Ahhh, the proverbial carrot! Whether it’s dangled in front of you by someone else or contrived by yourself to keep you motivated, it’s not always as tangible, consistent and reliable as we’d like it to be.
That’s when the question pops for me: “What are you working for?” And the deeper I go exploring the answers, the more I learn about myself and the work environments and relationships I find myself in. Fascinating (and frustrating!) stuff.
Welcome to my first post!
If you know something about The FISH! Philosophy®, you know that FISH! is an invitation to re-awaken the self-trusting, creative spirit within all of us. To start new conversations about what’s possible. To develop new attitudes. To have more fun again. At work. At school. At home.
As a guy who works for ChartHouse Learning – the official home of The FISH! Philosophy – that’s my context for this blog. To get into the “crunchy conversations about passion, purpose and work inspired by FISH!”
By design, FISH! is the declarative. True to my nature, The Carrot is the interrogative.
So what about me?
I’m John Nielson and as I mentioned, I work for ChartHouse Learning which created The FISH! Philosophy. My job is to inspire how FISH! shows up in the world – in our marketing, new products and services and our brand growth strategies.
Personally, I’m on my own journey of deeper discovery and refinement of my passionate self. On this adventure, I’m constantly amazed at how hard it is to define the carrot that I’m really chasing and why. I’m not sure I’ll ever have a full and final answer to that, but of course, the journey itself is part of the answer.
Some of the answers that keep coming back at me are consistent with what the surveys usually reveal about what keeps people fulfilled at work, such as the recent 7th version of the Career Systems International survey which reports the following top three retention drivers:
- Exciting Work and Challenge
- Career Growth, Learning and Development
- Working with Great People & Relationships
Of course there’s the cash, too! I for example have three ambitious, extra-curricular expensive, around-the-corner college-bound daughters that motivate me to do plenty of my best work! But when I ask myself the question “What are you working for?” other things resonate with me: to use my quirky creative gifts to be a thought leader at ChartHouse; to collaborate with “a collection of unruly, disciplined minds who will think the unthinkable,” as Derek Woodgate, Futures Lab founder put it, and; to be part of a culture that isn’t afraid to have the real conversations about the alignment of authentic personal motivation with the organizational mission statement.
I love how Meg Wheatley puts it: “Determination, courage, genius and foolishness appear simultaneously when we care deeply about something.”
I’m personally in place in my life that’s idea-crazy and production-driven! ChartHouse gives me that professional opportunity because the pipeline’s flush with great new products, services and clients. And like a lot of us, I also have a list of personal projects that I fear may be longer than the time I have on this planet to complete them! My list includes children’s books co-created with my daughters, stories about my family in Lithuania, poems about my divorce – and many other tales demanding the light of day from within rusting coffee tins up high on the shelf!
So for me right now, my professional and personal creative plate is full! That’s good, because at the end of the day, I want to make certain that for my sake and for the sake of my daughters, I avoid Rilke’s prediction of those who don’t answer their calling:
Sometimes a man stands up during supper
And walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
Because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.
And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead.
And another man who remains inside his own house,
Stays there, inside the dishes and in the glasses,
So that his children have to go far out into the world,
Toward that same church, which he forgot.
O.K. then. How’s that for getting things started? (And here I thought I didn’t have much to say in my first blog!)
I look forward to your thoughts to get the crunchy conversations going …
So … what are you working for?