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Global Leadership Speaker and Premier Work-Life Balance Speaker
Speaking Information at (727) 467-0202 or e-mail info@fawngermer.com

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Frame of Reference

It’s not surprising that you might lose perspective when it comes to work because you likely spend at least forty hours a week there. You can’t spend that much time immersed in anything without it influencing your frame of reference. There is a hierarchy that tells you in no un­certain terms who is more important and who is less im­portant. You are told what you need to know, do, and, often, think. You are told when you need to show up and where you need to be. The culture governs your ward­robe and your tone. You deliver a work product that someone else dictates — even if you are working in a col­laborative team environment. You are assigned tasks. Given priorities.

You work, then you get paid. And the more you fit into their culture — their reality — the greater your rewards.

When everybody is frantic over a huge deadline, you sense its immediacy and importance. It takes precedence over everything else.

You have to navigate the politics in order to move ahead, or you must come up with a survival plan when you’ve messed up. There are people you have to listen to, whether you like them or not. And you have to bow to their authority. Maybe even stomach their morals. Things often get a little muddy.

There is endless intrigue at work. What is going to happen to the company? How is new technology going to change things? Who is going to survive the layoffs? Why didn’t you get that raise? How come they promoted that idiot? Doesn’t anyone appreciate you?

There’s sabotage. There’s gossip.

The politics unfolds around you all day, every day.

So it all must be very important, right?

This environment, with all of its intrigue and activity, shapes your world because you are there in the middle of it. For hours and hours and hours. So we operate on the level of human experience and are distracted by this illusion of reality that we invite into our perspective.

Achieving Your Purpose

Are you achieving your purpose? Someone else may tell you that you need to do this or that in order to achieve your “potential,” but you are the only one who can — and should — define your potential and how you want to spend your energy.

The larger question is always, “Am I achieving my human potential for the time I am here on earth?” If you are spending your time doing that, you are spending your time wisely. If you are focusing on things that are ultimately meaningless once it is time for you to leave this earth, then you are wasting your efforts.

Recalibrate. Reset. Go deep.

There is a peace that can exist inside of you, a real peace, a liberating peace that frees you. Life’s distractions don’t have to affect you on a soul level. You can choose this peace. But it will not come to you without you making this choice.

You can choose a path filled with personal mission and depth rather than expectation and inevitability. The second path is well-worn. Will you notice anything miss­ing if you don’t travel it?

What you allow into your head greatly impacts the way you experience your life, and you have control over that.

When you remind yourself that everything that happens is educating you and developing your soul, it is easier to disengage from many of your worries.

On a soul level, our daily dramas are simply meaningless.

That is a very hard awakening to embrace, but if you believe that you were brought here to live and grow and learn, and you have a spiritual component in that, you’ve got to realize that you probably obsess about a lot of things that aren’t important to your larger self.

Spiritual Points

By all means, love what you do, and do it with pas­sion! But keep the stress of your work in perspective. It consumes so many people. I imagine that, when God looks at it, he sees we are spending a whole lot of en­ergy on something that is ultimately meaningless in a spiritual realm. We don’t get spiritual points for being good at our jobs — we get points for being good at our role in humanity. I’m sure God is happy if your job makes you happy, especially if you are developing your talents and helping others, but He probably isn’t too worried about how far you climb that corporate ladder or how well any given project turns out.

Your purpose on this earth is to develop as a human being. Love your work, enjoy every possible aspect of it, but don’t let it consume your opportunity to develop on a deeper human level. If past ups or downs in your job are getting to you, let them go. Do you think you’ll get scolded in the afterlife for a bad performance evaluation or some big project that didn’t go well? My guess is that God doesn’t care about any of that. So if He doesn’t, should you let it consume you?

I do think it matters when you hurt others to ad­vance yourself in your work because that is a character issue. Work gives us endless opportunities to define ourselves with character and integrity — or not. We can face our work with either greed or generosity. With selfishness or selflessness. And what we choose to do shapes and defines our purpose here on earth. Our work gives us a chance to test, confront, and experi­ence. Work is not a purpose, but it can be a vehicle to our purpose.

Valuable Learning Experience

Instead of getting lost in the drama of the mo­ment, step outside of it and see it for the valuable learning experience it can be. Whether you’re experi­encing anguish or exhilaration, victory or defeat, love or loss, the whole point of the lesson is the lesson itself, because it will teach you who you are.

We are here to live, connect, and grow. Winning in this realm means we must fill our time with meaning and purpose. There are so many moments of challenge and adversity that push us to define our character with inten­tion and mission.

You are a spiritual being having a human experience. Embracing that perspective is the ultimate personal reset.

Instead of seeing the intensity of the moment on a flat dimension of light/dark, happy/sad, win/lose, he said/she said, let yourself look at it from above. If you are a spiritual being having a human experience, why is this lesson playing out in this way? What are you supposed to learn?

Our work can become all-consuming and all-important, but when we take the larger, more spiritual perspective, we see that work can really distract us from our larger purpose of learning and growing.

Our work is not our sole purpose or our “soul” purpose for being on this earth.

By all means, love what you do, and do it with pas­sion! But keep the stress of your work in perspective. It consumes so many people. I imagine that, when God looks at it, he sees we are spending a whole lot of en­ergy on something that is ultimately meaningless in a spiritual realm. We don’t get spiritual points for being good at our jobs — we get points for being good at our role in humanity. I’m sure God is happy if your job makes you happy, especially if you are developing your talents and helping others, but He probably isn’t too worried about how far you climb that corporate ladder or how well any given project turns out.

