What is possible when we thrive at work?

My son recently began his first job and within a month had an experience with his manager that left him feeling confused, frustrated, and worried. When listening to my son explain the situation, I tried to stay objective, consider both people’s perspectives, and then I gave him this advice: Work is less about the work and more about the people and relationships. If you can navigate with grace and compassion, it’ll take you far. 

I believe this advice applies to life in general, but there’s something about work that can trigger our basic human need to feel safe and to be an accepted and valuable member of a community. Considering the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime, work naturally becomes a default community and your experiences at work can have a substantial impact on your quality of life.

“It’s the quality of our relationships that determines the quality of our lives.” Esther Perel, Psychotherapist and Author

Many of us spend a large portion of our days working and interacting with co-workers and the quality of these relationships can have a big impact on the quality of our lives. Good working relationships, based on trust and respect, will have a positive impact on us as individuals, and we will take that positivity back to our families and communities. Feeling respected, engaged, and valued at work can carry over to our life outside of work and we are more likely to be more generous, patient, and compassionate with ourselves and others. 

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard, Writer

Conversely, negative relationships at work can lead to a person having a lack of confidence or feeling depressed or anxious and the bleed-over into relationships outside of work can be devastating. We might take out our frustrations on our loved ones by being short-tempered or become withdrawn and not want to spend time with the people or activities we enjoy. 


It starts with you. 

You might think that changing jobs is the answer to getting out of a negative work environment, and in some cases that could be the solution. Before changing your outer environment however, I suggest reflecting on ways to adjust your inner environment so that you are ready to attract, create, and thrive wholeheartedly in life and work. 

In 2018 I became determined to align my career with what was important to me in life and so I quit a good job and set out on a quest for work I love. Through this journey, I’ve come to realize that I’m in the most important relationship of my life – with myself – and in order to best serve others, I’ve got to start with me and lead by example.

After years of ensuring the people around me were taken care of, supported and thriving, I turned that attention to myself. I have established a strong practice that is rooted in the pillars of wellbeing, community, learning, and advocacy. This practice causes me to observe if I am living in truth with my core values and challenges me to stay in integrity with the quality of life I seek and the impact on others that I aspire to have.

Since 2020, prompted by a pandemic and social disruption, millions of people are pursuing meaningful work where work life integration is possible. This conscious revolution is an unprecedented opportunity to up level the experience of work so that people feel energized and empowered and companies prioritize their people and create safe and equitable work environments.


Work I love.

If we create and foster work environments where people have the agency to thrive on their terms:

  1. Will this help people discover what they are encoded for – revealing unique individual qualities and providing a sense of purpose and contribution? 
  2. Will this enable people to create deep, meaningful, satisfying, and valuable work? 
  3. Will this lead to making society more compassionate, innovative, and humane?

Discovering the answers to these questions fuels my ambition to help people create work they love and empower companies to succeed in the future of work. I’ve been thinking about my role in achieving this and it starts with discovering what’s true for me in these questions: 

Question: What am I encoded for? (The path to answering this question can reveal what you are the best at – what no one else brings into the world).

Answer: Helping people discover something new about themselves, the world, and the possibilities. 

Question: What gives me a sense of purpose and contribution? 

Answer: Producing work I am proud of with people who care about one another where I can learn something new each day.

Question: What is my role in creating an environment where people thrive?

Answer: Model being the leader I want to have through karma leadership.

To thrive is to prosper, flourish, or to develop successfully. It’s a personal journey and only you can define the bar for success.

7 thoughts on “What is possible when we thrive at work?

    1. Thank you, Brigitta. Our walks and talks over the years have helped me explore this topic and have helped me prepare for this step.

  1. Yes Sharman, so true and love the quest you took and the journey you are on. You inspire me and I am ready to follow your lead – Let´s go!

    1. The change we can create inside large company’s ignites my fire. Your perspectives have been so helpful, and I look forward to more thoughtful conversations with you!

  2. Thanks for this article. You’re so thoughtful about what you write. And your insights help so many of us who read them. Cheers!

    1. Thank you, Rod. Writing helps me sort out my own thoughts and feelings and my hope is that others can benefit from my experiences. It’s a joy to hear that’s how it is working out!

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