Could Sheltering Become Your Turning Point?

When people believe they have no solutions, outrage is a good place to park. But, it is this belief that obscures the fact that we have thousands of educational options in a world where many of those options are free and more economical.

I recall a young man set to us by his family. He was planning to go to culinary school. They were struggling financially and trying to come up with the best option. We asked him to bring in a sample of his work. I tasted the food, picked up the phone, and helped him get an apprenticeship with one of the world’s most influential chefs. In that environment, he learned how to become a world-class artist,  how to launch a commercially successful restaurant, and be built relationships with the people who eventually invested in his enterprise.

If any of my readers are getting overwhelmed, hang on, you need to become the second twin! You know their story. The parents gave twin boys a birthday party. After everyone had cake, the parents told the boys their gifts were outside. On the lawn were two huge piles of manure. One kid sat down and began crying. The other ran over and started digging furiously. One family member asked, “What are you doing? ”The 2nd twin responded, “If there is this much shit, there’s gotta be a pony in here.”

You have already heard a number of items for The New Mindset of Work.

Here are the rest:

One: Technology isn’t taking away work. It is offering us freedom from tasks.

If your work is based on tasks, prepare to leave. That idea represents a total flip in how previous generations viewed “real jobs.”The central talent pitch during the Industrial Revolution promised us that if we took a job, we would attain predictability and survival. So many parents are driven by the fear of something untoward happening with their children. Many kids, usually around 12-years-old, began dreaming of becoming an adult and having a purpose.

Far too many times, adolescents make announcements to their parents of what they want to do with their lives only to be greeted with some version of, “Go get a real job.”Did real jobs offer predictability and survival? Not if you are younger than 50. How many of us sat in our workstations meeting quotas or standing on assembly lines in return for a regular paycheck, health insurance if we got sick, and retirement plans when we got old? The biggest problem is that predictability and survival, upon close examination, are the essence of mediocrity. So, the most critical change in to let go of, “Go get me another job, just like the one I hated.”It is far healthier to answer a question.

What do I want to do with my freedom?

Two: The Most Important Work is the Work That We LoveOver 45,000 participants have come through our programs to define, on their terms, the work they were born to do, and they work that would be meaningful for them.

Today, loving our work is not only good for the soul, but it is also the only fuel that can reliably inspire us to change. Isn’t that a more positive reason to change?

I’m not immune. Most of the time, I get rather irritated by change. It has taken 30 years for me to go turn Inspired Work into a digital brand. But, I have a love affair with my work and that has made me willing to do whatever it takes to keep the work fresh and vital.

Remember the phrase, “It’s just a job?” How will that mantra possibly produce enough energy to change how we think or develop enough courage to get much-needed help.

There has never been a better time to find a dream job, launch a business, write a book, or learn in one week what used to take years to achieve.

Trade-in Comfort for Active Learning

Screen time, Television, Doggies, Candy Crush, Layer Cakes, Booze, and Bad Behavior might provide comfort? I have tried all of them. In this new mindset, do not rely on advice from idiots.

One Senator recently made the proclamation that we ought to get coal miners into trucking jobs. My mouth dropped open, thinking of the miners that would take what little money they had to attend trucking school.

Today, trucking is the largest profession for men with 5.2 jobs. Driverless trucks are reducing that number to just 600,000 openings in 7 years. Daimler has finished a state-wide pilot program in Nevada.  The only accident these trucks had happened when a drunk driver hit a truck. They ran 24 hours-per-day and had a stellar fuel economy.  Before airing the story, ABC showed the unfinished clip to a hundred truckers. Only two of them had any awareness of how quickly they will encounter existential change.

Active learners are quickly taking over the world of work. Today, a good hiring manager can tell if a candidate has the drive to learn with just a couple of well-placed questions. The ones that don’t learn won’t know what happened.


Active learners rarely are laid off, they bring innovation to the firm, they tend to be more interested and interesting.

Automobile manufacturers in Germany have trouble understanding the concept of underemployment. In their country, employers, government, and educational institutions are continually training workers for what is next. Some might call that a socialist model. They would simply shrug and say it is good business.

People regularly ask me how they can get started with active learning.

I tell them, “Find the work that you love. If you do that, you will be learning about the issues that you love.”

Build the Skills of Connectivity

Recently, my colleague Dr. Mary Campbell and I gave a keynote to an educational association. In one region, they sponsored students from one of the wealthiest charter schools in the country. After we finished, they began a celebration for the “Student of the Month.” Everyone was clapping and cheering. But, the student, a sophomore, refused to stand up and walk to the podium to accept her award. I turned to Mary and said the family and the school system had failed in preparing her for the workplace.

Today, the number one reason we fail is through isolation.

The single most important life skills we need to succeed in any field as a job holder or owner is to develop Connectivity. This is the ability to graciously connect with all types of people, to better understand their needs and expectations, and to ask the right ones for help.

The most successful people in our world built a customized tribe that is dedicated to helping bring their vision, interests, commitments, and contributions to life. If there is any skepticism about this, watch the next award show.

Many of us don’t define what we want to do with our lives because we assume, on a profound level, that the right people will not help us. However, once we do define that personal mission, vision, and purpose; our success is only based on the quality of the people we inspire to help us.

Getting started takes a bit of courage. It is far more impressive to take action than wait to be unafraid.

Connectivity is a set of skills that allow us to fluidly and graciously connect with other people. For those that get it, they use technology to connect rather than checking out. If you have any doubts about the latter, take a week in a big grocery store, on the streets in New York, or simply at the gym. If they are walking into you, they are not here.

Many people equate drawing attention to themselves as a terrible idea. Here’s why. Some of us believe that if we become too visible people will hurt us. You know the drill. It’s like a bad date. Nope. You are not the one. However, today’s mindset is more honest. It takes courage to draw attention to ourselves. It can be frightening to ask the CEO of a major brand to mentor us. When we attract more attention, we raise the possibility of having our feelings hurt. But, when we run from attracting attention, we raise the probability of mental, emotional, and financial starvation.

The world of work that is emerging right now isn’t about engaging in mindless tasks. The new world gives that junk to technology.

Years ago, one of the core nuggets in human development was the dictate to “make a difference.” Today, that statement is actually the foundation of the work coming towards us, the one where technology takes the mind-numbing work out of our hands.

What do you want to do now?

While we sit at home, reach out, learn, nourish your imagination. Find people that can help you get the life you want to have

Not only can this new mindset take us into the future, but we might just influence what happens next.


David Harder
David Harder
DAVID founded Inspired Work in 1990, which has helped over 42,000 professionals transform their relationship towards work. Individuals from all walks of life attend Inspired Work’s public programs to launch new careers, new business or to become more successful in their existing role. He views work as a profound opportunity to become more fulfilled, contributive and effective. Mr. Harder’s leadership, employee engagement, executive development and social networking programs are used in a wide variety of organizations including The Walt Disney Company, HBO, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Loyola Marymount University, University of Southern California, The United Church of Religious Science, Morgan Stanley, and many others. Inspired Work’s leadership programs, career development and team building programs produce some of the worlds most outstanding satisfaction numbers in any business: 92.6% out of a hundred. David has appeared on many business and human-interest programs including CNN, KTLA News, KFWB News and Business News Network. David’s book, new book, The Workplace Engagement Solution (Career Press) offers an entire “crack-the-code” approach to engagement.

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  1. David, I have no idea how I’ve not run across your work before now, but I feel like I’ve found a treasure! We are so aligned in our work and share a similar lens. I found myself wanting to highlight something in almost every paragraph. Thank you for articulating the business case for change so beautifully.