Thursday, January 01, 2015

Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose and Connection: A Well-Lived Life

The new year is still a baby, and we don't want to load it with too many expectations. Most of you will not be working because it is an official holiday: one of the few shared by people of all faiths and backgrounds. This is the pause before the downbeat, the moment before 2015 really gets going.

I think it's a good day to look forward and backward and think about what makes life worth living. It sounds like a big, important question (and it is) but it is also a question we answer every day with the choices we make and the things that we do. Your answer is not what you would say if asked: your answer is what you choose to be important from one day to the next.

Once I had a business partner who always said his ultimate goal was to not have to work. He had no concept of work being something that shaped you as you shaped it into something of value, something of influence, something that was inherently worth doing. This caused a certain amount of difficulty, since I believe that satisfying work is one of life's great gifts. Like most rare and wonderful gifts, it is high maintenance but worth it. The difference of opinion caused less difficulty than you might think, because for us (as for most people) working was not optional.

When I was thinking about this post, I wanted to say that the creation of satisfying work is the most important problem of our time. Then I remembered all the children who go hungry in the midst of affluence and abundance. So now I will say that after feeding our kids, the next most important problem is providing people with work that feeds their bodies and satisfies their spirits and connects them in useful ways with other people.

I think that everyone needs the structure, the competence and the connection that comes from work. Little kids need a structure that allows them to learn, which is the work of their heads and their hearts. Young people need work that allows them to find out how smart they are and how much they still have to learn. Old people need work that allows them to gather the threads of their lives and weave them into deep reflection and the promise of a legacy.

My challenge to you is this: what will you do to make your work and your workplace safer or more satisfying in 2015? NLP doesn't allow for the regular excuses. Whether you are the beginner or the boss, whether you work from home or in a mega-corporation, the central presupposition of NLP is that you have the strength, skill and influence to make your own life more satisfying. When you do, you will also influence other people, possibly in ways that make their work more satisfying, too.

You will probably work this year.  You will reach for autonomy, mastery, purpose and connection because that is the way the human mind/brain functions. You will likely have bills to pay.  It's even likely that you will spend more waking hours with your work than you do with the people you love. Work matters.

Don't put up with work that doesn't satisfy you. Begin to make the shifts that will make it better. Make the smallest change that could make a difference and see what happens.

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