Meditation on Work
So the AFOOT BLOG is starting to take shape. The writer has decided that she doesn’t want to separate the writing from her life. Or even more than that – there needs to be a link between life experiences and the topics tackled in articles. Otherwise, how do I make sure it is authentic?
I decided to observe the cycles that naturally occur in my experience and translate them into blog content. One cycle is one calendar month and it is going to continue for a year. Each month is going to be dedicated to taking more conscious approach in a chosen area of life. I will be sharing my insights and reflecting on how to bring more awareness, self-care and compassion to particular aspects of our experience. There will be storytelling, interviews and sharing personal realizations on the subject matter.
The topic and intent for August is CONSCIOUS WORK. Why?
First of all, because work is undeniably a huge part of life for most adults. But that’s just a starting point. It feels like an important matter to reflect on also because a lot of people seem to be defining themselves by the job they do. Ask a random person on the street to introduce themselves, and they are very likely to start with their name and profession. A lot of us are looking to find our worth in doing a good job, having a prestigious position, earning “enough” money. When we are children, we are often asked by our parents: who are you going to be when you grow up? Hence, we commonly feel the need to find our “life purpose” in the work we do. We wonder: is our destination to be a lawyer, a chef or a journalist? We wonder: how do we choose our job so that we can make the best possible contribution to the world?
Equally often, work is our main source of fear, anger and even health problems. We seem to be quite emotionally attached to what happens in our workplace. For example, we stress about our boss’ critique, about whether our colleagues like us and how do we manage to perform our tasks well and fulfil our team’s expectations. Sometimes it comes to the point where we sacrifice the time reserved for family and friends in order to finish work on time. Sometimes we blame it on the workplace that we feel depressed or tired. At the same time, we rely on our job and the income it brings in respect to “earning our living”.
All that being said, it is no wonder why so much of our “emotional feed” is connected to work.
And it seems that more and more individuals, as well as “we” as a society, start realizing how important the quality of our working experience is. For it is not only about the time we spend working. As soon as we start noticing how feelings and habits connected to work are pouring through to influence other areas of life – we want to commit to transforming the way we approach work. As usually, increased awareness almost automatically triggers change. So let’s work on the awareness first.
This increasing awareness, followed by changes in the way we work, can already be observed in the corporate working culture. According to Forbes, the main HR trends for 2017 are revolving around employees’ experience at work, their well-being and contentment, as well as flexibility of the job posts and focus on team dynamics, rather than just individual development. One of the main observations captured in the Forbes review is that we are seeing the advent of a new capability, one of developing team intelligence, or the practice of understanding what makes great teams deliver exceptional results. And it is just one of the many voices that are speaking louder and louder about the need to care for the individual particles while perceiving them as parts of a bigger whole. It can be successfully applied to employees as the parts that build companies, as well as to economies of Poland or France recognized as elements of the European or global market.
But I don’t intend to talk about the huge, global picture here. To be honest, I have no idea about economy, trading, supply and demand or currency exchanges. I don’t understand what public debt is and why does it exist in the first place.
Over the past years, however, I have been coming closer and closer to understand the economy of personal energy, as well as characteristics of working in various teams and various environments. It is probably enough to say that in the last two years I have had 5 different jobs in 3 different countries. And I am very confident to say that the level of awareness that we apply to work and interactions with our teams is now more crucial than ever. Consciously working towards increasing this awareness is the step to be taken nowadays in order to grow ourselves and our organisations.
It is still about getting the work done, but getting it done in such a way so that it doesn’t drain us and it doesn’t add tensions to our life. Getting it done effectively, high-quality and with more ease. And, apparently, these qualities naturally go together with our increased well-being. This well-being and self-care are the starting point to perform at our best at work . That’s simply because the best performance happens when we feel confident, rested, relaxed, and good about ourselves. These feelings encourage great outcomes which, in turn, empower us to feel more satisfied and present in our roles – and this is how the circle of life continues.
Therefore, it seems quite obvious that in order to improve the way we work and make it more sustainable, what we need to do is turn inwards in the first place. Understand and learn how to manage ourselves as individuals. Only then is it that we will be able to take care of the dynamics within our teams, and later on – look at the big picture of cooperation between those teams. But as the core principle, we need to remember that well-being and work are inseparable and equally important ingredients of any successful undertaking. A lot of business owners, CEOs and team managers understand and implement it already.
At the moment I am lucky enough to be a part of the team working in Lauvitel Lodge in the French Alps, where well-being and team dynamics are not taken for granted. Apart from getting the hotel work done, the aspect of conscious emotional growth is the leitmotif here, and it very much feels like every single person in the team plays their part in this process. So as it is my second summer in the Lodge, I feel like I have already learned quite a lot by working here. This year is even more exciting, because along with working for the hotel, I am also in the process of developing my writing business.
All of these circumstances brought together make my current experience a fantastic playground for exploring new working methods, self-management techniques and finding ways of inspiration and completing tasks at hand. All of that while enjoying the mountains around me and trying to take good care of myself and the people I work with. This is the raw material for what I am willing to share on the blog in August in order to present conscious work as an opportunity for growth, rather than just a mundane necessity. There is going to be a bit of Y. N. Harari, a bit of focused meditation, dealing with emotions at work and reflection on why we actually feel the urge to be working.
And how are you finding yourself in the fluid world of work? Does it please you to work in an organised system of an established company? Or would you rather have your own say in a freshly created start-up or even manage all your work by becoming a freelancer? How do you find the excitement or motivation necessary to complete the most challenging tasks? Are you looking for a life of 4-hour workweek or do you prefer to keep work as one of your main activities? What is your ideal working environment and have you actually ever thought about it?
And above all:
Do you realize that you have the power to change the way you work according to what suits you best? This is the crucial one. I haven’t realized this for a long time.