A number of years ago I wrote an article about how our work journey is part of our spiritual journey, and partly what I was saying is that the work challenges we face are often growing us not just professionally but personally too. These days, for me, separating out our personal and professional selves is virtually impossible. I believe the whole self goes to work in the morning and comes home at night. A simple example? Try leaving your heart and emotional self on the kitchen bench when you leave in the morning. Not possible.
Now, quite a few years after writing that article, I have many many more examples of where this growth has been true for clients and where it continues to be my own personal experience as well. And this is not just about personal development in terms of let’s say being able to be more assertive or confident in how we convey something in a work context and then being able to translate it to our personal life as well. Now I’m even more convinced that the growth available to us at work is part of our personal evolution – our spiritual growth and journey – or whatever you might like to call it.
Work challenges or invitations to evolve?
In the fray of a busy work environment or a demanding business, it can be difficult to see the spiritual in situations. When faced with making redundancies or being made redundant, or when we have to make bold decisions about business growth it can feel like it’s very much ‘all business’. But it never is.
It might be about the business or about your job or expertise, but it’s almost always about how you’re here to learn, evolve and prosper on all levels of self. And those around you, for that matter.
This makes it all pretty exciting if you ask me but it can also feel very daunting when we are right in the middle of one of these ‘growth spurts’ and facing the interpersonal challenges in front of us or feeling incredibly daunted by tough decisions. I guess that’s why they call them character building moments!
Try leaving your heart and emotional self on the kitchen bench when you leave in the morning. Not possible.
A classic sign that this is playing out in your own life is when you find yourself with a repeating experience you keep bumping into at work, such as:
- Being taken for granted by your boss or the stakeholders of the business.
- Having difficult or uncommitted employees.
- Overcommitting or being overwhelmed with your workload.
- Being on the hamster wheel and go go go but feeling directionless at the same time.
- Feeling unworthy of your role, like an impostor and that you might be found out at any moment.
- Feeling blah about your job but figuring it must just be your bad attitude and that you should just be grateful you have a good job to go to.
- Facing financial pressures that you swore you wouldn’t have to deal with again.
- Feeling like the business is never going to grow the way you want it to or that things are happening too slowly.
That sense of history repeating itself is often a signal there’s something more for us to learn; that we haven’t yet evolved out of that old pattern and into a new way of being in ourselves and operating at work. While we might get wrapped up in the circumstances and think it’s all because of the way the market is going or that you just can’t hire good people, the reality is that it’s all an inside job. It’s way more about what’s going on within us than around us. And it’s a great big opportunity for growth.
Instead of getting frustrated by it, the key is to get totally curious about it and explore what the growth point is. This is the golden nugget to grab and cash in on.
I think the maxim still holds true that we are not given challenges we cannot rise to and solve, and sometimes it’s just trusting that this is true when we’re in the thick of it. It also helps to remind ourselves that we are constantly evolving beings before we are business owners or a manager or expert. As Stephen Covey was famous for saying, we are spiritual beings having a human experience and while I used to think that all sounded pretty woo woo, I now recognise this is the essence of our existence.
Embodying the truth of this actually sets us free to really be our whole self, to give ourselves space for constantly evolving and growing ourselves across all areas of our life – whether it’s through our health, relationships or work – and seeing the incredible opportunities in these situations for expanding our sense of self and evolving as a person.
The reality is that it’s all an inside job.
I’m remembering as I write this one of my clients saying recently in reference to this journey of growth, “It’s the only game in town”. He’s a great example of a business owner who thoroughly understands he is evolving himself as a person with each challenge he overcomes and growth point he makes the most of.
So, next time you find yourself in the fray of work challenges take heart and take a moment to see the situation for what it is: a chance to grow yourself. And look well beyond the dynamics right in front of you and to how it might just be helping you up-level as a human.
And if you like the idea of up-levelling, get in touch and let’s have a chat about your own personal and professional evolution. 🙂