Work is an integral part of our lives. It consumes a huge part of our waking (and sometimes sleeping!) lives. If we were to unpack the concept of work, we would discover that it is a great deal more important to us than perhaps we are aware. It’s not necessarily only about earning money in order to create and support a lifestyle as research highlights.
Why we work: The achievement of work related goals is rarely the primary motivator for people. For most it’s about realising personal goals. Skill and knowledge development is likely to increase self-esteem and lead to a sense of personal growth. It may be about using work to validate who we are. Many people use their work to define them. It could be about demonstrating worth to those around us, about establishing a position in society. Work can give us a sense of purpose and meaning. We can use it to make a difference in the world, to leave a valuable legacy, perhaps.
What happens afterwards?: Stepping away from our usual work situation can be a scary prospect. We now recognise that, for many of us, being financially stable, enjoying good health and being involved in stimulating leisure pursuits is simply not enough. If you used your work to gain the status and recognition you needed, the sense of personal value, how will you re-create this when work falls away? How will you maintain your standing in your community when you no longer have a powerful job title or position in the business world? How will you make that valuable contribution to society, the world?
Our deep human needs don’t necessarily cease just because we retire. Indeed, many high-flyers and captains of industry report a deep sense of loss and lack of purpose without the ability to use their work as a vehicle for self-validation. They still need to satisfy these needs. There may even be a powerful motivation to compensate for the lack of work manifesting in an even greater need for continuing significance.
Are you concerned about this potentially major impact on your life or experiencing it already? Let us show you how you can re-create the significance and contribution you desire as you move forward in your life.
Art of Reinvention focuses on working with high achievers who are approaching a major change in their work situation. The key support is to help you create a ‘next chapter’ that will give you the status and recognition you’ve grown used to and continue to need. We’ll also help you to continue to make an important contribution, if that’s required.
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