Good work is about living a fulfilling and meaningful life. Our normal concept of being a professional: namely, where “what you are good at?” meets “what you can be paid for?” is only a small part, albeit an important part, of finding our true purpose in life. And so it is for Good Work. No matter how successful we are as professionals, in earning money, in becoming a sought after employee, consultant, speaker, writer, most of us eventually start to ask “Is that it? Isn’t there more to life? What legacy do I want to leave the world?” For many this leads to “what is my reason for being?” These questions are where “what you love” and “what the world needs” come in.
How we find our own unique reason for being in a way that we can describe and follow is much easier, much more fulfilling and perhaps only possible for most of us when we explore this in a learning community with others simultaneously going through a similar journey of their own. The discussion and reflection of how philosophers, academics from a variety of fields, spiritual leaders and those who seem to have successfully found their own reason for being, are central to the shared learning that the Good Work Academy will help guide. Naturally, the discussions that will ensue, the learnings about our own journeys, the joys, the shocks that we encounter en route are deeply personal, very human and revealing. The open sharing of our own experiences, successes and failures and the listening and insights of other co-learners are the very crucible in which our own reason for being emerges, patiently and authentically our own.
Noticing how much we long to be more real and more deeply human can be for many a moment of spiritual awakening. What we seek is to be fully human, all our faculties working in harmony, grounded in our bodies and responsive to the wisdom of our heart and mind. The Good Work Academy therefore works at the edges, the boundaries of several spheres of life: the professional and being the best I can be at work, getting to the heart of what we are good at and can be paid for; the reflexive rigour of surfacing, assessing and describing our journeys that have brought us to this point; and the spiritual/philosophical dimensions of what we love and what the world needs from us. This process works best with a guide who has taken this path before us, reflected at length and developed a wisdom because of it, and who now operates in a way that helps each participant with the right listenings, nudges, suggestions of reading and writing that might provide additional insights, in a way that matches each person’s needs.
Most likely, you will already be a successful professional, with an inquiring disposition, asking yourself variations of the question “isn’t there more to life?” Such people are often relatively senior, sought after in their field and yet know that they have so much more that they could give, so much more influence they could have. Whilst the Academy can offer no guarantees of quick results, the journey that you will come on with us will get you to ask better questions of yourself, provide new insights as you learn from and with others in a way that’s much deeper than you have likely experienced before in a professional environment and just maybe some better answers than you had before.
Do you want to do good work, to make a positive difference in your corner of the world? You know it isn’t easy. There are obstacles in your environment and in yourself. It will take practice and along the way you would like a mentor and conversation partners who will be there to inspire and challenge you.
The GoodWork programme takes a practical and flexible approach to good work. Good work is not something we can develop just by reading, thinking or even talking about it. We have to do it. So the GoodWork programme offers opportunities to experiment with different ways of exploring our inner selves so that we can bring our true selves into the world. We also need companions on the way – people with whom we can share our experiences in a trusting and supportive environment. The GoodWork Academy operates as an inclusive community of people from different backgrounds who support its purpose and ethos. The Academy is open to people of all faiths or none and practices a non-discriminatory policy with regard to race, colour, creed, gender, age, national origin, handicap or sexual orientation.
When you join the programme you will be exposed to ideas from many different sources and be provided with tools designed to build your capability and confidence. You will join a small cohort of others from around the world who will become conversation partners on the journey. And we will provide mentoring to help you design a learning plan that addresses your goals, with feedback and support tailored to your situation.
If you are interested in joining the programme you are invited to participate in one of our launch events. The launch event serves as a taster designed to help you decide whether you would like to join a small group of 4-6 people that will engage in a process of inquiry and practice over an initial six month period.
Everyone, and every group is different. The following elements provide a loose structure to be adapted to suit each group:
1. An initial ‘gathering’ together to contract around the process, individually and collectively. The group will establish its own working pattern around the principles of acceptance, security (trust), stimulation and challenge.
2. Following the initial meeting the group will meet online every couple of weeks to explore fresh insights on the principles and practice of good work. Participants will be encouraged to keep a reflective journal of their experiences of good work and share their stories with the group. Individual mentoring between sessions will be available online or face to face.
3. At the end of the 6 month period the group can review the process and may decide to continue for a further 3 months.
4. At the end of this period (6-9 months) participants may decide to walk away and continue their good work on their own, or they may choose to continue their association with the Academy as an Associate.
We have chosen to call our work an Academy to create a speculative link to the ancient gathering of scholar-practitioners of ancient Greece. Good work raises more questions than answers. At the end of the formal programme we won’t have answered all the questions and we want to provide an opportunity for anyone who would like to maintain their association with the GoodWork Academy and continue their inquiries with us to do so. We will be exploring how this might work with the groups who join the programme.
Over time, as the programme develops, we would like to bring together a group of elders (who might be called Members of the Academy) who can continue the work, taking responsibility for facilitating small groups of new participants and contributing fresh perspectives on the principles and practice of good work.