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Making Work Meaningful:
Towards a Soul-based Workplace

David 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.

"You 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.

"Every company 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.

"A soul-based 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."

More information 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.

Program Description
Feng Shui
A CEO Walks His Talk
Soul-based Workplace
Tell Me More

Body & Soul is currently airing Monday-Friday at 7:00pm and 8:30pm on PBS YOU.

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