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THIS is the Work

How do you describe your work?

Client meeting. Presentation to leadership. Line review with an account. Shift run at a plant. A project management review. This is not the work.

Sure…these are the activities that make up our days. It is what most often is listed in a job description. But it is not the work.

The work is HOW you are showing up in all these activities.

This is where the private values, habits, and forms of mind manifest into interpersonal behaviors and leadership growth. Your activities will change over time—and likely your positional power, too. That does not mean that you will change. In fact, all the daily activities and titles may deter us from the real work. As I’ve experienced it, the work only gets its due attention when we face a personal or professional crisis, or we encounter a major shift in our life journey.

While this all sounds deeply personal (and it is), it is not solitary work. We wrongly think these things must be done alone, and that is what often keeps us from tackling the work.

  • “I don’t know how to change…”
  • “What will people think if I admit that I want to change?”
  • “What am I doing with my life and career?”
  • “How can I behave differently in a particular situation?”

Folks I know come to chat with me about these thoughts. They inevitably approach the conversation as if they are sharing some deep, dark secret. Yet, we all have these thoughts. And here is the insight: to do the work you need a partner or a group.

The work is begging to be done in relationships.

Why? Because we need a group of likeminded folks for honest, nonjudgmental feedback and encouragement. We need a partner who can hold up a mirror for us to see reality. And, we need a magic mirror to simultaneously help us see who we want to be.

So where are you with the work? Are you too busy to tackle it? Are you unsure about how to proceed? That’s OK. Do it anyways!

Find a group, a friend, a partner and start the work together.

Not sure of how to start?

Begin by just asking yourself a few questions:

  • “Who am I and who do I want to be?”
  • “What really matters in my life?”
  • “What are my core values?”
  • “What is keeping me stuck?”
  • “What might be the shift that needs to happen to help me get unstuck?”

The work will be worth it.


Written by Jeremiah A. Palmer, Former Contributor to Milestone Leadership

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