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Rethinking Career Legacy, Success, and Faith at Work

14 Jun, 2024

By Kevin Anselmo*

While our workplace contributions may be forgotten in the long term, a mindset shift centered on faith, spirituality, and the greater good can renew our professional fulfillment, writes Kevin Anselmo.


There is plenty of advice out there – much of it lofty and grandiose – about making a lasting impact at work. For example, facilitators of leadership workshops often ask participants how they want to be remembered after leaving a company or retiring from their career. The intent behind such questions is to prompt self-reflection and introspection on an idealized future centered around personal accomplishments, accolades, and glories.

However, these feel-good exercises gloss over a sobering reality: over time, most individual contributions and achievements will inevitably be forgotten. Whether you are an executive, entrepreneur, independent contributor, or any other professional, your contributions in the workplace will probably become a faint memory of others soon after you tender your resignation. Zooming out a few more years and decades, the specifics of both the person and the work done will likely be forgotten.

Just go back 100 years and consider: how many people in the workforce can you name from 1924? Think about a job you moved on from, say, 10 years ago, and then imagine walking through that same office today. It’s highly likely that the majority of the company’s current employees have no idea about former colleagues or the contributions they made. Furthermore, it’s important to recognize that some of the organizations where we work may one day cease to exist. So, the question becomes, should we even endeavor to leave a lasting mark on an organization? If so, how?

Aspiring to be at the top of an industry is an admirable goal. Yet, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the very nature of jobs may undergo significant change in the relatively near future, particularly with current advances in artificial intelligence.

Ultimately, everyone faces the end of their lives, bequeathing the financial assets and possessions accrued to heirs or friends – and over time these individuals will carry on life as normal. While these realities may initially seem disheartening, embracing and adapting to them can be incredibly freeing and invigorating in our professional lives. Rather than being a source of despair, accepting the transient nature of individual impact and the ever-evolving environment of work can actually open up new perspectives and opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment. Moreover, exploring spirituality can provide a powerful antidote and offer a sense of purpose, connection, and resilience.

Here are three mindset shifts to navigate this reality and find renewed purpose in work:

Connecting faith to work

We are often advised to avoid discussing religion and politics in our various interactions with strangers, and particularly with colleagues at work. While this makes sense in certain contexts, it can also seem at odds with the growing trend of encouraging employees to bring their authentic and full selves to work. Embracing unique traits, experiences, and perspectives contributes to a more inclusive and innovative work environment. According to PwC, 85% of companies with a formal diversity and inclusion strategy reported an improved bottom line.

Faith, as a core aspect of identity for many individuals, should not be excluded from this conversation – and that encompasses any worldview or religion. As it relates to religion, a study by researchers at Georgetown University and Brigham Young University found a positive relationship between religious freedom and 10 of the 12 pillars of global competitiveness, as measured by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.Companies are taking action. According to the 2024 Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Index (REDI), 85.8% of Fortune 500 companies now mention religion as part of their broader commitment to diversity, more than double the number in 2022 (202 companies, or 40.4%). The study also found a 68% increase in the number of Fortune 500 companies showcasing that they have faith-oriented employee business resource groups over the past two years. This year’s index lists American Airlines and Accenture as the most religiously inclusive global companies.

Redefining success through a spiritual lens

Regardless of whether an organization actively fosters religious diversity, individuals can benefit from exploring how their work aligns with their faith and traditions. One powerful approach to finding meaning in a career is to redefine success through the lens of personal spiritual beliefs. Success is a concept that society typically associates with money, influence, prestige, and power. While there is nothing wrong with such pursuits when achieved in an ethical manner, examining them in a spiritual context can provide a more profound sense of purpose, particularly in how we approach our ephemeral career impact.

In the book The Road to Character, David Brooks distinguishes between résumé virtues – skills that contribute to external success in the job market – and the deeper eulogy virtues, such as honesty, kindness, and the quality of relationships. Although most people would agree that eulogy virtues hold greater importance, many tend to prioritize résumé virtues. By leaning into one’s spiritual belief traditions, we may be able to better incorporate these eulogy virtues and their convictions into our career and everyday purpose at work.

Focusing on the greater good and releasing self-imposed pressure

Many of us seek the approval of others – we want to feel needed, to be in control of our lives, and to make a name for ourselves. However, these desires can be debilitating and hinder personal growth. Recognizing that some people may not approve of us – whether justified or not – and that eventually our services within a company will no longer be needed can help alleviate the pressure we place on ourselves. There is a sense of relief to realize that while our career successes may be forgotten, so will our career failures.

