How to practice spirituality at your workplace
Updated: Sep 26, 2019
Spirituality and the workplace may seem like an oxymoron, after all it is difficult to 'be spiritual' in a crowded, competitive, materialistic and often frustrating environment. To find the Divine there may seem a little challenging at first, because most traditional spiritual disciplines are not designed to help you do that. But irrespective of whether you are a corporate executive, doctor, lawyer, architect or artist, you can weave spirituality into your work life with a few conscious measures.
Start with the belief that you will turn the grind of your workplace into grist for your spiritual mills. Then adopt the following measures into your daily work life and see how your life changes.
1. Clarify Your Innermost Personal Values
These values are the ones that give you the greatest joy and satisfaction. They are the ones you feel deeply passionate about, that come naturally and do not create any internal conflict. They often come to the fore during challenging times or when you are forced to make difficult life choices, such as after great personal or professional loss, the onset of a serious illness, an operation, burnout or a lay off.
Most people’s innermost values emanate from family, work, self and service. These could include personal accomplishments, security, independence, friendships, integrity, power or community work. Identify yours and write them down. Then have a look at them every day.
2. Balance Your Personal and Work Responsibilities
Once you have narrowed down on your innermost values, re-organise your work and activities around them. For example, if you need more work-life balance, then start by planning your day more efficiently. Avoid wasting time on social networking sites, excessive coffee breaks, idle banter and procrastination. You will be amazed at how much time you will save. Be open to realistically realigning your ambitions accordingly. Take on only as much as you can comfortably manage within your regular working hours. Learn to say “no”. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
3. Practice workplace wisdom
Be understanding with your peers and colleagues, irrespective of their power or position. Avoid being part of office politics and discourage your team from doing so. Keep your interactions transparent. Minimize conflict by nipping it in the bud by having a straightforward chat with the person concerned. Keep an open mind and be tolerant of other people’s opinions, even the ones you disagree with. Your life will become less stressful when you minimize conflict, a lot of which is anyway a result of your own rigidity and intolerance. Remember that if you considered the life experiences of others, you would probably be just like them. This understanding is wisdom.
4. Authenticity in communication
If you have a team, encourage them to talk honestly and without fear. Create a "safe space" in which people feel free to speak the truth without fear of reprisal. And practice the same yourself. Most issues get resolved once you allow people to be truthful in a safe and respectful environment. Creative solutions emerge and people feel more connected and aligned. Each individual then gives their unbridled best, making teams and organizations really blossom.
5. Be compassionate
There will always be times when a colleague misses a deadline, does a shoddy job, underperforms, reports late or displays bad attitude. Your first instinct at such times may be anger, harsh words or frustration. And while your reactions may be normal, given the overwhelming pressures of today’s workplace, just sit back take a few deep breaths before sailing into anyone. Focus on yourself and recall a time when you may have been in a similar position. This realization is the beginning of compassion.
6. Embrace Personal Growth
Personal growth is the result of introspection and taming your ego. At work, you could start this process by learning to see the difference between disagreements and personal attacks, between feedback and criticism. Don’t let your ego get in the way of absorbing relevant inputs from co-workers as that could actually help your own growth.
If you are not passionate about your work, dig within yourself, be honest and identify where you real passion lies. Once you have done that, try to either integrate it within your work, or make a planned shift to making a livelihood out of what you are most passionate about.
A client of mine was a Vice President of an IT company when he discovered his passion for making chocolates. He started distributing samples to his friends and colleagues, and would occasionally put up a stall at local fetes. He also started his own Facebook page where he put up all his experiments with chocolate. Soon people were placing orders for their bespoke flavours, and within two years his orders became so large that he quit his job and became a full time chocolatier. Life has been pretty sweet ever since!!
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