The other day I received a question about how to promote self-transcendence in the workplace from an "enterprise development" manager at a company in Switzerland. This manager, who had just finished reading the German edition of my book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts, said that he had been struggling with this issue for a long time and requested some "hints" on how he might be able to help his co-workers learn and practice self-transcendence at work. Let me share with you an excerpt of my response to this manager's question:
"Now, if we replace the words, "self-transcendence," with the descriptor that I use in my book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts (that is, "Extend Beyond Yourself"), you may find that the concept is more palatable within your workplace. What, in other words, does "enterprise development at [your company] mean in terms of your customer relationships, your connections to the larger "community" that you serve (including your country), and your responsibility for serving the greater good and the planet? To the extent that you engage your co-workers in authentic dialogue about their "purpose" and how they make a positive difference in the world, you are effectively moving them towards self-transcendence (or extending beyond themselves) and helping them search for and find deeper meaning in their work and personal lives.
Of the principles described in my book, #7: Extend Beyond Yourself (Self-Transcendence), touches the spiritual dimension most directly. Because it concerns, by definition, the metaphysical part of ourselves and our work, it can not by managed per se. Your role is more of a catalyst and facilitator of the process, again through open and focused dialogue, that ultimately leads one to self-transcendence. Gently encourage your colleagues to consider the ultimate meaning behind their work, and help them explore the core personal values that bring meaning to them and their various customers (including their co-workers). Explore the possibilities that come from building a meaning-centric organization and from fully engaging customers by designing meaning-full products, services, and, most importantly, experiences."
Now let me ask you: how do you practice self-transcendence at work? And what other "hints" would you like to offer our colleagues in Switzerland and around the world?
All the best,
Also listen to my recent podcast at the Global Dialogue Center