Coaching for Success & Fulfillment

Work is Dead. Long Live Work!

For many of us, the preeminent push to make a living, to build a life, has come with one, unanticipated cost: As we have become more deeply embedded in our working life, we have become disconnected from our life's work.

What does that mean? It means you have a unique way of being in the world that seeks expression, whether as a corporate leader, homemaker, saxophonist, author, engineer, philanthropist, or management warrior . . . There is no right answer. There is, however, an answer that is right for you.

As a result of this growing awareness of disconnection, one common question is now finding a voice across a wide spectrum: within individuals, communities, small businesses, and, most notably, in corporate boardrooms. The question rising from within the hearts of so many is this:

Is this it?

The simplicity of this question belies its power—the power to recalibrate the very nature and purpose of our lives and our society as we currently know them. The inherent transformational power of this question is already beginning to bring together previously antagonistic groups of individuals, as well as businesses, in new and often unusual alliances.

In his Oscar-winning film, "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore reminded us all of the true nature of authentic work as he described growing up on his parents' farm: "As a child, it took me a long time to differentiate between work and play." Eventually, it seems, most of us will surrender to the overpowering message that work and play are mutually exclusive.

The concept that work is a price we have to pay to get by in the world, that it is primarily about about mollifying to the greatest degree possible the inherent suffering and boredom that come with work, is undermining not only the lives of individuals but also small and large businesses the world over.

Those who are experiencing the greatest personal, professional, and financial success today are those who are finding ways to bring all of themselves into their work. Work ceases to be an end in itself, merely about doing, and becomes an avenue, a vehicle, for being.

Discovering, clarifying, implementing, and expressing your life's purpose (and I believe you may have more than one) lifts work above the mechanics of efficiency, beyond simply refining procedures and improving skills and profitability. It certainly incorporates all of these, yes. But it is not founded upon them.

Clients from work-from-home entreprenuers and stay-at-home parents to corporate executives are reaching to the next bigger question: "How can I truly make a difference, in my own world and in the wider world as well?" This may be a question that leads to subtly redefining the current focus of work that they are already doing. And sometimes, it brings the added excitement of starting anew.

Either way, answering this question requires courage, willingness, persistence, and patience. And it requires a lot of heart. It is a journey that comes with immense rewards: an unparalleled sense of purpose, a deep and ongoing experience of fulfillment, and a freedom that cannot be bullied by time.

For a life’s work lives and finds expression outside of time.  Aligning with our unique purpose in life brings forward a way of being in the world that recognizes that time serves a purpose—that we are not servants of time.  A life’s work brings with it the experience of creating inner and outer space, not filling it.  There is no interest, or need, for “busy” work. 

Goals are important, certainly. And yet, more important than any destination we seek to arrive at, is the place that we begin that journey from—the inner and outer focus that we set out with. For this is the fuel for the whichever route we take. In this way, whatever we do becomes infused with the truth of who we are; we become congruent in all settings, whether at "work" or at "play."

From this perspective, the terms "work" and "play" blur into each other, perhaps even become redundant, and we will seek to find a new word for the way we spend our time.

Perhaps this is the place where, as Sufi poet Kahlil Gibran so eloquently wrote, “Work is love made visible.”


A Quantum Leap

"Having worked together with Toby Estler on a number of projects in the past few years I am most impressed with his spirited, creative, and strategic skills.

"Toby is a world-class thinker, a seeker, a student of life, and a prime asset to any individual or group interested in making a quantum leap in success."

Steve Chandler
Master Coach, Author, Public Speaker