Chapter 5: Realize Your Will to Meaning

A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a
human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished
work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the why for
his existence, and will be able to bear almost any how . [ 1]

It s going to be a fun week, sailing the Endeavor, tennis, golf, eating , drinking. All the things we are best known for, said former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski. This statement was recorded on a videotape of a $2 million birthday bash that Kozlowski threw for his wife on the island of Sardinia in 2000. An edited version of the tape was shown to jurors in Kozlowski s larceny trial, and it provided further evidence that Tyco had funded its ex-CEO s lavish lifestyle for years before he resigned in June 2002. Alas, Sigmund Freud would be proud, for Dennis Kozlowski demonstrated that his theory of the Pleasure Principle, also known as the will to pleasure, is alive and well in corporate America!

Tyco, of course, is not the only major company in recent times that has faced public scrutiny, as well as the wrath of government regulators and the courts, due to corporate scandals. Nor is Kozlowski the only (ex)CEO to have gained such notoriety. Do the names , Ken Lay (Enron), Bernie Ebbers (Worldcom), and Martha Stewart ring a bell? Interestingly, there are websites dedicated to profiling such infamous individuals, even on playing cards, and highlighting the most notorious of the corporate scandals in which they were involved. [ 2] Many of these executives, it should be noted, did not appear as interested in following Freud s will to pleasure as they were in pursuing Alfred Adler s will to power (in Adler s words, striving for superiority ). Adler, you may remember, was a contemporary (and, to a degree, a mentor) of Viktor Frankl.

To Frankl, however, both Freud s will to pleasure and Adler s will to power were manifestations of something missing, which hinted that there was yet another explanation for the kinds of behaviors exhibited by the former corporate icons identified here. In effect, the need or drive to seek pleasure   la Freud and the relentless pursuit of power   la Adler were really just attempts to cover up, but not necessarily fill, a void of meaning that existed in the lives of these individuals. Put differently, because their will to meaning had been frustrated, for whatever reasons, they chose alternative paths to follow ”paths based on the premise that pleasure and/or power would somehow be able to replace what had been missing.

Only the search for meaning, Frankl would say, holds the potential to bring the kind of authentic enrichment and fulfillment that most people desire from their work and in their everyday lives. And it is the ability to realize our will to meaning ”our authentic commitment to meaningful values and goals that only we can actualize and fulfill ”that guides us in the quest to tap into this distinctly human potential. Unlike either Freud or Adler, Frankl considers the main concern of human beings to be fulfilling a meaning and actualizing values, rather than simply the gratification and satisfaction of drives and instincts .

We ve already seen examples of people, including corporate executives, who clearly demonstrate the central importance of Frankl s will to meaning in their work lives. And while such individuals may also want (or seek) pleasure and authority, the primary motivation for their existence is not pleasure or authority. So, when Bill Hewlett and David Packard, for example, built their company, Hewlett-Packard, from a one-car garage into one of the world s most admired success stories, it was a particular set of meaningful values, known as The HP Way, that guided them in identifying and meeting their objectives, in working with one another, and in dealing with customers, shareholders, and others. [ 3]

It is important to acknowledge that not all values are created equal. Actualizing values like those exclusively associated with pleasure and power would not, in Frankl s mind, constitute the way to fulfill authentic meaning. Against this backdrop, let me share a statement made to me by a government employee, who referred to values as the things that make life worth living. In other words, by relying on our moral compass, or what psychologist and author James Hillman refers to as our Soul s Code, we may uncover values that are truly meaningful and worth pursuing in our work and everyday lives. As we shall see in this chapter, a personal (and organizational) commitment to such positive, life-affirming values is clearly a manifestation of Frankl s will to meaning!

