A new perspective

Workplaces have traditionally encouraged people to show up with their "professional" self and to check all other parts of themselves at the door. They often require us to show a masculine resolve, to display determination and strength, and to hide doubts and vulnerability. Rationality rules: the emotional, intuitive, and spiritual selves are typically unwelcome, or out of place.[1]

What makes us leave so much of our selfhood behind when we go to work? There is a conspiracy of fears at play that involves employees as much as their organizations. Organizations fear that if people were to bring all of themselves to work- their moods, quirks, and weekend clothes- things would quickly dissolve into a mess. Armies have long known that people made to feel interchangeable are much easier to control. Employees, for their part, fear that if they were to show up with all of who they are, they might expose their selfhood to criticism and ridicule and come across as odd and out of place. It is deemed much better to play it safe and to hide the selfhood behind a professional mask.

Wisdom traditions from around the world speak to this from a deeper level: at heart, we are all profoundly interconnected and part of a whole, but it's a truth we have forgotten. We are born into separation and raised to feel divided from our deeper nature, as well as from the people and life around us. Our deepest calling in life, these traditions tell us, is to reclaim wholeness, within ourselves and in our connection with the outside world. This spiritual insight inspires Teal Organizations' second breakthrough: to create a space that supports us in our journey to wholeness. Extraordinary things begin to happen when we dare to bring all of who we are to work. Every time we leave a part of us behind, we cut ourselves off from part of our potential, of our creativity and energy. No wonder many workplaces feel somehow lifeless. In wholeness we are life-full. We discover in awe how much more life there is in us than we ever imagined. In our relationships with colleagues, much of what made the workplace unpleasant and inefficient vanishes; work becomes a vehicle where we help each other reveal our inner greatness and manifest our calling.[2]