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By David Harder on April, 6, 2020

Could Sheltering Become Your Turning Point?

Every generation gets an event that tends to shape their thinking, outlook, and behavior. In my personal experience, the current events that we are encountering today cannot help but create a re-set in most of our lives. There will be a profound positive change in our culture. Sadly, we will pay terrible prices. A great portion of what happens is totally out of our control. And yet, we also have choices in how we take care of our selves and the people around us.


The last generational event was the great recession of 2008. How many simply stopped what they were doing while workers struggled. Perhaps the single most destructive element of the recession is most of us became distracted from the accelerating change in our work. Many of us have been playing catch-up ever since. But, there is a vast difference between thinking about change and actually transforming our professional lives.


The great philosopher and behavioral scientist said, “The world’s mental institutions are filled with creative thinkers.” He made this point to clearly define the difference between creative thinking and real creativity. Creativity requires action. This mind-boggling event will cause some of us to simply check-out. For many of us, the real opportunity is to positively change our lives without swallowing our daily dose of frenzy.


During the last 30 years, over 45,000 people have participated in our Inspired Work Program. It is popular because it leads people to define the work or the role that is most in alignment with their unique career DNA. Our participants provide an ongoing graduate course to everyone at Inspired Work.


All of us will not only have to change. This is the precious time to evaluate what we truly want out of life and to find the people who can help us get there.


Of course, there are obstacles!


Humans have been trained, since birth, to use five filters in order to kill personal change.


The filters are cynicism, contempt, aimless, resignation, and frenzy.


Just before the most significant event of this generation, many of us were struggling with the need to reinvent our relationship toward work. In an era where accelerating change is rapidly eliminating work, the good news is the work that is already here or coming towards us is more engaging, meaningful, and impactful on the world around us.


Why is this such a good time to do that?


We have more time.


Most of our possible mentors, hiring managers, and prospective clients are experiencing life without frenzy for the first time.


In terms of answering the question, “What do I most want to do with my life?” If you were not asking that question before, this is the time to get it answered.


If you love your work and you are not making the money that you need, this is the ideal time to learn life skills and build a support system that will bring far greater life to our careers and businesses.


Before our global health crisis, our government was touting a 3.8% unemployment rate. While this was happening, almost half of America’s workers were characterizing themselves as “underemployed.” These are the individuals who hold 2-3 jobs just to meet the economic needs of their families. Others are holding onto jobs that were obsolete years ago but they are simply too afraid or ill-informed on how to make their relationship towards work improve.


Most of the underemployed are having grave difficulties dealing with change. In the 70s, Alvin Toffler predicted that by the turn of the century, accelerating technology would bring about rapidly growing change until people would reach a state of Future Shock. It is a syndrome where people become paralyzed trying to keep up rather than finding how change can be used to transform our lives.


Toffler said we would have to learn, unlearn, and relearn in dramatically short periods of time. The best way to unlearn is to see the shortcomings and obsolete beliefs. The journey doesn’t to be filled with drama at all. In fact, when someone realizes that cynicism is one of the quickest ways to avoid or kill change, that block loses its power.


Do Not Surrender One Aspect of Your Success to a Political Leader


One of the greatest challenges in America is that our Presidents from both parties are not telling us what to do.


The last American President that gave personal directions to our citizens was John F. Kennedy. During his short term in office, he inspired many of our citizens to participate in the destiny of our country. Right after JFK’s passing, the advertising industry sold our politicians an entirely new campaign process. Instead of looking at what people needed, they brought people together and asked what they wanted.


Today, that process has grown into a metastasizing beast. Instead of directives, politicians make promises they cannot keep. At the very time that we need guidance, they center their energy on giving us hope. In this world, the betterment of our people is replaced with doing whatever it takes to get our vote.


The dysfunctional dance of selling a vote and not taking care of the voter is drastically undermining our global strength. Countries such as Germany, China, and Japan are urgently growing the strength of their workers. The countries established partnerships between employers, government, and educational institutions. Workers are constantly being educated for the next big thing. Even the foreign automobile executives look at us with a bit of shock. When our workers become obsolete, they are kicked to the curb. Some of our politicians call their practices an example of “socialism.” I call it good business.


So, as we sit it out at home, the stakes for developing a new mindset to succeed in the modern workplace could not be bigger or more urgent.


The challenge to reinvent our careers isn’t limited to blue-collar workers. Every industry is encountering existential crisis by not throwing out the very beliefs that must be unlearned.