How many of us have looked forward to a beautifully planned holiday and then felt disappointed after it was over? How often does the promise of pleasure captivate us, only to leave us unsatisfied after the event happens, no matter how perfect it seemed at the time? This is true with everything from drugs and sex to pay raises and vacations . It s the promise of pleasure that we are lured by; pleasure itself is fleeting. We come down with a cold on the plane to paradise . We get a sad phone call from a family member that dashes plans for a romantic evening. Our teenage daughter puts a dent in the new car and it s no longer perfect. We feel excited about what we purchased during a shopping spree, only to find the thrill gone after only a week. Moments of true pleasure come to us when we aren t looking for them. They are gifts uncalled for, moments that transcend our planning, moments that transcend even our perception of pleasure.

The search for power in our lives is parallel to our search for pleasure. It is out there. Power over our employees , our bosses, our customers, our shareholders, our kids , the waitress in a restaurant, or a clerk in a retail store is illusory at best and terribly destructive at worst. We think we might have power but we never know for sure. Even if we do, in the power game there s always an opponent , the ground is always shifting. Much like Sisyphus, the Greek hero who was ordered by the gods to push a big rock uphill only to see it slip out of his hands in the last moment, our search for power becomes an endless ”and joyless ”undertaking.

A few decades ago, when group therapy took center stage in the self-awareness movement, one exercise in particular illuminated the power principle. A group was asked to spend some time together and choose a leader. After they had carefully selected a leader, the group was then asked to go back and select the person most responsible for choosing the leader. It was the leader behind the leader who was the real leader. When power is the playground, there s always another power waiting in the wings. Power is an exhausting game to play and, like pleasure, power is fleeting and always subject to unforeseen forces.

Yet these two principles in life ”power and pleasure ” have been the focus of much attention and analysis in psychotherapy, and have been used as a platform for designing and managing both organizations and work. As we have already discussed, the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, weighed in on the pleasure principle; Alfred Adler, also known as the founder of individual psychology, weighed in on the will to power. A huge body of work has gone into defining us by these principles ”all of which require outside forces to come into play.

It is here, in the vast exploration of our inner and outer lives, that Frankl s will to meaning rises above and distinguishes itself from the will to pleasure and the will to power. The will to meaning comes from within. Only we ourselves can find it, control it, and fulfill it. It is meaning that sustains us throughout our lives, no matter how little or how much power and pleasure come our way. Most important of all, meaning sustains us through any pain and suffering that we must endure.

In his book, Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn writes about staying connected to our original wholeness no matter what the challenges to our health, well-being, and welfare. His book explores the lives of many people for whom life- threatening illness became a transforming experience. They connected, not only to others in a way that anchored them in love, acceptance, and forgiveness , but also to themselves . Some survived and triumphed over illness, others didn t. They all deepened their experience in ways that honored meaning in their lives as well as in death.

When we take the time to cultivate our relationship to our original self, all our experience becomes grounded in meaning. This was true for Frankl when he observed the behavior of those imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camps; it was true for those interviewed throughout Kabat-Zinn s book; and it s true for anyone who has survived tragedy and allowed their grief to break open their heart to tenderness. When tenderness prevails, we love and forgive ourselves and others. When the opposite happens, when bitterness seals our hearts shut, we are isolated from ourselves, from others, and, ultimately, from meaning itself.

If we take the time to think about our friends , we all know someone who has survived tragic loss or similar fate yet somehow retained deep cheerfulness and optimism as the way through life. One person I know, Charlotte, recently lost a 21-year-old son who had suffered from autism. I had spoken with Charlotte only months before her son s death about the challenges and, yes, burden of raising an autistic child. Charlotte described the experience candidly, noting that it was not always easy for either her or her husband over so many years. She even recalled reading Frankl s book, Man s Search for Meaning, on several occasions during this time and underscored its influence on her thinking and actions during some of the most difficult moments. Indeed, Charlotte was able to find deeper meaning in her experience as a parent, no matter how difficult the challenge, and she learned much about her own humanness through her relationship with her disabled son. And when her son died suddenly at such an early age, it became clear that his life and legacy was the ground out of which the rest of Charlotte s life would be shaped. Significantly, it has become a life shaped by love, generosity, meaningful work, and social activism.

