“Hóka-héy (Let’s do this), today is a good day to die!” Sioux leader Crazy Horse is attributed with shouting this approaching battle.
Perhaps our modern battle cry can be “Hóka-héy, today is a good day to wake up!” In some way or another, I find myself reflecting on this during most everyday. “This moment is a good moment to wake up!” And even better, I recognize moments where waking up is happening – in myself and others.
Ultimately, Waking Up the Workplace is nothing more or less than individually and collectively Waking Up and embodying this awakened-ness in our work.
A Day in the Workplace
So what does a day in the process of Waking Up in the Workplace look and feel like for me?
Not surprisingly, it begins by waking up – as in shifting from a sleeping state to an alert state. Opening my eyes, realizing that I am in a transition moment, taking stock of my physical and mental states (have had a lot of injuries lately, which require tracking my body to inform how I will get out of bed!), and shifting from horizontal to vertical. While this may seem like no big deal or irrelevant to waking up the workplace, I protest otherwise. This is, after all, the first moment of our day in which we can engage our Conscious Awareness, the principal tool for Waking Up. And this moment can set the tone of our entire day, whether we are consciously aware of the moment or not.
This morning, for instance, I woke up sore and a little tired, carrying thoughts I had when I woke up in the middle of the night, which related to a conversation with a client yesterday in the context of a significant decision with a long-term project we are collaborating on. Recognizing all of this, I brought it to the front of my awareness and attention, recognized how the physical sensations and thoughts were affecting my movement and energy. I reflected on what I planned to do to address both of them – into my morning stretching and strengthening with ease and care; and on a 9:00 am call with my client proceeded by a call with my design collaborator on the project.
Within moments I felt my energy shift into more fluid movement, as I checked my email, engaged in my physical routine and began the daily rituals of taking herbs, making my morning drink and my daughter’s breakfast. After rousing her up, I returned to stretching, breakfast-making, reflections and email responses.
This pattern of moving, reflecting, thinking, communicating weaves throughout the day, as I continuously, purposefully and, by now, habitually, shift from one channel or form of engaging with work and life to another, from one project or task to another, in what increasingly seems like effortless movement.
When I recognize effort, I usually notice that I am either not especially skillful in what I am doing in the moment (sadly to say, surfing in big waves fits that description, or doing some kinds of technical computer work) or, more often the case, whether skilled or not, I am resisting something and the friction that comes with resistance creates the feeling of effort and a drag on energy and attention.
I don’t presume that my approach to moving through tasks, projects and a day is suited for others. I know it is not for everyone. But moving from one thing to another, and from one channel to another makes my experience of every day filled with energy, meaning purpose and flow. I find great relevance in this quotation from Gandhi “One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department. Life is one indivisible whole.”
To be a little more specific, parenting, self-care, partnering and work all require and receive attention and energy, and they feed each other. Learning in one area translates into enhanced capacity in another. The perspective and vitality that come through self-care, exercise and rest are invaluable to performing well and to waking up at work. Parenting and partnering (as in primary intimate relationship) cultivate awareness, sensitivity, patience and other insights and skills that are invaluable to working with others and knowing yourself.
The contexts and practices of my work
My practice of Waking Up at Work and, perhaps, Waking Up the Workplace, has had many contexts during the past thirty years. I have collaborated to build small companies in various industries including music (Private Music, Yanni, Hearts of Space), fitness (Spinning and ChiRunning), natural products (Seeds of Change and O.N.E. Coconut Water) and social transformation (FLOW, Esalen, GlobalGiving), among others. I generally and currently work as an “independent” consultant and service provider, though very much connected with and embedded in the organizations I work with.
My current projects and affiliations include CEO of Working for Good, executive director and producer of Being Human – a multi-channel project of the Baumann Foundation, campaign director for the Liquid Revolution – for O.N.E. Coconut Water, and trustee and executive committee member of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. I will soon be launching a weekly radio program called It’s Just Good Business via the en*theos Academy. The bottom line: I have lots of opportunities to practice Waking Up at Work and to participate in the process of Waking Up the Workplace.
Here are a few of the things I do – the practices I employ – in my pursuit of ever-increasing awakening at work. I do my best to employ all of them every day or at least many times a week.
- Reflect: This waking up practice, which I typically wake up with (as above!) is one I employ throughout the day. It includes both observation of external circumstances – including the attitudes and “energy” of the people I interact with, and introspection – self-observing internal conditions (thoughts, feeling, physical sensations).
- Report: Communicate – to myself and others – what I am observing, what I am doing and what I expect from them.
- Inquire: Ask questions to explore what is going on with others and to encourage their feedback to me.
- Move: Literally. Run, surf, Jiu Jitsu practice, dance, walk. Shift channels from my head to my body. Get the blood flowing. Face edges and learn new things through my body, that inform my thinking, my perspective and overall orientation to life.
- Rest: I take 10 – 20 minute naps several times a week. (usually only once on any given day!) Amazing what a cat nap can do for increasing energy, refreshing focus and expanding perspective.
- Nourish: Drink lots of water and coconut water and eat plenty of fresh organically grown food – of all colors and types (especially fruits, vegetables and meat).
- Serve: Create value for others in some way or another and support them in their process, advancing our work together and fostering their flow.
- Acknowledge: Appreciate and applaud the good work of others.
The workplace is an incredible crucible for Waking Up and an essential domain for collective awakening.
I appreciate the forum Diederick, Ewan and Jeroen are building with Waking Up the Workplace and the service they are providing to our individual and collective awakening.
Hóka-héy, today is a good day to wake up!
Let’s do this!
About Jeff Klein
As CEO of Working for Good, Jeff Klein activates, produces and facilitates mission-based, Stakeholder Engagement Marketing™ campaigns and Conscious Culture development programs.
Jeff is a trustee and executive committee member of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and authored the award-winning book, Working for Good: Making a Difference While Making a Living, to support entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, leaders and change agents at work.
He enjoys surfing, Brazilian Ju Jitsu, ChiRunning and moving in general. He is an active father of a 13-year-old daughter, and resides in San Rafael, California.
For more information visit workingforgood.com.
In his Waking Up the Workplace interview “Work is Love Made Visible” earlier this year, Jeff talked about his 30-year journey of working in Conscious Business. You can find it on the downloads page (you’ll find the link in your email when you register for free).