So this week I’ve been at work. (If you don’t know about this you haven’t read my newsletter. Have a look now. Oh, and do sign up if it pleases you.) I think I got out of bed on the wrong side on Monday morning and was absolutely thoroughly miserable by Tuesday night.
I was hating being at work. I was feeling left out (I’m still learning the language), frustrated, stressed and put-upon. I was stewing over not being paid as much as I’d like and the fact that the job isn’t exactly what I applied for (are they ever?). And paranoid – seriously paranoid – convinced every conversation that was being held around me, must be about me. Most of all, I was feeling left out and lonely and sorry for myself. Continue reading
“I love this life and I love this time. But I do not wish to forget the love affair that I had when I was little.”
Last night I was discussing with a friend the book that made me understand you CAN bring your deepest self to what you do. This book showed me that being your truest self and pursuing what you love is not only possible but the only way to make a difference.
That realisation caused me to cry, like a deep inner longing was recognised and given space to be.
Today I found this video, with the same author speaking at TEDx WWF. Again I cried, from about half way through to the end. Tim MacCartney speaks what my heart tells me to be true, as he lives and fights for what he loves, and calls for us all to do the same.
The video is 18 minutes long. Watch it – his words tell you everything you need to know.
Every now and then I go innocently out to do something simple and rewarding, like buy a book perhaps, and I gaily walk straight into a brick wall!
This wall may take the form of those automatic cashiers in the supermarket (designed to cut operating costs by reducing four cashiers to one slave, running after the endless errors and frustrated customers generated by these machines.)
Unfortunately, the brick wall can just as easily take the form of a human being who has forgotten they are not a machine. Continue reading
I may be building an independent business but the people I want to connect with are workers for others. I’ve had many years in the most eclectic range of jobs you can imagine. I can see the appeal of the workplace – the friendships, the camaraderie and a clear sense of where you sit in relationship to others.
But inside I’m screaming for a blurring of the boundaries – an end to putting people in boxes.
Let’s face it, most of us spend a HUGE proportion of our waking hours at work, killing time between shifts, sneaking in a few emails before dinner, or travelling to and from our workplace. We make friends with our colleagues and work conversation drifts into our personal lives.
Despite this, we seem to think it’s acceptable to settle for second best in our careers, preferring security and financial reward in favour of job satisfaction and personal fulfilment. We seem to think the two are mutually exclusive, so we’ve chosen the money. Happiness, we assume, comes later.
Not true. The time for happiness is NOW.
Happy is being helpful - the times I feel most connected, strong, powerful is when I’ve been in a position to help someone; the time when my talents have naturally met the needs of another, and together we have achieved something that moves them forward.
And in the process I move me forward, because I open my heart just that little bit more, and I feel like I have done something that matters.
That is one of the greatest appeals of working for someone else - that sense of community, of belonging, of completing tasks that need to be done. We are all aching to make a difference, to feel we belong.
Except in so many instances, we don’t really feel we make a difference because the tasks we complete feel so mundane, repetitive, endless, like washing the dishes. I think I really hate washing the dishes. Except I don’t, actually - I hate the idea of washing the dishes. It’s the job’s mundane nature, the fact that it will just have to be done again in a few hours’ time. It’s a thankless task.
And there you have it: Thankless.
Are you hoping to make a difference, or do you want to be seen as making a difference?
Not everyone is a natural entrepreneur. If I’m honest, I’d say that deep down, I think I’ve a deep-set need to follow and settle myself within a structure that others have created for me.
It’s not like I don’t know my talents –I look at the raw materials and I construct a better way. I can do that with filing systems, or I can do it with people. I see what fits, what doesn’t fit, what is no longer of any use. I can see what needs to be implemented to make things work; I hear what’s not being said.
It helps being an outsider for this – It helps not to be emotionally attached to my raw materials, or numbed to the inconsistencies, the challenges, the over-regulation and control that employees face each day. Nevertheless, I am still drawn by habit to working for others, to finding my space in someone else’s world.
But that’s the point
A client and I were discussing the importance of wearing a suit in business. My client felt she should wear one, wanted one to give her confidence in new situations.
Maybe because of our subconscious connection between suits and authority, a suit has magical properties. It casts a spell over others – over you. When I’m wearing a suit I feel taller, powerful, more elegant. I feel more likely to be taken seriously, listened to. The suit carries an air of authority, tells people I know what I’m talking about; a suit shows I mean business.
But the magic isn’t in the suit; it’s in how the suit makes you feel.
My client and I talked about bottling that magic for the days we aren’t looking the way we think we should, for the times we ache to be ourselves and still exude confidence and authority from every pore.
We talked about creating a suit of confidence – the emperor’s new clothes, if you will. Entering into every encounter feeling like we’re wearing the best suit money can buy; calling on that magic to walk taller, feel stronger and make ourselves heard every single time.
It just takes a little imagination – try calling on the power of the suit today.
Comments: Tell me about your suit and how it makes you feel. What’s your secret talisman for confidence every time?