What’s the Truth About Authentic Work?

You compensate.  I compensate.  To some degree we all compensate for a lack of authentic work.  Over time we’ve made stuff up to rationalize our unfulfilling work.  We’ve pretended, avoided and shirked responsibility in order to make our work fit who we are. 

If you’re an employee, chances are, you’ve resigned yourself to a fulfillment-starved life.  If forced to tell the truth, you’d admit that you’ve settled for far less than fulfilling and delightful work.

I don’t bash employment just because it’s slavery.  I bash employment because so many employees are lying to themselves.  So if I have to piss off ten of you to wake one of you up, I’m happy to do it.

Here’s proof why employment is inauthentic for at least 90% of employees.

Your job was not created to give you greater freedom; it was created to restrict your freedom.

Your job was not created to give you greater opportunities for authentic self-expression; it was created to limit your self-expression.

Your job was not created to fit who you are; it was created to serve the needs of your employer.

Your job was not created for your economic benefit; it was created to increase the prosperity of others.

However, it’s not your suck ass job that’s killing you.  What’s killing you is all that compensation.  What’s killing you is all the time and energy you invest trying to fit a mold that is not a fit for who you are.

It’s draining as hell to fake it all the time.  When you act like something doesn’t matter and it does matter, you shrink your soul and smother your authentic spirit.

When your job doesn’t fit, then in order to survive, you must compensate by showing up as a lesser version of yourself.  This lesser, lower self is false and it takes a lot of energy to offset a lack of expressed authenticity.

All of this accumulated faking has diluted the true you so much so that your authentic voice can’t be heard because of all the excuses you spout.

So how can you find the gumption to live a bigger more vigorous work life?
Do two things.

1). Make space for your authentic voice by silencing your fake self.

All of your accumulated compensation is emotional and intellectual clutter and clutter must be cleared.  Without space for your authentic self to express and act, your little, fearful self will keep running the show by avoiding, pretending and shirking responsibility.

2). Create a work environment that brings you robustly alive.

Mike Tomlin, head coach of our world champion Pittsburgh Steelers knows how.  The Steelers are now holding their three-day mini-camp.  It’s the first time that rookies get to work out and train with the veterans.

A reporter asked Tomlin how he determines that a player has the hunger to be a champion.  Tomlin said he doesn’t look for hunger, because hunger can be satisfied.  He’s right; multi-million dollar contracts don’t guarantee that a player will even make the team.

Instead of hunger, Tomlin looks for drive.  Drive is aggressive readiness along with the energy to undertake taxing efforts. Drive is hustle, initiative, vitality, and get-up-and-go.

Drive is natural when we find or create our authentic space.

Scroll up and look at that picture ofHines Ward again.  At the wide receiver position, Hines is one of the most powerful and vicious blockers in the league.  Whether he makes the hit or gets hit – he always bounces up with that big ass smile on his face.  Hines is in his natural element.  He’s found his authentic space.

We can apply this lesson in our search for authentic work.  Authentic work isn’t a craving to be satisfied but an environment in which your natural drive can express itself.

This is so important to understand because fear around not having enough money is the number one reason folks give for not making their move to the freedom of self-employment.  But money is about hunger not drive.  Hunger is only temporarily satisfied.

Fear not, you’re authentic work is also seeking you.  Create some space and you’ll be more able to see it.

Find or create an environment where you can naturally speak your truth.

Find or create an environment where you are eager to do the work.

Find or create a work opportunity where you are driven to excel and then both your drive and your hunger will be fulfilled.

 

Get Real about Your Work

Somehow we have lost our way when it comes to our work. Most of us may believe that it’s possible to enjoy delightful work, but how much of our work is actually delightful?

Woman in Field

Some feel that work can all be like play and others feel that some of it needs to be like work. That’s what I examined in this post, Work as Play? I keep changing my mind on that one but that’s not what I want to address in this post. Or do I?

