Monthly Archives: April 2012

Vocation

“A society in which vocation and job are separated for most people gradually creates an economy that is often devoid of spirit, one that frequently fills our pocketbooks at the cost of emptying our souls.”  – Sam Keen

Vocation means “calling”, a call to do something with your life.  Now, what most of us do is get a job and work at that job for a number of years.   The job becomes a means to an end, a way to pay for the things we want and for many people something rather meaningless.   At some point it becomes clear that the work you are doing has no connection to your strengths or desires.

Laurence Boldt the author of “How to find the work you Love” points out the fact that it is more important to do work that matters rather than doing work for the sake of work.   For the “boomers” work held the notion that you committed yourself to an organization and the organization provided long-term employment for that commitment.   In the 90’s that changed and many “boomers” found themselves being laid off from work they did out of routine more than out of personal purpose.    Technology shifted the domain of work from hands to head.   Those who were in jobs that were manual in nature found that those jobs were easily exported overseas where the cost of labor was less expensive.

The newer generations know that organizations won’t commit themselves to their employees so they have become much more mobile and shift jobs more often.

Still there is an issue.  Do you work for money or do you work because the work you are doing has meaning for you?    Does the work you do involve the use of your strengths and creative talents?   If it doesn’t the connection to the work you do will be small.    Most people start their careers with hope and a lot of energy.  If that work doesn’t match who they are then it will take more energy from the individual than they can manufacture and it will result in diminished results over time.   We can’t continually do work that has low or no meaning as it takes more energy than we can supply.     You’ve seen people who have become tired of the work they are doing.  They have lost passion, the energy, the desire and the reason to come to work excited.   There is nothing there for them and yet they continue to come to work and they do it because they feel that is the only way for them to make money.

Laurence Boldt claims that “doing the work you love means living  your philosophy”.     It means that if you are able to do what you love you will be in alignment with your values and that will lead to happiness.     If you are living for the weekends then it is likely you are not doing the work that is meaningful for you.

How do you get out of the trap?

1. Define who you are.

2. Find out what your strengths are.

3. Find out what you value.   What do you want to contribute?

4. Create a plan that will allow you to do work that matters to you.

5. Execute the plan.
Monty Python takes a unique look at vocations. Through the unique lens of humor we can see that many people are trapped in careers that provide no meaning or joy.

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Are you doing the best thing for you and your life?

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unique ability

The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary.

Thomas A. Edison

Every once in a while there comes along a story that needs  no more explanation than the story itself.  Today is one of those days.   What unique ability do you have?   What unique disability do you have?

Take a look at this video clip and listen to a world that often overlooks what ability is.

What ability are you not using?

trust

“We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.”
Frank Crane

Trust sits at the foundation of relationships.   Relationships are the core of all that we do in life.   All of life is based on relationships and at the base of those relationships is trust.   Without trust there isn’t really a relationship.

Without trust a relationship is just a group of people interacting.   With trust a relationship is about a team and teamwork and receiving the best of what the team has to offer.

Without trust people hold back, they don’t put in their full selves into their work, their relationships, their marriage, their friends or anything for that matter.   It is a well known fact that people don’t put their full effort into the work they do, they hold back for many reasons and one of the big reasons is trust.    Why say what you really believe if that belief is going to be ridiculed or worse.   Why become vulnerable if you know that the other person, the other side has no interest in what you have to say.

It takes strength of character to trust and to trust authentically.   Being vulnerable and sharing something that exposes a weakness can be used as a weapon if there isn’t trust, trust that information shared is not used in a negative way.   In other words when people judge others trust is eroded.   People want to feel safe in a relationship and if they share their deepest fears or secrets they want those fears to be kept private and not to be judged by their fears.

If organizations cultivated trust and allowed people to express themselves freely those organizations could experience greater participation, greater productivity, and better results.    Cultures that use retribution or intimidation to manage people would have to radically change.   Leaders would have to start leading and express their fears and vulnerabilities before trust could trickle down through all levels of the organization.   High performing cultures have recognized that trust is an essential ingredient for success.

