15 years ago, these words profoundly touched me:
“Work is sacred. It is not just a way to earn money or gain power, though it may result in both. Work is a vehicle for testing out our gifts and talents and using them to explore their meaning. Work is a process of self-expression, trial and error learning, creativity, and risk taking. No matter what kind of job we have, work always has these potentials. Work is spiritual. It is a place where we have the opportunity for spiritual growth. Often these opportunities come from the “how” of the ways we do our work rather than the “what” of the work itself. Regardless of what our work is, we can enjoy it. And it is most enjoyable when balanced with other aspects of our life and not a tyrant.” Anne Wilson Schaef
These few sentences explained something I have known for years. I have experienced some of the most profound and meaningful moments in my life through work, and I have always agreed with the famous Confucius’s saying that if you choose a job you love; you never have to work a day in your life. Now let me explain that because I recently spoke with an young woman who thought that literally means to enjoy every single minute of work. I have had a lot of hardships and crucibles in work, I have been stressed, down and dead tired. I have cried. I have felt depleted and unhappy. That’s not the point. It is wrong to assume that the phrase “never had to work a day in my life” is about being happy, relaxed and excited all day long at work every minute of every day. For me it boils down to “I’ve always looked forward to Monday and often could not wait for it to come because I was excited and inspired to go to work. Work gave me meaning and provoked me to grow.”
I did not always find understanding. People have asked me many times “When do you live if you work so much?” These same people value work-life balance because for them work is separate from life. I value balance in life but I cannot separate work from life as it is at the core of its essence.
Thank God It’s Friday!
This phrase dates back somewhere in the Industrial Age. Most people then were involved in tedious and monotonous jobs that did not require them to bring their whole selves to work. Today, we live in the Conceptual Age. In his book A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink explains the factors that contribute to the need for business to concentrate on cognitive or creative assets such as design, storytelling, teamwork, empathy, play, and meaning. He bases his approach on brain functions explaining how qualities dependent on the left hemisphere of the brain (logic, knowledge) now need to be complemented by those associated with right-brained processes (intuition and creative thinking). Said in different words, today as organizational leaders, we have to inspire and make possible for people to bring to work not just their bodies and brains but their hearts and souls as well; they need to bring their whole selves to work.
At the same time, international statistics about engagement have never been worse. People are increasingly exhausted, overwhelmed, and disengaged. Whether we call it a “personal energy crisis” or “employee engagement crisis”, the facts are obvious. Majority of people have it.
To make things worse, most of them consider the situation normal. Data in organizational engagement surveys shows relatively positive results because people do not expect to feel any better. I hear over and over: “that’s work after all; it’s not supposed to be any better.” They dislike their work, they are not inspired, and they dread Monday but they like the paycheck and the comfort it gives them. To compensate for that they get caught in the hedonistic treadmill and keep buying new things and travels in pursuit of hedonistic happiness outside of work. Others look for meaning in life and spiritual growth, but they look for that outside of work and volunteer their time for causes that inspire them.
Thank God It’s Monday!
Imagine a World in which the majority of people do what they love. Imagine a world in which the majority of people love what they do. Imagine a world in which work is not just work but a purpose-driven vehicle for developing and testing out our gifts and talents and using them to explore their meaning. A purpose-driven place where we all have the opportunity for spiritual growth.
If you are an organizational leader or practitioner, join us on a journey to re-imagine and co-create the future of work in my, your and their organizations, in all of them. Let’s build a world of full-spectrum organizations fostering wellbeing, prosperity and abundance.
What Makes Us Different?
We are not fanatics to any one model although we love the profound wisdom and game-changing results of the Seven Levels of Organizational Consciousness Model of the Barrett Values Centre, the Teal Model of Reinventing Organizations, and Theory U, Appreciative Inquiry and Art of Hosting, to name a few. However, we are open and curious to explore and welcome whatever emerges through both theory and practice.
We are “fanatic” believers that (as Ken Wilber put is) our very thoughts and actions are contributing directly to the forms or structure of tomorrow – we are a genuine co-creator of a reality that every human henceforth will pass through. And now that is a responsibility. Don’t you think so?
We are committed and patient to hold the space for leaders and practitioners to resolve their organizational challenges. To participate effectively, you need to own specific business cases, meaning you have a key role in the organization and you can apply the outcome of the work we do together. This will allow us to transform the way we work. Not on paper. In real life.
How would we know what works and what doesn’t? Our ultimate test is always the same. Are the eyes of people shining? Do they learn and develop? Do they live better? Do they work more efficiently? Do they flourish? Is the organization full-spectrum and does it prosper?
Join us on this journey. And let us be clear, we love Fridays as well. 🙂
Natalia is a CTT Certified Consultant with the Barrett Values Centre, a Certified Management Consultant, as well as a contributor to the Teal for Startups Community, the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL) and the Theory U in Practice Community. Before becoming a consultant, Natalia had 20 years of an international executive career.