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The Sophia Project x Merck/MSD

The Sophia Project presents the opportunity to uncram, to feel the relief of literally editing out obligations that get in the way of us feel like we’re crushing it. The program focuses on the power of intentional subtraction, the secret to make work + life work better together.

Because people bring their whole selves to work, our program addresses both personal and professional content to enable impact in both realms. The Sophia Project program offers six chapters, three focused on subtraction in our personal lives and three in our professional lives.

A summary of the content by chapter is as follows:

Chapter 1: The Supposed To’s @home

These are the demands we put on ourselves which create undue burden, often based on unattainable goals externally set through social and cultural influences, family, media, and more. We share the evidence-based concept of “ought” versus “actual” self, which helps participants recognize the fantastical standards they strive for, allowing them to “see” and subtract those that no longer serve them.

Chapter 2: The Invisible Load @home

We see the full scope and intensity of our responsibilities at home to identify where we may be over-investing energy and where we need to subtract with intention. The invisible load concept is relevant for all, but is particularly salient for partners in households. Research shows that the invisible components of domestic responsibilities remain under-distributed and unappreciated. It creates distraction at work and tension at home. We shine a light on and label this invisible load which allows for more successful subtraction.

Chapter 3: Finding the “Me” in the “We” @home

We now turn our attention to seeing time differently as a way to discover new areas for subtraction and importantly, aligning our time with what matters to us. Culturally we’re obsessed with efficiencies, cramming more in. Instead, through a simple exercise of creating awareness around time, we introduce the concept of Time Well Spent and discover ways to spend time more meaningfully which includes what often doesn’t make it on our to-do lists — ourselves.

Chapter 4: The Supposed To’s @work

Having exercised our “intentional subtraction muscle” for three chapters, we now turn our attention to our work environments. The Supposed To’s we take on at work drain energy and create development traps and time traps. We identify and reflect on the unwritten rules that are no longer helpful, and we reconsider expectations that are no longer relevant or true. By illuminating these Supposed To’s @work, we enable participants to “see” and subtract those that don’t create (enough) value and limit our success.

Chapter 5: The Invisible Load @work

As individuals in key managerial and individual-contributor roles, it can be challenging to edit out tasks and responsibilities that are no longer essential for us to do. Holding onto these can thwart individual and team growth, limit efficacy, and drain capacity. In this chapter, we focus on editing out — we raise  consciousness around non-essential tasks that we are holding on to that limit us so that we focus our efforts on the highest contribution areas. 

Chapter 6: From Harder to Smarter @work

In our culminating chapter, we help participants to pause and see what they rarely have time to consider: where they uniquely excel. Participants gain clarity over their Super Powers and see where to focus their energies with intention and maximize their potential at work. We move away from the unsustainable strategy of working harder and move towards working smarter.

The Sophia Project is our corporate program that unleashes working parent talent through Intentional Subtraction.