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

Better self-care

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

What does LifeWork mean to you?

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  • Cora says:

    LifeWork to me is being receptive to this moment however it is unfolding, it is. My response seems to flow from the accumulated experiences of previous moments. This moment is good and I smile. Each estatic moment of aligned bliss nourishes my intent to create another such present moment and I do.

  • Sheila Carter says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone’s comments and inspiring words. As I transition into my new life, I’m rediscovering me and not settling for things because I had to. I use to live for my children helping them make their dreams come true. Now I live to discover my hopes, dreams, goals and daily move closer to them, despite the obstacles. And it’s truly a life in work.

  • Pamela Nesbit says:

    What Life joy to read your thoughts on LifeWork. Here we are together. Thanks for your inspirations and wise words.
    Here’s to walking/dancing in this beauty together in truth, gratitude, and respect.
    Rainbow water blessings,
    Pamela.

  • Susanna Fuussenegger says:

    It is to recognize that I can truly change only myself. Every time I do so, others change around me.
    If I listen more they hear me. If I notice what they can do they come closer. If I make them laugh they laugh with me heartily.
    That is the shortest way between I and Us.

  • Mike Goins says:

    LifeWork is an ongoing task we joyfully acknowlede and requires our full attention. LifeWork bridges the gap between head and heart, and enlivens us. It evokes the best version of our self and allows us to be with love in any moment. LifeWork clarifies our highest intentions and allows us to fulfill our life purpose.

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