Survival and predictability were the primary career standards in the obsolete workplace. In that setting, it wasn’t necessary to adopt a vision beyond getting a job that provided these basic requirements. This mindset continues to undermine the potential for greater engagement. But, there is a more pressing issue behind a personal vision. We need a deeply personal and compelling vision to snap out of the trance, rise above any form of aimlessness, and motivate through the uncertain and chaotic waves we are now so often finding ourselves swimming through.

My expertise in the area of personal career change/transformation has emerged out of facilitating thousands of participants in both public and organizational settings. Over the years it has become clear that without a clearly personalized sense of mission, vision, and purpose, little traction takes place. Without our own vision, we tend to pushback on learning new life skills, developing a more courage, and including discomfort as we change ourselves.

Organizations make deep-seated mistakes by only pushing one-dimensional vision like shareholder value. In earlier days, many reacted to our engagement programs with the idea that if we get people to define what they want out of life, if we get them to tell the truth, they will pack their bags and leave. But if shareholder value is all that we want, the results are “the trance” the robotic clocking in and clocking out that is symptomatic of the great disengagement. Great? 87% of the world’s workers are disengaged and if our policies and organizational behavior lull people into a trance, they will also leave in a trance. The lack of personal vision leads to the great scourge of America’s current culture: Underemployment. In other words working beneath one’s capacity afflicts 48% of our country’s talent. If this is the daily reality for half of our workers, no wonder we are having trouble getting along.

Not only is it important for individuals to understand this, it is time for organizations to realize there are really a variety of visions that need to take place for an engagement-driven culture. Without a personal sense of mission, vision, and purpose we are like dogs sunning themselves. If it gets too hot, we simply move.

Personal vision makes us better workers. We become more willing to learn all that we need to learn to pursue all that we really want in our lives. But, when that vision becomes so very, very important is when everything falls apart. Vision will pull us through. Vision will push us to reach out to the mentors and visionaries that can help us understand how to transform. But, it must be our vision, because when the darkness comes, it must be our light that shows the way. If we’ve spent no time investing in that, we might just shrug our shoulders and make several steps back. It happens every day.

Perhaps a good place to start is to write out what life would look like if you were happy all-of-the-time.

Seriously.

That’s where it began for me. Today, I love my work. I Love who I am with and I love my colleagues. I also love where we live and love where we work. Was there darkness? I won’t bore you. Time and time again, it was my vision for life, my mission for work, and my purpose in being here that pulled me out of the darkness and into the light.

Carl Jung once said, “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”


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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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