Fulfill yourself

May 19, 2009 · Print this post

Yesterday I wrote about an interview with Greg Brenneman that I found not only rich in content, but a great example of modeling the behavior he’s talking about. I thought he made a lot of great points.

And perhaps I most especially appreciate his point that it’s not all about work.

I think it’s important to talk to people about how we’re in a fundamentally different world. Ask the question, “If compensation isn’t going to be the same for a while, where do you get your fulfillment in life?”
— Greg Brenneman, CCMP Capital

We’ve all got a different answer to this question. And when times are hard, when compensation isn’t just “not the same” but perhaps the difference between the mortgage payment and the foreclosure, I believe it’s important to remember to do things that fulfill us. Because fulfillment makes us strong.

When we feel fulfilled, we feel alive and active in our most essential self, the self that cannot simply be described by our title or job description. Feeling fulfilled means that we are full in all our best ways, and that fullness, that richness of self, creates within us enormous energy and stamina for the sometimes very hard things we have to do in order to survive.

If you’ve read about me, you may know that I’m a writer as well as a — well, whatever you’d call me when I’m here talking about being human at work. I generally don’t discuss my writing life in this space because I don’t want to confuse issues: this is not my personal blog, although I’m very personally invested in Humans At Work, and in all ideas about excellent management. But today I’d like to point you to a personal essay about the importance of staying connected with our deepest selves in trying times. At work, as everywhere else, we need to share our strength so that we can all be successful together: and strength is not about who works longest or hardest or has the most meetings: it’s about staying aligned and connected with ourselves so that we find the strength we need.

If you are a manager — if you are responsible for helping other people accomplish their work, so that they can pay their rent and feed their families — then do not neglect to replenish yourself. The first rule of airline safety is to get your own oxygen mask in place before you start helping other people with theirs: or, as the essay says, don’t forget to breathe.

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