Its question many of us struggle with. We know people spend a lot of time protecting themselves or hiding parts of themselves to avoid conflict and/or embarrassment or securing power at the job. But this subtly, or maybe not so subtly, creates the “me at work” versus the “real me”. Without this wholeness at work, more and more separation happens within ourselves, and between each other. It gets us further away from our calling and shared vision with our co-workers. Eventually, gaps begin to arise between what we feel and what we do; what we say privately and what we say in a meeting or what we know about the organizations principles and how we apply them.
Over that last few years, Penny Lane has created more opportunities for staff to connect their larger lives to their day-to-day work and vice versa. It has been a journey for us but over time folks have been vulnerable and have exposed parts of themselves that they hadn’t shared before. Conflict and different perspectives have been discussed and debated sometimes heatedly. We have admitted when we made a mistake, even a mistake that may have hurt someone else. We have faced head on the times we have let down those we serve and support and felt every moment of disappointment. We have held each other when something tragic has happened at home even when it has adversely affected our work duties. But we have learned it is worth it. We have learned that Penny Lane cannot be a heart-centered organization if we are not willing to do our work with open hearts. It really must start with us. We have become comfortable and have embraced words and feelings like love, spirituality, purpose, calling, service, and soul. We have bravely shared our stories. We have learned when we show our hearts’ softness, we give permission for others to do so as well. And we realized we cannot expect those we serve and support to be vulnerable if we don’t do it first. I can’t describe the feeling at Penny Lane when you know you are the furthest thing away from your most put together self, but you are still valued and accepted. It is this true sense of belonging that makes Penny Lane special. Most importantly, we have discovered extraordinary things happen when people bring all of who they are to work.
Most organizations are defined by the conversations they are not having. But at Penny Lane we are committed to having the difficult conversations. Penny Lane understands that we all basically want the same thing. Everyone desires the feeling of belonging and connection — a sense of purpose that is recognized and valued by others. Any situation can be approached from fear and separation or from love and connection. We choose love and connection. With that calling we move forward fearlessly.