Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spirituality, meaning, and purpose – Why is it important to include these into thoughts about career planning?

Hello everyone!

I am delighted to be back – let us add another dimension to how we need to look at the issue of career and life planning! As we have discussed before, when we are busy with any form or shape of career planning, it is really important to take due consideration of all factors, which may influence this process.

Previously we skimmed the surface regarding the ILP model’s ability to offer an integrative approach to career planning. Today we will introduce a topic so profoundly part of who we are, that it seems almost impossible considering any form of career or life planning where it is excluded…I am referring to the issues of spirituality, meaning, and purpose in life.

Let us take a brief moment to pause around the issue of purpose in life. When talking to working people – yes, this is intentionally written in old speak – a huge number of these people will quite easily tell you that they are working with the intention of getting paid, as this will allow them to buy things…and that this buying will in some way bring a sense of peace and fulfilment! When probing a bit more specifically, less than 10% of these people will be able to state that by working they are (also) fulfilling their life purpose. Of interest is the large number of people who regard work as a necessary evil, something they have to do, and if possible, something they would not mind giving up at any time! If we now turn our attention to the topic of the current posting, I think you will agree that what is lacking from the above picture, is being able to find our purpose (in life) in the work we are doing.

Although purpose in life can be described in many ways, this concept needs to form part of the discussion when people’s futures are under the spotlight. In previous models of career planning, a significant emphasis has been placed on finding the right job in the current time; managing a career would then be about finding ways within the selected job, to get to the top of the ladder. At no point did these approaches to career planning introduce the fundamentally important issue of purpose in life.

Further to the above, the large majority of career planning models have not sufficiently considered spirituality within the context of career planning and management. I guess there will be some detractors to the following statement, but that is their choice: people are fundamentally spiritual beings, and need to (also) take a proper look at the role of spirituality in our lives when making a career planning decision. According to one definition for spirituality, it is seen to refer to the sense of interconnectedness within all living creatures, and an awareness of the purpose and meaning of life the development of personal, absolute values.

How is it then, considering the above definition of spirituality, possible to make any career plan or engage in career management if we simply disregard the influence of purpose in life and spirituality?

Due to its integrative approach to career planning, The Integrative Life Planning model takes full notice of the issues of meaning, purpose in life and our spirituality; any career-related course of action where we exclude our personal take on the above issues, is bound to end in a place of unfulfilment and un-connectedness – in short, not a good place at all and the same place describing the 90% mentioned earlier in this post!

In my next posting I will spend a bit of time talking about a final principle underlying the concept of ILP – once this is done, we will start moving into ILP proper! Have yourself a brilliantly fulfilled and integrated day!

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