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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

What is work? Another perspective...

“Not everything that counts can be counted” Einstein.

You can count money, romantic partners, qualifications, publications, clients and so on but that doesn’t mean they are what really counts in life…

Yet, we are rarely asked what it is that really counts for us - the deeper “why” of things as Simon Sinek puts it.

If we want to get things done, we need to be able to tap into the deeper “why” (for ourselves and others we may work with and lead) to inspire action.

At the deepest level, the "why" of our efforts is often a desire to live our most vibrant lives and share the experience with others, like when we were children...


Much is being written in psychology and neuroscience about the importance of Emotional Intelligence in leadership including the need to improve: 1) self-regulation (see the short video on this) and; 2) the management of relationships.

This creates a conundrum for those who have high IQs and may not have had the opportunity to develop their emotional muscle: what needs to be done to solve a problem is obvious from a logical perspective, but motivating others to get on board and make a difference seems tricky if not impossible.

This can lead to a sense of frustration and hopelessness. But sometimes all that is required is a commitment to the development of leadership qualities and upgrading our emotional intelligence to the next level.

If you’re feeling stuck and unsatisfied in a job, it’s a good opportunity to check where emotional growth might be needed.

  • Do you need to learn...

  • to cope with uncertainty?

  • say no and carve out time and resources for your own projects?

  • focus and manage distractions?

  • to show your vulnerability to connect with others?

  • simply slow down for once in your life?

  • take a risk of some kind?...

Transforming our work lives will usually require that we step outside our comfort zone and go on a journey.

It might look like letting go of a job or stepping up to show greater leadership in your team.

Often we might not know the exact destination or the likelihood of success…but by improving our self-awareness and opening up to the unknown with courage, we develop the clarity we need to see the next right step on our path. Opportunities start to emerge and invite us in a new direction...


The real work of the 21st Century, particularly if you are in a wealthy, materially secure society, is not intellectual but emotional. It’s not about acquiring more technical knowledge and information but about developing wisdom and acting with deliberate intent. It’s not about coming up with clever concepts but allowing ourselves to participate in relationships in an authentic and vulnerable way.

Emotional work can be summed up using Daniel Goleman’s emotional intelligence matrix (below), as the ability to recognise our emotional state and regulate it with a longer term view.gfv

Extending this to an ability to recognise the emotional state of other and act appropriately facilitates collaborative magic in groups.

So...what emotional homework will you set yourself this week?...

Thank you to those who have signed up for Wise Wednesdays Live this evening exploring the question is “If I had everything I wanted in my life, what would I do with my career?” Feel free to do this exercise at home!

Watch this space for further information if you are interested in a space to meet and discuss career choices at a deep level.

Until next week,


Questions, comments or interest in Transformational Coaching for careers? Email me on

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