I need to explain why this blog is about personal and professional development … why I have combined the two.
There is a huge intersection between ‘work-life’. I am no longer seeing it entirely as balance but rather as wholeness: the undivided life (Parker Palmer) and showing up as yourself (Brene Brown).
If I am authentic, I don’t just reserve or compartentalise it for either one or the other. I know we are often different in different situations, but I am going to stop this and re-imagine how I can navigate the future.
I remember my father saying that people went on holiday to try to get over their issues and difficulties but the unfortunate thing was that they were taking themselves with them. How right he was and I think the same can be true of work.
When you work there is no doubt that all your difficulties and stuckness about a whole lot of stuff joins you too. You can’t simply leave it at home.
The same is true in the opposite direction of travel where you take the difficult stuff from work and take it home. I tried to compentalise it and, I have to report, it wreaked huge damage.
The undivided self has to show up where ever we are and, whilst I am not advocating that we share all our innermost feelings and thoughts with just anyone, we should at least attempt to navigate our way with large doses of authenticity. There are not several versions of me. Just one me really. And, what is more, this is not, simply not wearing my heart on my sleeve. We all know what that looks like!
I think it is something profoundly different.
I think that Stephen Covey’s principle-centredness is how this is possible. It means that I can live and work around principles and, if I have this right, including my moral compass, I can show up and be authentic.
I also think that we can choose to be vulnerable if we are in a leadership position and that that vulnerability is, as Brene Brown says, not weakness. The work that Peter Fuda does in Leadership Transformed demonstrates how this is possible. Helen Bevan writes about how we cannot be agents of change if we don’t start with ourselves.
That’s why there is a huge intersection between the work we do personally and professionally and the compartmentalising that I used to see as a way to lead my life is Stopping Now. At least I will try.
Perhaps one day I may be brave enough to ask someone in an interview, as my brother was once asked, “Tell me about your relationship with your father / mother?”
Or, is this crossing some more innocent person’s boundaries?
I need to do some research on that one before I dare venture into that line of questioning. I like the question because I have been carrying that baggage around at work long enough.