But in our culture there s a long tradition of separating work from play, profession from recreation. We draw arbitrary boundaries around our work lives, sometimes thinking that it protects our loved ones from stress, sometimes to protect ourselves from the stress. Yet our work, whether we run a company, drive a cab, make a quilt, cook a meal, or clean a hotel room, is a reflection of meaning in our lives.

When we clean a hotel room, cleanliness is next to holiness; we are participating in an ancient ritual that honors the sacred nature of a human being. In tribal, nomadic cultures, cleanliness and beautiful surroundings are part of daily life. The dirt floor is swept; the art is carved on the mud walls. Often when the conditions are most challenging and sparse, the people are colorful in dress and jewelry . They themselves bring beauty to their austere surroundings.

In Tibet, in Navajo country, in India, the brilliant dress and vibrant jewelry worn by impoverished people celebrates the deep meaning in their lives as well as their awareness of their riches. It s interesting that in the 1980s in the United States, when commercial wealth was on the rise, the grunge movement became the expression of our youth. Perhaps there is a kind of freedom in having little in the way of material possessions that liberates us to celebrate ourselves more deeply. Perhaps material excess, which in many ways is closely associated both to the will to pleasure and the will to power, hinders our ability to celebrate our spiritual awareness and the inherent beauty and meaning in our lives.

In Buddhist tradition, the cook and the temple cleaner may be the most important teachers in the community. They are honed by their humbleness, by their attention to the daily details of life. Their attention creates meaning and it is this, not their talks and teachings, that draws students to them. Sometimes the cook and the cleaner appear as Buddhist jesters; they play with their humble roles, hide behind them, watching for the ripe students to come their way. They are cleaners and cooks in waiting. If you talk to those in the service professions about their work, their stories will often amaze you. They see things that the rest of us don t. They experience human nature, often from behind a mask of professional detachment, in ways that most of us rarely get the chance to do.

These days we are used to thinking about financial independence as the pathway to freedom. Indeed, I remember a recent advertising campaign in Canada that was called Freedom 55, that promised not only financial independence beginning at age 55 but also the lure of freedom to do whatever you would want for the rest of your life. With the average life-span increasing for both men and women, I wondered what this kind of freedom would ultimately mean for such young retirees. What would they do with ” and for ”the rest of their lives?

Interestingly, there is evidence that older Canadians are spurning retirement, choosing the office and meaningful work over 24/7 bridge and golf. And not necessarily because they have to. Such older workers, in fact, may be offering aging baby boomers a peek into their own futures . In a 1998 survey of boomers sponsored by the American Association of Retired People (AARP), some 80 percent said that they would keep on working beyond traditional retirement age. Although the reasons for working beyond traditional retirement age are many, here is what one older worker has to say: It s important to stay busy, to have goals and plans. There are still plenty of depressed retired people who have nothing to do. It s like they re waiting to die, and it s such a waste. [ 4]

Once again, we are reminded of the many twists and turns that occur naturally, although not always seamlessly, as we explore the labyrinth of meaning in our work lives. The metaphor for freedom is also true in another important respect. Living and working from the inside out is a choice, both of attitude and action. As we learned in the previous chapter, true freedom is not just another word for nothing left to lose, as the late singer Janis Joplin, once suggested in song lyrics written by Kris Kristofferson. Whether we like it or not, we are not only free to choose but also responsible for our choices. So, if we decide to put our real aspirations ”be they personal or work- related ”in a lock box with the expectation that we ll some day return to fetch them, that s our choice. And, just as important, we must be prepared to live with the fact that we may never return to the contents of our lock box, nor realize our will to meaning!

