Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Towards Integrative Life Planning - Exploring Spirituality and Life Purpose - Part 5 of 6

It can be argued that the single most neglected issue in the context of personal development and career planning is spirituality. 

It is often regarded as a taboo discussion topic in many circles, including the workplace. If, however, wholeness and full personal integration is to be achieved, there is no choice but to explore the issue of spirituality and its impact on life purpose. 

Therefore, the purpose of the current article is to address briefly some of the associated elements, and to identify specific personal and societal challenges in this regard.

Before moving towards a discussion of the key issues, it is perhaps wise to proffer a definition for spirituality. It is commonly confused with religion. 

Religion usually refers to organized or structured aspects of faith, or that which we believe in. Concerning spirituality, there are numerous definitions found in the literature. 

From the perspective of Integrative Life Planning, however, spirituality is seen to refer to our core, which gives meaning to life; the centre of the person where meaning, life understanding, and self are generated; as well as the full integration of all of one’s life facets. 

When we consider trends in career and life development practice over the last ten to fifteen years, we find an increasing number of people seeking assistance in finding purpose and meaning in their lives, or, in other words, their spiritual dimension. 

Although many may choose to ignore this facet of their development, a significant growth in demand for this kind of assistance is being experienced.

What are the practical implications of the growing search for meaning and purpose? Firstly, organisations need to be fully aware that their employees do have a spiritual dimension and that this needs to be nurtured to ensure full staff commitment. 

Organisations need to assist their employees in reaching or maintaining a sound work-life balance. Further to this, organisations would be wise to assist their staff in answering the following question: “What purpose should my job fulfill in my life and the lives of others?” 

By enabling staff to identify the bigger purpose and meaning of their lives, organisations will go a long way to contributing to higher staff morale and a more balanced outlook. 

Finally, individuals are also required to accept their spiritual dimension and to seek meaning in their day-to-day routine at the office. 

In the following article in this series on ILP (Part 6 of 6) we will be looking at how to manage personal and organisational change. 

(Based on the work of Sunny Hansen: Integrative Life Planning: Critical Tasks for Career Development and Changing Life Patterns). 

This article was written by Hennie Scheepers and is used with his permission.  Hennie Scheepers obtained his doctorate at the University of Johannesburg and works as a Research, Career Development and Coaching Consultant.

Please feel free to leave your comments, questions or insights in the comments section below.  We would like to hear from you. 

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