There is a man with whom I recently worked. He is a psychiatrist who has a disciplined mind and a firm commitment to science. He also has a PhD in theology. He is a member of a lay organization in the Catholic Church. He lives a highly disciplined personal life and radiates humility and love. He works as a professor of leadership at a university. He is also a spiritual guide to the people he associates with in his lay ministry.
He says his highest purpose is to help people “sanctify their work.” Sanctify means to make sacred. He believes that all work can be made sacred. When we tie the work we do, no matter how mundane, to a higher purpose, the work becomes more meaningful because we suddenly do it with our whole being.
In connecting our tasks to a higher purpose, we begin to see ourselves as contributing to something larger. We see the self as a dynamic, growing system, making an essential contribution to a larger system. By finding a way to give ourselves away, we find and the reveal our best self.
When we pursue a higher purpose and reveal our best self, we find a self that is worth loving. When we love our growing self, we begin to feel love for others. Because we experience the unfolding of our own potential, we see the potential in others and we wish to assist in causing it to unfold.
In all realms of life, my friend seeks to help people make their work sacred. While he is a man of faith, he is also a man of science. In the professional realm, he does his work without using the language of religion. He uses science to help people see. In other realms, he uses a different language.
As I watched him, he did not seem to teach like other professors. He was instructing, as others do, but he was also quietly inspiring. Through a mastery of science and a mastery of love, he was inviting a group of mature professionals to make their work sacred.
As I watched, I made a connection. Just as many professors would say that what he does is not possible in a professional classroom, many managers would say that what transformational leaders do is not possible in a professional organization. It is not only possible, it is what transformational leaders do. Through leadership of the self–through consideration, inspiration, and challenge–they help people find their highest purpose and they help them make their work sacred. They then grow in all areas of their lives.
How many of your people see their work as sacred?
What portions of your work do you see as sacred?
How could you transform yourself and others?
How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?