The Ultimate Audit
Not your usual end-of-year review.
As you approach the end of a very challenging year, it may be worth taking a deeper pause than usual. Step back for a moment and reflect on your larger purpose, on what you think your work is really for.
Whether you are employed, looking for a job, running a business, parenting or volunteering, consider carrying out the Ultimate Audit on your work.
In our book Work Passion Power: Strategies for a working life you love, we write:
The ultimate audit … of how aligned you may be with a path towards sustainably satisfying work, lies in a simple but slightly personal question: “To what extent does my work express unconditional love?” p. 135
This deeper audit is often a missing ingredient in discussions about fulfilment at work. The kind of love we’re talking about is not just about making a difference. It’s not even just about doing what you love.
People can make a difference painting the kitchen ceiling, and some love playing computer games and golf. Those activities are fine, but they are just respite in the bigger scheme of things.
We’re talking about the kind of caring that makes you brake hard to avoid hitting a mother duck shepherding her little ones across the road.
A few years ago, we did just that. It was a turning moment for us as we watched cars line up with their hazard lights blinking – everyone waiting for that mother duck and her ten babies. “Look how important they are,” I said to Frances. She replied, “It’s love that does it – touches the heart and stops the traffic.” That’s the kind of love we’re talking about.
Work and unconditional love don’t sit easily together in the hard-headed world of work and business. But a little awkwardness shouldn’t be allowed to blind us to the facts or stop us moving towards a lasting level of satisfaction with work.
Word of clarification
By ‘unconditional love’, we mean selfless love, expressing the highest level of service to others. Adding ‘unconditional’ broadens the point and nails this aspiration to the highest rung of endeavour. Unconditional love stands clear above politics. That’s what makes it powerful for the betterment of humanity.
Unconditional love is a big ask, but it drives the very deepest enquiry into the meaning of your work. Here’s a little thought pattern that can help.
It’s a simple three-step process: step out, step up, step in
- Pause for a moment. Literally stop. Step out of the whirl of your normal activity.
- Then ‘step up’ in your thought. Ask yourself, “To what degree am I expressing unconditional love with my work?” Locate yourself on a 1-to-10 scale.
-  means you think you are not at all expressing the highest level of service to others that you could be. Work is just work, something to be got through.
 means you could not do more. Your work expresses deep and unconditional love towards those around you – whether friend or enemy, client or competitor.
Then simply commit to shifting the dial on your Ultimate Audit for next year. Commit to adding a point or two to the score you’d like to have for December 2021. If you need support.
Thank you for all your contributions this year, and have a truly great break over the holiday season.
Max and Frances