The Whole Professional

Every once in a while, I hear or read something that gets me all fired up. Most recently it is this OnBeing podcast where Krista Tippett interviews Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin at the PopTech conference.  They discuss how today, showing up whole is an act of rebellion.

It’s an act of rebellion to show up as someone trying to be whole and — I would add — as someone who believes that there is a hidden wholeness beneath the very evident brokenness of our world. Parker Palmer

In her further blog post on the topic, Courtney Martin discusses how certainly many people have true barriers to showing up whole, but how it is not without reward.

But sometimes it can be worth it, in part because when you show up whole, you give other people permission to do so, as well. You can actually feel the air change when someone does this, can’t you? It’s as if our cells collectively relax, oxygenated by the idea that this is a place where, apparently, we can show up as ourselves. What a relief. What a gift. Courtney Martin

I bet you can think of a time when this happened. When you felt the “air change”. I bet you’d be happy if that was the norm rather than the exception in any given meeting or collaboration at the office. How can we actively create culture and environments that support the possibility of being whole at work?

First, what is wholeness really? As Martin suggests, wholeness is not always pretty. It means showing up with our less desirable qualities, history, and quirks along with all of our positive characteristics. It means being vulnerable sometimes. It means not always being liked. It means not always getting it right. The question is, how do we behave as professionals at the same time? Certainly we can’t all become raging lunatics completely driven by our emotions.

What does the Whole Professional look like? I’ll put a few ideas out there:

  • A person who has a very similar demeanor and characteristic at home and at work (congruent)
  • A person who, because they are congruet and whole, has values driven conduct which they are happy to take a stand for
  • A person who has self-respect
  • A person who respects others, especially in their vulnerabilities
  • A person who delights in the success of others
  • A person who admits fear, defeat or failure
  • A person who shares peak experiences
  • A person who listens
  • A person who speaks clearly, from their heart

Please share your ideas about what a Whole Professional looks like!

To find out more about how to be whole and congruent in your personal and professional life, contact me to schedule a Centerline Process session!


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