Are you doing heartfelt work?

In February there’s always a lot of of discussion and emphasis on love and matters of the heart. Depending on where we are in our lives, this can feel incredibly warm and beautiful, or may feel overly sappy, annoying, and just downright sad.

What if we take this month as an opportunity to investigate beyond the realm of romantic love and focus on how our heart is feeling at work? After all, most of us spend at least one third of our time working so wouldn’t it make sense to explore just how awake, alive, connected, and fulfilled our heart feels in this part of our life?

As I reflect on my career, I’m flooded with memories……some great and some pretty painful. Looking back on the most painful times, I now see that my heart was somewhat closed due to fear, anxiety, or stress about my contributions, my value, or organizational challenges.

When our heart closes, we wall off part of ourselves from the outside world in an attempt to “protect” ourselves from being hurt. As this occurs, our energy system becomes fragmented, leading to less creativity, less production, less sense of belonging, and a general out of sorts feeling.

What if instead of allowing fear based emotions in, we simply recognize when they arise and even openly discuss it with peers or trusted colleagues? What if we open ourselves up to being vulnerable enough to truly share how we feel? What if heartfelt connection is the outcome…….would that be so bad?

Are you doing heartfelt work?

Many top companies spend significant resources to stoke employee engagement, making sure employees opinions and feelings are heard. This includes anything from town hall meetings, truth telling campaigns, engagement surveys, etc. All of these activities can help shed light on how employees are doing and feeling at work but what if we don’t wait for our company to pry our feelings out of us and then address our feelings? What if we self-identify that we may be partially, or totally disengaged and take the initiative to re-open the channels of genuine and authentic communication that reside within each of us?

Here are 3 steps you can take to open your heart and re-engage at work:

1. Become a detective. Pay close attention to what triggers negative feelings or emotions that arise at work. What are the circumstances? Who is involved? What self talk is going on internally?

2. Take time to reflect upon these observations and identify if there are alternative ways to process or self-manage the triggers and subsequent feelings.

3. Schedule time to meet with a trusted friend or colleague at work, asking them for their support as you share some observations about yourself and what you are currently experiencing at work. Be real. Be open. Be vulnerable. Simply opening up the channels of truth by sharing how we really feel can be a cathartic and positive experience. This creates a new canvas or foundation from which real and sustainable change can be initiated.

Taking these steps requires mustering up a certain level of self-awareness and courage but it’s definitely worth it to begin the process of feeling alive at work again. I’m not naive enough to believe that sitting around sharing our deepest feelings in a kumbaya circle is going to solve the world’s problems but what if everyone focused on opening their heart up a little bit more for one month? I predict that work will begin to feel more real…..isn’t that what all of us want anyway? So let’s challenge ourselves to give this a try.

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