“I know that my contribution is defined by how I choose to engage the battles I face every day, and that my legacy is nothing but a series of choices to engage in or abstain from action.” Todd Henry
The title grabbed my attention and the subtitle clinched the sale: “unleash your best work every day.” This terrific book by Todd Henry not only challenges us to make the contribution that only we can make. it provides specific guidance and helpful tools. Our company, Authentic Impact, was created from a belief and commitment that work could be different, could be better. We have a desire to help increasing numbers of people experience meaning and purpose in their work.
Work occupies a significant portion of most people’s lives. It can be definitional. When meeting someone for the first time it’s usually not long before the question: “what do you do?” enters the dialogue. Studies on engagement demonstrate that there is tremendous opportunity for positive change. Across several global engagement studies, the results reflect that the majority of workers are neither engaged nor disengaged. This “massive middle” is getting by.
Dr. Amy Wrzeniewski, an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Yale University along with other researchers study work in a classification system that recognizes individual orientation toward work. A job orientation views work as a means to an end. A career orientation views work through the lens of success, upward movement, and prestige. A calling orientation views work as a form of self-expression and personal fulfillment – work is linked to a greater purpose. Interestingly, research on the job, career, calling continuum finds nearly even distribution within organizations and within professions. For example, it is as likely that a custodian in a hospital will view their work as a calling as it is for a physician to view their work as a calling. While no orientation is right or wrong, those who view work from a calling orientation report higher satisfaction with work and life and are more likely to craft their work to align to their strengths and interests.
We know that when the challenge of our work aligns to our perceived skill we can experience a state of flow … what athletes sometimes refer to as “being in the zone.” We also know that our performance increases when we have a degree of autonomy, our work is aligned to our mastery level, and when we have a clear sense of purpose.
Die Empty is an inspiring book that provides practical advice to help us to clarify and act upon our purpose. We are encouraged to make a contribution, the contribution that only we can make. Our passion here at Authentic Impact is helping others in this process.
Let’s die empty!