Well, we’ve now just about completed our first full week of the new year, which means, well, many different things for people. For me? It means that I’m back at the College, and we are continuing to move our work forward. I’ll talk more about that in a minute. For now?
Well, I’m happy to report that I’ve been scheduling posts in advance, so I already know some of next week’s posts, which include a few poems, haiku#2, and two more articles on development. One of the articles is on having difficult conversations, and one is the last entry in part 2 the Leadership Series.
I am also working on two new articles, which will not be posted for a couple weeks. One is on creating intention, and the second is on the law of attraction. They should be super fun.
Alright, as it was my first week back to work in a week-and-a-half, let’s take a look at how that went.
I’ve been in this current position for almost 4 years now, so the break was, well, awesome, and different. Different in that, there was more time. I didn’t work as much, so had more time for writing and other endeavors. Was nice.
However, by the last weekend of the break, I was ready to see the team. We had a great first week back, registrations are stronger than they’ve been since the beginning of the pandemic, which means we are serving more and more people each term. Amazing.
The team is well. They are continuing to use both their heads and their hearts to move our work forward, which is, well, essential.
I’ve written before about making sure we use both our heads and our hearts in our lives, well, actually recently, so will simply state here, that it is super fun to see the team’s growth, our collective growth, and the growth of each individual. Super fun.
Remote Book Club
I am happy to write that the remote book club is alive and well. As you may recall, we are reading, Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami.
Now, I’ll admit my bias, as I have before, I am a huge Murakami fan, so I love this book. Thus far, the book is about journeying. Journey’s that occur inside ourselves and outside ourselves. It is quite fascinating.
We are only about half way through the 700+ page book, which means we will not finish it until sometime in February.
I look forward to the discussion we will have in about three weeks from now, should be pretty amazing.
This past week I was more present to the word, or concept of, difficulty. For many reasons, one of which is, yes, the article I wrote about difficult conversations; and, also the continued difficulties due to the pandemic.
I am leaving you this week with the Monday message I have scheduled for the team, which will go out tomorrow morning.
Here we go.
Wow, I’ve never used the “pull quote” function in WordPress before. That’s fun. Alright, back on track.
We will always get things in life that are difficult. It is inevitable. However, we will also get things in life that are easy, also part of life. They are, in fact, one. Inseparable. Meaning?
Enjoy them all, as you are able, my friends, and live your life to the fullest extent possible.
In the past three years, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we view, internalize, and then perform our work.
Though many people associate work with a particular idea or vision of what work looks like, or should look like, work is a broad concept.
Because work is a broad concept, and, yep, is also socially constructed, it’s fun to ponder how the way we think about work affects how we feel and then do our work.
Right, so before we get too far into this discussion, let’s reset the definition of a social construction, shall we? Good. Here we go.
Pronunciation /ˌsəʊʃl ˈkɒnstrʌkt/
A concept or perception of something based on the collective views developed and maintained within a society or social group; a social phenomenon or convention originating within and cultivated by society or a particular social group, as opposed to existing inherently or naturally.
Work is something we do to achieve a purpose or result; and, how we define, internalize, and then view our work, like everything, is simply a subjective interpretation about something that people in a society or culture agree upon. Phew.
Alright, yet what does that really mean?
What does the social construction of work really mean?
Well, it means that how we think about work, the prestige, or lack thereof that we assign to particular types of work is nothing more than a subjective agreement within the particular society or culture that we live in.
Why does this matter? Good question.
Because when we fully understand that work is socially constructed, we are freed to think about our work in any way we want. Our choice. Yep.
Meaning that if you are a person that is cynical about your work, you can choose to become more positive about your work.
And? Passion can follow. Fun.
You can actually even think about becoming more positive and passionate about your work as actively resisting the social construction of work where you live.
Resisting the social norms that set certain types of work as more important or needed, than others. Norms that are also socially constructed.
When we are freed from limited notions of our work, we are also freed to do our work without limits. Making ourselves and our work unlimited. Pretty powerful.
