Works vs. Work

People are rewarded by creative process itself . . .
Everyone wants to do meaningful work.
~ Warren Bennis, Organizing Genius

Learning organizations are organizations
where people continually expand their capacity
to create the results they truly desire.
~ Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline

Work is love made visible.
~ Kahlil Gibron

PaintingtheMoonLaurentLavederAt ConsciousSHIFT.Me and in Signature Genius, we view "work" not in the traditional, often tedious sense of "a burden to be carried" or of "a duty to be fulfilled."

Instead, we view the concept of work with a broader, and yet more central, meaning - as a creative expression of identity, as a way of being in the world.

Moreover, we often refer not merely to work, but to "works" - in the same sense as one refers to "works of art."

This view of work as creative expression - of our "works" as art - is not new, but ancient - and it is an idea that has been explored by psychologist Carl Jung and Eastern philosopher Kahlil Gibron to current-day philosophers Thomas Moore and business leadership gurus Warren Bennis and Peter Senge.

In fact, Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, notes that the Latin word for "work" was actually "opus" - a term also used to refer to works of art, particularly musical compositions.

And in the Greek, the word for "work" was "ergon" - the root of the word energy.  What a refreshing view of our life's work that it would give us energy, not take energy away.

Moore also remarks on the idea that our work as creative expression often reveals to us our own identity, or self - as he says, we often "find ourselves in our work" - and that "culture is the totality of all of us doing our work."

Indeed, how do others come to know us?

By our "works" - our creations and creative expressions.
They come to know who we are,
and we come to know ourselves more fully,
as we express our uniqueness, our true essence, our self.

The idea of a "profession" also reflects
this sense of our work or works as a "profession"
or expression of identity, of self, or soul.

The psychologist Carl Jung spoke of work with a sense of "becoming,"
as in "the work of making meaningful life,"
one which satisfies our soul (Birth of the Soul).

The Greek philosopher Aristotle
expressed this concept of becoming as "potentia,"
while psychologist Abraham Maslow used the term "self-actualization."

Moore echoes this idea,
stating that "Creativity is the soul being expressed."

Today, this creative -
and even sacred - view of the nature of work
is held by leaders such as Peter Senge,
who, in this book The Fifth Discipline,
observes that "people with a high level of personal mastery
approach life as an artist would approach a work of art."

No one need feel guilty for being happy in work.

Only two things are required:
1) that you not be afraid to be free,
not be afraid to love work
and enjoy it as creative play; and
2) that you display the will
and courage to make personal choices -
not because others esteem them,
but because they fit who you are (your character)
and what you are (your talent).
Before you can please a single other human being,
you must first please yourself. It works in no other way.
Because of our cultural inculcation,
it is much easier to be miserable in work
than to have a love affair with what we are and do.
~ James R. Fisher, Jr.
Author, Personal Excellence Newsletter

Reenergizing is more important than restructuring.
People are hungry for meaning, for a chance to create.
~ Gary Hamel

This creative view of work is, in itself, reenergizing.

By approaching our work as "works" -
by aligning "what we do" with "who we are" -
we also move into the flow of our natural creative energy.
creativity becomes "a way of being in the world,"
rather than an isolated, occasional activity.

I came to the wood to live deliberately -
and not to find at the end I had not lived.

                  ~ Henry David Thoreau

Each of us may discover and express
our unique self in contribution to the world.

You will discover that your own unique contribution or calling
is something you love to do, something that fulfills you,
something that integrates all your gifts and talents.

And the best news is, you already have everything you need to start.
All you need to create your future
is to learn to use the creative process more consciously.

Remember, you are the Hero, the StarPilot,
the One with the power to choose your own direction -
in the journey that is your life.

First, you must see and believe it is so,
then in every moment you choose to make it so,
through the power of the creative process.

It is never too late
to be what you might have been.

~ George Eliot

The mind-set says work is personal.
That what I’m doing is not just making a living -
I’m making a difference.
The mind-set says I’m having more fun at work
than I ever imagined would be possible. . .
The mind-set says there are values in work
that are really quite important.
That what I do, how I do it
and the people with whom I do it stand for something.
The old model was leave yourself at home.
If you have any emotions, any creativity,
if you have any personal investment,
check that at the door.
Just give us your hands.
We’re not hiring you
for your brain and your spirit, or your heart. . . .
(for us that is really old news,
and) it no longer works."

"The Driving Force Behind Fast Company"
Dallas Morning News interview Diana Kunde
with Alan Webber, former editor and co-founder, Fast Company

What is the new world of work(s) you'd love to live into -
and share with the world?

What would your "works of art" encompass?

Share with us below ... and let us add fuel to spark your vision ...

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