Setting The Scene
I remember that day 15 years ago when I knew deep in my bones that my days of being an employee in the corporate world were over. It had taken me over four years of searching, trying to make it work, moving cities, moving departments, going on courses of self-discovery, exploring a whole manner of new out-there things, before I finally faced and embraced the truth. I was being called to a new way of living and working. So I stepped out of my comfort zone and into the unknown. I was waking up.
Now it’s happening everywhere. All over the world women at work are waking up. Waking up to the reality that the current ways of doing work, for the most part, aren’t working. Waking up to their own power to pioneer new and more sustainable ways. Waking up to the light of their soul.
The new wave of change makers is here!
Women are being called to co-create purposeful and positive change in a new way. One led by the all inclusive light and love of their soul. One expressing their authentic voice and ever deepening connection to their inner heart.
Are you one of these women waking up? Do you want to be?
I’ve come across them in large corporations and start-ups, in newly formed and established small businesses, in mastermind groups and on social media, in personal and spiritual development courses, on gardening leave at the local coffee shop ‘in between’ roles, on maternity leave and at the gym. They are all beautifully unique and, in some cases, on the surface appear very different. But they share two strongly connecting attributes…
- They all feel a deep and growing call to make a difference and contribute positively to the evolution of our planet through their work and their presence.
- They all have an awareness that life as we know and live it is part of something much bigger. They see beyond the illusion of separation, of the me and the my.
If this introduction has resonated with you and you recognise yourself as one of these women waking up please read on. There are some things I’d like to share specifically about waking up in a workplace system. They’ll resonate in differing degrees depending on your context but read them all anyway. Your awareness might help future you or present day colleagues who are feeling the truth bomb heat!
I speak from experience on all that I write about. I did my waking up the hard way. I want you to do with ease. I’m calling my nuggets of insight TRUTH BOMBS. Not to be dramatic. Rather to communicate the absolute imperative of paying attention to the messages delivered.
WAKING-UP TRUTH BOMB 1
Once you’ve seen what you’ve seen you can’t un-see it.
You may have seen a behaviour or cultural norm that is absolutely not ok. You may have seen abuse of power. You may have seen the flaws in a system that is perpetuating inequality and division. You may have seen a new and better way of running the whole workplace show. You may have seen the light of your own soul calling you to your deeper purpose.
If you pretend you haven’t seen what you’ve seen you’re signing up to your own slow demise, the dimming of your sparkle, a life of mediocrity, a wake-up call further down the line to remind you of what you once saw and knew.
Create some space to intentionally integrate what you’ve seen into your life. Remind yourself of your own value system and definition of authentic success. How does your new awareness fit with that? Is it time for an upgrade of your values and definition of success (which could well be the case if what you’ve seen is the light of your soul!). Or is what you’ve seen at odds with these things in such a stark way that to stay silent and ignore it would be the beginning of the disappearance of who you really are.
WAKING-UP TRUTH BOMB 2
Expect resistance from those invested in the status quo and the existing power base.
You may be very excited about your new-found insight and awareness. Please don’t be disappointed and disheartened if those around you don’t share your enthusiasm.
Or you may be scared because you can sense the enormity of what you now know. Please don’t let this make you shrink away from it.
In any institution there is a culture, ‘the way things work around here’, which governs the modus operandi. This can take on a life of its own, and, being heavily invested in its own survival, will do all it can to maintain the status quo. This usually manifests as resistance to your enlightened ideas and to any deep change which is going to rock its foundations and power-base. This resistance can seem to come from the system itself. It can also come directly from those people invested in the way things are.
Stay confident and speak out about what you have seen or what you now know. 2018 is not the time for silence. We are in a time of great possibility for positive evolutionary change. The workplace needs women like you speaking out. Of course there’s a way to speak out. That way is with respect and love and a willingness to listen and have dialogue. There may be conflict. Stay with your heart. You can handle it. Show up and start the conversation.
