When one thinks about what the so-called ‘key’ to success is, the last thing you’d determine is something akin to self-love. Yet that is exactly what authors, consulting coaches, and psychologists Yael C. Sivi and Yosh C. Beier swear by in their new book, simply entitled Growing Up at Work: How to Transform Personally, Evolve Professionally, and Lead Authentically. “We wrote this book to share our lessons and insights about our coaching work with you,” Sivi and Beier have said. “Our hope is that you can see yourself in one or more of the stories and get a clearer understanding of the emotional and psychological terrain that might lie underneath your professional landscape, and how to work through it in healthy and productive ways.”
The self-love factor isn’t something blindly pulled out of a hat, or institutionalized on wobbly perception for the sake of making the book reflect a current, postmodernist trend. Utilizing their therapeutic backgrounds, Sivi and Beier make the concise argument that one’s character in a leadership position is dependent upon their innate sense of self. A bad feeling about one’s self and one’s activities can lead to a disastrous rapport between the said individual and those either working alongside him or beneath him. Like any great writer(s), Sivi and Beier point out the obvious in a way the reader genuinely hasn’t thought of before. What they’re getting at is deceptively simple, a set of precepts and ideals buried beneath the ever-shifting specifics of one’s work life, relationships with one’s colleagues, and overall sense of direction. Sivi and Beier often make frequent references to Gestalt psychology, which they manage to slip into various parts of the text on the sly. Yet they’re never dogmatic, everything introduced in the read is backed by scientifically-minded, hard left-brain observation and educated inference. The result is something embracing its most holistic angles, but never at the risk of becoming new age, or strictly theory-based.
“What emerged as true for us from our discussions is one of the messages at the heart of our book: Professional growth and personal growth are deeply intertwined. For us, success has meant being able to illustrate and expand on that concept more deeply for others,” Sivi and Beier have written. “We’ve tried to consolidate what we’ve learned over many years, connecting theory to practice. By relating our insights to the slightly esoteric field of Gestalt therapy and drawing upon the highly useful Adult Development Theory body of work, we have tried to provide context for case studies in ways that are instructive and beneficial but also practical for readers, especially if you are an emerging or senior leader.”
All in all Growing Up at Work isn’t a technically pristine experience, but is exemplary in how it gets its points across. In many ways, that is all that counts. It’s refreshing how straightforward and unpretentious the prose comes across as. There’s no interest on the part of Sivi or Beier to lord their experience or sense of being informed on the subject matter over the reader. Perhaps it’s their background in specified therapies that helps buffer what often becomes an ironic exercise in self-promotion, because the book never flinches from its genuine sense of wisdom, and sense of humility. All in all highly recommended reading, both for the jaded professional and the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed burgeoning youth entering the jungle.