First, I want to ask this question.

Why do we complicate the things that matter the most to us? Specifically, why do we needlessly complicate creating a life of delightful work? (If you’re thinking, “I don’t complicate having delightful work, it’s just that I ________ {fill in the blank}….” then that’s what I mean by complicating it. For example, having reasons why you don’t have a life of delightful work is “complicating” it.)

Is it because we fear the change so much that the complication is a defense to delay it?

Or do we really, deep down, not think that delightful work is possible for us?

Or, are we really that afraid of our own brilliance or of our unique success?

Do you agree that the answer to delightful work is found within? Then why do we look to others for answers? Aren’t we the better source of wisdom in our own lives? What fears arise in you when you examine the possibility of totally delightful work?

That raises another question. Is it really the happiness and fulfillment of delightful work that we want or is it freedom from having to work at all that most attracts us?

For example, I think it’s interesting that so many of us coaches and bloggers seek to develop streams of passive income. What’s that about? We could say that we just want our bliss to be shared with a larger audience, and there could be some truth to that. But let’s get real here. Let’s talk about what we hope to gain.

Do we really want to become Internet info-marketers? Not that there is anything wrong with that. But is that your passion? Are you seeking delightful work or the positional advantage of not having to work at all? If you’re really looking for a way to earn money from not being physically present, is this an objective or an evasion? Is the work that we do so uninspiring that we are driven to develop ways of evading it?

I only pose these difficult questions because I’m asking them of myself right now.

Let’s dig deeper and get real about our work. Perhaps we could take a deep breath and start fresh with our examination?

In our work we ought to experience as much joy as we possibly can. Can we agree on that as a starting point? In my welcoming message I wrote: Delightful work is: amusing, attractive, captivating, clever, engaging, enjoyable, fascinating, gratifying, luscious and thrilling. Captivating, engaging, enjoyable and fascinating! That’s how I’d like to work more often. Here’s a confession. I write about delightful work and not all of my work is delightful. But whose responsibility is that? It certainly can’t be anyone else’s but mine.

I already do enjoy the freedoms that I care the most about, the freedoms of self-expression and self-determination.

The freedom of self-expression allows us to openly say whatever we want about our work. The freedom of self-determination is enjoying the option to be completely at choice as to when, how, with whom, where and on what you work. It is even the freedom of choosing whether to work or not.

Is this drive to develop info-marketing products really our way of seizing the freedom of self-determination? Does this really mean that we want to be free from the obligation of work? Do we really want to be free to choose whether or not we work at all? It’s really interesting to see what remains when we completely remove money and its accompanying self-created pressures from the equation. If you did that, what would remain?

Would your work life look different than it does now?

How specifically would it look different?

What would you immediately drop? Add?

What would you do more off? Less off?

Would you be working more or less? Would you be working at all?

Would you still be trying to build your opt-in list, sell your eBooks and become a successful info-marketer? Or, if money were no longer an issue, would you even care about that anymore?

What would be the central theme of your work? Why don’t we find out?

Excellent, then let’s do an exercise to remove the need for money completely from our work and see what remains.

You’ll need your imagination, a timer, blank paper and a pen or pencil. Set the timer for four minutes and start it when cued to do so. Get that stuff and come back to reading. It will be well worth your while. Ready?

Here’s the scenario. Imagine you’ve received a registered letter from a venture capital investment firm. They represent a large conglomerate that wants to buy the complete rights to an original idea of yours. There is no negotiation. They are offering you 3.7 million dollars. As you read on, you see that there is a catch in the form of some very peculiar terms. The letter will self-destruct within four minutes and the offer will be withdrawn – unless you complete an exercise exactly as instructed. You are being asked to open an envelope and as you do your four minutes will begin.

In the envelope is one instruction. You must write down the whole truth about the work you intend to do once the issue of money is gone. Tell the truth and the money is yours. Otherwise you get zip. Ready? Pick up your pencil and start the timer.

