Balance is hard to achieve these days especially for those who are in the corporate world. However it can be done. Though sometimes it has to come with a turning point in life, as was the case for Mark Langford, author of THANK GOD IT’S WEDNESDAY! THE BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL’S GUIDE TO REALIZING PURPOSE, PASSION AND LIFE/WORK BALANCE. Mark it is a pleasure to meet up with you thanks for doing a Candid Conversation.
Mark L.: My pleasure, Cliff and I appreciate your interest in promoting life balance to your readers. You have a great blog concept and I’m honored that you asked me to contribute to it!
Cliff T.: Thank you, I mentioned that sometimes an event has to come to pass for people to change things and direction in their lives, you had just such an experience. What were you doing and what happened that caused you to decide to make some changes and what was the event that caused the sudden stop in your life?
Mark L.: Well, I can trace the inception of my current station in life as a Transformational Career Coach back to a near death experience I had while living and working overseas in 2004. I was working in Switzerland launching one of the world’s first deployments of Internet television. In full health and at the pinnacle of my career I contracted a penicillin-resistant staph (MRSA) infection following a routine, outpatient Arthroscopy. It caused me to spend 41 days immobilized in a foreign hospital, undergo a dozen invasive and very painful surgeries, and to lose 35 pounds (and I’m a guy that needs to gain weight, not lose it!). I came out of one 9-hour surgery in really bad shape and my lungs filled-up with fluid – it felt like I was drowning in my bed. Between the panic of not being able to breathe, the non-stop pain, and emotional fatigue, I finally surrendered all my resistance and I told “God” that I wanted out. I was really ready to be done with it all. In that moment – when I dropped all my resistance - that I entered into a state of utter bliss and complete knowing. It was like being in full awareness and omnipotence – like stepping into the Library of Congress for the Universe that stored all knowledge and intelligence.
I truly believe that I communed with some higher power that evening. I felt as if I was being held like a babe in arms and I experienced the most pure, unconditional love I have ever known. The most amazing part was that this divine entity allowed me to ask it questions. It provided me with answers to all of my burning curiosities about things like life, love, and why things are like they are in the world. For hours I laid there in this dreamlike state, asking question after question and being granted answers that came in the form of thoughts and feelings (not words). Ultimately, I posed the question everyone wants to know and asked, “why am I here?” and to my utter astonishment, I received a response. This Being conveyed to me that I was born to be a teacher and healer. But what I forgot to ask in my amazement was “how” I was supposed to apply this gift in my life.
Cliff T.: Wow. Talk about getting shaken and stirred. So after getting back on your feet what did you decide to do?
Mark L.: I wish I could say everything fell magically into place after that mystical encounter. Instead, it launched me into a deep 10-year study of how to integrate higher consciousness and spirituality into my life and career and how to help others do the same. My ultimate breakthrough came when I began working with a life coach. That’s where it all clicked and became clear that I was meant to use my gifts in the business world and to support they type of people I knew best: business professionals like myself to move past their “Work Sickness” (live to work syndrome) and to how to create the time and space to let their unique gifts to emerge.
Cliff, what I can tell you is that now I feel gratitude every day because I get to do what I absolutely love. I get to help people to define and live their passions and purpose and to guide organizations to figure out their greater good. I feel like I am living proof that someone can have a great career as well as the level of life/work balance they desire.
Cliff T.: Was this the path to learning about as you put it “Work Sickness?” What was that like to realize that work was not helping, but in fact was hurting you?
Mark L.: So perhaps I should first explain a little about what I mean by the term “Work Sickness”… Work Sickness stems from following someone else’s “playbook” – external beliefs and expectations - to the exclusion of your own personal inner knowing. It manifests itself in the form of being constantly on the “grid” (i.e., checking email, texts and making oneself available to work even during personal time), feeling anxious and unfulfilled, and often shows up in the form of cynicism, fatigue and being overwhelmed. Work Sickness also saps energy, limits creativity, and evaporates hope leaving its victims feeling trapped by routine with seemingly no means of escape.