WAKING-UP TRUTH BOMB 3
Waking up is about TRUE transformation and true transformation is based on Love.
So there’s a way to engage with others, with the waking up transformation process, and with yourself, that reflects this. And that way is with Love.
It’s no good blaming, shaming and judging the people around you who haven’t yet seen what you’ve seen. That’s not Love. Yes, absolutely call it out (Truth Bomb 2) but don’t become part of the problem in doing so. Speak up confidently and clearly AND with Love.
It’s a myth that Love has no place at work and I was absolutely delighted to see the LQ (Love Quotient) up for discussion as the new metric we need to win the future in the recent World Economic forum in Davos. Yep, world leaders are wising up to the reality that Love is the missing ingredient in…well…most things…and most definitely in creating evolutionary positive change.
Love has to start with you loving you as you navigate the waters of waking-up at work. You cannot serve from an empty vessel. To support you in loving you and being internally resourced as you wake up, I’ve developed a Loving Change Approach. I’ll share it in Part 2 of this Waking Up series. It feels too much to throw it in here amidst the Truth Bombs, and it has a different vibe to the messaging of this missive.
For the impatient amongst you the nutshell version of The Loving Change Approach is that when we bring love into the equation, our experience of our own waking up transition process is radically altered and it stands us in good stead to make change in the outer world from a foundation of fullness, ease and joy rather than lack, striving and misery!
Over the long term adopt the Loving Change Approach. For now, ponder how you can increase the self love quotient in your own change experience. And introduce 3 new habits accordingly.
WAKING-UP TRUTH BOMB 4
Waking up is usually accompanied with some tough decisions, the most common one for those employed in an organisation being ‘Do I stay or do I go?’
And if you’re not employed in an organisation there will most likely be some form of the ‘what do I take with me on the journey and what do I leave behind?’ question.
Unless you have that deep sense of knowing about which way to turn I suggest you sit with this a while (but not too long!) to make sure you’re not making a choice from reactivity. Get some help. This is a big decision. Talk it through with a professional mentor or coach or someone with wisdom and whom you respect and trust.
A useful way in to making the ‘do I stay or do I go’ decision is reflecting on this question.
‘If I stay can I be the change maker I’m now being called to be?’
Fantastic if the answer to this is YES because the world absolutely needs women like you changing the system from within.
If, however, you know that your workplace culture isn’t open to shifting (in your lifetime) then go and apply your wondrous light in another business, maybe your own, maybe with others waking up, maybe in another organisation more closely matched to your newly awakened heart. Take some time to discern what will fulfil you now as the you that is waking up and what environment will enable you to express as the wonderful expansive authentic you.
Whatever you do, don’t stay and do nothing. It’s really not a good idea…see Truth Bomb 1 for a reminder of the consequences.
WAKING-UP TRUTH BOMB 5
It can be lonely when you’re waking up at work and going against the grain of the existing tribe to change things for the better.
And the very human need to belong can pull you into the pitfalls of Truth Bomb 1. You cannot un-see what you have seen, but you can pretend you haven’t seen it to fit in. Not so wise in the long run. It will cause you heart-ache. I’ve done it. More than once. (My Wake Up Story is coming in Part 3 of this series!)
Whilst the reality is that loneliness may well be a companion of the waking-up change maker, there are some things that you can do to make it a whole lot more fun and sociable.
Build community. Inside your place of work and outside of it in other workplaces and in wider society. If there are people in your geographic area meet face-to-face and support and inspire each other. If not social media can be a great place to find like-minded people. Start an online community. Share stories. Share experiences. Stay connected.
Ok we’re done. I think that’s enough for today!
If one or more of these Truth Bombs has landed with you or there are other aspects of you waking up at work you’d welcome a chat about please do book a free half hour call with me HERE. I’d really love to hear from you. I know how challenging waking up at work can be.
With warm wishes
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Author: Mandy Muckalt
An experienced facilitator and coach supporting professionals to lead and live from wholeness, and to flourish in turbulent times.