I’m just back from a professional development course on authenticity. I loved that the course ended with the choice of staying on for networking and conversation — or for the self-confessed introverts to leave and ‘find a dark corner’ in which to reflect. So clearly I’ve done the latter. I’m tucked up at home at my work table with a snack and a very serious soundtrack to aid my thoughts.
So what do I think about authenticity in the workplace? Perhaps it’s the ideal we’re all looking for? Finding expression of our deepest values in the work we do that is meaningful, rewarding, and simultaneously pays enough to cover the bills and other needs.
So the two difficulties I had with this course were:
- it didn’t address how one might begin to define one’s own values. Is it just me that finds this difficult? Should I be able to define what I believe in most deeply? I can’t! If I could I wouldn’t have had some torturous conversations about sankalpa recently with one of my teachers…
- it simultaneously framed all the conversation within the context of our specific workplace but also — rather daringly — opened up the question of what we might do if we found we weren’t in alignment with the company’s values and touched on the notion that work-life balance was less and less a dichotomy to balance and more a blending to reconcile, as one impinges on the other in our present (technologically-driven?) culture…
So I’m left in my dark corner reflecting on my core values and beliefs, what I want to do with my life, what imprint I would like to leave on my small corner of the world. I’m not at all sure that the answers to these questions would lead to the current professional role I have! Is it better then not to ask them? Except that clearly I already have.
Who knows where this reflecting will end. If it will — or should — ever end. Surely we should go on asking these questions through life? Right now it’s certainly just the beginning of the questioning for me. I’m starting to ask myself what I have to offer. I don’t know the answer yet, but I am heartened that when I confessed over coffee to a girlfriend that I wasn’t sure I had anything to offer, she almost fell off her chair in amused surprise.
Gratifying and reassuring [thank you, J, if you’re reading!]. But I have to truly recognise this for myself of course. And then walk the walk.
My mat is calling… where step by step I’ll figure this out.
Hopefully in this lifetime!