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  • Anna Weltner

On the nature of your work

As the Northern Hemisphere moves into Spring, we’re examining how nature influences our work. What if, instead of trying to be productive all the time, we spoke of our work in the language of seasons and tides?


A bee floats toward a flower by a body of water.
Image credit: Unsplash

Earlier this year, we posited the idea that January is better suited for reflection than for resolutions. The winter is cold, dark, and wet. Plants go dormant. Animals hibernate. Why should humans be expected to snap into better versions of ourselves on Jan. 1? We, too, are strongly affected by our natural environment. Though we may dress in business casual, we are still animals. Order: Primates. Class: Mammalia. We can’t escape our taxonomy. 


Like we mentioned back then, the ancient Romans kicked off the New Year in March. This choice just makes intuitive sense: The season of renewal, birth, awakening, and regrowth seems like a far better time for our own personal and professional metamorphoses than the dead of winter. 🌱 


That’s why, as the Northern Hemisphere moves into Spring, we’re reexamining “the nature of your work.” 


What if, instead of trying to be productive all the time, we spoke of our work in the language of seasons and tides? What can trees teach us about organizational systems and our role in them? What effect do our actions—our work—have on the natural world? 


To get us started, we asked a few of our MeaningSphere Guides for their recommended books and films on this topic, and they delivered! See their recommendations below. 


A close up shot of a mushroom cap from below.
Image credit: Unsplash

 

This month's recommended reading, and viewing, from your MeaningSphere Guides


Nature is Speaking  by Conservation International 


“This two-minute documentary, narrated by Julia Roberts, immediately comes to mind. 

It captures the grandeur of nature and its regenerative power and in doing so, effectively puts human existence and actions into perspective. 


The thought-provoking question at the end really compelled me to reflect on my role and my responsibility towards Nature:  “I am Nature, I am prepared to evolve, are you?”  This really got me! I recommend you watch it and experience it for yourself.” 

—Mita Broca, Oslo, Norway 

 

 

“This classic book is a riff on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance — a novel about a man's 17-day journey on his motorcycle from Minnesota to California, experiencing nature observations and having philosophical discussions — applied to career and life happiness. 

  

It's the definitive book to read if you're trying to apply self-actualization techniques to both career and life planning.” 

—Bill Felty, Philadelphia, United States 

 


  

“It's the best book I have ever read about being creative in a crushing organizational environment. 

  

Read and enjoy the incredible artwork. I found myself nodding “yes” a lot of times. It's about the uncomfortable truth that at work, we live with the paradox of trying to think outside the box and do things differently while at the same time adhering to the too-tight frames we create together in our plans to get from A to B.  

  

The writer points out the “nature of our work” so well: We still design organizational structures in pyramid shapes with leaders at different levels making decisions that are not always helpful from the perspective of the people doing the actual work. But like a tree, an enterprise is a living organism. In a tree-like organization, resources flow up from the roots, and the trunk represents the internal support people need for both transparent processes and a strong culture. Teams will be the branches that support the “product producers and creators.” Shaping our organizations like plum trees could allow the people who make a difference to clients the space to do and decide what's best.” 


—Lilian Kolker, Utrecht, Netherlands 


The tide at the beach at dusk.
Image credit: Unsplash

Who are the MeaningSphere Guides? 🧐  

  

Simply put, Guides at MeaningSphere are people from different walks of life who've had success in navigating the world of work. They are trained to use the results of an assessment tool called the Meaningful Work Survey ™ to help you unpack what matters to you at work. Once you’ve taken the Survey and received your personal report, you can book a 1:1 virtual session with a Guide to discuss your results and create an action plan to build more meaning into your work.  

  

🚨 Free stuff alert: Since the techy side of our Guides offering is in beta, you can book this service for free with the purchase of the Meaningful Work Survey! That’s an hour-long, personalized session included in your $20 purchase of the Survey. Tell your friends! 

*Please note that, right now, we’re only able to offer the Meaningful Work Survey in the US. We hope to change that soon!

 

Looking for more ways to engage this month? We’ve got you covered. 

 

🗓 Get our downloadable March 2024 calendar! 

Each weekday contains a reflection question, activity, or other bite-sized prompt on this month’s theme, The Nature of Your Work. Get it here

 

Save the date for these March events 

🌾 Harvesting Wisdom—A Meaning Circle Wednesday, March 20 

 

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