As prisoners of our thoughts, we can t always see very clearly through the bars of our metaphorical prison cell . And to see more clearly, we first must be willing to go inward :

It s time to go inward, take a look at myself .
Time to make the most of the time that I ve got left. Prison bars imagined are no less solid steel .
Rodney Crowell [ 5 ]

Sadly, we frequently miss opportunities to enjoy the spaciousness that already exists within us to feel authentic meaning in our lives and work. Frankl would say that only if we remain aware of and committed to meaningful values will we be able to fully enjoy this spaciousness. Yet how can we ensure that we will remain aware of such important values in our lives? Let me now introduce you to a simple exercise that you can use for a meaningful purpose.

The exercise is based on Frankl s invitation , in his book The Doctor and the Soul, to spread our lives out before us like a beautiful mountain range. My version of this Mountain Range Exercise goes like this: First, ask yourself (and feel free to invite your co-workers to participate) to look out over your work life as one would look out over a mountain range. Whom would you place on the peaks before you? In other words, who are the people who have influenced your career and work life? These people may include authors, teachers, employers , leaders , or people in your personal life who have mentored (or even loved) you, or whom you have loved or otherwise admired. You can use paper, colored pens, or markers to sketch out your mountain range and write on the peaks the names of the people who have influenced you.

Now, encourage yourself to look for recurring values, that is, values that surface more than once. You may, for instance, recall the empowerment of a particular teacher or supervisor. Explore the key values of the various people who had contributed significantly to your work life. Focus on those values that you may have incorporated into your own value system. Which of these values are the most positive, the most meaningful ? To which of these values have you been most committed over the course of your career or work life? To which of these values are you now most committed?

As you can see, this Mountain Range Exercise helps you look at your work life from a different, and unique, perspective. Through it you can discover recurring values, recognize your own uniqueness, and broaden your view about your work and personal lives. It is also an unfolding exercise, a new way of looking at life, that can help you discover the essence of your will to meaning at work.

In America, we live surrounded by more material wealth than any other society in the world. Yet we are restless, unhappy , disconnected, both from others and from our inner lives. Our suicide rates for young people are increasing and there is a growing divide between those with wealth and those on the economic margins. We have all the resources necessary for widespread health-care and economic stability, yet the spiraling discrepancies between rich and poor, the value placed on money for its own sake, is taking the place of our respect for one another in particular, and for humanity in general.

The truth is that as the struggle for survival has subsided, the question has emerged: survival for what? Even more people today have the means to live but no meaning to live for. [ 6 ]

These are dire times. Yet they are born of plenty. In his work, Frankl observed that as the struggle for basic physical survival of our human species subsided, the question has emerged: Survival for what? Even as more people today have the financial means to live they are struggling with the question: What are we living for ? In the face of material abundance , our inner emptiness, or existential vacuum in Frankl s words, has become ever more pressing.

These observations were reinforced in an article that appeared in the Utne Reader On-Line, the Web-based medium of one of the best-known alternative publications in the United States. According to the authors, life in the post-modern world, especially in what they call America the Blue, displays certain characteristics and influences that appear very much like manifestations of Frankl s existential vacuum:

Why am I sad? Why am I anxious? Why can t I love? The answer, perhaps, lies deep in our collective subconscious . The route to the surface passes through the postmodern hall of mirrors. The trip looks forbidding. And yet it is a worthwhile excursion. Think of it as trying to solve the tantalizing psychothriller of your own life, the ultimate existential whodunit . . . Like it or not, we humans are stuck in a permanent crisis of meaning, a dark room from which we can never escape. Postmodernism pulls the philosophical carpet out from under us and leaves us in an existential void. [ 7 ]

Viktor Frankl, one of the world s most profound and true optimists, would disagree vehemently with the notion that we can never escape the dark room of meaninglessness. Perhaps postmodernism has fallen prey to its own beliefs, or lack thereof, in its nihilistic analysis, which basically devalues the meaning of all life. Postmodernism relies on modernism to lay claim to its own existence. For most of the world, modernism is still a dream, if indeed, that is, modernism can be defined by such modern ideas as sufficient food and shelter. When we let ourselves be defined by the analytical arrogance of postmodern thinkers, injustice is served all-round.

