A recent Deloitte quantitative survey led by Amelia Dunlop of 6,000 people in the US revealed that 84% of respondents said they do their best work then they feel worthy. And nine out of 10 people surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that it matters to them to feel worthy. Yet, five out of 10 indicated that they sometimes, often, or always struggle to feel worthy.
It’s this last finding in particular that presents a real challenge in the workplace. Dunlop, author of the book, Elevating The Human Experience, explains that all too often, “Work is not only a place where we are missing inherent worth with systems that do not recognize the worthiness of all humans, but also a place that actively obscures our efforts to see ourselves as worthy because we are constantly reminded of, and competing, for our relative extrinsic worth in the form of praise, promotion, and raises.”
Dunlop’s book is for anyone who knows what it is like to struggle to feel loved and worthy when showing up at work. She tells her authentic and personal story of what it means to discover her own sense of love and worth in her twenty-year career.
She also reveals that:
- Workers who believe that their employer rates high in humanity, genuinely caring about their experience, are two and a half times more likely to be motivated at work, and one and a half times more likely to take on more responsibility than their peers.
- Her definition of love at work is the choice to extend yourself for the purpose of nurturing your own or another’s growth.
- You can have four types of allies, each of which can have powerful roles in your life: Friend, Mentor, Sponsor and Benefactor. She explains that you need a mix of each of these.
Toward the back of the book, you’ll find dozens of reflection questions you can ask yourself before and/or after you read the book, including these:
- How has your work fulfilled or not fulfilled your need to feel loved and worthy?
- How does the workplace affect your ability to experience self-worth?
- Who are the people in your life who nourish you the most?
- Who are the people in your life who have served as allies along your journey?
- Are your words and actions aligned with the type of impact you would hope to have on those around you?
Earlier this year, Dunlop shared these additional insights about her book:
Question: Why did you write your book?
Dunlop: Simply put, I wrote this book because I needed it. Ever since I was a little girl, I struggled to feel worthy of love. Physically, I was certainly less than whole, with a crooked pinky finger, near-sighted eyes, and near-deaf ears. I hoped that someday I would feel worthy of love if I just worked hard enough. Even as I grew from student to consultant to leader, with a loving husband and three beautiful children, I still felt as if feeling loved and worthy were just out of reach, especially when I showed up at work. I realized that my suffering made me normal and human, and that by learning to elevate the human experience—that is, by acknowledging my intrinsic worth and nurturing that worth through love, would lead to growth and love. I wrote this book to share my story and my journey so that others can be their real, authentic selves, especially at work.
Question: What do you say to prospective readers to encourage them to read your book?
Dunlop: If you’ve ever struggled to feel loved and worthy at work, or love and lead somebody who does, this book is for you. In our 6,000-person quantitative study of love and worth, we found that nine out of 10 say it matters to feel worthy, while only five out of 10 say they do feel worthy. And 84% of people say they do their best work when they feel worthy.
I believe that feeling worthy begins with learning to love ourselves and seeing ourselves as worthy regardless of the daily obstacles we face at work. Many of us struggle with the idea of self-love, believing that it may be mistaken as selfishness or narcissism. I hope this book helps readers understand that by learning to love yourself, you can extend that love to another person, as well as to the communities that you work with. Together, we can elevate the human experience.
Question: Thinking about the four types of allies one could have during their career journey, why do we hear most often about mentors and less frequently about friends, sponsors, and benefactors? Which of these four allies is most important to have and why?
Dunlop: We need a mix of the different types of allies in our lives, including friends, mentors, sponsors, and benefactors. They are each necessary and play different roles depending upon where you are along your journey. There are times when we may think we need a mentor with wise counsel, when what actually we actually need is someone who is willing to serve as a sponsor to remove an obstacle in your path. Developing a friend, mentor, or sponsor into a lifelong benefactor who is a witness to your journey will be the most important and satisfying relationship in your career.
Question: Would there be value to a reader reading the reflection questions at the end of the book both before and after reading the book, instead of reading them only at the end?
Dunlop: Only if you’re the type of person who always reads the last page of the book first! Seriously, I think it would be interesting for some readers to read the questions before they begin reading, reflect on them while reading the book, then read them after and see how their responses may have changed. It is my hope that by joining on me on this journey along the three paths to love and worth, readers will have a deeper understanding of what it means to elevate the human experience and how to answer the question, “How do we make things better?”
Thank you to the book's publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.