Last week I listened to an interview with Tal Ben-Shahar – an author and lecturer at Harvard University who currently teaches the largest course on “Positive Psychology” and the third largest on “The Psychology of Leadership.”
Needless to say it was an awesome interview and so much of it I related to the leadership of parenting. One of the highlights from the interview that really resonated with me was how he simplified mindset into 3 categories: JOB, CAREER, or CALLING .
Just because the categories seem fitting to the workplace, don’t be fooled. It is absolutely akin to the work we put in as parents. He says, “how you approach a situation matters.” In describing the 3 categories above, he first provides context by referencing the following happiness study and then provides a great parenting example.
The study was done on janitors at hospitals. The interview was to assess what influences their happiness and job satisfaction in what admittedly may first appear to be one of the least desirable jobs. Tal Ben-Shahar stated that the mindset of JOB, CAREER, CALLING made all the difference in the spectrum of high to low janitorial job satisfaction. Those who approach their work, task, duty as a JOB view it as a means to an end. In their view and perspective on life, this is a “have to” obligation to fulfill. For those who approach responsibilities and duties as a CAREER, they’re working towards goals linked to their core values. It’s a focus on the future with a “what’s next?” mentality to keep moving to the next step. Those who view what they do as a CALLING are connected to a deeper purpose and meaning in what they do and how they do it. It is an ability to just “be.” In that sense of presence, they intuitively find the value & greater purpose of how this one current thing is in synchronicity to other things happening simultaneously.
In his discussion of happiness he describes how our lives are a product of a subjective state of mind. In effect, our ability to recognize the lens by which we filter the information around us is what creates our happiness. It’s as simple and as hard as asking ourselves, “what I am choosing to focus on?” In giving his parenting example, Tal Ben-Shahar prefaces by saying we can decide how to enter our experience and describes 3 Ways You Can Enter A Bedtime Routine:
JOB – “If I don’t do it, how else will the kids get to bed. I have no choice.”
CAREER – “When I get home I’m going to make a healthy dinner because it’s good for the kids.” You do it because it’s attached to a value you may have around health and nutrition, but don’t love it.
CALLING – “I have 2 hours to be with the people I love the most because our time together is meaningful, purposeful.” You refocus to the present moment and consciously look for ways to practice being in the “here in now” with time as it presents itself.
If you’re looking to raise your level awareness, I highly recommend my ELI™ Parenting Assessment! It is the perfect way to bridge today’s insights from Professor Tal Ben-Shahar and taking action to recognize the lens by which we filter the information around us. There’s always room to learn from our setbacks and even more importantly to learn from the meaningful successes in our parenting. Find about your unique combination of 7 key factors that influence your parenting.