This doesn’t diminish the importance of our work, however. On the contrary, many faith traditions emphasize the value of doing one’s best work at all times, regardless of recognition or lasting impact. For many individuals, incorporating faith into their work can shift the emphasis toward the greater common good. This mindset also influences how we treat one another. When our primary focus is individual glory as part of our legacy, we are more likely to make ruthless decisions to advance our agenda. By adopting a realistic approach to our career legacies, we can prioritize treating our fellow human beings with respect and kindness rather than advancing our individual objectives.

So, fear not about the forgotten nature of our work. In fact, accepting it can actually bring greater peace and remove the pressure that comes with pursuing personal fame. By aligning our work with a higher purpose, we can find contentment and motivation, knowing that our professional efforts contribute to something beyond ourselves and align with a higher purpose. This perspective also encourages us to be more considerate team players.

Imagine 100 years from now. The year is 2124. It is not as distant as it seems. We will all be gone soon. Recognizing the fleeting nature of our existence underscores the urgent need to rethink our approach to work and to our professional lives in general. Embracing these mindset shifts and incorporating faith and spirituality – whatever that might be to you – into our work, can help us find renewed purpose, and a greater connection to the world and people around us.


* Kevin Anselmo is the founder of a communications consultancy and the author of Reframing Career Success: Picture Your Significance at Work from a Christian Perspective. He leads workshops to help participants incorporate faith in their work. Learn more at www.reframingcareersuccess.com and contact Kevin via email – kevin.anselmo@gmail.com. Originally published on June 11, 2024, in INSIGHTS: Knowledge Information, ieUniversity. Reprinted with permission of the author.

RFBF welcomes Dave Law as a UK Workplace Fellow

12 Jun, 2024

RFBF welcomes David Law, Bsc (Hons) CSci CChem MRSC, as a UK Workplace Fellow!

Dave is one of the founders of the Faith at Work project in the UK, a movement of over 50 companies which encourages employers to support religion and belief in the workplace and support people of faith to bring their whole soul to work.

David led a group who shared the project with the British Prime Minister’s office, 10 Downing Street, in July 2023, and with the British Parliament All Party Parliamentary Group on International Freedom of Religion and Belief. Dave was one of the organisers of Faith in the Workplace conference on the 4th March 2024 in London (see timeline).

David is also an associate of Transform Work, a charity that supports Christian Workplace groups. He is analytical Chemist for Thames Water and lives in Reading with his wife and daughter.

Founding of the Ireland InterFaith Business Network

8 Jun, 2024

Yes indeed, think global act local

There is a global movement towards making workplaces religiously inclusive. This faith-and-belief-friendly initiative is global, but it is propelled by people in companies acting locally in ways that fit the environments where they work and live.

On Friday, ServiceNow Interfaith EMEA Lead Mariana Ciocca Alves Passos welcomed people from numerous companies and interfaith organisations based in Dublin to what was, as we concluded, the founding of the Ireland InterFaith@Work network.

Participants came from multiple sectors including financial services (Citigroup and PayPal), professional services (Accenture), and health (Bluebird Care), along with public sector employers such as the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

The network will plan towards a similar launch as we had of the US network in 2020 (now in its fifth year) and the UK network earlier this year.

ServiceNow is a top faith-and-belief company, participating in the REDI Index for three years running. This year ServiceNow’s debuted on the Fortune 500 list, reflecting the growth of the company, which  helps organizations of every size, in every industry, put AI to work for people. They estimate that 85% of the Fortune 500 have modernized their technology with ServiceNow.

Dare to Overcome: Keeping the Momentum Going

30 May, 2024

On 13th June we held a virtual follow up to our recent Faith@Work conference in Washington DC. DELL Technologies Interfaith ERG leaders described the “who, what, where, when, how & why” of the Feed the Hungry service project that they led at the Dare to Overcome conference.

This event will help you take the initiative to your own company and communities, and also serve as a networking opportunity to bring us together post conference. We tested out a new conference platform ‘nouri,’ which allows people to connect on the website and nouri app!

Religious freedom and integral human development: A new global platform

29 May, 2024

A one-day conference exploring innovative frameworks and strategies for fostering religion-sensitive and inclusive policies and engagements.

  • Virtual: TUE, JUNE 18, 2024 • 9:00 AM ET
  • Rome: WED, JUNE 5, 2024 • invitation only

The correlation between religious freedom and sustainable development has been largely overlooked. Despite its pivotal importance, religious freedom is scarcely addressed within the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and has notably been absent from global policy discussions on international development.

Failure to prioritize and nurture religious freedom may precipitate a resurgence of religious nationalism and extremism. Conversely, safeguarding religious freedom bolsters the prospects for lasting peace and contributes to the advancement of multiple SDGs.

