Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tone deaf and too tired to care.

When I was working as a journalist, I met a street musician who called himself, "Tone Deaf and Too Tired to Care." It turns out he was a systems analyst, and playing music in street fairs was just something he did. Maybe it was his passion? I don't know. Asking seemed to be intruding. I just enjoyed listening to him and his awesome rendition of "Heart of Gold." My friend "Tone Deaf" was obviously living out his passion.

My passion is writing and redecorating my house on a weekly basis (not kidding). I love to create something from just an idea, or an inspiration, or a desire to be inspired. In fact, when I walk into my house, I am inspired by color, texture, pattern. I love my home, because it immediately pulls you in - it is engaging. You want to explore and touch things. Or sit down somewhere and read a book, or sit on the back deck in the sun.

I carry this same passion to create an inspiring and engaging environment into my work as well. I am a corporate strategic planner. My end goal is to have each person understand his or her unique contribution. To make this happen, I design and create opportunities for people to come together to talk about the future, and figure what to begin to do first. The trick is to bring the right people together at the right time to have the right conversation with the right information - on purpose and with purpose.

I am passionate about this because it speaks to a core value that I hold near and dear to my heart: Work should have purpose and meaning. It should be exciting, and if not exciting, rewarding and important in some way to some one. It should be something that allows each person to bring their strengths and magnificent personality to work and to each of our lives every day.

I am not talking about work - life balance. I am talking about love life balance. Love all the parts of your life. And live life on purpose. I love to work because I have always demanded a great deal of satisfaction from my work - and from my employers. What we do every day - how we contribute to the world in which we live - is a big part of who we are, so it better fit and it better be worthwhile.

I also believe that most people would rather be either inspired, or inspiring every day, rather than dull and bored. So if that's the case, then what's all this talk about engagement? What percentage of people bring what percentage of themselves to their work every day? My guess, and experience is that people will bring less and less of themselves to work if they are not inspired, challenged, or to have leaders who are inspiring and challenging. I would also suggest that people who accept an uninspiring leader or lack luster workplace are short changing themselves and their lives.

In this job market, if your boss or his or her boss does not know who you are, or what you think about, then you are being under valued. Every person can contribute in what ever large or small way. If you find yourself felling unhappy or work, undervalued, disappointed or mistreated, then you really have only one option.

Get happy. Either stay and find a way to engage and be passionate, or take your talent to another organization. Either way, you owe it to yourself and everyone around you. Your life will thank you.