What is work?
This is an especially fun question for me, as I grew up in a household where there was always lots of work to do. Always.
Yet, there was also always a demarcation between work away from home, let’s call this “professional” work, and work at home. A distinction that was very apparent.
Workdays, as in the days that were associated with professional work, always felt different. During my childhood, these days also correspond to school days, which then created a distinction, for me anyway, that those days should also feel different. How?
Well, they were heavier in some way. Meaning, they were considered, well, work, and that was associated with something that one must do. A compulsion, if you will, which, often, didn’t feel so great.
When we create distinctions between work at home, and work away from home, and create meaning that associates one with a more meaningful experience, we set ourselves up for pain and suffering. Really.
How many times have you gotten up for work, and hung your head, thinking, and feeling, phew, not today? I know I’ve had many of those days.
And, though those days are not part of my life today, I can still feel the heaviness of that type of thinking. Painful. And?
Well, we can create a whole new way to think about our work. Seeing our work as interconnected, one. Whether we are working in the garden on a weekend, cooking dinner in the evening, or visiting with a client, they are all you.
You are doing all of these things, taking all of these actions.
Therefore, we can release the notion that there is a distinction between work we do at home and work we do away from home.
Why How We Think About Work Matters
When we release ourselves from the aforementioned distinction, which, by the way, only exists in the language we use to create our notions of work, we create more freedom for ourselves; and, at the same time, we can reduce the stress and anxiety we feel about our work.
Releasing the distinction that some work is stressful, not as fun, plain boring, or even painful, while other work is not stressful, fun, exciting, and full of joy, also releases us from the pain that we suffer while we do our work away from the home, whatever that might be. Yep.
And, remember, how we view, internalize, and feel this created distinction about our work, may, nay, will feel completely different to someone else. Both are unnecessary.
It is an unnecessary distinction. Really.
However, when we create work in language similarly, regardless of what work we’re engaged in, we think about, practice, and feel work the same way, no matter where we are, releasing us from the aforementioned stress, anxiety, and pain. Helpful.
Right, let’s take a look at a couple of quotes about work, shall we?
Here we go.
“Developing a good work ethic is key. Apply yourself at whatever you do, whether you’re a janitor or taking your first summer job because that work ethic will be reflected in everything you do in life.”
And, it is a similar attitude that we can hold about the distinction that some work is painless and some full of pain. When we think about all of our work the same way, and approach it the same, guess what?
We end up feeling the same way about all of our work.
“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.” Zig Ziglar
And, we can think about releasing the distinction between work at home and work away from home similarly. When we are always reaching for and giving all that we can, regardless of the type of work we are engaged in, our work will shine in all areas of our life. And?
Those around us will shine too. It works that way.
“Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Saint Francis
When we release our previously conceived ideas about work, we also release limitations. Yep. Think about it.
When we release our limited thinking about our work, whether that is work at home or more than likely, work away from home, we also create an unlimited context for all of our work. And?
When we are unlimited, we move from that which is impossible, to the possible. Really.
It all starts with how we think about our work. When we fully understand that work is a social construct, created in language, we can create new definitions, or constructions, of our work. We set the standard. Yep.
And? Then we get to live and work in a context that sees no limitation, that feels no limitation, that is now, well, unlimited. Beautiful.
All of our work matters. Matters to each of us, and to all of those around us. Release yourself from any distinction you have about work that creates a false binary about the work you do.
All of your work is important and is further needed. Needed for you, yes, and for your family, community, country, and the greater world.
The past month we’ve seen unprecedented changes, across the world, country, and here locally. I’ve been thinking about all of these changes, and the fact that post-COVID-19, if there is such a thing, will be a whole new normal. Life as it once was is over.
I’ve also been thinking, and doing more creative things this past month. Writing more. Visioning more. And, overall, experiencing more creativity. With work hours, if you are lucky and are working, less than pre-COVID 19, there is more time. More time to think, and ponder, yes, and to also do, and be.
Question for you:
What have you created since the onset of COVID-19?