary. It depends on external circumstances over which we have no control — the sunshine, our loved one’s smile, a vacation, the reward for doing a good job. Just as these events pass into something else, so does happiness.
Joy, however, is permanent. Joy is an inside job. We cannot create joy. It already exists within us. So how are we to know joy? First, remove all barriers standing in our way to experiencing joy — barriers such as fear and fear’s siblings — anger, jealousy, resentment, impulsiveness, manipulation, depression, sympathy, competition, etc. Essentially what is required is a reframing of our beliefs, behaviours and way of being (identity) in the world.
Those of us willing to take on the journey of reinventing our work and ourselves discover that when we change one aspect of our being, it impacts the whole in ways we never imagine. For one, the changes we create in ourselves are also created around the world. Secondly, in our search for work that combines our talent and passion, we also seek to do work that no one else can do. This call to contribute in our unique capacity is a call to create from our depths. Finally, in order to create this unique work, it must be deeply meaningful for our authenticity to emerge. Thus, each of the four faces of work is vital —
Remove one and the other three crumble.
What talents and passion do you bring to your current work? What are you creating from that deep source within that is authentically you?
Zukav, Gary. 2010. Spiritual Partnership: The Journey to Authentic Power, Rider Publishing.