Is “inner work” the new code for spirituality in business?

Spirituality is a word that many shy away from in the corporate world, however there is a trend towards “inner work,” which is a mindful, conscious approach to work life, and tends to be targeted towards leaders.

We have noticed coaches using the terminology of Inner Work, and it was interesting to see this in Fast Company; “emotional fortitude truly represents the “inner work” that effective CEOs perform as they journey through the decision-making process and live with the consequences.” 

Inner work involves turning one’s attention away from a sole focus on “outer work,” towards the person whom you are, nourishing your inner resources so that you can grow, be more creative and productive in the outer work tasks that determine your productivity.

Of course, this is also the spiritual domain that has been explored for millennia around the world in an infinite number of ways.

Traditional spiritual and religious leaders have often counseled their followers to avoid the outer world, so it is understandable that business people would find that unhelpful. But I think this has been a big misunderstanding.

For example, Jesus Christ taught that, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” That has been understood as “money is the root of all evil,” which is a big mistake. It’s the value placed on money that is the issue. Money is not evil in itself, but when pursued as an end in itself, or as something that is more important than human life or sustainability, it is an obstacle to healthy life.

Spirituality is inherent in everyone. The very root of the word, “spiritus,” simply means breath!

Being spiritual is as natural as breathing. It manifests as creativity, as joy, as the desire to grow and be productive. Those are all healthy expressions of one’s inner life. However, it is important that one develops wisdom along with “fortitude,” because it’s possible to go too far in our urge to grow, to seek joy, to be fulfilled.

If we take our outer work too far, focussing on outcomes, or on pleasing others at the expense of our own health–which can happen to any of us in these days–we’ll suffer in some way, such as fatigue, boredom, dependence on outer stimulation and even burnout.

Spirituality develops wisdom and inner guidance. It encourages a daily practice that puts you in touch with your inner being, cultivates peace, helps to shed stress and strains. Having a well informed guide can be helpful if you are confused about where to begin, or having difficulty in your inner work!

At The Company Chaplain, we are here to support you through all that, as well as assisting those who are struggling or suffering in their outer lives. We counsel. We listen. We care.

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