Bringing Wholeheartedness to Work

Published: Wed, 01/24/18


I want to talk about wholeheartedness today. It's a term from Dr. Brené Brown who is a researcher, social scientist, popular TEDx speaker, and author.

She talks about "wholeheartedness" in her books Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection.

I like it. I purposely want to bring our hearts into the picture, at work. Brené has written pages and pages related to wholeheartedness, so I'm going with this brief definition today.

Wholeheartedness: The capacity to engage in our lives with authenticity [while] cultivating courage and compassion.

What if we embraced the idea of wholeheartedness in how we handle ourselves in our organizations, work, and business?

Brené uses the concepts in her books to develop one-page manifestos. I used Brené's one-pager on wholehearted parenting as inspiration for how we can carry ourselves in wholeheartedness at work. Let's try on these aspirations.

  • Above all else, I want you to know that you are valued and valuable.
  • You will learn this from my words and actions — there are learnings about self-respect and empowerment in how I treat you and how I treat myself.
  • I want us to engage with the world, our clients, our constituents and each other from a place of worthiness.
  • We will practice courage in our organization by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room for both.
  • We will practice accountability and respect. We learn by watching each other make mistakes and make amends.
  • As we travel our wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that we give each other is to empower our own selves with our whole hearts and to dare greatly.

Do we need everyone to go here with us? It would certainly move things along in making the workplace more human. And yet, it is amazing what one person can do, and we have to start somewhere.

This is my first take on what being it could mean to be wholehearted at work. More to come on how we can create a more human workplace.

A version of this post originally ran on the Lead Change Group site on October 16 , 2013.​​​​​​​
About Mary Schaefer: Speaker, coach, trainer, consultant and self-designated Chief Encouragement Officer.


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