Now that we have released ourselves from the pain of a damaged relationship with work through Forgiveness and unleashed ourselves from the bonds of the past through Acceptance, we can move to our final step of the Work Relationship Healing Process. Up to this point in your relationship with work, others/circumstances have designed the relationship for you. You haven’t had a voice in how it looks and how it feels. You haven’t had the power in your relationship with work. It is time for this dynamic to change.
In this final step, you are going to design your perfect relationship with work.
Here is your opportunity to declare what you want from your relationship with work, to proclaim how work should serve you, and ensure that in your healed relationship with work, all of your needs are being met. This is your chance to shape your relationship with work. In this step, you’re the sculptor, the architect, the designer. You are going to make Work work for you.
Think of it this way. A relationship with work is just like having a romantic relationship, a familial relationship, a friendship. We all have expectations, wants, needs, and desires for each of these relationships. If you have read any self-help books on how to have a healthy romantic relationship or a healthy relationship with your family, the main piece of advice given is to be clear about what you need from the relationship. It is often suggested that you write down your needs. The list helps you remember your needs and keep them top of mind. For example, if you’re designing your romantic relationship, your list might look like:
In a romantic relationship I need:
- A loving and affectionate partner
- Good communication
- Support (emotional and financial)
Your relationship with work is no different. You need to identify the elements that comprise a healthy relationship with work for you. You need to claim what you require from a relationship with work and what you expect to receive from a relationship with work.
Why is designing your relationship with work so important? There are 2 reasons I want to share with you.
Reason 1: The act of defining how your relationship with work will look is incredibly empowering. How long have you been living by and conforming to the definitions and parameters set by others? It is time to live according to your personal design. This is your declaration of wants, needs, and desires. Your design is by you, about you and for you. Through this step, you will claim it. And, you will empower yourself to have it.
Reason 2: By designing your relationship with work, by identifying what you want and need in this relationship, you are more likely to manifest it. Once you have your design, it is less likely that you will ever accept “less than.” Once you declare, “I need to be rewarded in a manner that suits me” or “I need to work for a company that practices fair and equitable treatment,” it becomes harder and more uncomfortable to settle for less than what you want. It’s easy to accept “less than” when you don’t have a clear definition of what it is you want. However, once you set out your needs, your expectations and your boundaries, this becomes your territory. Your domain. In this step, we will state exactly what we want and need. We will give voice to the needs that have gone unmet. Then, the next time an employment opportunity comes your way, you can determine if it fits your design. If it doesn’t, we can pass on it and move to the next opportunity, thereby, keeping our relationship with work healthy and avoiding situations that we know cannot meet our needs.
So let’s take advantage of the time we have now to home in on our desires and design our relationship with work. In this step we will identify:
- What we need from our relationship with work
- What it will take to move our relationship from lack to plenty
- How our alignment should look
Before we jump in, let’s take a minute and refresh our memory regarding the True Nature of Work one more time. The True Nature of Work promises:
- A deep, abiding, intimate fulfillment.
- A gateway to a deep connection with your truth, purpose and authentic self.
- A catalyst for a richer spiritual connection and the ability to know the profound nature of yourself.
It is your birthright to receive all of this from your relationship with work.
Now, let’s remind ourselves of the five elements that constitute a healthy relationship with work. These items are:
- Alignment with your gifts and talents and your boundaries.
- Work serves you.
When you design your relationship with work, you want to make sure that you are keeping in mind the True Nature of Work as well as the five elements. With this in mind, you can ensure that you incorporate this information into your design. For example, if you haven’t experienced a great deal of fulfillment in your relationship with work up to this point, you want to ensure that fulfillment is front and center in the design.
Okay, let’s get started.
This is going to be a very free-form exercise. Think of it as a brainstorming session. We are going to focus on defining three areas that comprise our relationship with work. We are going to define what we need in a relationship with work, what we expect from our relationship with work and define our boundaries with work. Don’t be concerned if you feel that the areas are overlapping. That’s perfectly okay. Let’s take a look at what we want to include in each area of our relationship with work.
My Needs: This category defines the basics. For example, you need an acceptable salary; you might need friendly coworkers; you might need recognition; you might need an autonomous management style. Your needs are your bottom line.
My Plentitudes: We have spent a great deal of time thus far identifying the lack in our relationship with work. In the plentitudes section, our goal is to declare what will take our relationship from empty to plenty. We want an abundant, plentiful relationship with work. This is your chance to craft what that needs to look like.
My Alignment: Here we will declare how being in alignment with our gifts and talents look in our relationship with work. You will draft statements that help you focus on ensuring you are work is lined up with what you love to do.
If you haven’t identified your gifts and talents yet, no problem. Just do the first 2 sections of the template and come back to this section later.
Key points for the Design Your Relationship with Work template:
- Sometimes it’s hard to identify what we need in a relationship with work. If you are struggling, I suggest you start by listing what it is you don’t want. It is a lot easier for many people to start with what they don’t want or what they don’t like. Once you have that list, you identify what it is you do want by listing the opposite of what you don’t want. For example, “I don’t want to be micromanaged” would translate to “I need to be able to direct my own work.”
- For this step, you will need to dedicate a good chunk of time. The more exact and precise you can be, the more ownership you will have over your relationship, as well as be better positioned to make future employment decisions. I recommend the first time you do this exercise just put everything on the paper that you can think of. Set it aside for a day or two and come back to it. Look at what you wrote and begin to analyze all of the items to ensure that you are designing a relationship with work that will work for you.
- If you find yourself struggling with this process, here are some questions to get the juices flowing.
Being rigorously honest with myself:
- What do I want from work?
- What should work look like for me?
- What do I want work to feel like?
- How do I want to feel like at the end of the workday?
- What don’t I have now that I truly need to have on a daily basis?
- Like the other steps we have completed, there is no right or wrong way to complete this template. You can complete all three sections of the template at once or do one at a time. Do what works best for you.
- Complete the Design Your Relationship with Work template which can be found in the appendix.
- Use the sample template provided to help get you started. Feel free to use any items in the sample template if they fit into your design.
- Once you’ve completed the template, set it aside for a few days and then come back to it. Go through each category and ask yourself if there’s anything else you need to add or remove.
Here is the sample template which, by the way, is my actual template I completed when I started my journey to have a healthy relationship with work
|My Needs||My Plentitudes||My Alignment|
|– I need freedom.|
– I need to be able to direct my own work.
– I need work that excites and challenges me.
-I need to focus on doing work that is in alignment with my gifts and talents.
-I need to work with people that are respectful and kind.
-I need to be part of a supportive community, and that support my mission.
-I need flexible hours.
|– My work fulfills me. It makes me feel whole. At the end of client sessions, I feel an abiding contentment.|
– My work allows me to give voice to my gifts and talents as well as my expertise. As a result, I feel seen and heard.
– Through my work, I have the opportunity to give my best; my best expression.
– I am in the driver’s seat. I control the course of my career.
– I experience reward for the work I do in the way I want it.
– I am proud of my voice, my gifts and talents. The work I do prospers my clients and myself
|– My work is an avenue for my love of helping people be at peace with work.|
– My work is an avenue for my love of helping people attain the lifestyle they desire.
– In my work, I get to hold the high watch for my clients – I believe in their ability to achieve their goals until they can do it for themselves.
– I am able to share my ideas and processes.
– I am able to help clients feel safe and secure while they are making life and career changes.