navel-gazing — The act of excessively focusing on one's personal problems or concerns, to the exclusion of other people or other issues.
If this definition is correct, I appear to be a triple gold medalist.
I'm not ashamed. In fact, I only wish I'd gone inwards much sooner.
I understand and appreciate there's a fine line between navel gazing and narcissism but why do we (as so often appears the case) dismiss any attempt to get to the root of things?
What is it that we're afraid of — truly, deeply?
Rather than (again) making this post too self-referential, let me pray in aid a less ethereal proposition, namely the dysfunctional workplace.
I couch it in those terms because I can't think how else to explain an environment that should exist as much for our development, enjoyment and love of our craft but, instead, ends up being an altar for a few, select people to make great gobs of money. (Not all businesses come with this ticket but "greed is good" still appears rampant across the sectors I've had the misfortune to apply my trade.)
You see my problem and one of the reasons I have had so many jobs, across so many sectors is that I wasn't able to keep my mouth shut in the face of (inter alia) bullying, greed, avarice and all the other personal traits that will forever taint my view of leadership or whatever rubric is in vogue to describe those people whose only job is to serve. Period. I really was troubled out loud to the point where I was often the only person willing to challenge the bosses or partners over their blind spot to whatever issue it was that ensnared my chagrin. Not always, but more often than I care to remember, the riposte, in order to silence me or others, was to dismiss what I was saying as irrelevant to the money-making cause or to be bluntly met with the above rubric, as if to go deeper than the next strategy paper was too humiliating to even attempt an answer.
Let me put it another way. I was nearly always labelled one of the awkward squad because I wasn't prepared to let sleeping dogs lie and I needed to know why the bosses etc. weren't prepared to apply the same amount of energy to money-making as they were to their own shortcomings.
Yes, that's it. Business is about people. And if there's a problem, it starts and finishes with a human being not a software programme, HR matrix or training programme which, at best, is no more than a flimsy sticking plaster.
So, we come full circle.
We are the problem, and that means examining the unexamined life, however painful, gut-wrenching or humiliating it might appear.
And, sadly, in most cases (at least to my untrained eye) it feels that we're not willing to journey within. No. We'd much rather live a shadow life or one shorn of the full genius that lies resident deepest in our soul. Sorry, I'm making those sweeping generalisations again that I've been warned against but in dialling in the muse to write this post and share my own thoughts, it's how I feel but more than that it's what I've born witness to over the majority of my life.
If only we'd do more solemn navel gazing, perhaps the world might look different. For the record, this isn't an excuse not to act or to climb our putative mountain but I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering what might have been if I'd been prepared to ask a more serious question than "What's next?".
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