Jay Gatsby, Scott Fitzgerald’s legendary protagonist, is standing at his favorite bar when the bartender says, “I hear you lost all your money in the stock market crash.”
“Yeah,” Gatsby replies “lost every last penny in the crash… but I lost all that was important to me in the boom.” I was reminded of that passage not long ago when I was spending some time at one of those “hot” software companies in Silicon Valley whose employees are an anthem of our times: average age twenty-eight, average net worth over a million—more if you consider stock options. Stock options are great, no kidding, but these people were not happy campers. Their jobs were interesting, fulfilling—up to a point. When I asked them about their jobs and life, they were vaguely disconsolate, despairing—something “beyond words,” one told me; “something missing.”
This scenario is not atypical. It just doesn’t catch the 7:00 o’clock news when today’s latest technological success is all shiny and new. Perhaps it’s even OK to get three out of four. But when even the brightest and best still find something missing, then we really are doing something wrong. And from the mouths of those who are disengaged at work, what is missing is the part that deals with purpose and meaning, connection and being valued, wholeness and integrity—all the words that tend to be associated with spirituality.
There are steps that can be taken because it’s been shown empirically, that:
“Individuals and organizations that perceive themselves as “more spiritual” do better. They are more productive, creative, and adaptive. The people in these organizations are more energized and productive because work isn’t solely about stock options and vacations and coffee breaks. Spiritual organizations are animated by meaning, by wholeness, and by seeing their work connected to events and people beyond themselves.”
The challenge still remains: What to do?
A quandary perhaps, but there is one thing for sure—we can’t sit around waiting until the perfect answer happens to miraculously appear. There are things that can be done… today. Yet as imperfect as they may be and how we implement them, they still make a huge and wonderful difference. That is the wonder of focusing on constructing solutions.
Did you know, that even for the messiest personal predicaments, you don’t have to know ANYTHING about the problem (let alone its history, its origins, or who is to blame) to create a solution? In fact, it is better that you simply stop right now all the reviewing, re-living, reviving the problem. Yes, stop it. Shift your focus to what you want your new situation to BE, and get started building that!
Oh, and while you are at it, never underestimate the power of the small, the few. And before you do anything else, think for a moment about the cost of NOT doing something different. Where is your current trajectory going to land you? When you are curious about how to make significant changes in your “inner” life, take a look at Solutions Mastery™.
* Mitroff, Ian I, and Elizabeth A. Denton. A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America: A Hard Look at Spirituality, Religion, and Values in the Workplace. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1999. Print.
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