From Disconnected to Connected:
Bringing Spirit Back Into The Workplace

Written By: Jocelyn Pepe, Global Wellness Institute, Workplace Wellbeing Initiative

Are you living a life that feels true to you?
When you pause for a moment, what does it feel like?

Organizations are facing multiple challenges today with high burnout rates, mental health struggles and declining employee retention, engagement, and satisfaction.  Deepening our connections to ourselves, others, and our sense of purpose at work creates greater stability and better self-management.

Connecting Inwardly

In modern life we have evolved to a place where most people conduct themselves from their mind. We have become disconnected from the part of ourselves that lies beyond the mind and is always present, the essence of who we really are. Notice where the voice comes from when you refer to the mind as “my mind”.

Living with a sense of purpose, aligned to our values comes from a deeper place within. To access it we need to, quiet the mind and allow ourselves to go to this deeper place, our soul. Without the input of this deeper place, the mind can become frenetic and lose control. Decisions become reactive and heavily influenced by circumstance. There are many practices that can be used to still the mind and reawaken our ability to be curious, reflective, introspective, and contemplative. This opens a pathway to mindfulness, compassion, and deeper personal alignment.

Let’s go a little deeper…

What does it mean to be more connected to the deeper essence within ourselves,  rather than living in our minds?

Connecting with the deeper essence of ourselves includes deeply listening to our heart and our intuitive self. From this deeper place as the mind quiets, we gain greater awareness of our intentions, fears, and the ways in which reactive thinking interferes with our creative potential. This gives us the opportunity to become more deeply honest with ourselves. You have a voice that is greater than your thoughts, and that will never lead you astray.  The key is stillness and connection to yourself to tune into this part of you.  Being lost in your mind closes you off from who you truly are.

Attention and will are both qualities that go deeper into us. What we focus our attention on expands and creates our reality. With attention these days being drawn in scattered, mind-numbing directions, our attention is being drawn to surface level distractions. However, when we are more deliberate with our attention, we can quiet our minds to access our intuitive selves. We are talking about developing greater depth, connection and listening where your intuition is an energetic pull vs a mental push.

Connecting Outwardly

When we connect to another person, mind-to-mind, all sorts of games are being played including competition, manipulation, strategizing, judging, and managing. The mind is constantly seeking to control the external universe. When we come from a deeper place, from the heart, we feel safe, and we create safety for others. Practicing virtues including care, kindness, acceptance, acknowledgment and many more create a deeper connection with others that builds trust, and a powerful togetherness. This creates a welcoming space for everyone in the team. Supporting people to come from the heart is perhaps the most effective way to create a psychologically safe workplace environment. Authentic conversations blossom when people feel safe to be themselves. This creates a new confidence and a sense of belonging, within the team where members can grow and optimize their creative potential. The foundation of any strong relationship is trust and with trust, team dynamics flourish.

As stated by Brene Brown in her latest book, Atlas of the Heart, “Connection is the energy created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued. True belonging does not require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.” In a psychologically safe environment, employees can connect with their own individual Mission, Vision, and Values (MVV) with more ease. The leader’s role from here is to support team members to align their personal MVV with the organizational MVV.  This creates a strong decision-making compass individually and organizationally. As a leader, you could ask yourself if the organizational MVV is inspiring enough to align your team. If not, you may benefit from taking a few quiet moments to contemplate from your heart and refine your MVV to a statement that will touch other people’s hearts.  For the future of work, consider management comes from the mind, and leadership comes from the heart.

Connecting Workplaces and Employee Wellbeing

Consider for a moment how much time is spent at work. Some statistics suggest 90,000 hours in a lifetime. Work-related interactions are perhaps a person’s largest time commitment, spending more time with colleagues than with friends. Hence, the relationship between employee and employer is significant and can be honored by deeper and more meaningful connections. Traditional approaches to employee development focus on tangible skill building. Thriving and productive teams however are created when the focus is on the development of the whole person, expanding awareness and deepening a connection of each to their own humanity. As awareness grows, perception and the capacity to feel expands, which opens a whole new level of connection. In this realm the mind calms, pretense and dishonesty diminish, stress is reduced and a powerful vibrance arises within the group. This is the power of spirit. The opposite is fear based where disconnection, defensiveness, biases, competition and self-protection rule, the domain of the ego. When people become more deeply connected to themselves and expand their awareness, they are unstoppable.

Organizational Impact

Can you imagine the potential of your business with a team of aware, personally responsible, bright human beings?  What would your workplace culture be like? There are exciting possibilities when you seek to develop qualities in your people including curiosity, interest, self-reflection, compassion, kindness, and selflessness.  When the judgmental nature of the mind is reduced these qualities begin to naturally emerge. You would create an organization that everyone wants to be a part of.

 Practical Application

Committing to a people investment strategy beyond normal skill building is not an easy task.  It requires finding the right guidance and allocating adequate financial resources and time to achieve such an extraordinary outcome. Perhaps the best place to start is a dedication to such a path by the leadership team. As leaders travel this path for themselves, they gain a deeper understanding of how they can support employees on a similar path. By starting with leaders, you create the possibility of a transformation of your entire business. This path of human development is a lifelong journey and never a quick fix. However, once you begin, change is palpable. Relevant education coupled with meditation, breath work and useful tools, is an ideal place to start.

In reflection, are you living a deeply connected life and evolving as a human being?
Who could you become and what could you really go for?

In summary, this is about learning to slow down, listen to your inner wisdom and to others more often, connect deeply to your why and become clear on your values, take responsibility for your experience and your impact, acknowledge yourself and others more, live further into kindness, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude.  Become who you really are.

For more on this topic, we invite you to watch our full Real Talk From Disconnected to Connected: Bringing Spirit Back Into The Workplace, with our members of the Global Wellness Institute, Workplace Wellbeing Initiative.

To learn more about the Workplace Wellbeing Initiative and its members, please visit our page on the Global Wellness Institute Website.