Saturday, January 23, 2010

I'm back! Did you miss me? I took a rather long hiatus. What to talk about.....Oh! Got it: I've started to do this first thing with new clients. I call it the "What did you inherit? exercise. Goes like this. Think back to when you were first aware of this thing called work. How old were you? Who was the person you first learned about work from? What did they say? What did you make up about work from what you heard or saw?
What did parents, siblings/neighbors/teachers/town/culture/religion/tv contribute to the story you created about what work is/isn't? Sit down and write out everything you "know" to be true about work. (Note: sometimes the story you made up about work is the same one you made up about life.) Then look at your work history, and see how you've lived it through this story. Some people made up positive stories, some made up negative stories. But, I guarantee you, all of us made up a story.

I'll use myself as an example. I'm the youngest of 5 headstrong kids. Mom was a housewife, Dad was on his way up in an international engineering firm. By the time I came along, Dad was up to his you-know-what in alligators trying to keep up with a demanding job and feed his family. He literally used to hand Mom an envelope of money for the groceries and say "You'll just have to make this work; we don't have any more." He was one stressed out guy. At home, he seemed irritable and didn't want to be bothered much.

So I saw all this with my 6-year-old eyes and concluded that work was scary, it was exhausting, and it would eventually kill you. Now, I didn't realize I made this up until about 35 years later. So all this time, I was working on top of a rather debilitating, unconscious core belief. I could never understand why I wasn't satisfied with any job and couldn't imagine working another week, much less until I was in my 60's.

Once I was aware of it, I could get to work dismantling it, which was one of the key actions that cleared the way for creating my business as a Work Satisfaction Coach. They say a coach's first client is him/herself-and boy, was it true in my case.

The funny thing is that it still pops up from time to time, even though now my work is completely aligned with my purpose in life, and is a bottomless well of fun and inspiration for me. I don't mind the old story, but I don't relate to it as the truth anymore.

My conversations on this subject with my clients have been eye-opening. I'd love to hear what you've inherited about work.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

It's the Context, Stupid!

How can two people be working side-by-side at the same company, doing the same job, reporting to the same boss, all the time experiencing diametrically opposed emotions and opinions about the same workday? Obviously they can. Happens all the time.

A little clue: It ain't the boss, ain't the work, ain't what they had for lunch, ain't nothing out there.
IT'S THE CONTEXT, STUPID!! That's the one thing we alone can control. And sometimes it feels like I have to spin my head 360 degrees to drop a context that is messing me up, and create one that gives me some juice, some power, some optimism. And it does take some work to create a context (a way of viewing a situation/person) that doesn't sugar-coat the circumstances. But I do it over and over and over because it's the proven source of my success.

Friday, May 05, 2006

It's Friday. That's a good thing.

This is a snippet from an actual conversation I had last Friday.
ME:"How Ya Doing?"
THEM:"It's Friday. That's a good thing!"
It started me thinking. I'll bet that conversation plays out thousands of times in hundreds of languages every Friday all over the world. It's so pervasive and unconscious it rivals Musak.
It creates a tone, a background buzz of weariness. Does work need to be this way? Or are we just continuing to sing a song that people were already singing when we arrived on this planet? And what if we sang a new song?