Spirituality at Work

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life. Buddha

What does spirituality mean you?

Spirituality means something different to everyone. For some, it's about participating in organized religion: going to church, synagogue, a mosque, etc. For others, it's more personal: Some people get in touch with their spiritual side through private prayer, yoga, meditation, quiet reflection, or even long walks. 

Recent surveys reveal there is a growing interest in spirituality in the workplace. People want strength to deal with work challenges. They want to derive more meaning, support and inspiration from work.

Spirituality includes becoming more humanistic. Imagine a harmonious, peaceful workplace where everybody is responsive, respectful and equal, regardless of culture, religion, education or organizational level! Both employers and employees would benefit. With more creative, motivated, productive employees, organizations would have fewer retention and morale problems; employees would have greater satisfaction, less stress.

Tips for practicing spirituality

-- Be positive, accepting, and helpful. Respect others’ beliefs and their rights to hold these. Expect good things to happen. Smile to everyone. Befriend new employees. If you’re unhappy, identify why. Notice how you dealt with the issue previously, and then choose to behave differently.

-- Know yourself and what you want. Be yourself. Identify your purpose. Notice things that give satisfaction, come easily. Recognize absorbing childhood activities, how you would occupy time if you had billions, an important cause, and people you admire. Identify common threads such as helping others, working with machines. Develop a career goal based on the threads. Work to achieve it. 

-- Understand the concept of universal energy. The basic component of our physical universe is a kind of force, essence or energy, often referred to as God or Divine Intelligence. This energy vibrates at different rates of speed, and thus has qualities from fine to dense. Thought is a quick, light form of energy. Matter is dense, slower to move.

Your thoughts set vibrations in motion that attract the positive or negative. When you release positive energy such as love, happiness, you attract good things. Life runs smoothly. When you release negative energy such as hate, fear, you draw unpleasant things.

-- Boost creativity. Creativity involves finding new and better ways of working. It includes discovering novel ideas, strategies or products, and tackling problems in new ways. Anxiety, stress, anger, cultural pressures, lack of security and overemphasis on external rewards hinder imagination. Relaxation, autonomy, support and feedback promote creativity.

Laugh and play. Laughter enables you to remain creative under pressure. Identify ways to make work fun. Brainstorm ideas with your team. When something is difficult, approach it with another angle. Refocus, meditate, move to another task. Acquire new experiences. Focus on learning and experimenting with something new, rather than previously mastered tasks.

-- Communicate openly, directly. People need to communicate to achieve common goals. What you say and how you say it often determines how you’re viewed. When you communicate effectively, people feel understood, valued, trusted.

Talk with colleagues. Listen to them. Ask questions when you’re not clear. Summarize what you hear to correct misunderstandings.

Maintain eye contact when speaking. Make specific requests rather than complaints. Let others know you appreciate their efforts. Don’t speak when angry. Prepare and rehearse before confronting potentially difficult conversations. Avoid malicious gossip. Advise others of important news and stay informed about company developments.

-- Be a team player. Effective partnerships require trust, communication and commitment. Teams that include people with diverse views offer superior problem solutions and can resolve disagreements without hostility or domination.

Respect and cooperate with co-workers. Acknowledge co-workers’ interests, concerns and contributions. Volunteer to help colleagues who need assistance. Offer innovative ideas. Demonstrate loyalty to employer and supervisors.

-- Schedule time for reflection daily. Centre yourself. Take time every morning to meditate or pray. Reflect on things important to you. Breathe deeply when feeling anxious.  Eliminate negative thoughts.

-- Display mementos. Keep a small stone with a number one painted on it to remind yourself never to cast the first stone. Screensavers can remind you of the infinite beauty and abundance of nature. These mementos often precipitate questions that contribute to comfortable conversations about spirituality. 

Additional strategies for developing spirituality are found in Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life.

You have the power to create a better career and life for yourself and others. Start practicing spirituality today!

© Dr. Carole Kanchier, registered psychologist, coach and author of the award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life and the forthcoming Arouse the Force Within, helps individuals and organizations integrate spiritual principles into their policies and practices.