What is the level of trust in the organization you work for?

What is the level of trust in your closest relationship?

What would need to change?

reinvention … you … your organization …

“People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out.’
Warren G. Bennis

Reinvent yourself.    There is no denying that the rate of change for organizations are changing fast, yet many of our processes and principles rely on methods that are old, very old in an age of exponential growth.

In many cases we are using principles and processes that were developed for the industrial age and many  of those processes are outdated.   Organizations are struggling to find their identity in a time of unprecedented change.  

The old ways are indeed the old ways.   New ways of thinking and acting are required today and certainly for the future.  Gary Hamel a leader in business thinking has some suggestions on how organizations need to change.

After looking at the model Gary Hamel explores, what do you think you need to do to keep pace in the world we live in today?  

1. Adaptability – new ideas, new methods, new processes are informing organizations and people on how to act and thrive in an ever changing world.  How adaptable are you?

2. Resilience – the ability to respond to events quickly and without becoming overly emotionally constrained.  When change occurs are you quick to respond or do you find yourself trapped in the past?

3. Outlook – what does your future look like, are you focused on the past or on what you can do today?

4. Social Intuition – I notice people their actions and emotions or people blend into the environment and I don’t notice them.   What do you notice about the people around you?   Are they visible and important or invisible and unimportant?

5. Being self-aware –  Who are you?   Do you really know the answer?  Are you open to finding out?

6. Attention –  I have the ability to put my energy into the right thing at the right time or my energy is scattered and little gets accomplished.   Where are you putting your attention?

 Organizations implement processes that support their key goals.  Anyone who is a part of an organization needs to have personal processes that support their activity in that organization.   If you are finding yourself mimicking patterns of the past and struggling to adapt to the new organizational landscape then what things do you want to change so that you can contribute to a larger measure?

Reinvention isn’t something that others or organizations do, it is something you do to respond to fast change.   Practice being more adaptable, resilient, generating a positive outlook, being aware of others, being self-aware and putting your attention into the things that are the most important.  

Practice reinventing yourself.   Here take a look at what reinvention can do in organziations.

Questions – to ask or not to ask

The door to learning is opened by curiosity.   Curiosity is awakened by the use of questions that probe for understanding.

What is the bee seeking?  Why  is the bee curiously hovering over the flower?

Our brains want to solve problems and if we frame the question the right way we build up a reservoir of optimism, positivity and hope.   If we frame our questions in a negative manner we ultimately undermine who we are and the world starts to crumble in front of us.

Our questions are formed by habit.  That is we don’t think about the kinds of questions we ask, we frame the questions based on our view of the world.   What is happening to me?  or How can I make today better?

Think about the questions you ask?   Are they the kinds of questions that build you up or tear you down?   What is your internal dialog like?   What do you say to yourself?   What questions are you asking yourself? Take a look at the following video clip.

How can you shift your questions?

What benefits do you think you’ll get by looking at your questions differently?

What steps will you take today to ask more powerful questions?

P’s

“If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.”
T. Alan Armstrong

P words, positive, purpose, passion, power, pleasing, present,pleasure,presence, progress, plans, play, person, people.

Now take each word and define its meaning for you.  Write a couple sentences about each word and how you integrate that word into your life.

What makes you a positive person?   What does a positive person think like, act like and feel like?   What are your positive attributes?

After you have defined the P words then create a sentence stem that allow you to explore how to improve.

I am a positive person when __________________________________

I am present when _________________________________________.

I am in power when ________________________________________.

I am living with purpose when _________________________________.

I am most passionate about ___________________________________.

I am pleasing when _________________________________________.

I find pleasure in doing ______________________________________.

I make progress when _______________________________________.

I like to play _____________________________________________.

I am a person who _________________________________________.

I help people _____________________________________________.

Use these P words to help see who you are and what you would like to be.   It will take a few minutes to fill in the blank and write down what it means to live those P words.   Take the text from this blog post and paste it into your word processor and examine your life.

What is the power of words? Listen to this clip by Will Smith. Learn the power of words, listen to the passion, listen to the person, and listen.