Monthly Archives: October 2018

Why do you work?

Feeling disillusioned with your work? Other than the money, not sure why you pitch up at work every day? You’re not alone. Reflecting on their recent State of the Global workplace report, Gallup indicates the 85% of employees around the world are not engaged, or are actively disengaged at work, representing an estimated cost of $7 trillion in lost productivity. The majority of these employees are ‘not engaged’, which doesn’t make them the worst performers in their organizations, but it does suggest that they are indifferent to the organization’s work or success. As Jim Harter points out, this does not equate to employee laziness. The far more probable cause is a lack of recognition of, and investment in, employee motivation and engagement. The result is employees who show up to work and offer their time, but not very much more.

This type of data is more often interpreted from the organizational perspective: what can the business do to increase employee engagement in order to improve results? This is an important question, but there is another obvious perspective that is less often tapped into with real depth: what about the individual? What impact does it have on a person to be spending the majority of her waking hours on work that is not engaging or meaningful to her? What would become available to a disengaged employee if his work became a source of satisfaction and purpose? These questions underlie – consciously or unconsciously – the career moves that many experienced individuals find themselves negotiating. Of course, everyone wants to be paid well or, at least, what they are worth. But beyond that is a more fundamental human drive: to be seen, to be appreciated, to feel of value. Work can either kill that drive or liberate it.

But, as anyone who has experience of holding an ungratifying job knows, changing the game is not as simple as recognizing that you’re unhappy (though, for many people that recognition is itself a major eye-opener). A balance is required between interior reflection and action in the world. Most self-help programs focus on one or the other. In working with clients in such situations I have found it helpful to draw on Ken Wilber’s four quadrant analysis. Essentially, we are all continuously engaged with four quadrants of reality:

  1. Our own individual interior: eg. thoughts, feelings values. As you read this post, for example, you are having some form of emotional and intellectual response that is entirely personal and invisible to anyone around you.
  2. Our own individual exterior: eg. body, actions, physical energy. For example, right now you are involved in the action of reading, but your heart is beating, you are holding a particular posture, neurons are firing in your brain.
  3. Our own collective interior: all humans – even hermits – form part of some kind of collective. And every collective has shared values, cultural norms or common feeling. As you read this, you have a cultural context of which you form a part. You have a perspective on what I am writing that is partly based in your social values.
  4. Our collective exterior: we are all embedded in systems and meta-systems greater than ourselves. As you are reading this online, you are connected to a technological system called the internet; outside your window you witness the manifestation of weather and climate, and in some way or another you are currently paying for data, thus playing a part of a broader economic system.

Though you will have a subtle bias towards one perspective – a ‘native perspective’ – none of these quadrants is more important than the others. They all arise concurrently and with equal value. So, in deciding how to engage with a significant topic like choosing a new career direction, I ask clients to pay attention to all four quadrants. Part of this process requires an evaluation of what is important to that client – basically answering the question ‘Why do you work?’ – and another aspect will be the commitment to action.

Here are some suggestions if you find yourself seeking work that will pay you well enough and provide you with meaning:

  1. Consider the types of things that you are passionate about, the pursuits that energize you or that increase your wellbeing when you are engaged in them. Basically, identify what kind of activities make you happy – don’t think in terms of ‘jobs’, think in terms of enjoyment and gratification. For now, don’t eliminate any of them for being ‘unrealistic’ – this is an exploratory exercise and every contribution is valuable.
  2. Make a list of jobs or work that incorporate these activities or draw on skills or aptitudes that you use in these activities. If you think of a job that correlates with a personal passion but requires a skill that you don’t currently have, identify that missing skill, write down what would be required to acquire it, and find out where you can learn that skill at what cost.
  3. Talk to friends and colleagues who are happy in their work. Ask them to share how they found that work, what guided them to it and how they would go about finding a new job if, for some reason, this one came to an end. Also look back at point 2 and check whether anyone in your current network is involved in one of the lines of work identified in your list. And expand your network by connecting on social media with new contacts in your target areas – LinkedIn, facebook and twitter are great places to start, though each of those platforms have more or less relevance depending on your industry.
  4. Determine how much money you need to make, consider your work experience, explore market opportunities, and come up with a plan. This plan will partly include the steps above as your refine and repeat the process of honing in your dream work and build on network connections. Most importantly, build an image of what your life will look like when you have work that satisfies you and offers you the lifestyle you desire. This vision is your compass – create a physical impression of it if that helps you – and can act as your anchor in the bigger picture as you deal with the practicalities of career change.

This process may sound simple, but the challenges involved are many and unique to every person. It will not always be easy, which is why I always recommend working with a coach or mentor of some kind, but I truly believe that happiness at work is your right. Claim it.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 57: PUSH!!

two persons hand shake

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds… 


Great conversation with the new business development director (4 hours a week to the year-end). We’ve shaped up an intro story in slides that he likes and he’s now getting around to approaching his best contacts.

We discussed our concerns – and were fairly direct and confrontative at times – as we should be to really address the elephants in the room:

  • Why haven’t more people been approached by now?
  • Why is the emphasis almost entirely on me to bring in business?

It was a constructive, respectful exchange. We got on to squaring up a lead generation plan that looks like this:

  • New sales funnel – Take the Team Test – just launched.

Just so you know this is a free, automated tool that assesses team effectiveness.  The tool is based on research that learning behaviours in teams lead to better alignment – and that both determine team effectiveness.  The test helps people see where the gaps are, so they can be addressed. The Team Test report includes:

  • top 5 behavioural strengths and weaknesses
  • a breakdown of scores for each behaviour
  • a comparison of how each team member sees the team purpose
  • group perception on alignment, positivity, and preparedness
  • a guide on what to do about the results.

Continue reading

Get an attitude

woman showing muscles

Photo by Tim Savage on

I tried to be a boy

I tried to be a girl

I tried to be a mess

I tried to be the best

I guess I got it wrong


The person we bully the most is ourselves. This already starts at the age of six! We are in the midst of a self bullying epidemic.

Most of us are unaware that the self sabotaging actions we take, the negative thoughts we think and the pressure we feel is coming from ourselves. Do you sometimes get down on yourself for not measuring up to the expectations you or others have for your body, career, children, finances or relationships? Do you feel you are not accomplishing enough, no matter how? Do you play it safe and small? Do you feel like the whole world is on your shoulders? Do you feel never good enough – always average?

I have never met an average woman. Not a single one!

What I have met though, is too many women who thought they were average; who felt they were ordinary because some one, or many some-ones, taught them they were.

Self sabotage block your success by working against your own self interests.

The only limits that you face are the limits of your own ambition, talent and dedication. Acknowledge yourself. Appreciate yourself. See yourself through a more honest, more realistic lens.

Get an attitude!

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via

For more content visit our website



Help you to succeed in life and work

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Accepting a compliment gracefully is a challenge for many women. Somehow we have been socialised to believe there is shame in feeling good about ourselves. Such a pity!

Our biggest fear is that, by accepting the compliment we will appear arrogant.

However, when you downplay a compliment, you may feel you are showing humility,  but you may make the person who gave the compliment feel personally rejected.

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