I met with an associate attorney who works in one of the nation’s largest law firms. He has disliked his work for quite some time. Now, the writing is on the wall. In the last year, several hundred associates have been sent home. He asked if he ought to go back to school and find a different career.


I asked, “Why do you want to go back to school?”


His response, “I want to be competitive.”


I asked, “What is the one thing that separates you from the partner sitting in that corner office?”


“I know where you are headed. I am not a salesperson.”


Unfortunately, he was selling himself the notion that it would be preferable to go back to school, incur more debt, rather than learning how to connect with others.


Going back to school? Wherever we land, they are not going to teach us sales, presentation skills, wealth, interview skills, how to influence others and certainly not becoming gifted in asking for help.


The new world of work isn’t hiring people who are trying to mimic robots. Entrepreneurism is rapidly shifting from making money by getting money from people to becoming billionaires by helping a billion people. The practice isn’t limited to young people at all. One of the founders of LegalZoom is Robert Shapiro. Yes, that one. At the age of 77, Mr. Shapiro is generating far more wealth than when he represented OJ Simpson.


Change isn’t going to slow down. Change is blasting us forward. We can stand at the end of a long line into Space Mountain, hear the screams inside and decide to go to the submarine ride.


We will never get on the ride if we hide and we will get to that place of launching our new lives if we wait to become more comfortable, perhaps even fearless.


I’m reminded of a woman I met several years ago. At the time, we lived in the same neighborhood at the beach. She was married to a terrifying and abusive husband. Every morning, she would get the kids off to school, lock her bedroom door and open her laptop. She was so driven to change her life that she built one of the most highly recognized public relations firms that serve luxury brands. She did not go into that bedroom to escape. She chose to go in there and set herself free.




Change is also changing the world of higher education.


Once again, our political leaders want to make promises that they cannot keep. Many are demonizing the “exploitation” families and students by the cabal between finance and education. Once again, the model is immoral because it is designed to create rage rather than truth.


Accelerating change will make many hugely expensive campuses look like the malls of today. The academics are very good at research and their findings include the fact that today’s average college graduates will change careers, not jobs, four to six times.


When people believe they have no solutions, outrage is a good place to park. But, it is this belief that obscures the fact that we have thousands of educational options in a world where many of those options are free and more economical.


I recall a young man set to us by his family. He was planning to go to culinary school. They were struggling financially and trying to come up with the best option. We asked him to bring in a sample of his work. I tasted the food, picked up the phone and helped him get an apprenticeship with one of the world’s most influential chefs.


In that environment, he learned how to become a world-class artist,  how to launch a commercially successful restaurant and be built relationships with the people who eventually invested in his enterprise.


If any of my readers are getting overwhelmed, hang on, you need to become the second twin!


You know their story. The parents gave twin boys a birthday party. After everyone had cake, the parents told the boys their gifts were outside. On the lawn were two huge piles of manure. One kid sat down and began crying. The other ran over and started digging furiously.


One family member asked, “What are you doing?”


The 2nd twin responded, “If there is this much shit, there’s gotta be a pony in here.”


You have already heard a number of items for The New Mindset of Work.


Here are the rest:



Technology isn’t taking away work. It is offering us freedom from tasks.


If your work is based on tasks, prepare to leave. That idea represents a total flip in how previous generations viewed “real jobs.”


The central talent pitch during the Industrial Revolution promised us that if we took a job, we would attain predictability and survival. So many parents are driven by the fear of something untoward happening with their children. Many kids, usually around 12-years-old, began dreaming of becoming an adult and having a purpose. Far too many times, adolescents make announcements to their parents of what they want to do with their lives only to be greeted with some version of, “Go get a real job.”


Did real jobs offer predictability and survival? Not if you are younger than 50. How many of us sat in our workstations meeting quotas or standing on assembly lines in return for a regular paycheck, health insurance if we got sick, and retirement plans when we got old?


The biggest problem is that predictability and survival, upon close examination, are the essence of mediocrity. So, the most critical change in to let go of, “Go get me another job, just like the one I hated.”

It is far healthier to answer a question.


What do I want to do with my freedom?



The Most Important Work is the Work That We Love


Over 45,000 participants have come through our programs to define, on their terms, the work they were born to do, and they work that would be meaningful for them.


