During our interview with the late Dr. Imre Lövey, author of The Joyful Organization, for our own book, The Transformative Workplace, he reminded us that, "The majority of the adult population spends the majority of their life, while not sleeping, with work or with work-related activities. if you don't enjoy this part of your life, if you suffer in this part of your life, it means you suffer over your life."
This is the same suffering that Parker Palmer speaks to when he talks about the pain we feel when we are unable to show up in our lives and in our work as who we really are. We are born as whole, integral human beings, he says, but over time we learn to live "divided lives," hiding the parts of ourselves that others might ridicule, reject or find unacceptable. "We learn at some point that it's not safe to be in the world as who we truly are, that if we express our true feelings, our true identity, we're going to get marginalized, we're going to get ignored, we're going to become invisible, or we're going to be disliked or even hated." This sense of alienation from our true selves costs us - and our workplaces - dearly in absenteeism, stress, illness and lack of engagement. Watch Parker's "What is the Divided Life" below:
We must, as Parker Palmer says, find some way to "build a bridge between our own identity and integrity as adults and the work that we do in the world." Building that bridge toward wholeness and an undivided life is central to the work of Parker Palmer's Center for Courage and Renewal (www.couragerenewal.org), and it is the essence of the message in our book, The Transformative Workplace: Growing People, Purpose, Prosperity and Peace, as well. The book challenges organizations to be places where we are not only invited to show up as who we are, but where we are encouraged every day to become more and more of who we are meant to be in the world. You can read the Introduction and a sample chapter of the book at www.transformativeworkplace.com.