Frankl developed and practiced Logotherapy as a way to find and open the windows and doors of rooms of despair for everyone ”from the death-row inmate and the concentration-camp survivor to the CEO, the cab or bus driver, and the postmodern philosophy professor . He designed a framework of being and doing that offers an entirely new design for our lives ”rooms to live and work in that have both innate meaning and a view. He provided a disciplined approach for discovering meaning in even the most catastrophic of circumstances ”an approach rooted firmly in his profound personal experience.

In addition to the feelings of inner emptiness that seem to exist among greater numbers of our working (and, for that matter, retired) population, more people feel trapped at work ”and perhaps in life generally . How do employers and employees, as well as the citizens of the so-called free agent nation, [ 8] deal with these complex issues? Unfortunately, many companies only provide employees with the illusion of feeling rewards may only have this kind of illusory effect, especially if employers, albeit unconsciously, use such instruments in a way that fosters worker attention solely on the paycheck rather than on the reason(s) for their work. In this regard, it is perhaps worthwhile to point out here that Frankl viewed the will to money as a primitive form of the will to power. free and alive, as opposed to feeling trapped, at work. Even periodic pay increases and other financial

In basing his company s development on meaningful goals, Tom s of Maine founder Tom Chappell also brought deep personal meaning to his life. He created a company that invites all of its employees to share in a meaning-based bottom line. The company not only observes ethical environmental practices in the development of its products, it also gives 10 percent of pretax profits to addressing community concerns in Maine, its corporate base, and around the world. And volunteerism is allocated at 5 percent of the employees paid time. This commitment reflects more than traditional corporate social responsibility concerns; it encompasses ethical and soulful values that honor the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual life of both internal and external stakeholders, as well as the health and well-being of both the planet and the bottom line. In short, it is a partnership of meaning.

But what if we are working in a company or corporation that isn t as enlightened as Tom s of Maine? How do we acknowledge the ultimate worthiness of life in our work? If we step back from the superficial perspective of a job equals a paycheck, we can begin to search for meaning: How many opportunities do we have each day to connect meaningfully with others? Do we take those moments and make real contact? Do we honor the people we meet? Do we take the time to appreciate the power we have to bring meaning to our relationships? Do we honor our own time? Do we look for new, creative ways to perceive and approach our work? Are we experiencing our connections on many levels at once or are we limiting our experience to getting to the end of the day and the next paycheck? Metaphorically speaking, do we run from the parking lot to work each day or do we bless the moment that TGIF [ 9] arrives?

In his lectures and speeches, and in a book published initially in 1977, Frankl passionately warned us about an unheard cry for meaning. He characterized this as coming from a combination of three things: depression, aggression, and addiction . It is a cry that can only be fully understood in light of the underlying existential void. It is a collective cry that perhaps is more prevalent today than when first identified by Frankl. And it is a cry that is not going away.

Stress, for instance, is killing us. Rage has become a commonly defined social phenomenon , whether it s road rage, rage at work, at school, or at home, or even in the parking lot. Going postal is a phrase all too common and all too peculiar to these times. We are becoming more and more cynical and skeptical about everything from corporate and governmental motives to the trustworthiness of our friends and neighbors. Our educational systems are failing us and our young people are becoming alienated and depressed. It s a collective unheard cry for meaning that belies the mask of our have-a-nice-day culture. It s only by hearing this cry, in our own voices and in those of others, that having a meaningful day will become the measurement of our daily life.

In his book The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, former Catholic monk and professor of religion and psychology Thomas Moore explores the possibility of experiencing enchantment at work. He writes about the Roman god, Mercury, the divine patron of commerce. In ancient Rome, business was considered sacred. Work, money, the arts, religion, and philosophy were integrated into daily life. Moore writes:

Economics is the law of life, and in fact this word also has deep meaning, coming from oikos , Greek for home or temple . . . and nomos , meaning management, custom and law. . . . Business involves all aspects of managing our home, whether the family house or the planet, and therefore has to do with survival, fulfillment, community, and meaning. [ 10 ]

Finding enchantment at work might sound to some people like an exercise in futility, but it can and does happen. And, when it does, the ripple effect through the world of work can be monumental. To be enchanted means to be soulfully involved, to be beside ourselves with excitement, gratitude, appreciation ”to be full of possibility. When we bring this meaning-focused sensibility to our work, creativity flourishes and so does productivity.

