It’s almost two years since we first went into lockdown in March 2020. Like so many people then, suddenly I had bucket-loads of time as work contracts dried up and I had nowhere else to be. While some found the experience of lockdown frightening and frustrating, others - like myself - found it as an opportunity to reflect and reconsider their choices in work and life. I used a big chunk of time to write my first book, Trust Yourself First: Cultivating Healthy Relationships, being published by New Degree Press in May 2022.
Even before the pandemic, many felt stuck in their career or job. But the pandemic has changed how some people think about life and work, and what they want out of both. People are reassessing their lives, and the pandemic has reminded them that life is too short.
In a research survey by Randstad of 6,000 adults in the UK in late 2021, almost 7 in every 10 employees (69%) said they feel confident to move to a new job in the next couple of months. According to Victoria Short, CEO at Randstad UK, the recruitment agency that conducted the research, “The Great Resignation is here and job loyalty is a thing of the past. Very few people moved jobs during the pandemic - the missing quits. A lot of people who wanted to quit just hadn’t and they led to a deluge of resignations.” She added that another factor is burnout, and some teams have been running too hot for too long.
Whether you’ve felt stuck or relieved about your job situation, you may also feel that you have more to give; that you want to make a difference and do something more meaningful, other than make sufficient income to survive though not necessarily thrive. The notion of thriving at work is about being in flow.
Trust is at the heart of being in flow, and that begins with finding what you can do that plays to your strengths. I define a strength as something that energizes you when you do it AND you get better the more you do it. And when you are using your strengths and others will pay for that, then you’re heading towards your “ikigai”, a Japanese concept meaning “life purpose”. When you play to your strengths, you can be in flow AND aligned to achieving personal and economic success. That’s about knowing yourself, doing what brings you joy and finding a “sense of ecstasy, a sense of clarity”. When you are in flow, you trust yourself fully and allow your abilities to be on full display. These are some of the concepts and topics examined in my book, together with questions and exercises for you to unlock what’s inside of you and discover where you want to go next. As the Chinese sage and scholar, Lao Tzu, says: “When you let go of what you are, you become what you might be.”
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