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 The Lift Effect takes executives on a ride of a lifetime, using a network of people, experiences and processes to lift leadership performance. 

- Clare Goodman

The Lift Effect Blog

Is your work – a job, career or a calling? And does is matter?

Professor Wadhwa from the Personal Leadership Insitute at Colombia Business School offered the question in a recent lecture on the Executive MBA program. For those who see work as a job, they tend to focus on the financial rewards and perhaps express their passions outside of work. For those who see work as a career, they feel the same plus they strive for further reward from advancement and promotion. So what about those who see their work as a calling? Well often they will ask ‘why do people pay me for this?”, as work for them is a joy and they gain intrinsic satisfaction from it.

In a recent study, researchers looked at how people view their work in hospitals in the USA. They interviewed doctors, nurses and the cleaning staff. What was surprising was that about a third of all doctors and a third of all nurses and a third of all cleaners viewed their work as a calling. It is an interesting result and suggests that rather than the job defining whether an individual sees it as a calling, it is deeply influenced by how the individual chooses to view the work…. the art of reframing. 

And why is this important? Those who view work as a calling tend to score higher in overall life satsifaction surveys both within work and outside of work. They tend to be more committed to their team, often have low tendency for conflict and build healthier teams and therefore create higher satsifaction levels for those around them.  

So how do you view your work? A job, a career and calling? Is there a personal cost? How could you reframe how you view your work to connect with your passions and values? And what difference would that make to you?

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The Antidote- Happiness for the People who can’t stand Positive Thinking.

This book title yelled out to me one weary evening at Sydney airport bookshop. This wonderful read by Oliver Burkeman is perfect for those like me who don’t quite believe the current obsession with vigorously pursuing happiness. In this book, Burkeman, looks at this topic through very different lenses from the American Motivational gurus, to the Stoics, to Buddhists, he covers a lot of ground exploring the impact of positive thinking. He questions whether real happiness comes from both positive and negative thinking and to eradicate one, is not only challenging but doesn’t in itself lead to happiness.

He talks about our aversion to failure and our bias toward success. Yet imagine what your life would be like if there was no threat of failure, if you always knew you were going to succeed – it certainly would be predictable and somehow less satisfying. As Burkeman states, ‘ But a more deeply counterintuitive possibility is that there is happiness to be found in embracing failure as failure, not just as a path to success- that welcoming it might simply feel better than perpetually struggling to avoid it.’ 

Funny to think that it may be our constant striving for happiness that is really in the end sabotaging our happiness.

A good read – let me know your thoughts…..


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