Towards a Soul-based Workplace
Whyte is a native of Yorkshire, England and has a degree in marine zoology.
He worked as naturalist in the Galapagos Islands before beginning a
new career in corporate consulting in 1987. His books of poetry include
House of Belonging and The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation
of the Soul in Corporate America.
get this one life. You spend most of it in the workplace. If you do
not have your deepest desires in sight--and it's interesting that the
word desire comes from the old Latin, meaning 'of the stars'--if you
do not keep your star in sight, you're in danger of losing everything
that is precious to you, and living out a life that is like a shell.
You build a house for yourself, which you haunt like a ghost instead
of inhabiting it as a real person. In order to keep the house of your
work real, you have to engage in conversation every day, just as you
do in a family or a relationship.
now has to belong in an exquisite way to the place, to its function
in the world, to its gift, to its service, to its product. It has to
be very sharp and very alive. You can't get that aliveness and that
adaptability unless you have individuals in your company who have their
eyes and their ears open, who are looking out at the world and able
to say, 'Hey, we can't do this anymore, because this is happening out
in the world.' In a company where there's fear, you will not say we
can't do this anymore, because saying that could threaten someone's
identity--someone whose job description or title depends on your doing
it the way it's always been done. It points up the need in business
today for constant, courageous conversation.
workplace asks things of me that I didn't even know I had. It's constantly
telling me that I belong to something large in the world. I believe
that human beings are desperate, always, to belong to something larger
than themselves. When they don't feel that belonging, they not only
feel as if they're running in place, they actually feel as if they're
dying in place. A sure sign of a soul-based workplace is excitement,
enthusiasm, real passion, not manufactured passion, but real involvement.
And there's very little fear."
on David Whyte is available from the Many Rivers Company at P.O. Box
868, Langley, WA 98260 or by calling +1 (360) 221 1324.
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