Reading Mrs Moneypenny’s column in the Financial Times is a regular weekend treat. The FT Weekend is the only printed newspaper that I buy each week – and her column is a must read.
Mrs M’s columns can seldom be judged by their titles. This week it’s called “Me, go on a diet? Fat chance”. At the end of the article is a mention of Lynda Gratton’s book “The Shift”. Mrs M tells me she is an expert on the future of work – so I couldn’t resist an explore.
As regular readers will know, as well as extolling the value of Personal Networks – my blog posts track many areas of life. They also touch on my personal quest to find a new life after funemployment.
Lynda’s view on life and work is a hit with me – and I’ve only watched her promotional video clip (below) and read the first few chapters of her book (I will do a review when I’ve finished it).
I liked her focus in the video on three big shifts in thinking:-
=> Forget about being a generalist – learn mastery
=> It’s not about competing – build relationships with your “posse”
=> Decide on the life you want to lead – work to do exciting productive stuff
It encouraged me to download the book and start to read. I’m hooked…
Most importantly, I found a new, cool word to add to my vocabulary “REFLEXIVITY”. It’s hard to find a good definition of “reflexivity”. Wikipedia gives much more than its usual definition – and has different angles from Sociology, Economics and Anthropology! The one I liked the most was from Lynda – “the invention of the self through debate and self-reflection.” She also talks about what she calls “The Rise of Reflexivity”:-
“As families become rearranged, and work groups become increasingly diverse, so people begin to think more deeply about themselves, what is important to them and the lives they want to construct. This reflexivity becomes crucial to understanding choices and creating energy and courage to make the tough decisions and trade-offs that will be necessary.”
In my work on Personal Networks – I seem to be tracking similar lines. I have come to the conclusion that there are probably just three elements to building a successful and enriching life:-
1. Who am I? Understanding who you are, your strengths and weaknesses, what gives you energy, what turns you off, etc. For example, I love the work of people like Usman Sheikh at Identifii (who I wrote about a few months ago) who aims to stop 75% of graduates ending up in jobs they dislike by offering no-cost/low cost psychometric testing.
2. What do I want to do? This is finding the passion in your life that means you fulfil the Confucius quotation: “Choose a job you like and you will never have to work a day in your life.” (Was that really Confucius – or just a recruitment agency advert!!??)
3. Who do I know? Having people around you who share your passion, give you energy and will be on the journey with you. Reciprocally balanced by you having the good nature to give more back than you get.
It’s worth taking time out to think and reflect on these things. Getting it right is a life’s work. Reading another article in the FT Weekend by Gillian Tett “Retire? Only in Europe …” Gillians says: “As a 43-year-old Brit, I used to assume I was halfway through my working career, but I am starting to rethink. Could “retirement” eventually turn into a quaint 20th-century idea? Could we all have more “lives” ahead of us than we realise?” A life’s work will mean working all your life.
So reflexivity should definitely be on your to-do list. Anyway, I’ve become the Victor Kiam of words – I liked it so much, I bought the domain name. Coming soon at http://reflexivity.me….
“Could we all have more “lives” ahead of us than we realise?”
I like how Charles Handy answered that 15 years ago. The short answer is yes, indeed. He spends more than one book going into further detail.
Hi Joel. More for the reading list ;-). P
The Empty Raincoat is his best known, but The Elephant and the Flea gave me the most to ponder.