2014 – Year of Alignment

By on January 1, 2014

Living in modern society can be tough.
It is stressful. A recent global survey of 1000 corporations across 15 countries commissioned by The Regus Group found that 6 in 10 workers have experienced increased stress in the last two years.
It is soul killing. According to the Gallup organization’s Global Workplace Report conducted in 142 countries, only 13% of employees are truly engaged in their jobs. That leaves 63% who are just “showing up”, and a whopping 24% who are negative, miserable, and actively spreading their misery around!

It is potentially deadly. In Japan Karoshi – death from overwork,  and karojisatsu – suicide from overwork and stressful working conditions, are still prevalent. Official statistics from the Japanese government place death by karoshi at just under 300 people in 2010, but it is widely recognized that the numbers are much higher as most families do not pursue legal action. Of the 30,000 plus suicides each year, many are attributed to overwork and other employment conditions.

What can you do about it?
While the underlying causes of these statistics are often external factors such as the economy, corporate policies, or inept managers that are beyond the control of the average person, there is something you can do to take control and thrive even in the most difficult times – identify and align with your Authentic Core.
Your Authentic Core is comprised of four key areas: values, strengths, purpose and vision, and aligning with each one of them provides different benefits that help to combat stress, increase health, and build foundations for lasting happiness and fulfillment.

Values Alignment: Values misalignment is one of the biggest sources of stress in our lives. This is because your values are like promises that you have made to yourself. When your actions (or the actions of those around you) are not aligned with these values, you feel the same about yourself as you would about anyone else who constantly broke promises to you. While you can’t change other people’s values, you can limit the energy drain from values misalignments by simply becoming aware of the values that are being compromised. Once you are conscious of where the stress is coming from, it becomes easier to create strategies to address the relationships or circumstances that are responsible.

Strengths Alignment: Aligning with your strengths can provide a huge source of energy to combat the inevitable stressors of things that are beyond your control. Get clear on those things that you love to do so much that a whole day spent doing them leaves you feeling energized, rather than tired.

Purpose Alignment: Books and research are exploding on the links between aligning with your purpose and growing happiness, health, and success. A strong sense of purpose helps you to persist with enthusiasm and hopefulness even when external challenges appear. Having a sense that what you are doing has meaning beyond just making money or satisfying your own physical needs is also deeply energizing at a spiritual level. Long hours worked in service of the greater good are energizing. Long hours worked out of fear or obligation drain your body and your soul to their core.

Vision Alignment: Having a clear vision for your future provides direction, energy and focus despite the abundant distractions that come our way on a daily basis. If you do not have a clear vision (or do not consciously refer to your vision daily), you are being more driven by other people’s visions than your own. While you still might need to comply with your company’s vision to keep your job, having a clear vision for what you want to achieve in your own life and work makes it far more likely that you will meet both their goals and your own.
Whether you are having a personal energy crisis, or simply looking to feel more alive in 2014, a focus on increasing your alignment will take you there. Here’s to The Year of Alignment, and a healthy, happy, and prosperous future for us all!

About Andrea Jacques

Andrea Jacques is the founder of Kyosei Consulting and the author of Wabi-Sabi Wisdom: Inspiration for an Authentic Life (available on Amazon.com). She has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of people and businesses worldwide, five of which were in Japan. A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work helps individuals and organizations build thriving, purpose-driven cultures where employees know their work truly matters. Learn about career and entrepreneur coaching programs (and download some free tools for meaningful work and living your purpose) at www.kyoseicoaching.com or their workplace transformation programs at www.kyoseiconsulting.com