Lead from Enlightenment

–Is Enlightenment possible in a Corporate Job?

Savanting Study 12:  Justin – Lead from Enlightenment by Lauren Holmes, March 2022


Dear Lauren:

I have recently had a near-death experience (NDE).  I have come out the other side healthy and with many of the illuminating side-effects that have been documented.  My transformation has caused my old life to no longer fit.  I am a different person now.  I need to meaningfully serve daily.  I crave the re-experience of the emotional highs and wisdom of my NDE episode. 

I am feeling overwhelming pressure to achieve and live what I can only think to call “enlightenment.”  Is it possible, in a corporate position, to achieve enlightenment?  Is it possible to then operate enlightened despite executive pressures for profits, stock prices, funding, new business, conformity, etc.? 

My body rebels against doing the executive work I did pre-NDE.  I’m on notice for missed deadlines because I cannot make myself complete the assignments.  Because of the health challenge that led to my NDE, I had been promoted to overseeing the massive infrastructure projects I used to thrill to run. 

I miss the cacophony and camaraderie of infrastructure project implementation.  I am known for being able to implement anything on time and on budget.  That term you coined, “execution creative,” is perfect for me.  Obviously, trading creativity, high-speed achievement, and purpose for executive paperwork and administration is not working for me. 

Unfortunately, our company has a huge problem with cost overruns and delays on all our multi-million-dollar infrastructure projects – to the point where this reputation is preventing us from winning new business.  Unfortunately, again, I am their best person for fixing these issues.

My recent medical expenses are making it imperative that I keep working at a high-paying job.  There is an opportunity to make extra money through commissions for bringing in new business and bonuses for meeting certain deadlines or performance requirements, but infrastructure projects take years to pitch.  Suggestions, Lauren?

Sincerely, Justin  –  Enlightenment-Seeking Executive, Executive Chief Engineer, Infrastructure Construction Management at a top 10 global engineering, construction, and project management company

“Do people who have had NDEs experience profound changes in their lives afterwards?   Definitely.  As a psychiatrist, this is the most fascinating aspect to me because I make my living trying to help people change their lives.  That’s very difficult to do.  But here’s this experience that in a few seconds, can totally transform someone’s attitudes, values, beliefs, and behavior.  They typically make people more spiritual if I can use that word.  They make them more compassionate, more caring, more altruistic, and they become much less interested in physical things — in material goods, in power, prestige, fame, competition.  This does not go away with time.”         ~  Aristos Georgiou, Near-death experiences can ‘totally transform’ a person in seconds says scientist, Newsweek, March 1, 2021


My heartfelt congratulations on your amazing recovery, Justin.  I’m intrigued with this opportunity to help you upgrade your world to match the new and improved you.  Let’s talk first about the redesign of your job before we move on to enlightenment.  Our enlightenment discussion will likely be quite profound and unexpected for you.

We’ll need you performing at your best to keep this job.  You’ve been exposed to too much stress of late to consider changing jobs right now.  It’s therefore essential we redesign your job to play to your strengths and new passions.  You could definitely benefit from some rejuvenating exhilaration and self-affirmation from doing the work you love, Justin, – execution creativity.

Tasks to trigger top-talent flow:  For this, I need my secret weapon, “top-talent flow,” to more quickly reinvigorate your system and upgrade your performance.  This is my subset of Csikszentmihalyi’s flow.  I’ll need to redesign your job to include tasks which will trigger this state.  This means increased work in which you’re applying your strongest, most rewarding talents to your most meaningful work for audiences most valuing of that work.

These will be tasks trying to maximize you.  This is because top-talent flow is a survival mechanism human beings have evolved for instant maximization.  Job performance will upgrade substantially if these tasks involve work within your creativity domain – the category of activity in which you’ll be your most creative.  Creativity will be key for you to excel at execution creativity, Justin.  This formula will ensure your employment status is protected and enhanced.

There is nothing more frustrating to an execution creative than not to be embroiled in the challenges of implementation every day.  So that changes now, Justin.  I have two job strategies to address (a) company income and (b) personal income.

Job Redesign1:  Cost overruns, late deliveries, and bonuses  –  I want you to renegotiate your job (a) to customize it to your strengths and (b) to negotiate additional bonuses and commissions attainable in the short term.  You’ll be much more productive and much happier if you were onsite beside the underperforming project managers than analyzing project management reports in your office to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it.

You know you could easily get any of these projects back into shape and love doing it, Justin.  Do that.  Each project you bring back in line will be saving the company and its client(s) millions of dollars of which you deserve a percentage.  This will also ensure your employment remains secure.  This method of doing your job will be much more satisfying socially and from an achievement perspective.  The isolation of working alone in your office has taken its toll.  You need the esprit de corps from being with your team.

