“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose” Viktor E. Frankl

    Satre, a French existential philosopher holds the view that you give your life the meaning of your choice. Viktor Frankl believes that meaning is ever present and needs to be uncovered. In his famous book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Frankl describes the grueling concentration camp experience and talks of the “defiant human spirit”.

    Even in adverse misery, man was able to find meaning. It was not the strongest that survived but the people who were concerned with the wellbeing of others and people who had rich memories of books they had read or music they had heard or people they had loved.

    Where there are thought leaders in business who are responsible and have a conscience, their Leadership is purposeful and is where the future of business lies. It is not only man that searches for meaning but business itself; without a meaningful product to the consumer, business is not sustainable.

    Dignity has been the topic worldwide this year for mental health day. Meaning and dignity are closely aligned and do not exclude profitability. In order to retain top level employees, especially the “Y” generation, they need to be respected and allowed the opportunity to personally exponentially grow. How often is it said “we are predominantly focusing on hard skills”. This attitude will not cater to the modern day expectations and the risks are evident; loss of intellectual capital through social media websites to forward thinking opposition.

    In order for future leaders to excel, education is required at what Frankl terms the noetic or spiritual dimension of man; namely where authenticity, responsibility to someone beyond oneself, choices, values, the will to meaning, conscience,

    ideas and ideals, love and self transcendence lie. Unlike self actualisation which focuses on reaching ones potential; self transcendence focuses on reaching beyond oneself and allowing our humanness to create connectivity and loyalty for bottom line.

    This is not merely a South African phenomenon. Globally people are searching to share their stories and to be acknowledged at a deep level in the workplace. Do we as South African leaders, have the moral courage to explore the spiritual arena within ourselves, where freedom and responsibility reign?

    If you would like to discuss a talk on “Purpose in the Workplace”, especially as people begin to wind down for the Christmas break far too early, I would be delighted to inspire your people, whether it is your leaders or your very important workers.

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