3 Keys to Living and Working Authentically
Most of us approach our work from a practical perspective – it’s what we do to provide the financial means to meet our individual and family needs. Others look to their work as a means to answer the deeper questions of our meaning and purpose in the world.
The problem with the first of these ideas is that it ultimately leads to a stoic pragmatism that steals the joy of our work from us as we go from day to meaningless day simply doing what we must. The second idea leads to a narcissistic preoccupation with self-fulfillment that impedes having real connections with others (community) and the opportunity to make a real contribution to society and the world.
A principle I teach every client is that each of us has the ability to override our own natural hardwiring. We can (and do!) change ourselves to meet the demands of our work and relationships. When we do this too often it leads to side effects – mental and emotional fatigue and brittleness, and physical effects such as GI problems, migraines and other things we carry in our bodies. These are commonly known as burnout but I refer to them as markers of an inauthentic work-life.
Authentic Living (and Working) comes from being who I was created to be, then doing the work that naturally comes from taking actions that accurately fit me, but with an intent to make a unique contribution to the world only I am qualified (and gifted) to make. To live and work authentically I recommend asking 3 questions:
· How am I Gifted – what are my natural strengths and weaknesses in work and relationships?
· What is my Story – what positive and negative events of my life could be a means to build up and contribute to the individuals and groups (communities) within my life?
· What is my Calling – what are the ideas, places and actions I’m continuously drawn to in my work or in the service of the people in my life?
To Explore Your Gifting and learn your work-focused strengths take a credible personality test (The Big Five, Myers-Briggs or Enneagram are popular) or participate in a workshop in your community. Be careful of online options as they may not use the validated versions and can give you misleading information. Your best bet is to go to a certified career professional.
Examine Your Story for the positive and negative turns that are unique to you. Learn something about where you can make a contribution in the world by working through Donald Miller’s Storyline workbook or finding related video links to this content on the web.
Last, one recommendation to help you Define Your God-Given Calling would be to start by reading Gary Barkalow’s book Its Your Call. Highly recommended and super cheap!
I hope you will check out each of these great resources, but if you are really interested in learning the quickest and most effective way to living as well as working authentically, register here to schedule a free exploratory call with Dr. Jim Bailey. (Super easy… only takes 10 mins.)