For example, take the case of Skaltek, a major equipment manufacturer based in Stockholm, Sweden. Listen to the words of –ystein Skalleberg, the founder of Skaltek, as he describes his philosophy about people and work:

Every human being is a Leonardo da Vinci. The only problem is that he doesn t know it. His parents didn t know it, and they didn t treat him like a Leonardo. Therefore he didn t become like a Leonardo. That s my basic theory. [ 11 ]

Significantly, Skalleberg practices what he preaches. At Skaltek, the company doesn t employ job titles so as to avoid the practice of conferring some privileged status to certain people, and each employee s business card only carries pertinent contact information along with a photo. Once, when Skalleberg was asked about this policy on job titles, he responded that, if he were to give his employees a job title, it would be something like Leonardo da Vinci or Unlimited Possibilities rather than the job titles that are employed by most companies.

In addition, there are no cookie- cutter job descriptions, and all workers who help build a machine at Skaltek actually add their individual signature to the final product. In this way, there is not only a direct line from the customer to everyone involved in product development but also an emphasis on total quality management that is completely transparent. There are even more radical attributes of the working environment at Skaltek, such as an annual employee appraisal process that involves the use of randomly selected performance review teams . According to Skalleberg, since no one knows who will be conducting their performance review each year, Everybody smiles in all directions! Skalleberg also has a revolutionary formula for building a company culture in the postmodern era: Confidence is the start of it, Joy is a part of it, Love is the heart of it. Now, doesn t Skaltek sound like a company with a meaning-focused philosophy about bringing enchantment to work?

The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. [ 12 ]

An enchanted life is good for business, even if it requires a turnabout in values and vision, writes Moore. [ 13 ] His proof comes from evidence of the opposite perspective: how the lack of enchantment in our work leads to emotional and physical distress, lowered morale , decreased productivity, and dispirited employees. In short, if we can t bring our soulfulness to work, eventually we suffer. And so does business.

When there s soulfulness at the top of a company, the trickle-down effect can be explosive. In 1995, when fire destroyed the Malden Mills factory in Massachusetts, 3,000 people were instantly out of jobs. But not for long. As he watched his factory burn, Aaron Feuerstein, president and CEO of the company, decided then and there that it was not the end of Malden Mills. The first thing he did was keep all 3,000 workers on the payroll with full benefits for three months. There was nowhere for them to work, but in his heart, mind, and soul he knew that it was unconscionable to put 3,000 people out on the streets . The company was directly or indirectly involved on every level in the community. It would be a death blow not only to the employees and their families but also to everyone in the cities of Lawrence and Methuen, Massachusetts. And because Malden Mills supplied high-tech fabrics for products sold by outdoor apparel retailers, such as L.L. Bean and Lands End, his customers were at risk, too.

It cost millions of dollars to keep all 3,000 workers on the payroll and put the company into bankruptcy, but Feuerstein prevailed. He risked everything ”his money, his reputation, his business. He believed in his employees and they, in return, believed in him. He set up temporary plants in old warehouses and the collective response was astounding.

Before the fire that plant produced 130,000 yards a week , said Feuerstein. A few weeks after the fire, it was up to 230,000 yards. Our people became very creative. They were willing to work 25 hours a day.

Feuerstein instinctively valued his work force; he invested in their well-being immediately and with great risk. Then he put his will to the task of meaningfully rebuilding his company. It was the phoenix of possibility rising out of the ashes. The employees, blue-collar and white- collar alike, rose to the occasion and committed themselves to the collective good. In 2003, the company came out of bankruptcy.

