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By David Harder on February, 23, 2017

The Shocking Reason Many Stand at the Sidelines

3rd in a series in How We Kill Off Change & Engagement:

Welcome to Aimlessness.


In today’s world, there is an epic to-the-death fight taking place between many of our people and change. Thus far, change is winning every round. One of the reasons average organizations have such dismal engagement numbers and the reason so many of us are disillusioned about work is that our capacity to change was outstripped years ago. Change can be terrifying! For example, when I was a young adult, I got sober. That experience took everything that I had and it upended how I lived. I had to let go of friends, beliefs and embrace all feelings. The average human has not had choose between having to change or having to die. But now, change is taking off with such a vengeance that it is a good idea to learn how to make change happen in all of our lives. If we want to live in a world where most everyone thrives we have to help and inspire people around us to learn how to change. As we have discussed, to do that requires getting past our filters that protect us from taking the very actions that cause change such as cynicism and contempt.


Today, we look at the 3rd filter, which is aimlessness. This one is the life without vision filter, clocking in, clocking out, going through the motions. It is living life like “Ground Hog Day.” In the disruption between the Industrial Revolution, the Information Revolution and the Technology Revolution we have to let go of deeply held beliefs and behaviors that have negligible use in the new world. Alternatively, we can live in aimlessness.


Aimlessness is yet another symptom of a society moving from the industrial revolution model for work which was based on routine, security, predictability, and survival to the new world of change, growth, continuous education and constantly evolving mission, vision, and purpose. Aimlessness is the numb substitution of comfort over self-change.


Over 80% of America’s workers don’t like what they do for a living, which means the majority of our workforce is in a state of aimlessness, just going through the motions. How do we solve this one? Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” As we take a closer look at skilled self-inquiry we begin to realize that becoming aware of these filters also helps us understand the negative impact they have on our individual lives and organizations. Aimlessness breeds individuals who are the least prepared to respond to change in effective ways.


At Inspired Work, our programs are based on Socratic, question-driven curriculum. If you want to break free of aimlessness, define the life you want to have, ask the right questions and answer those questions. We find, time and time again, that Socratic self-inquiry produces the greatest results and brings ownership to mission, vision, and purpose. Work occupies most of our waking hours. Consequently, it is, for most of us, our biggest relationship.


There are many ways to address the challenge of aimlessness. We can begin with journaling! Write out questions of what you want to do with your life, who is the person you’ve grown into? Answer them. Don’t step into a new day without an internal check-in. In our engagement work, we provide simple question rituals that require about five minutes of time at the beginning of the work day. Collectively, this small investment involves answering questions about how you want to use the day, what you need to accomplish and to remember other critical aspects of the job. By doing this before the frenzy begins, the results can be transformative. But, the aimless amongst us will probably respond to the suggestion with, “I don’t have time to do this” and get carried away by the frenzy.


Truth is, no one is trapped.


Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work, Inc. (310) 277-4850


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