Hang In There

I know what it feels like to experience that Sunday night anxiety before starting yet another week at a miserable job. It can look pretty bleak when you don’t see a way out of your frustration and stress. I promise you, there is a way out. Either you can find a way to make your job work for you, or you can ready yourself to pick up, make changes, and move on. But, hang in there!

It helps to know that you are in charge of your life.

Your relationship with your job — for better or for worse — is very similar to your relationships at home. You can’t pack up and leave because you are miserable parenting a teenager, so you have to find a way to make it work. And your relationship with your husband, wife, or partner also has its highs and lows.

You know what they say about a good relationship? It’s a lot of work. There are good days and bad days with your spouse or partner, with your screaming teenager, with your siblings and parents. It takes work to make those relationships work, and the same goes for your relationship with your job.

Workaholic

There is a huge difference between someone who is passionate about work and someone who is a workahol­ic. A workaholic can’t take a time-out because that break makes them uncomfortable. Off duty, they compulsively check their phones for e-mails, texts, or other work prompts. They pride themselves on working through their illnesses and never taking vacations.

Control is so important to them that they can’t let go or delegate to others because they are certain that anyone else will screw things up. They do all of this at the expense of liv­ing. Family is supposedly important, but when it comes to choosing a baseball game or recital over more work, they choose work. Or they take work with them so they can be present physically, but they’re definitely not there emotionally.

A Wayne State University study on the personality traits of workaholics found that a lot of workaholics have an unrealistic sense of self-importance regarding who they are and what they are accomplishing. They believe that, without their contribution, everything will fall apart at work. They also have an unrealistic need for perfection that makes them need to achieve it in order to view themselves as valuable or worthwhile.

Not much of a life, is it?

You always have the power to put your work in its place. Do a great job, but realize it is your job — not your world. Your identity has many facets, and it’s all right if you have one or two or ten other things that matter to you as much or even more than your title and your place of employment.

At some point you have to ask if you are giving work more or less of your life than it deserves. If something is out of whack, remember what Lisa said. Time is finite. If your work isn’t working for you, you can make changes that will still give you a rewarding career and an outside life. Reset it.

It’s your life. How do you want to spend it?

Real Success

Real success is an inner quest. It’s something you define for yourself when you get up each morning, and you either achieve it or don’t achieve it by the end of the day. The only thing you can really have is this moment — this day. You can achieve huge emotional success on any day, and every day.

Or you can live by default.

Your success in this day has nothing to do with a to-do list. What matters is how you are living this day.

Most people define their day by having to be in a certain place at a certain time to do a certain thing to achieve a certain outcome.

Instead of measuring your days by how much you get done, measure them by how well you have lived and how deep you have gone. If you define your day with challenge, hope, people, passion, maturity, growth, learning, development, spirituality, and other such things, you can achieve meaningful success every day. You’ll be happier with a personal checklist like that.

It may not make others happy because there are many people who want to hand you a set of priorities, but you get to decide why you are here. You — and only you — define your purpose.

You are in control. You don’t have to “give” this day to anyone or anything. You aren’t required to relinquish the present to anyone so they can give you some sort of prize later on, like a paycheck or a promotion. Yes, you have to show up for work and do a good job. Yes, you have other obligations in life. You have to pay bills and tend to daily living. But you have a choice in how you do those things.

You are allowed to keep your own emotional space. You can tend to your many obligations. But don’t hand over your emotional growth just because you have so many demands on your time and energy. Your life, your soul, your day is yours.

The Right Path

In this life, our challenge is to find our path and deepen our souls by traveling that path with integrity and courage. Are you on the right path? You are allowed to ask that question — in fact, you must ask it. And if your conclusion is that you are not living your truth, make some changes. Reset.

We were warned about succumbing to peer pressure when we were kids, and we either held strong or caved. But what about that same pressure as we grow older? What happens when we wake up one day and realize we are conforming to a norm that violates our own personal truth? What happens when our job or our friends or our lifestyle clashes with our conscience?

Does it feel like you have veered off course? That the life you are living isn’t honoring your values or goals? Do a gut check.

There will be times when you are going down the wrong path and you will know it is the wrong path. Be strong enough to turn around.

Conformity

There is a huge difference between choosing to honor the rules and completely selling out. There is conformity that is a bad thing. And understanding the difference is a lifelong learning process. You figure out what you can live with and what you can’t. We all have times when we have to mute — or just tone down — our true self. But muting doesn’t mean trampling.

The ultimate question is this: Is it worth it to conform? If you feel like it is compromising your authentic self, it is time to check in with your gut. If you aren’t being true to yourself, it may be time for a reset.

It’s a whole lot easier to live in your skin if you make conscious decisions about how you are going to conform. Balance is key. You can conform without selling out.

Aren’t there times when conformity is comforting? Aren’t there times when it is easier to be welcomed into the fold when you know what you need to do? Do you like being in the “in group,” the “out group,” or no group at all?

Conformity becomes a problem when, in order to blend in, you are required to do it — and you don’t want to. There comes a point when you have to ask whether being accepted is worth sacrificing pieces of your true self. If that sacrifice is too painful, it’s time to start thinking about an exit plan.

When you are exhausted by the pressure to look and act and be like people that you don’t want to be like, you need to decide what you are going to do. It’s time to find an environment where you are celebrated and not minimized.

What you say to yourself…

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