Do you believe that you can really transform your life and your work?
Recently I was talking to a client... She was explaining that she had been sharing my details with some of her friends and colleagues. She was frustrated because she knew they could really benefit from my help. But she was confused as to why they weren't reaching out to me. I told her it was because they were either not ready - it wasn't painful enough yet. Or that they had lost hope that they could really change things.
What I have found is this... often deep down we have given up on really transforming our lives and our work. A few tweaks here and there are fine - like buying a new sofa, going to a yoga class or sending our CV out for a job we know we are qualified for.
But what about more profound changes... like the ones that lead to something more fulfilling or create a more meaningful impact? It often seems like a pipe dream or just plain overwhelming....
I was talking to my brother recently about one of his career turning points.
He works for a global consultancy and was for a long time focused on being the good soldier and ticking the right boxes to become a partner. But it seemed that that wasn't really getting him anywhere.
And then one day he asked himself what he really wanted from his career.
And he realised that he had a real entrepreneurial streak that wanted to create something new, take more risks and to contribute to something he really cared about.
So he stopped chasing partnership. And instead started to make the contribution he really wanted.
He didn't leave his company. Instead he expressed that he would like to build their education practice - the part of the business that serviced the education sector. And bring a new approach and a new level of thought leadership to it.
Taking The Road Less Travelled
In that moment he decided to create the road...
What I thought was ‘meant to be’ for me at 26 years old was working and playing hard. I was bright and capable and had worked hard to get to where I was. I was ‘meant to be’ out there blinding everyone with my success. And so why was I lying in bed crippled instead?
I recently watched a video clip by Christian Busch in which he said that the ‘why’ generation would change the world. He argues that it’s by asking the question ‘why’ that we will change things. I see his point. In my case however it was the ‘what’ question that changed mine.
As I lay in bed, I asked myself the question ‘What if I am never able to walk again, what will I regret?’
I was expecting the standard answer from my ‘meant to be’ world. I was ‘meant to be’ a partner in a Law firm in the City in London. Why else would I be...
I see many people crave for more meaning at work. And think that to do that they need to work for an NGO or set up their own business.
The irony is that I have worked with NGOs and entrepreneurs. And often they feel disconnected from meaning too. So if it isn’t ‘location’ then what is the recipe for meaning at work?
The core shift is this... to understand that meaning is about your level of self-expression at work and your ability to influence your environment with it.
So the real question is not 'where do you need to go?'
But instead 'how can you nurture, express and realise your unique potential more? And through that have an impact that is positive and that you care about?'
Here are three ways to reintroduce meaning in your work right now:
1. Make it personal
Work becomes meaningless because we disconnect from ourselves in the process. We leave ourselves at the door.
We stop listening in to how we feel and what...
I remember when I was a lawyer that I used to spend most of my life in the office.
Often my mum would call me there. I would tell her I was busy and that I would call her back. The thing is I never did…
After I had done my re-conversion she owned up as to how much that had hurt.
When I used to teach resilience to lawyers, I would tell that story to stony faced high achievers. They wouldn’t flinch. But at the end of the session when I would ask what action they would take … it always involved making a phone call.
The Busyness Trap
Busyness has become a badge of honour, a sign of achievement. It seems that everybody is overly busy and... exhausted.
At the end of last year, I decided I wanted to be less busy in my work. I realised that there was a big difference between being busy and adding real value in a meaningful way.
With my clients the first and incredibly hard step seems to be to stop the busyness...