Living with Purpose at Work
First Published on ThriveGlobal.com
For the longest time, I’ve felt that I had been walking too much with one foot in this world…the world of achievements, ambition and goals and not enough in another world…a world of spiritual awakening, mystery and wonderment.
The Predicament of a Career
Something wasn't right, I always felt something was off in the path my life was taking. My predicament of a mortgage, car payments and bills kept me in a maze designed to confound and entrap me in a cycle of never-ending pursuits that did nothing to satiate my heart felt purpose of a richer more meaningful life. The practical aspect of my life required far more attention than what was purposeful for me. The time and energy spent to put in place a work life that provided the means for comfortable living took away time and energy from my life-purpose...the mission that stimulated my soul, the things in which I truly valued and cared about were not getting the attention that it needed, that it required and deserved. I felt there was no way that I could do both properly but I was already stuck in this predicament of my own creation.
Spiritual exploration has always been for me the place that felt like home. When engaged in inner-work, meditation and this spiritual exploration that fascinated and stimulated me, my sense of purpose in life was complete. As much as I wanted to remain focused on my spiritual work, I found myself lacking time and energy because of the greater demands of time needed in my career path. After working an eight-hour day and doing all the practical things that always need to be done, I was drained at the end of the day. There was no more time left. It was too late at night and I was too tired to go do a yoga class, I would fall asleep during a meditation session and was unable to deepen my practice, and I even loss all motivation to read motivational self-help books!
Photo by Christian Mackie
Out of Whack Work-Life Balance
I struggled for a long time with this, to the point of developing resentment of my career life that took me away from what I felt was my purposeful life. I felt swindled by my career predicament, ensnarled in working in an industry of eternal servitude…bleak, depressing and sad. I knew that something had to change and I knew, thanks to the insights that naturally come with inner-work, that I had to find a way to put balance into my life. The realization came to me that I needed to move energy and be proactive in incorporating an aspect of my purposeful-life in the workplace…but how to incorporate this at work in a professional setting?
Bring what you're passionate about in your personal life to work by creating a lunchtime group session where you show, teach and facilitate an activity related to you life-purpose. Book a meeting room and give a weekly yoga class, teach a crafting project or give a photography workshop...the possibilities are endless!
It started as an employee initiative and I formed a working group to bring meditation in the workplace. The working group brought six other like-minded people together to share our energy and ideas about meditating at work and in a few short weeks, a Workplace Meditation Group was launched. I pre-book a boardroom at the office on the lunchtime hour and conduct guided meditation sessions to whomever wants to attend. In the sessions, I introduce the group to various meditation practices and techniques that I've learned through my travels and exploration. The people who attended my meditation sessions gradually grew from six to two hundred in the span of three years. The success of this employee initiative was so welcomed and supported not only by employees but also by upper management who granted me a Merit Award for creating this program. As nice as it was to receive this kind of acknowledgement, the best reward was, and continues to be, connecting with people at work in another and more personal way and hearing about the benefits they’ve experienced in learning and doing meditation at work. There’s also a great sense of purpose that’s added as I volunteer an hour per week to teach people how to meditate. This offering of my time gives me back so much that it has dramatically changed the way I experience the time I spend at work. It has given me a sense of being in service, or seva, to others which is by itself a spiritual practice that brings one closer to a meaningful and spiritual practice...and I’m experiencing all this in the workplace on my lunch hour!
When you’re able to identify what gives you purpose in life, and if it’s not related to your actual career or work, bring an element of your purposeful-life at the office and offer it to the community in the workplace. You may just be surprised at the response. When you create an avenue for others to join-in and learn about something new, that just happens to be your passion in life, you will greatly enhance your work-life, that of your co-workers and that of the workplace too.