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Buddhism in the Workplace - With Natalie Porter

Published: 3 years, 9 months ago

As well as being Managing Consultant for The Source in our NSW practice, I am also a practitioner of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, a humanistic movement founded in Japan in the late 13th century. This is life philosophy where you find joy through dedicating your life to the happiness of others whilst continuing to polish your life and imperfections and become the best possible version of yourself. Over the last 6 years of practice I have made great changes in my personal and professional life and I feel has attributed to my success. I have been able to build stronger relationships, bury my ego and take accountability for my actions. I would like to share how you can practically take Buddhist principals into your workplace to drive productivity and increase morale.


The following tips will help you in your current work situation whether you are a manager, a team member, a disgruntled employee – Buddhism teaches us that we all have the same potential and acts as a catalyst to tap into that potential!


Tip 1 - No more moaning


The 1st President of this movement has said that the most important thing is to first become indispensable wherever you are. Instead of moaning that a job differs from what you'd like to be doing, he said, become a first-class individual at the job. This will open the path leading to your next phase in life, during which you should also continue doing your best. Such continuous efforts are guaranteed to land you a job that you like, that supports your life, and that allows you to contribute to society.


Tip 2 - Do not follow the path of least resistance


 Find Happiness through tackling challenges head on - “Happiness is the courage to face obstacles"
 Human nature is such that we shy away from challenges – we see a challenge as an obstacle and as such it has a negative connotation. What if your team were to see a challenge as an opportunity for personal growth and development? Wouldn’t it be great if they were to stand up and say - “bring me a new challenge and make it tremendously difficult?” What is this was to become the norm and not the exception? How would this affect not only the work environment but also the efficiency of the business, this contributing to the bottom line?


 Personally I used to shy away from cold-calling, finding it uncomfortable and not enjoying pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Through this practice I have been able to overcome my fears, realising that what is important is making a continuous effort to challenge this tendency and through doing that I am already victorious, despite of the outcome. This has resulted in me becoming a lot more confident in this area and now business development has become a lot easier and more enjoyable and for The Source has meant numerous new business opportunities.
“Life is a process of ongoing challenge. Those who lead lives of boundless challenge realise boundless growth.”


Tip 3 - Self-fulfilling prophecy – we are what we think and we will only be as successful as we believe we can be


“When your determination changes, everything else will begin to move in the direction you desire. The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fibre in your being will immediate orient itself to your success. On the other hand if you think “This is never going to work out” then at that instant every cell in your being will be deflated and give up the flight, and then everything really will move in the direction of failure”
In my lifetime I have interviewed over 3,000 people and the common attributes of those who had succeeded and attained the career goal have been determination, consistency and self-belief. My advice is to endeavour to ignore negative “self-talk” and to continue to strive forward with conviction that your goal is not only attainable but surpassable – that will pave the way to unlimited success.


Tip 4 - Treat your peers with respect and strive for a harmonious work environment


Buddhism teaches us to respect everyone in this world and to not separate ourselves from one another – it is such separation as we know has caused pain and suffering in the forms of war and violence. At a micro level, we must endeavour to respect each and every one of our colleagues, managers and realise that they are traveling on their own journey and try our best not to judge them. Don’t exert your expectations onto other people as no good can come of that. Simple ways you can contribute is by listening to others and remaining neutral.
“Remembering things about a person is an expression of compassion and concern. Forgetfulness shows a lack of compassion, a lack of responsibility”.


These tips have helped me enormously to become a better corporate citizen, team player and to grow professionally so please share with friends and colleagues and make a determination to change one behaviour in the workplace from tomorrow!

To learn more about Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, please contact Natalie Porter at The Source on 02 8079 5231.