Today, loving our work is not only good for the soul, but it is also the only fuel that can reliably inspire us to change. Isn’t that a more positive reason to change?


I’m not immune. Most of the time, I get rather irritated by change. It has taken 30 years for me to go turn Inspired Work into a digital brand. But, I have a love affair with my work and that has made me willing to do whatever it takes to keep the work fresh and vital.


Remember the phrase, “It’s just a job?”


How will that mantra possibly produce enough energy to change how we think or develop enough courage to get much-needed help.


There has never been a better time to find a dream job, launch a business, write a book, or learn in one week what used to take years to achieve.


Trade-in Comfort for Active Learning


Screen time, Television, Doggies, Candy Crush, Layer Cakes, Booze, and Bad Behavior might provide comfort?


I have tried all of them.


In this new mindset, do not rely on advice from idiots.


One Senator recently made the proclamation that we ought to get coal miners into trucking jobs. My mouth dropped open, thinking of the miners that would take what little money they had to attend trucking school.


Today, trucking is the largest profession for men with 5.2 jobs. Driverless trucks are reducing that number to just 600,000 openings in 7 years. Daimler has finished a state-wide pilot program in Nevada.  The only accident these trucks had happened when a drunk driver hit a truck. They ran 24 hours-per-day and had a stellar fuel economy.


Before airing the story, ABC showed the unfinished clip to a hundred truckers.


Only two of them had any awareness of how quickly they will encounter existential change.


Active learners are quickly taking over the world of work. Today, a good hiring manager can tell if a candidate has the drive to learn with just a couple of well-placed questions. The ones that don’t learn won’t know what happened.




Active learners rarely are laid off, they bring innovation to the firm, they tend to be more interested and interesting.


Automobile manufacturers in Germany have trouble understanding the concept of underemployment. In their country, employers, government, and educational institutions are continually training workers for what is next. Some might call that a socialist model. They would simply shrug and say it is good business.


People regularly ask me how they can get started with active learning.


I tell them,


“Find the work that you love. If you do that, you will be learning about the issues that you love.”


Build the Skills of Connectivity


Recently, my colleague Dr. Mary Campbell and I gave a keynote to an educational association. In one region, they sponsored students from one of the wealthiest charter schools in the country.


After we finished, they began a celebration for the “Student of the Month.”


Everyone was clapping and cheering. But, the student, a sophomore, refused to stand up and walk to the podium to accept her award. I turned to Mary and said the family and the school system had failed in preparing her for the workplace.


Today, the number one reason we fail is through isolation.


The single most important life skills we need to succeed in any field as a job holder or owner is to develop Connectivity. This is the ability to graciously connect with all types of people, to better understand their needs and expectations, and to ask the right ones for help.


The most successful people in our world built a customized tribe that is dedicated to help bring their vision, interests, commitments, and contributions to life.


If there is any skepticism about this, watch the next award show.


Many of us don’t define what we want to do with our lives because we assume, on a profound level, that the right people will not help us.


However, once we do define that personal mission, vision, and purpose; our success is only based on the quality of the people we inspire to help us.


Getting started takes a bit of courage. It is far more impressive to take action than wait to be unafraid.


Connectivity is a set of skills that allow us to fluidly and graciously connect with other people. For those that get it, they use technology to connect rather than checking out. If you have any doubts about the latter, take a week in a big grocery store, on the streets in New York or simply at the gym. If they are walking into you, they are not here.


Many people equate drawing attention to themselves as a terrible idea. Here’s why. Some of us believe that if we become too visible people will hurt us. You know the drill. It’s like a bad date. Nope. You are not the one. However, today’s mindset is more honest. It takes courage to draw attention to ourselves. It can be frightening to ask the CEO of a major brand to mentor us. When we attract more attention, we raise the possibility of having our feelings hurt. But, when we run from attracting attention, we raise the probability of mental, emotional and financial starvation.


The world of work that is emerging right now isn’t about engaging in mindless tasks. The new world gives that junk to technology.


Years ago, one of the core nuggets in human development was the dictate to “make a difference.” Today, that statement is actually the foundation of the work coming towards us, the one where technology takes the mind-numbing work out of our hands.


What do you want to do now?


While we sit at home, reach out, learn, nourish your imagination. Find people that can help you get the life you want to have.


Not only can this new mindset take us into the future, but we might just influence what happens next.


Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work, Inc.


Schedule 15-Minutes to Discuss Your Workplace or Career with David (Here)


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