Business owners are coming to realise that there is more to success than profit and want to create an enduring legacy. Employees want to find passion and purpose in their work, and make a real difference in the world. How can we heal the gap, to bring them together so that business, people and community thrive?
I felt a need for a break. It didn’t matter that it was raining; I just had to get out and walk. I had been working at this job for a few years and was giving it my all. I was travelling three hours a day just to be there. Time for me, to be me, was just about non-existent. My brain was starting to run on numb. Everything in my life was about work.
As I walked in the rain, the thought came to me,‘I’d rather be home cleaning out my linen cupboard’. What! Of all the things in the world, this is certainly not something I enjoy doing but, at this moment, I felt that would bring me more pleasure, and greater fulfilment than this job that I had previously loved.
When I started in this job, I thought I could give my all, maybe find my life purpose and make a difference in the world. I had sold my own business and decided I wanted to work with other people. However I gradually became drained and felt that I had lost that deeply important connection to myself and my Spirit. I no longer felt like myself. I felt like I had found myself on some alien planet. I didn’t like this planet much. It felt like someone had hit the ‘self-destruct’ button. The world suddenly seemed as if it were filled with manipulations and distrust. I didn’t like this world.
I was out of there.
Now this is not just my story. I have watched family and friends fall into this world of work and completely lose all of their own dreams and aspirations; to go from vibrant and ready to take on the world to depressions and almost slave-like dedication to their unfulfilling job. I’ve listened to stories of bullying and harassment in the workplace. I saw all those lifeless souls packed into the trains each morning and night, all dressed in black as if they’re in mourning, going and coming home in a meaningless existence. This is not the world I want to live in.
I love to listen to those vibrant and excited entrepreneurs as they talk about their business.It is their passion and they are fulfilling their purpose. They love what they do and are clear on why they do it. They are truly connected to their ‘authentic self’ where they find inspiration and innovation.
Why should this just be for entrepreneurs? I thought about this. Here we have a true sleeping giant. What if everyone went to work and felt passionate and excited? What if everyone in a workplace was able to connect into that true authentic self that they are and live their life with purpose?
Can you imagine a workplace where everyone enjoys their work; where employees can bring their whole selves into the workplace, mind, body and soul; employees are passionate and motivated about their work; and where ideas flow and grow? Imagine a business that rediscovers inspiration and hope in the team’s relationship with one another, their customers, their suppliers and the source of all. This is more than just a workplace; it becomes a living growing community that really touches lives, makes a difference, and a profit.
According to a yearly Gallup survey, 75% of Australians are disengaged and/or uninterested in the work place. This is huge. If you think about what this means, not only to employees, but also to the business owner in any given workplace,three-quarters of the people working there really don’t want to be there! So what are they doing just biding their time, just doing as little as necessary to get through the day, waiting for the weekend so they can breathe again and be themselves? Very expensive to productivity and profit. Where do we find the answer? According to Margaret Benefiel, in her book, Soul at Work, spirituality is the “the human spirit fully engaged”.
Yes, this is what we want; to be fully engaged, to have our people fully engaged. When people feel that they are connected to their authentic self and living their purpose, then they are engaged. They don’t need someone behind them brandishing sticks or waving carrots.They have a purpose and that drives them. They have their own motivation to keep on going, even through the boredom and the struggles.
Empowering people to connect in with their true human spirit is where the soul of the business begins to awaken.
The business structures and models we currently find ourselves living in are remnants from the old and outdated industrial era. In this time it was about controlling the masses so that production could take place on a larger scale. We didn’t have the machinery or technology to do the simple boring tasks; people had to do them. To keep people working up to 12 hours a day in tough conditions, they pretty much had to go into a mind-numbed state. There was no room for people to think for themselves or to grow within themselves. They needed to stay where they were for their whole working life. I’m not saying this was right; it’s just the way it was.
There were lots of assumptions put on people that we just wouldn’t accept today, but these are still hanging over our heads in the majority of workplaces – ideas such as people can’t be trusted, they can’t understand the bigger picture, and so have nothing of value to offer and that people are only interested in money and power.
Today we see the world differently. People are inherently good, we all want and need to feel that we are making a difference in this world and have a purpose greater than ourselves,and, importantly, everyone has value and has something to offer.
The old ways don’t want us to be awake to the world, awake to our soul, but in the 21stcentury this is what people are demanding. This is evident in the continual problem of employee retention. Everyone is looking for something better, a place where they feel they belong, can live on purpose and can make a big difference in the world.
Is it possible in our attempts to keep up with a changing world we have not paused long enough to discern the essential questions of our time – questions that lead to bold new ways of being and doing for the sake of others.Consider a future development on our willingness to risk going deeper – much more deeplyin relationships that courageously embody and live the true calling of our souls.
Today, it’s not enough to create change at the level of symptoms and structures. We need to work even more deeply, to change the underlying paradigms of thought, and to connect with our deeper sources of creativity and self.
Opening up to the soul of the business takes work and commitment. Change is always a challenge. However it opens the doorways to new opportunities and possibilities,and, if you let it, it opens you up to the highest future possibility for the business and its employees.
It starts with having a clear purpose for the business that everyone can tap into. A good purpose, with guiding values and principles that are fervently adhered to, gives everyone a sense of direction and of belonging. This helps employees to align their own purpose to that of the business.It helps to keep the everyday on track. It gives a clear guideline to everyone working there on where they are going, how to make decisions and a starting place to come up with new and innovative ways that the business can serve its customers and the world. It gives customers and all stakeholders a feeling that this is something they want to be a part of, and helps the business to stand out from the crowd.
Finding the soul of the business takes a commitment to really to your people. Have them share their stories. Start to learn what is important to them. Don’t just hear them, but really listen until you have a deeper understanding of who these people are and what is going on for them in the workplace. If you are dealing with challenges or are ready to go in a new direction, then this is the place to start. Everyone feels involved and that they’re heard. When they feel heard, they feel important and that they can contribute to the betterment of the business and participation in something truly extraordinary can happen.They begin to feel it, as you will, when everyone comes together to unravel what is at the core.
When you continue to go deeper and allow this to evolve, a new connection is developed – between the people and with the soul of the business. Having everything out in the open allows the process to unfold and allows everyone to just let go.
When we let go, we can find a sense of quiet,quiet in our minds, quiet in a room, and here comes a sense of peace and centredness.
Here you allow the soul of the business to reveal itself and guide you on the journey. When collectively you listen, you join together in an even greater sense of purpose. New ideas and innovations start to flow. You are now starting on a journey where you listen to both your own soul and that of the business. Now anything is possible.
Keeping a flow like this going is the objective with an ‘awake soulful business’ – allowing for the sense of oneness to grow and develop, allowing for room for the business to breathe and speak to you,allowing for people to grow and develop in causes and projects that excite and stretch them.
This is the essence of a business living with purpose. This is the business that will lead the way in the future and become a global social movement.
Share this post