When you were a preschooler, you probably answered that question with how many years old you were, right? But now that you’re bigger, the question gets another kind of answer. What I’m asking you here is in relation to your work. All of these questions are the same question about how big you are:
If you and your work are the center of some concentric circles of greater or lesser directness of interaction, how many folks are in the larger circles, and how could you relate more directly to some of them?
How big is your network of work-related people?
Is your work related to, a part of, or a contribution to, some larger societal or global movement?
Now, how are those interesting or important questions? If the context of your work is some kind of large global or planetary (or beyond) vision, that your work is helping to bring into actuality, then this question about the scope of “you” could be of great interest and importance. You’re likely to already feel pretty “big” as a contributor to something very large-scale or large-scope.
And that something, I’m betting, is not just large but also evolutionary; for you it has a trajectory of increase over time and you are helping it along. And how big is the context for the trajectory of evolution you are fostering?
Remember the parable of the cathedral bricklayers? The first bricklayer answered the question “What are you doing?” “I’m a bricklayer. I’m working hard laying bricks to feed my family.” The second bricklayer responded “I’m a builder. I’m building a wall.” But the third bricklayer, the most productive of the three and the future leader of the group, replied with a gleam in his eye, “I’m a cathedral builder. I’m building a great cathedral to The Almighty.”
Here’s another metaphor that could clarify what I’m suggesting and pointing to. The metaphor is humanity as a whole, as a single Being with us as cells, learning and evolving. How many cells does a single cell in the body coordinate with, influence, and be influenced by? Answer: unless it’s a cancer cell, the answer is every other cell, all other cells. There are extreme differences among the cells, in their nature and function. In the interest of overall balance, some oppose others.
But instead of divisive polarity that seeks to diminish the other, all are going about their specialized and differing functions. It is even possible, with a Teal worldview-stage perspective, from a macro or zoomed-out perspective, to see a contribution by every cell, no matter how unhealthful it might appear from a smaller-scope view.
If that idea of “humanity” as a learning, evolving Being were the guiding context or scope of “you” in your work, how would that change your view of yourself, your actions, and your work? Could you get that big, or even bigger? Speaking for myself, I am indeed moved by the notion and vision of “humanity” as a whole, as a species with the capacity to have parts who have a species-identity. Not just “I am a human” but “I am a portion of a Being which is humanity, learning and evolving.” And all that not to be human-centric: also seeing humanity in its own larger contexts.
This is all by way of encouraging you to lift your nose from the grindstone of daily work, of the concerns of your particular organization, and see what you do in a bigger context. That widening of your scope of awareness supplies energy, motivation, nourishment. It amps up your enthusiasm. It increases your creativity, and keeps you going, keeps you inspired.
Is there some network or association you could join, to get bigger?
Maybe even just subscribing to some relevant journal or publication or website or newsletter would bring you a whiff of fresh air.
Could you expand within your work context to add more folks who interact with your circle of work partners?
Can you make your circle of work-related folks more global?
Are you a “weaver?” Can you expand the scope of your weaving?
Are you consciously aware of being in a social ecosystem related to your work, and how might you contribute more to the scope or wellbeing of that ecosystem of synergistic relationships?
How could your shift into a larger identity cascade into both motivation and capacity to deal with “humanity’s” “wicked problems?” So how are you feeling called to “get bigger?” Make a comment and let us know.