I was having a coaching conversation with a dear friend and client today and she turned the tables on me. "I notice that in your blog posts and ezine that you rarely talk about anything spiritual. But working with you and knowing you personally, I see that is a big part of what you bring to your work. Why do you hide that part of yourself?"
That got me thinking all day.
I do consider myself a spiritual person and see my spiritual life and work life as intimately connected. I think it is impossible to discuss with people what their purpose is on earth and what their unique gifts are and not move into the realm of the divine. A core value in my work, and my spiritual life, is to help people connect with their true calling, personal power, spirit and voice. Then they can build a life and a business around it.
As I think back to what motivated me to help people get out of corporate jobs and start their own businesses, it really was during some miraculous spiritual conversations inside companies.
- There was the time I was working late on a large-scale global project with a client. In his corporate role, he was strong, competent and professional. As we wrapped up work for the day, somehow the conversation turned to career and life planning. We got into an intense discussion about the things that were deeply important to him. Slowly, he opened up and shared with me how he was feeling choked, oppressed and totally stuck in his life. We talked a long time and I shared some thoughts that came straight from my heart and soul. I could feel a different vibration in the air, and got that feeling in my chest when there is a strong spirit close by. At the end of the conversation, he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said "I think that God sent you to me." I felt humbled and totally joyful. What I knew had happened is that I had removed the barrier that exists in a corporate setting and made it safe for him to speak his truth. The fact that he was Christian and I am not made no difference.
- A few years back, I was facilitating a conference with a partner in New Orleans. The company was privately held, and had a long history of egregious management behavior, especially towards women. Since this was the third year we had worked with them, there was much more openness and trust in the group. So we took a risk and had 3 women talk to the whole group of mainly men about what it had been like to work in a totally sexist environment for so many years. The room of 50+ people hung on every word the women said. There was the "job interview" one described where she had sat in the lobby waiting to be interviewed by a top executive. A few minutes later an assistant came to get her. "You passed the interview," said the assistant. "But I didn’t talk to him," she said. "Oh, he saw you from the balcony and thinks you would be a great fit." The women told the stories with humor and grace. By speaking their truth, they healed some old wounds and everyone in the room felt touched by a divine spirit. The air was electric, and I knew I was witness to something very special.
In a corporate environment, it is frightening, uncomfortable and sometimes illegal to talk about spirituality. So much of what you learn in that environment is to cover your true spirit so that you don’t appear strange, weak or morally suspect. People are desperate to speak their truth and acknowledge that they do have a spiritual foundation. I truly enjoy talking to people about that, and find that it comes up with every client I work with.
So why is it awkward to talk about it in a more public vehicle like a blog or ezine? For me, I don’t ever want anyone to feel uncomfortable or like I am preaching or pushing my beliefs on them (because I am not!). I am lucky enough to have in my close circle of friends Unitarians, Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Buddhists, traditional native medicine people, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Jews and probably a few Atheists. I grew up with Methodist grandparents, but non-religious parents. Throughout the years, I have had a whole series of spiritual influences that have shaped my connection with Creator. I don’t affiliate with a religion, but engage in regular spiritual practice and prayers with my husband, who comes from a traditional Dine (Navajo) medicine background.
So thanks for letting me take a little risk and share my thoughts with you on this subject. Does anyone else have the same struggles when discussing spirituality openly in connection with your work?