It is very interesting to observe how the dots are being connected in my brain. I have been exposed to so many new vocabularies in the last couple of months, and so many different professions which I have never heard of before, but I am realizing now that they all scream the same thing: : “Humanity”
When David Bowie died I became his number one fan. Not a day goes by for me without listening to “Black Star”, his departing gift. I never listened to his music and I believe the only song I knew from him was “Let’s Dance”! After his death though and after listening to his last album I got to know another legend. Not a pop star but a Human as its finest. His courage and capability to create while suffering became a big question mark for me.
Now I am reading “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl, a psychologist who spent a couple of years in concentration camps. A man who believes that “if there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering.” Suffering as he describes “is an incredible part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.” He quotes from Dostoevsky: “There is only one thing I dread. Not being worthy of my suffering.” and he also mentions Nietzsche’s words: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
So I think I can somehow understand the meaning of some of the new terms which I have learned in the last couple of months. David Bowie and Viktor Frankl both Lived their Legends. They found Meaning in their lives, their Callings and they embraced Vulnerability in their darkest days of their lives and not only they felt Shame for what they were going through but they decided to “take advantage of their unique opportunities in the way they bearded their burden”. And now I realize as Brene Brown explains in “The Gifts of Imperfection”, no matter what we do as a profession in our lives and where we are living on this planet, we are living wholeheartedly when we are engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. A place that embraces tenderness and vulnerability as much as developing knowledge and claiming power.
So I have familiarized myself with the terms of meaning, purpose, worthiness and vulnerability but how can we implement these human emotions into our daily lives if living our legends means to work with others in a corporate system? How can we be unapologetically ourselves, be vulnerable, be playful and still survive the corporate politics and judgements?
A very interesting article in New York Times describes the Google’s challenge a couple of years ago to find a pattern or better say a norm in their successful teams. They wanted to find out what are the measurable parameters in the teams which make some amazingly powerful, efficient and focused and leave others messy and inefficient. Do you know what it is?
“It is Psychological safety, a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up, It describes a team climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves.”
As one of the managers at Google describes: ‘‘I think, until the off-site, I had separated things in my head into work life and life life, But the thing is, my work is my life. I spend the majority of my time working. Most of my friends I know through work. If I can’t be open and honest at work, then I’m not really living, am I?’’
So the biggest challenge is to change the idea of being PERFECT at work. The idea of wearing a mask at work and burying our emotions because they are not welcomed in the corporate world. They have to be; emotions are our tools for communication, for empathy, for love, for life and joy so why do we crack them down at our work places? If we cherish the pop stars, artists, philosophers for living their legends and living their emotions, we have to use the same tools to practice our values and purposes on a daily basis. The tools which are mostly human emotions to make communications and empathy with our surroundings at work and ultimately in our society.
So why don’t we start from ourselves? Why don’t we take off the masks when we enter our work place and teach others what authenticity mean at work and in life?