First you may have been tempted to fix a few other things in your life. But after you purchased the home and car, after you traveled the world, after you were generous with charities, friends and family. Now what? What about your work?

What did you write? How will your work be different? I’m betting that your answers are more real than the work you are now doing. I’ll share my answers in the first comment and I’d be honored if you share yours as well.

The bad news is that no one is waiting to offer you 3.7 million dollars. The good news is that you now have a blueprint to follow to do the work you were meant to do. By doing so, you have raised the probability of making your work delightful and of earning your own 3.7 million dollars. The only question is this: Will you use this blueprint or will you go back to following your fears instead of your own inner wisdom?

Will you please honor yourself and do this exercise? Will you honor yourself (and all of us) even further by commenting and sharing what you actually came up with?

In case you’re wondering, I found the writing of this post to be completely delightful.

What Everybody Ought to Know About Finding Work You Love

There are nine ingredients to finding work you love and these ingredients are influencing your search whether you’re aware of them or not.

Puzzle
Nine Ingredients of Right Livelihood

The surest way to clearly hear your true work calling is to deliberately work through all nine essential ingredients by journaling your realizations and conclusions as you go.

  1. Honor your Core Self (inner voice) to bring forth the glory of your soul so that others can feel it and support it.
  2. Identify, clarify, verify, fortify and gloriously express your natural Strengths.
  3. Energize your Heart’s Desires.
  4. Flaunt your natural personality Traits (‘bad ass’ self) and feel good about it.
  5. Orient your life around your Values.
  6. Connect to a deliberate Vision that works for you.
  7. Commit to your nonnegotiable Requirements.
  8. Move through Fears and blocks that are holding you back.
  9. Discover and create Environments to thrive within.

In this post I’ll share some methods to go deep within to honor your Core Self (inner voice) to bring forth the glory of your soul so that others can feel it and support it.

The masters tell us to be who we are or to be all of who we are.

“To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.” – Dostoevsky

But how does one go about discovering and honoring his or her core self? What’s the process? Let’s begin by understanding what our core self is. I’m referring to your essence, the heart of you or vital core, what some call your soul. According to Dictionary.com, soul is defined as follows.

Soul is the emotional part of human nature, the seat of the feelings or sentiments.

Soul is the animating principle, the essential element or part of something.

Soul is the inspirer or moving spirit of some action or movement.

I’ve found that the process of honoring my soul (core self) begins by setting the intention to carry on a lifelong dialogue. Our soul provides us with an inner compass that we can align with to become more in harmony with the life we were meant to live. Like wild geese somehow knowing when and where to fly south, our compass is just as accurate and fitting for us.

So we begin this dialogue by simply stating the sacred intention to be true to ourselves. One excellent way is to simply take a deep breath and say out loud. “I choose to be true to my core self.” Then thank your soul for getting your attention in this important matter and invite it to show you ways in which you can. You can jumpstart the process by journaling the following questions.

  1. What parts of myself have I been thus far reluctant to express?
  2. How can I honor myself and bring them out?
  3. What environments do I enjoy so much that just by being in contact with them I embody grace?
  4. What are the ways I like to work that bring me most alive?
  5. Like migrating geese, what wonderful, unseen urge is calling me?

These questions are powerful. But that sad thing is you’ll never know how powerful unless you invest the time to ask them and carry on the dialogue. This is a somewhat tricky process that can only show its gold to you in the doing of it.

“We understand why children are afraid of darkness, but why are men afraid of light? The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Plato

You can do one simple thing better than anyone else in the world: be yourself. When you do that, without holding back, the results are indeed magnificent. Yet that process only begins with rigorous self-examination.

In summary there are nine essential ingredients to get your search for work life happiness and freedom really cooking. Will you begin a dialogue with your soul today so this most important ingredient is present? In my next post I’ll share how to identify, clarify, verify, fortify and gloriously express your natural strengths.