This blog is suggesting a radical departure from how we normally think about improving our performance at work.
Most of our lives, we spend in some kind of training around content--we learn about new things, or we learn how to do new things. We study in school and college. We get additional training in our jobs, or we go back to school when we want to advance or make a change. We focus on knowing more things, and doing those things better. And when we are not focused on things, we are focused on knowing more people, and knowing more about those people.
We don't tend to think much about that which is without content. That which we are, rather than that which we know or do.
But if I think back to all of the individuals that I most enjoyed working with, there does not seem to be a strong relationship between their level of skill and whether I chose to engage with them. This seems true for house painting or plumbing or a financial planning, or for work-related items such as selecting a business partner or hiring an employee. Don't get me wrong--there is some level of competence that is required for any job. I'm not suggesting that anyone deviate from that. It's critical to identify needed skills. But I'm not sure that there is much value in finding someone who has more than the minimum needed skill set.
Instead, look at how you have hired someone if you had two or three people that you felt were qualified. We ultimately pick someone we connect with. Who we trust to deliver. Who we enjoy spending time with. This is not about knowing or doing. It is about being. How we are in the world. The simple quality of presence.
This presence, this pure sense of being, helps us to connect with people, but it also helps us connect to our work. When we are present to our work, we are simply doing, without the hesitation or self criticism that can come when we try to analyze what we are doing.
It this quality of being that is addressed by practice. When we meditate or do yoga or engage in self reflection, our countenance changes. We are more likely to have a smile on our face. People are more drawn to us. And we are more able to drop into the flow of whatever it is that we are doing. This has tremendous benefits throughout our lives, but to me, the biggest opportunity might be in the transformation of how we work. And how we relate at work. We can work better, because, in a fundamental way, we are better.