What Is LifeWork? Perspectives from the Team
What does the word “LifeWork” mean to you?
For Eileen Fisher, LifeWork is about “bringing more life to work,” something the LifeWork team has been doing from the beginning — and continues to engage in on a daily basis.
We recently asked team members to share their personal response to the question, “What does the word LifeWork mean to you?” (We’d love to hear your voices too in the comments area below!)
A life that works
LifeWork is what we should have learned in school. They taught us fractions and forced us to memorize the world’s major rivers and oceans, but we weren’t taught how to really live in that world. We didn’t learn about making meaningful connections, finding lasting happiness, or getting through tough times in one piece. We really needed what LifeWork offers now — courses in life purpose, mindfulness, personal empowerment, and the body-mind connection. These are the basic ingredients needed to build a life of warmth, wonder, passion, and purpose. A life that works.
—Trish Orwen, editorial
The life we are meant to live
For me it’s about the work that we do to have the life that we want and are uniquely designed to live. It is the work that we put into ourselves that allows us to become whole (inner and outer) so that we can live the life we are meant to live and make the difference we are uniquely designed to make in the world. The work is walking the path to uncover and discover that life.
—Sean Harvey, organizational change
Growing, leaning, and developing as people
LifeWork the word sounds like life’s purpose. It feels like someone is asking me to think about my “life’s work.” It also represents the interplay between life and work. Like we are trying to bring together or see the places of overlap of our lives and our work. Especially in a culture/society that has separated these two areas. There is a blend between personal and professional at LifeWork — we share with each other, we grow together. That brings me to another area — the idea of the work of our lives is to continue growing, learning and developing as people. It’s kind of saying that as long as we are alive, there is work to do. It gives life a sense of meaning (to me). It could also be bringing more life to the work place.
—Antoinette Klatzky, program development
What drives me?
It brings to mind “What is my life’s work? Why am I on this planet? What good can I do? What drives me?” It’s the overall arc of one’s life on this amazing planet, whether one sees it or not.
—Matthew Fass, digital
It’s the inquiry itself
For me, being part of this work is about sharing an openness, an approach, an awareness that invites us to breathe, to be in our bodies, and to come from a place of empowerment and truth. It is about honoring our hearts and our dreams. When we create space for one another, we invite ourselves to enter this place of inquiry — and I’ve come to learn that it’s the inquiry itself that is a significant part of the journey, rather than any answers or solutions. On a personal note, sharing mindfulness, meditation, breathwork, and body-based awareness is powerful and inspirational. It took me decades to learn that self-care is not selfish, but is actually the opposite. When I take care of myself I can show up. And perhaps most importantly, I can show up with ease.
—Kim Jordan Allen, digital
For me, LifeWork means striving to balance my physical and emotional needs with the demands of my work to create a practice of better self-care during the day. This requires me to become more aware of what those needs are and then having the wisdom and courage to know when and how to voice and/or act on them.
—Steven Goldhar, marketing
A rich, useful, and meaningful life
Tonight when I found myself begrudgingly putting on my workout clothes, tying my sneakers, I thought: This is what it’s about. I would have rather been doing anything else, but in less than 25 minutes I knew I was going to feel fantastic, or, in the least proud of myself for finding my way through the resistance. I am baffled by this equation, that the activities and choices I sometimes resist with my whole soul — exercise, writing, meditating, meeting work deadlines, cleaning up, choosing healthy food — are the same things that lead to personal freedom, fulfillment, and being available to others. LifeWork, for me, is trying to remember that it’s the ordinary daily “work” that opens the door wider and wider to a rich, useful, and meaningful life.
—Laura Didyk, editorial
The whole endeavor of being from day to day
For me, LifeWork is the integration of my world. We often talk about how activities other than those officially labeled work, are also called work — relationships are work, chores around that house are work, music practice alone and in a group is also work. We work on things, our projects, the house, a new idea (“I’ll work on that …”) and on ourselves. And, of course there is the work we get paid for. But it is all work. In my book, “work” is positive activity to be engaged in. And so then there is LIFE! Life totally integrates with all the various kinds of work. So for me LifeWork is looking at the whole endeavor of being from day to day, in a way that is balanced, integrated, and connected.
—Elena Erber, design
Freedom from constraints
Lifework …. the path of personal transformation, healing in order to claim a clear and powerful voice, freedom from constraints of old patterns that no longer serve, stepping into more joy, more love, more generosity, more kindness.
—Sara Schley, program facilitation
Just me — no matter what context
I’ve always had a strong sense of working to make the world a better place. LifeWork sounds like that to me. It’s work-work — and it’s the bigger context of my life and its priorities and choices. My whole life has been about my work-work aligning with that bigger context and my inner knowings — what matters, what creates change, what makes an impact. What’s exciting to see emerging in this initiative is that the work-work goes beyond the job/getting things done and asks that I step up, that I grow, that I get vulnerable and real — and provides skills for doing that. The end result is that I’m invited/allowed to be just me, no matter what context I’m in. And so is everybody else. We are people, not roles or job titles. It’s subtle yet quite radical.
—Grace Welker, editorial
The practice of maintaining peace
LifeWork for me is about the practice of maintaining peace of mind at all times in order to train myself to successfully overcome chaos or disturbance.
—Tonya Thongs, digital
A field of potential
LifeWork is an opportunity, a challenge, and a field of potential that we’re discovering and exploring together. I’ve been experiencing it as a profound opportunity to marry the path of my professional and creative development (my work) with my human quest for purpose, happiness, and inspired personal evolution (my life). It’s a consistent daily challenge to have the courage to reveal and express the truth of my life through my work, all the while treating my professional commitments with the same love, tenderness, and heart as I would tend to wrapping holiday presents for my most cherished relatives.
—Stefan Day, videography