OK, yesterday you might have thought that I believe that all work has no meaning. Let me clarify a few things:
- Some are lucky and fortunate to work in a place where the leader desires to see meaning embraced. If that describes your situation, then thank that leader because he or she has probably payed a price to create that kind of environment.
- Some types of work (solving the AIDS crisis in Africa, searching for a cure for cancer or some forms of teaching to name a few) are inherently ripe for meaning.
- You still must solve the highest issue of meaning…look in the mirror for this one.
Give me your thoughts…
Much talk these days on how to make work more meaningful and finding meaning/fulfillment at work. I don’t believe it can be found…not at work anyway. Rest assured, meaning can be found in life. But work was never meant to be the destination. Work was one type of vehicle designed to move you to that place of meaning. True meaning begins with God and flows from there.
I hope I haven’t shocked or disappointed you with the above, but its the secret of my success. Start with Who made you and then live out what you were made for. How could anything be more meaningful than living out what you were designed to do/be?
When you get this right inside, here are a some things that occur:
- You’ll understand what is truly important.
- That glass of Merlot will taste that much better.
- Every love song will make you cry.
- The sight of newborn child will be awe inspiring.
- You’ll discover that serving is better than being served.
- The painful times will be gifts, not debts to be paid.
- You’ll really understand that people and relationships are what make organizations great.
- Legacy will be important to you.
- You’ll value authenticity.
- Each sunset will remind you that God is an artist.
This wonderful piece from Business Week Online is not only poignant, but inspiring for all who seek to be successful in life and work. Michelle Nichols provides us with the right amount of reality and vision.
She is a great partner (even though we’ve never met) in the pursuit of helping people discover the "epic" in life.
Here are some more of those life lessons:
- Pay attention to the smallest matters (a smile, a brief meeting, a feeling inside) they are clues. Many times they are from God.
- Your organization has a set of priorities, see where you rank, then ask yourself what’s most important.
- Embrace reality…even when it hurts.
- Legacy is defined every day.
- Go look for the stuff you buried (hurts, betrayals and losses) and embrace forgiving and letting go. You just might set yourself free…
I saw a quote somewhere that said that over thirty percent of American workers are not fully engaged in the organizations they work for. Engaged meaning; fully there, fully productive, fully effective. As many of you know, I am the "weeping prophet" regarding this problem. I don’t see the problem as so much an organizational structure problem, but a people/influence problem.
If the leaders of your organization back-date options, how likely are you to be engaged? If your manager (the middle variety) never asks for your opinion, how likely are you to be engaged? My gut says very unlikely. But we continue on with the charade…as long as we’re hitting our numbers. Hitting the numbers is the "holy grail" of the average.
Maybe your senior leaders say "we’re in this to make money, not engage people." Would someone tell me how you make money over the long term without engaged employees? Sadly, a number of leaders are not in this game for the long term. They want to make it quick and move on to the next "village."
I wonder what the agents of fear and greed will do when they can’t find enough qualified employees to carry out their wishes. Do you see the day (in a about five years from now) when its an employee’s market? I do…
I found this article on the The Pew Internet & American Life Project. It gives a portrait of blogging that is limiting in nature. By that I mean, the reason some blog. When I think of Seth Godin or Terry Walling I know blogging has more impact than the Pew study.
Pew set out to give us a snapshot of the phenom of blogging. In light of that, it seems snapshot is appropriate. Just don’t underestimate some of our culture’s great thinkers.
As many of you know, I’m north of forty. This is a time that carries many questions, but equally as important are the lessons learned. I wrote about some lessons learned about three months ago, and now I want to share some more lessons. Maybe these will help you…regardless of your age:
- What’s most important to you should have your 100% allegiance.
- Love (God, family, friends) is greater than anything you can know in this life.
- I regret not spending more time on #2, but its never too late to begin again.
- Work is one of many vehicles designed to help you be successful in life.
- Get what’s in your heart out…before you run out of time.
More to come…
Ever thought about how much time you spend working? Ever thought about how much of your identity is shaped by work? Ultimately, I’m speaking to those that work eight or more hours per day in an organization (profit or non-profit). Much has been written about the work place and all of the dysfunctional goings on. But where should all of this land, in light of LIFE?
Some of you will spend thirty or more years working. Your happy, your sad. You get a promotion, you get fired. As someone whose experienced all of those things, I can tell you that my life is not measured in large portion by work. I am learning more and more each day that what matters is what is in my heart. My life will be truly defined by that. Even more importantly, will what’s in my heart “get out?”
Many of you are thinking that you can’t put time and focus on things of the heart. If you’re reading this then you’ve been given the gift of life, therefore successs in the things of the heart is what you should be pursuing.
By the way, you’ll be more of a success in your work when you pursue being a success in the things of the heart.
This is a picture of Carlos Ghosen. He is the CEO of Nissan and Renault. This article from Fortune looks into his ability to turn GM around. GM’s board has given the green light for talks with Nissan/Renault about a "strategic" partnership.
Now don’t get me wrong, Ghosen has proven himself to be a great turnaround leader. But ladies and gentlemen, he’s a human being! The success of his mission will be more about the folks he has around him (including his wife and children) than anything else.
What’s sad about Fortune’s article, and many others, is our desire to worship the CEO.
Seth Godin, as you know by now, is brilliant in my book. His piece from yesterday titled "Beggars or Choosers" is insightful. Since my book is soon to be complete (a chapter left), I am planning on going the self-publishing route. I have had more than one interaction with various publishers and agents. And those that took time to look at the materials all came back with one glaring block…I’m not famous enough. They universally liked the content and my writing, but felt it would be too difficult to market with me being an "unknown."
I’m blessed to be in a position to self-publish. Like what Mr. Beethoven said (see my post from last week); "What is in my heart must come out."
So what’s in your heart?