Standing out, disrupting the norm; maybe it's time...
As old paradigms crumble, a new age of reckoning has befallen our society. We are confronted with the id and with our own humanity, and challenged to reconcile the two in the wake of this phase shift. While some choose to stay plugged into the matrix, meaning people stay tapped into what is comfortable and familiar, a large amount of people are choosing to go to the fringe and sit on the helm of this shift. What is the fringe? It is to sit at the precipice of everything we’ve ever known, and go deeper into the realm of the unknown equipped with nothing but grit, wit, and live authentically and freely. There Where do we go from here while this shift is happening? What is it that a majority of humans are looking for in work? What are we hoping to find? What is driving some of us towards the unknown, and the rest of us to stay plugged in?
With Americans working more hours than ever before and the new working class struggling to find financial security and life-balance, we are no longer conforming to the old system of hierarchical power structures and instead moving into a more collaborative, integrated, cooperative space where you're encouraged to tap into your creative side as much as your intellectual side. Up until this point everything stayed in its lane with little to no overlap: intelligence was purely functional and creativity was purely fantastical, and that’s where they belonged.
When Google opened its headquarters in California in 1998, it forever changed the “corporate” landscape, and set the stage for the new working class. They challenged the system and changed the way people thought about their ideal workplace and set off a firestorm of innovation through the rise of what we look at as “startup culture.”
People are no longer conforming to labels and to the inflexible “brick and mortar” infrastructure to never leave their desks; instead, people are seeking meaning beyond the walls of their 5-by-5-foot cubicle space. Or, choosing to not ever step foot into a cubicle space altogether and living a digital work life.
Being stuck behind a desk 8-9 hours a day (if you live in NYC or now probably even San Francisco, that’s probably more like 10-11), 5 days per week, is not only unnatural to the human body, but it also physically cuts us off from our own bodies, stifling creativity. Being in tune with the rhythms of your body keeps you grounded and connected with yourself, and helps you tap into your higher power. Practicing yoga and meditation are known to which is why more and more people are practicing things like yoga and meditation. People are looking to get back in touch with their body, mind, and spirit by creating an environment that reflects their unique, inner world. Google, as mentioned above, has slip-and-slides, company pets are allowed, and so much more. It’s a bit more of a reflection of who we are; big kids that still love watching cartoons and riding roller coasters.
Disrupting the Status Quo
Leadership that is learning to tap into the true human spirit and instilling a culture that evokes the playful nature, and create an environment that inspires, are the ones that are winning. And, people that work with those leaders are finding that connection that lends to a much more warm, inviting, inspiring environment. With Americans working more hours than anyone in the industrialized world, and with the freelance population larger than ever before; the new generation has pushed for a sense of having a “home away from home” workplace, or even working from home or remote regions. This isn’t just about a certain age group (aka: millennials), but rather those that are “unplugging” from the norm and that can be done by anyone at any age.
What’s the cost of staying plugged in? Most are merely covering up the fact that we are working longer hours with a smaller salary by creating a false sense of care and security through these amenities. By not moving towards the things that move you, this keeps slips a person farther from their authentic self and even farther from a better quality of life.
Disruption and getting closer to one’s own “higher power” builds strength, and strength itself is built by breaking old, frail structures down and building stronger ones. It’s in that tipping point where our strength and courage gets tested, when we are tired and vulnerable, that one is confronted with limits. As Arnold Schwarzenegger put it, “this area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion.” What Schwarzenegger understood is how similar our bodies functioned in the way that the world functioned; the body being a small universe that functioned much the same way as the one outside of our bodies.
So, now’s the time to think on this. What’s holding you back? Are you ready to disrupt your status quo? If so, what’s your BEST first step?