A few months ago, I woke up early because I started a networking group for professionals in my industry and it was the day of our second meeting. I brought in a speaker who I knew would cause some rumble in the people present. At these meetings I am present with a lot of people who I have worked with in the past. I was thinking about who was going be in attendance that day and my work with them in the past.
I have had three employers in the first 10 years of career work. Sometimes I wrestle with myself about this fact. There is a lot of dialogue about millennials and our inability to commit. As I was milling about some thoughts on this, in through the side door of my head came this epiphany that knocked all of the other milling to a halt. All of the narratives I have created about my job changes are wrong. The truth is that I move on when employers ask me to settle.
I love the wilderness. I don’t settle. I am a seeker. I demand growth and wrestling. I won’t limit that about myself. It’s my “muchness” as Glennon would say. I won’t unmuch myself for an employer. What’s interesting about this is that employers deploy people like myself and the speaker for today’s meeting to get their employees to be more productive. It’s kind of ironic.
According to Gallup, only 15% of employees are engaged in their work and the stats for America are more dismal. Here is the thing.. You can’t keep asking your employees to settle, to quiet that inner voice they have that says “there’s more” and expect they aren’t going to disengage. You can’t unmuch people and expect they won’t become dull and uninspired.
People are messy.
It’s what makes them wild, it’s what motivates them to do LIFE. Without the voice that calls, “there’s more” they might be neat and tidy in your workplace.. actually that’s a ridiculous myth. People who have lost their muchness are messy too. Furthermore they are messy in sometimes wickedly unhealthy ways because without a place for all of that energy in healthy, innovative, living, breathing, work, they can place it in destructive behaviors. It’s messy either way.
There is no neat and tidy. It’s a myth.
Quit expecting your employees to just be neat and tidy shells of themselves that don’t bring their muchness. You can have neat and tidy when you remove the soul from people and numb them to robot status. We are alive. We are living, breathing, loving, beings. If you want us to engage in our work, you have to engage us in those parts of ourselves.
If you are like me and are flustered by the request to settle, don’t buy into the narrative. You are not too much and there is more. If you are a leader, let this post rumble with you. If you are a colleague who keeps asking others to “just stop trying so hard and being too much” consider what you might be wrestling with that makes you want to quiet others. We’ve got some work to do people.