Several people who have read my book SELF-FIDELITY have told me that they experienced a visceral reaction to this passage: “There have been many moments at work that have fed my soul. I have also experienced many moments at work that have quite literally felt like a cheese grater on my soul. Preservation of the human spirit and our own souls at work depends on our individual sense of awareness and connectedness to a deeper, unquantifiable, enduring part of ourselves.”
This passage had such an impact on one of my coaching clients, they bought me a fancy cheese grater as a gift!
In the lyrics of Zion Train Bob Marley warns us, ‘Don’t gain the world and lose your soul; wisdom is better than silver and gold.‘
The final lines of William Ernest Henley’s well-known poem Invictus declare, ‘I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.’
Oscar Wilde said, ‘In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.’
In her recently released book Radical Awakening Dr Shefali Tsabary talks to the idea of soul erosion. She explains ‘Soul erosion is gradual process, a slow creeping chipping away of our inner being resulting in the inevitable dearth of all we know to be our truest selves. Soul erosion is essentially an obliteration of our inner knowing each incidence in which we suppress our inner truth we engage in the erosion of our most precious treasure – our essence.‘
The more we become aware of the impact our work has on our ‘spirit’, or our ‘soul’ the closer we get to the dissolving of the insidious dehumanisation of the machine paradigm and the emergence of a new paradigm of work.
What will a new paradigm of work mean?
It will mean that we not only feel physically and psychologically safe – we feel truly cared for and respected as unique individuals at work.
It will mean that our workplaces will amplify our caring, connected, creative, playful nature, way more than it will diminish it.
It will mean that it is OK to inhabit our vulnerability at work.
It will mean that only the people who have the courage to care deeply will be given the privilege of leading others.
More and more I sense a shift towards a new paradigm of work – one that will finally begin to activate our true potential as human beings.
The practice of self-fidelity accelerates this shift.
When we feel both inspired and empowered to figure out how to bravely embody a truer, better version of ourselves at work, we give others permission to do the same – especially if we are leaders.
As our working lives begin to harmonise with our essential nature, we uplift the human spirit, soothe our souls and regenerate life.
Self-Fidelity Practice To Play With This Week
Preservation of the human spirit and our own souls at work depends on our individual sense of awareness and connectedness to a deeper, unquantifiable, enduring part of ourselves – however we describe and define it.
There is no easy answer to how best to work and live in a way that honours and feeds our soul. However, holding an awareness of our soul’s very existence at work is a wonderful place to begin.
In the week ahead I invite you to reflect on these three questions:
What do I understand to be my ‘soul’?
What does this part of me most long for?
What is the smallest step I can take this week towards a more soulful working life?
“The soul’s needs in the workplace have long been ignored, partly because the path the soul takes to fulfill its destiny seems troublesomely unique to each person and refuses to be quantified in a way that satisfies the need to plan everything in advance … A soulful approach to work is probably the only way an individual can respond creatively to the high-temperature stress of modern work life without burning to a crisp in the heat.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused