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Friday, 12 June 2009

How meaningful work always wins through

90% of the people I meet are in the wrong job. Outspoken words indeed. However, they are true. The reason? 90% of the people I meet don’t love themselves unconditionally.

So few people I meet are cool about who they are. It is a dreadfully sad state of affairs that somewhere along the line we brought Victorian attitudes with us into the 21st Century and we so often spurn a healthy self-image. In fact, if you think about it, our tabloid culture specialises in destroying anyone lucky enough to have a healthy self regard.

What does this mean? Because I understand this needs to be put simply. Let’s start with a sporting metaphor. Successful sports stars would achieve very little if they did not believe deep down inside that were good at what they do. And that they can win! Inner belief is essential. Yet in the workplace there seems to be some kind of expectation that everyone has to be conventional and spend their days conforming to accepted standards regurgitating mundane tasks.

Most companies specialise in hiring conventional people with mediocre skills to deliver unexceptional tasks. Yet business managers and HR managers talk about talent management; managing talented people so that they can perform highly and fulfil their potential and, as a result, help the organisation deliver upon its strategic objectives; thereby growing value.

As I state in ‘How CVs are killing the corporation’, the reality is that if we are outstanding, we are often outside of the building staring in. Instilling and cultivating meaning in our work is critical if we are to survive in an economic downturn. You will be found out if you don’t do your work with a sense of intention. I recommend that you appreciate what you are doing for work is recognisably valuable. If it is not in your work today, what have you got to do to find it?!

I often talk about the ‘Invisible Transaction of Work’; which has nothing to do with money. The ‘Invisible Transaction of Work’ means that we receive a payment for doing something we recognise as being fulfilling. We can see the results of our labour and it makes us feel good. Our work instils within us a sense of purpose and we learn to appreciate who we have become.

What are you going to do to instil meaning in your work life?