This one-day conference aims to explore innovative frameworks and strategies for fostering religion-sensitive and inclusive policies and engagements. Additionally, it seeks to provide empirical evidence highlighting the relationship between religious freedom and economic development.

Tune in on June 18 at 9:00 a.m. ET to access the broadcast and exclusive coverage of the event.

 

Marsie Sweetland: ERG Leader of the Year

28 May, 2024

Washington DC, May 21, 2024: Marsie Sweetland was recognized as the ERG Leader of the Year at the 2024 Dare to Overcome conference, the annual gathering of Fortune 500 Faith@Work ERGs and allies. She was recognized for her outstanding contributions at Equinix and in the Fortune 500 to advance Covenantal Pluralism through faith-and-belief-friendly workplaces worldwide. The award was presented by Dr. Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, and Rebecca (Becky) Pomerleau, CPA, VP and Chief Audit Executive at Leslie’s, and an interfaith employee resource group (ERG) pioneer.

UK Religion and Belief Inclusion at Work Conference 2024

28 May, 2024

The current workplace landscape is witnessing a growing emphasis on religion and belief inclusion. This is crucial for creating a genuinely inclusive environment respecting a range of beliefs. Strides have been made to include various religious events and holidays, as well as reflection spaces for religious individuals. However, challenges persist, such as a lack of respect and tolerance towards different cultures and sometimes discrimination, whether intentional or unintentional. Companies need to engage effectively with employees to understand and meet their religious and belief-related needs.

  • — A study in 2013 found Muslims face particularly high levels of job discrimination, with Muslim men being up to 76% less likely to be employed compared to their white, male, British Christian peers. (Khattab & Johnston, 2013)
  • — Inside Out conducted an experiment in 2017 finding candidates with the “Adam” compared to candidates named “Mohamed” received 3 times more interviews, despite having identical CVs.
  • — In 2021 ComRes Faith Research Centre survey found about 3% of workers reported experiencing religious discrimination firsthand, while 4% were aware of others facing similar discrimination.
  • — By 2023, 219 companies in the fortune 500 clearly outline religion and diversity on their websites, up from 202 in 2022 and 43 companies publicly report having faith-oriented ERGs

Join us at The Religion and Belief Inclusion at Work Conference 2024 to collaborate on innovative approaches to harness the full potential of your organisation. Learn and benefit from a series of best practice case studies on a range of topics including creating flexible workplace policies to promote religious inclusivity, engaging with employees to assess their religious needs, and promoting education and awareness to create an open and productive working environment for all. You will also have the chance to network with senior colleagues and learn methods to drive support and wellbeing services that will allow your organisation to create an inclusive religious and belief environment.

Why Attend:

✓ Hear high-level keynotes on the latest initiatives in Religion and Belief Inclusion at Work from experts across a range of sectors

✓ Learn from case studies showcasing best practices in producing policies for religious diversity, support structures for employees, and celebrating such diversity

✓ Network with senior colleagues from a variety of sectors

✓ Gain 4 hours of CPD points towards your yearly quota

Dublin Faith@Work Roundtable

27 May, 2024

Dublin Faith@Work Roundtable

Join us at the Faith@Work Roundtable – we’ll discuss how religion & belief are part of workplace diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Come join us for an engaging discussion at our Dublin Faith@Work Roundtable event! Connect with like-minded individuals who are passionate about encouraging people to bring their whole selves and souls to work.

Experiences from companies as diverse as Rolls-Royce, Google, and Salesforce will be shared and explored as models for faith-and-belief-friendly workplaces. With the launch of the US and UK Faith@Work Networks, we’re looking to develop an Ireland Network as well.

Hosted at ServiceNow Ireland, join keynote speaker Dr. Brian Grim to share ideas, gain insights, and network with professionals from various industries. This in-person gathering is a great opportunity to learn, grow, and be inspired. Don’t miss out on this unique chance to explore the intersection of faith and work!

Questions? Email Mariana Ciocca Alves Passos (mariana.ciocca@servicenow.com), ServiceNow Interfaith EMEA Lead.

Reserve a spot today!

Brian Grim to speak at Shape the World Summit 2024

23 May, 2024

  • – Singapore
  • – 21 June 2024

The Shape the World Summit 2024 is a creative platform to share and discuss ideas to improve the state of our world by inspiring better organisations through unity and innovation by design with 5,800 leaders since 2005.’

Organised by Consulus, which is on a mission to shape a better and inclusive economic system by helping leaders, companies, and cities discover their better selves by enabling them to become the difference they are meant to be from the inside out.

Brian Grim will participate in the 21st June discussion on “Circle of Trust,”  which explores how a core circle can uphold trust within a movement for impactful change.