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.