When meaning is honored at the top of any organization, it can be easy to bring meaning to our jobs. It s a natural reflection of meaningful values. If we are valued and appreciated, if our well-being is nurtured, we feel a part of a meaningful whole. But soulfulness can trickle up, too. It might be more difficult to honor meaning at work when there s little manifesting from above, but it also might be more important to do so.

We are in a crisis of corporate accountability. In many companies, there is no trickle-down soulfulness because the forces operating the companies are so distant and diffused that there can be no meaningful link down through the ranks. The financial bottom line becomes the only thing that defines meaning and, when this happens, the ethical and moral decisions that are at the heart of capitalism are obliterated. They have to come from all of us as individuals, no matter what our role in the company.

When we choose meaning in the workplace, we pay attention to everything around us. We choose respect, kindness, and courtesy . We choose justice and fair play. We bring our own ethical and moral decision making to our jobs and we find ways to have an impact. Sometimes it might be by simple recognition of our co-workers; sometimes by writing a letter expressing our observations and concerns; sometimes through organizing support for a constructive change. Most of all, by understanding that when we ourselves bring meaning to work, we bring with us the possibility of meaningful change in the workplace.

A financial bottom line is not motivated by ethical and moral decisions; people are motivated by ethical and moral decisions. When people are replaced by money as the presiding force behind decision making, that is, the will to money or power, we have no choice but to become aware of the implications and do something about it. The most we can do is bring meaning out into the light. By refusing to be held a prisoner of our thoughts, we can bring our will to meaning to work, and it will mean something.

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Meaning Moment

Recall a situation in your work life in which you were challenged to examine your commitment to meaningful values or goals (this may even be your situation today). Perhaps you were faced with a job assignment that wasn t in alignment with your personal values. Perhaps you were just unhappy with the work that you were doing. How did you first come to recognize this challenge? What, if anything, did you actually do about it? As you think about the situation now, what did you learn from it? In particular, what did you learn about your commitment to meaningful values and goals, that is, your will to meaning? In hindsight, what would you have done differently in this situation?

Meaning Question: How do you ensure that you remain committed to meaningful values and goals, and thereby realize your will to meaning, at work or in the workplace?

For Further Reflection: Think about the underlying values and goals that characterize your work or workplace. In what way(s) do they reflect Freud s will to pleasure, Adler s will to power, and Frankl s will to meaning ?

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[ 1] Viktor E. Frankl, Man s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy (Boston: Beacon Press, 4th Edition, 1992), pp. 87 “88.

[ 2] See, for example:;

[ 3] David Packard, The HP Way (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1995), p. 82.

[ 4] Ann Kerr, Workers Spurn Retirement, The Globe and Mail, February 18, 2002.

[ 5 ] Rodney Crowell, Time to Go Inward (track 4), from the album, Fate s Right Hand, New York: Sony Music Entertainment, Inc., 2003. Note: I m indebted to my friend and colleague Stewart Levine, for introducing me to Rodney Crowell s music and lyrics.

[ 6 ] Viktor E. Frankl, The Unheard Cry for Meaning (New York: Washington Square Press, 1978), p. 21.

[ 7 ] Kalle Lasn and Bruce Grierson, America the Blue , Utne Reader On-Line, October 28, 2000.

[ 8] See Dan Pink, Free Agent Nation: How America s New Independent Workers Are Transforming the Way We Live (New York: Warner Books, 2001).

[ 9] TGIF is an acronym for Thank God It s Friday.

[ 10 ] Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life (New York: Harper-Collins, 1996), p. 126.

[ 11 ] In Roger Frantz and Alex Pattakos, eds., Intuition at Work: Pathways to Unlimited Possibilities (San Francisco: New Leaders Press, 1996), p. 4.

[ 12 ] Frankl, Man s Search for Meaning, p. 49.

[ 13 ] Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, p. 11.

Prisoners of Our Thoughts
Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankls Principles for Discovering Meaning in Life and Work
ISBN: 1605095249
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 35

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