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Where and How Did We Lose our Way at Work?

The Three Reassurances Pathway to Finding a Better Way

What happens in your head and heart when I say, there is another way—a better way—for us to be in our lives, our work, and in this world together? 

 I think most of us can agree that much of what we’ve been doing isn’t working—and the clock is ticking on our personal and collective futures. While the world has always been inherently dangerous, and no individual person ever gets out alive, what’s at risk now is life itself.

Some see this and have rolled up their sleeves and been at work creating this better way for a lifetime.  Others see limits to how much humans can influence what lies ahead.  Many have simply given up on human beings as a species—or are so fully consumed just trying to make their own lives and businesses work that there doesn’t appear to be space to attend to what is occurring in the larger world. And, finally, some are content with things as they are as long as their own worlds work.

Where are you on this spectrum?

For my part, I am a sleeves-rolled-up kind of woman whose ideas about meaningful action have changed significantly over the years.

Working for many years in education and non-profits, I used to identify myself as a “starfish flinger.”  Like the young man walking the beach and flinging starfish one by one back into the sea in Loren Eiseley’s poem, The Star Thrower, I was satisfied making a difference “for this one”—despite the millions lying on the beach before him.

A life-changing experience of guidance in my late 30’s, however, lead me to discover in the years following it that it is who we are and what we do in our workplaces and through our work in the world that has the potential to make a difference at a scale and pace that is commensurate with the needs of the world. 

The guidance I received left me certain of three things:

  • Who we are and what we do as individuals matters.
  • We are inextricably connected to everyone and everything.
  • The universe can and wants to work with and through us—we are choosing and being chosen.

It was made clear for me the night the guidance arrived that we all come into the world knowing these three things.  I now refer to them as The Three Reassurances. They are wonderful reminders that we are not intended to be heroes or victims on this earth, but rather participants and partners with life itself.

At the point I came to know these things very profoundly again, I was six years in as program director for a state-wide non-profit.  Overnight, however, it was as though everyone in my life was handed a new script.  People in the programs and communities we were serving began repeatedly saying, “I wish you would come do this where I work.”

This wish, this request, felt almost incomprehensible to me. I was focused on enabling communities to create organizational structures and safe environments in which people could take on the hard conversations and build the skill sets needed for strengthening families and stopping child abuse.  What, from this, did they see as being desperately needed in their workplaces?  What did they personally want in their workplaces that they experienced as being present in our work together?

It took several years for me to make the move into the business realm in a coaching and consulting capacity. Even as I made the shift, my rational mind couldn’t logically connect the guidance I’d received long ago to the pull I was getting to focus my efforts on the world of business.  Now with over two decades of global consulting with some of the largest and most dynamic companies and major capital projects in the world my understanding has expanded exponentially.

It is in our workplaces that The Three Reassurances need to be most vibrantly present for us—and it is the environment that to date has been most inhospitable for them. 

Ultimately, work is where the mystery and purpose of life, the quality of our relationships and our absolute interconnectivity, and staying present to the sheer wonder of the universe could be most decisively transformational and unifying.  After all, it’s where we humans do what we do.  It is where we spend so much of our life energy, bridge all our differences to engage with each other in common purpose, and very directly shape how we live life on earth

I’m still learning and discovering why what happens in the workplace is so vital to our personal and shared quality of life.

What people couldn’t tell me at the time, but what I understand more fully now, is people want to not only break the generational cycles of abuse at home, but at work and in the world as well.

People want to transform toxic and dangerous work environments and bring balance to profit-driven business models by doing things that are good for people and planet.  They want their collective efforts and the hours they spend at work to make a positive difference for themselves, their families and communities, and the world—now and long into the future.

People want to have real conversations and safe places to do their work.  They want to bring more of who they are to the workplace and feel fully expressed.  They want people everywhere in their organizations, as one Genii client described, to be “moving mountains by having everyone shoveling dirt in the same direction.”

People want to have someone helping them be their best selves, bring forward their unique genius, and tune into their own guidance and deepest knowings.  They want to be human beings instead of human doings.

People want to feel alive and be working in support of life on our precious planet.

I don’t believe that any of us, personally or collectively, ever made a conscious decision to create or contribute to the circumstances here on earth that threaten some of us in the near-term and all of us in the long-term.  It feels safe to say, however, that losing our way is related to having our human lives and worlds of work rooted almost exclusively in meeting our personal, familial, and organizational survival needs.

Losing our way is also related to the ever faster, infinitely more intense “execution environments” we create “to get things done.” Environments that don’t allow space for much beyond fast intellect and tremendous muscle.

The Three Reassurances are an antidote to this.  They serve as pathways to world views and actions that can guide our discovery to better ways of living and working on this earth together.

I invite you to stand in the reassurances with me, if only to try them on for yourself. 

  • Really get that each individual life matters and that who you are and what you do matters.
  • Allow yourself to experience the wholeness of being intricately connected to everyone and everything.
  • Tune in to when guidance has been available to you—and feel yourself choosing and being chosen.

If, standing here, you discover a life-enhancing difference you can make in and through your life, leadership, and work today, I’d love to hear about it! 

The world needs more good news.

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