Job Redesign2:  For bonuses, commissions, altruism and philanthropy  –  I notice that you have a business development team dedicated to the years it takes to win the massive infrastructure projects your company is accustomed to pursuing.  I have an idea for redeploying them to improve both company and personal income while addressing your overwhelming need to be of service.

I want to propose this team identify a series of very short infrastructure projects which can bring the commissions and bonuses in faster while benefiting large communities or sectors.  This short-project campaign will focus on projects for not-for-profits, charitable organizations, NGOs or funding-challenged infrastructure projects that will help lots of people.

Find projects that you or company colleagues, clients, and connections are passionate about that will make the most improvement to communities.  Then use the company’s connections to identify sponsors to fund these worthy infrastructure projects – including full fees for your company’s services.

For example, we’re looking for projects with fast turnarounds that a wealthy individual or corporate client can put their name on as a legacy.  Or perhaps there are corporate philanthropy budgets looking for small quick projects to make them look good or are part of their corporate missions or their need to give back.

In addition to company and personal income, this is an opportunity to quickly remediate the company’s growing reputation for projects exceeding deadlines and budgets.  With you in charge, Justin, of course they’ll be successful.  And significant good will can be created.

This strategy is also a means to bond with your existing and potential clients over noble causes.  These bonds will undoubtedly yield new full-size infrastructure projects.  You’ll be establishing a new outlet for other companies or wealthy individuals to make themselves look good for sponsoring your projects?

You’ll have a real sense of achieving, contributing, and making a difference in communities at a fast pace, Justin.  You’ll be creating and driving a new community of contribution that might eventually become a new profit center for your company, locally, globally, and wherever your company is already building infrastructure in underdeveloped countries, for example.

By combining the big and small projects, you might be able to improve economies of scale to make projects more profitable.  You might be able to pitch the small philanthropic projects to a community to improve your chances for closing the big projects for which your company is known.

How does this sound, Justin?  Could you satisfy your post-NDE needs with a series of faster infrastructure projects that would make a significant difference to communities?

JUSTIN:  Yes!  I know I could sell them to our Board.  I could easily run ten small projects more easily than one large one.  This gives us more opportunity to benefit different circles of people and different spheres of influence more quickly while remediating our reputation.  Imagine if  I ran the same project in different communities to get economies of scale.

Just one of these strategies would be enough to thrill me right now.  But both of them . . . !  I think you’ve just created my perfect life, Lauren! 

And what a relief to know that the NDE did not make me suddenly inept.  I wasn’t failing at this new job as I and everyone else thought.  I was trying to do the job in a way that was contrary to my real identity, my strengths, my passions.  I see now that I will always need to be an execution creative no matter how far I move up the executive ranks.

I can spend my day helping clients deliver projects of purpose that create a lasting positive legacy for them and for us.  Projects that create jobs; grow economies; connect communities to resources and opportunity; tackle critical environmental challenges to protect people and the planet . . . .

LAUREN:  Job Redesign3:  Leadership  –  I have another solution for the fact that post-NDE Justin no longer fits into your pre-NDE world.  That solution is leadership.  Imprint your new values, beliefs, identity, and goals on everyone in your world in the same way any change leader would do.  Do everything you’d normally do if you just joined the company or when you’re starting a large infrastructure project with a new team.

Trying to make your pre-NDE world work has thrown you off your game, Justin.  Leading will not only release you from trying to fit in, it will also reinforce the new you.  Your new leadership style.  It’s important to be internally referenced and creating your reality rather than externally referenced and being created by your reality.

JUSTIN:  So easy! I was waiting for permission to be myself somehow . . . .


Lauren Holmes
Lauren Holmes
Lauren Holmes is a cutting-edge career maximization strategist specializing in accelerated growth to sustainable self-actualization. Her work is driven by an obsession for pushing the envelope on human potential and accessing the consciousness and capabilities of the future human now. As CEO of an executive search firm specializing in corporate change leaders, Lauren interviewed the best in the C-suites and boardrooms of some of the most successful global companies. Her breakthrough maximization theories resulted from viewing these interviews through the lens of her degree in evolutionary and biological anthropology. Lauren then tested these theories through action-learning experimentation with clients during her two decades as CEO of Frontiering, her career acceleration firm. The Savanting Study series which Lauren is now writing is an extension of studies in her 2019 book, Savanting: Outperforming your Potential. The first six studies arose from her comparative analysis of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Jim Carrey. Savanting reveals the commonalities behind their success which prove Lauren’s unique paradigm for true human potential. Each Savanting Study provides actionable instructions for how to resolve common career and work challenges in a way which simultaneously springboards one to self-actualization and the emotional, material, and meaningful rewards of career maximization.

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