Book Review: ‘Working Whole: How to Unite Your Spiritual Beliefs and Your Work to Live Fulfilled,’ by Kourtney Whitehead

Societal norms in the business world that promote aggression and self-centeredness often clash with our spiritual values, such as love, humility and patience. Author and career coach, Kourtney Whitehead, addresses this push-pull dichotomy in her new book, Working Whole: How to Unite Your Spiritual Beliefs and Your Work to Live Fulfilled, and offers a novel approach to reconcile this conflict.

Whitehead shares how her clients at every level of business, from low-paid employees to the highest paid CEOs, come to her disenchanted with the disconnect between their work and personal values. Their professional roles put them at odds with their spiritual beliefs and they don’t see a way to operationalize their core values in business situations that demand assertiveness or require one-upmanship with co-workers.

But Whitehead provides a pathway for integrating our core values into our working lives. Working Whole focuses on applying eight tenets of spiritual traditions to business settings — including humility, surrender, discipline, gratitude, connection, love, power and patience.

Part I of Working Whole assesses how we approach each of the eight values and what it might look like to incorporate them into workplace situations. For example, bringing our humble selves to our work lives doesn’t have to position us as lacking in confidence or enterprise. Instead, humility can allow us to exude a confidence that comes from being connected to our soul. It can remove our focus on self-importance and self-promotion, and free us from the pressure to be special or the fear of being considered substandard in some way.

In Part II, Working Whole examines how our beliefs impact the way we present ourselves in the world and what we’re able to accomplish. Whitehead offers specific advice on how to anchor our professional actions with our spiritual goals.

Whitehead cleverly weaves a metaphor of creating a television show based on our own life throughout the chapters, giving readers an opportunity to play producer, writer and actor. In doing so, she reinforces the decision points each of us must make as we create our own meaningful life.

Kourtney Whitehead, author of Working Whole

Throughout Working Whole, readers are prompted with journaling exercises to explore their thoughts on each topic and think how they might alter their approach accordingly.

Working Whole is neither a religious book nor a book to assist in a job search. It does, however, help those questioning their approach to their careers when their working life appears morally hollow. It can guide readers toward a deeper level of satisfaction with their work lives by allowing their personal values to give them inspiration and direction.

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