And, just to be clear, I am not saying that work is “bad.” In fact, work is a fundamental component of human existence as it transforms thoughts into things that improve and expand our ability to experience life. However, working to live is another story. If you have Work Sickness, then you do things out of compulsion instead of from joy. And, when the joy of living is eclipsed by a sense of obligation, self-sacrifice and lack-of-control, that’s when it hurts you – psychologically emotionally and even physically.
Fortunately, I found that there is a cure for Work Sickness and it doesn’t require any heavy-duty therapies, renunciation of wealth or metaphysical incantations. The way to overcome this disorder is to plug into the highest performing asset in your personal portfolio – your own creative ability. The antidote to Work Sickness is to employ a combination of tapping your inner wisdom, implementing efficient work practices and having the courage to take bold actions. These principles used together in a conscious and consistent manner provide a foundation for a healthier, happier and more inspired career. And, needless-to-say, healthy, happy and inspired people are not afraid to use and express their full creative abilities and develop an immunity to Work Sickness.
Cliff T.: The book is called THANK GOD IT’S WEDNESDAY!, Love the title. Can you describe what it is that you are attempting to impart to your reader, audience?
Mark L.: TGIW is about you and how you can gain more clarity, confidence and control in your life and career. The book helps you figure out what your purpose is, how to align your entire life around it and how to use more of your talents and abilities to bring your unique gifts into the world. TGIW teaches that your Professional Purpose (graphically represented below) is the intersection of:
The book also shows how your “outer game” – or what your environment and what you are experiencing – is simply a reflection of your “inner game” – or your dominant thoughts and beliefs and what you “tune into.” It offers strategies on how to connect with your inner genius using creative insights, innovative ways to evoke your creative “Source Energy.” It also offers hands-on exercises and samples of success that illuminate the path to personal and professional success.
Cliff T.: You mention that the idea is to plug into creative “Source Energy,” can you describe what this means?
Mark L.: OK, but I’m going to get a little metaphysical. I use the term Source Energy to describe the vibrational, self-aware energy that gives rise to everything that exists in the Universe. Everything originates and ends in Source Energy and it is the very definition of “life.”
Perhaps the most salient aspect of the Universe (the medium though which Source Energy is able to express itself) is the way it enables human thought to manifest physical reality. Like a computer system, the Universe (framework) along with the Natural Laws (operating system) provides the means in which we can conceive (input) and create (output). Consider for a moment that absolutely everything man-made finds its genesis in creative thought. We can literally “will” things into and out of material existence. Starting from thought, we form plans and concepts. We can then choose to transform our thoughts into things by taking action on them. The sequence that transmutes thoughts into things is called the “Creative Process,” and it is a gift given to us by Source Energy and supported by the Universe and Natural Laws.
Like composers, we provide the creative direction for any type of music we wish to compose —be it melodic, dissonant, soothing, agitating, cheerful, sorrowful, inspiring or even horrific. The Creative Process is available to every one of us 24 hours per day, 7 days per week throughout our entire lives and allows us to manifest whatever we can conjure up and believe in.
Stated simply, you and I have the power to create whatever we desire. Energy makes up everything in the Universe - from the sun and stars to the lint in your pocket. In Physics, there is a principle called the Law of Conservation of Energy. This Law stipulates that energy can only change form and can never be created or destroyed. This transmutation of energy from one state into another is the very secret to conscious manifestation. A creative thought backed by action is behind every invention, discovery and development that ever came to fruition. The real power of manifestation comes when you learn to use it intentionally to choose whatever it is you wish to experience.
Cliff T.: Also noticeable is a focus on the spiritual. That leads to a question, how can a career driven person gain wisdom and spiritual insight, while still staying the course of a corporate path? The two worlds seem to collide. How does one make them mesh together and does the book act as a guide to doing that?
Mark L.: Teilhard de Chardin, the famous French philosopher and Jesuit priest, once said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” I love this quote because it is often forgotten that humans are three part beings: mind, body and soul. If you believe this, you come to realize that you are never not a spiritual being – even at work. “Spirituality in the workplace” sounds almost oxymoronic. However, spirit is the self-aware energy that gives life and order to the universe and everything therein. We are inherently spiritual beings and there is no switch we can flip to stop the flow of spirit from running through us. We can, however, disconnect from (forget) our spiritual source through denial or ceasing to be self-aware. Re-connecting to spirit merely requires becoming “conscious” of it and allowing it to guide our thoughts, words and deeds instead of ceding that control to the mind-based ego.
Work environments today are rife with individuals disconnected from their spiritual source. This separation allows Work Sickness to set in and causes people to operate from the ego (scarcity and lack) rather than the spirit (love and unity). In a spiritually disconnected state, people tend to make decisions based solely on data provided by their physical senses. Such head-based decision-making places focus on the finite world and often manifests itself in the form of self-interest and short-term solutions. By contrast, conscious decision-making uses both the head and the heart.
So the question becomes, “how does one achieve decision-making that is more heart-centric and conscious?” Deepak Chopra, noted physician and holistic health guru advises people to “make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge.” He says that, “those are the three things the ego is doing all the time.”
TGIW teaches how to stay conscious and connected to Source Energy at work by becoming a Spiritual Professional – or a being who make heart-centric decisions. Spiritual Professionals are conscious business leaders who exhibit the following characteristics:
• Go “within” themselves for answers
• Believe in themselves and act authentically
• Know their personal values and act upon them
• Integrate “making a difference” into their business
• Display willingness to be vulnerable
• Understand that there is no scarcity or lack
• Lead by example and are role models
• Express themselves through love
Unfortunately, the business world equates “spirituality” to “religion” and it does readily nurture and support the spiritual aspect of our human “beingness.” As a result, the professional work world has yet to embrace the notion Spiritual Professionals -- but the expanding global consciousness and books like TGIW are starting to change that.
Cliff T: The book seems to be geared towards the busy business person. Would, or could anyone get something from reading this book?
Mark L.: It is. I wrote Thank God It’s Wednesday! for those who aren’t happy with what they’re doing and who feel a tickle deep down in their souls to do or be something bigger. I wanted to provide a guide on how to identify what that tickle is (your soul whispering that you have untapped gifts to bring into this world), and what to do about it (create time and space to explore, define and realize your purpose). Basically the intent of this book is to those who feel stuck, and/or who have Work Sickness, to break through and to create a better version of themselves – kind of like a software upgrade.
Cliff T.: How has writing the book helped you? Have you been able to continue on your career path while still expressing the creative and spiritual side that you tapped into?
Mark L.: The book truly originated from Source Energy. Thoughts and ideas emerged in my head and I simply captured, organized, and committed them to paper. Writing it helped focus my thoughts and ideas and having it published enabled all the tools and techniques it contains to be shared with a wide audience who feel stuck or inflicted with Work Sickness.
I walked the talk in TGIW by transitioning out of the corporate world and becoming an author, motivational speaker and professional career coach. I believe that I am becoming a Spiritual Professional who lives and works from the heart instead of the head – well, at least most of the time. I have to admit that I still “fall asleep” from time-to-time and forget who I am - a spiritual being having a human experience. When I realize that I have nodded off (from my higher consciousness), I use the techniques detailed in TGIW to reconnect to Source Energy. One of them, for example, is simply to ask, “what am I thinking?” When you ask this question, you realize that you are not your thoughts and that there is an “observer” of your thoughts. When you ask this question, you jump right into your Higher Consciousness, and it is from this place that you can direct and guide your lower conscious thoughts, behaviors and actions much like a director of a movie or a play who is watching everything transpire.
Cliff T.: Well it sounds like you really have come into your own with this book. THANK GOD IT’S WEDNESDAY sounds like a great read for anyone, but especially for career minded looking to tap their true purpose and potential. Thanks for sharing your insights with me and the readers of Candid Conversations.
Mark L.: Thanks for all the great questions, Cliff. I enjoyed talking with you and I invite your readers to reach out to me if they want to learn more about how to get unstuck or to move past Work Sickness.
Mark Langford is the author of the book THANK GOD IT’S WEDNESDAY! The Business Professional’s Guide to Realizing Purpose, Passion and Work/Life Balance.
Mark wrote to us from Los Angeles in the U.S., For more about TGIW and Mark visit, http://TGIW.com.