How Will You Measure Your Life? Part II

Accountability Books

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Key Point: As promised in my last blog, the following includes the third and final element that Harvard’s Dr. Clayton Christensen presents in his book, How Will You Measure Your Life?, to help frame our life’s purpose. Christensen is most renowned for encouraging Harvard business graduates to seriously ask themselves that question. He makes a convincing argument for actively working on developing one’s purpose in life by consciously launching that journey of discovery and definition as they take the next big step outside of school. This is a process not an event. In my previous blog I noted the first two elements, “likeness” and “commitment.” What would you like to become and how committed are you to really making that aspiration come true? Did you work on defining or refreshing those concepts? Read on to learn more about the third element.

Christensen, not surprisingly, notes the importance of measuring. What evidence denotes that you are making progress? Like many things we aspire to, the data tells us whether we are really achieving what we set out to do and become. The world is filled with people aiming to lose weight, announce their commitment to do so, and yet they make little or no progress when measurements are taken. While this is perhaps too simple of an analogy, it has some merit. If one of my purpose statements is to Be Abundant, filled with care and generosity of spirit, it is fair to ask, “How will I know I’m living that way?” It is also important NOT to measure in too small of units. As an example, one sales order does not determine whether a company is having a good sales year. On the other hand, the accumulation of those orders is what counts. The same applies to the measurement system you want to utilize for measuring your life.

Character Move:

  1. Allow yourself to reflect and define measures that will indicate progress.
  2. Develop a basket of measures. The combination will provide a more balanced perspective. You may want to develop superb relationships and become renowned for giving to others. However a divorce, while likely not a preferable outcome, does not mean giving up on the vision of mastering relationships.
  3. Remember that the journey of giving serious consideration to your life’s purpose and how you measure is as important as the result. Most people cast about rudderless and one day they recognize the runway is very short to leave a purpose driven legacy.
  4. Don’t wait. Do more work on your purpose and measurement system now. You deserve the investment. It really is never too late to start.

Measuring in the Triangle,

Lorne

 

Do You Know the Person You Want to Become?

Abundance Books Purpose

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Key Point: I talk to so many people who are confused and/or frustrated about determining their life purpose. Unfortunately a lot of psychobabble has added to the “guilt quilt ” on this topic for lots of folks. It’s like one day you wake up and should know your life’s purpose. The reality is that determining one’s purpose is a uniquely personal journey and for MOST of us mortals, it is a process and not an event. It normally evolves over years. The best work on having a framework for honing in on our life purpose comes from Harvard’s Clayton M. Christensen. Read on for a digestible guide. For a more complete examination read his (along with James Allworth and Karen Dillon) new book…How Will You Measure Your Life?

The Process:

1. Determine Likeness:

Likeness is the definition of who you want to become. The likeness you draw will only have meaning and value if you deeply think and act to become what you aspire to. It can sound like “mush” to an outsider. It is uniquely important to you because you have given deep consideration in adopting it. Christensen’s likeness statement is:

* A man who is dedicated to help improve the lives of other people.

* A kind, honest, forgiving and selfless husband, father and friend.

* A man who just doesn’t believe in God, but who believes God.

2. Becoming Committed.

The likeness statement is aspirational. So how does one become deeply committed enough to make it a guide to daily living? The gratification comes from aspiration translating into day to day practice. You need to know your likeness is right for you by continually asking yourself “who do I truly want to become?” Being committed to the likeness is VERY hard work. It is not always convenient. It takes constant practice and work. You will get challenged all the time. Your likeness takes shape through the application of all the little daily parts of your life. Every once in a while, an elephant size spoonful of “life test” is served up to stress test your resolve. But most comes about in our daily habits. For example, if you want to be a highly respectful and caring person, you can smile to your neighbor in the grocery store, but giving him the famous finger when you’re in a traffic squeeze is a step in the wrong direction. (But hey… It’s not about being perfect).

Stay tuned for next week’s blogs for the rest of the “purpose story.” In the meantime:

Character Move:

  1. Give yourself meaningful time to check in where you are regarding your life’s purpose journey. What likeness aspirational statements have you clearly defined? What could you do to sharpen the aspirational definition if you haven’t done so already?
  2. Honestly reflect on how committed you are to what you aspire to become. What is evolving well? What’s tricky? What could you do more of? Less of? Stop? Start?
  3. Ask a dear trusted advisor how they see you relative to your purpose statements? Try not to be defensive. Learn.
  4. Enjoy where you are in the journey. If you’re breathing, it is NEVER too late to start the rest of your life.

Life’s purpose and The Character Triangle,

Lorne

 

Fast and Slow Thinking and You!

Accountability Books

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Key Point: There is much to learn from the current research on how our thinking and mind works. The brilliant and extensive work captured by Daniel Kahneman in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, provides much “food for thought.” In some cases he means it literally. When we are deep in what Kahneman describes as “system 2” or “slow” thinking, the glucose depletion is measurable. Read more to understand the implication for you and me.

Summarizing Kahneman’s research and 700 plus pages in this blog is presumptuous to say the least. But here’s the quickie. As we navigate our lives, we allow ourselves to be guided by impressions and feelings. This justifies the confidence we have in our intuitive beliefs, but NOT ALWAYS. It is easier (a shortcut) to over indulge in intuitive thinking (“system 1” or “fast” thinking). “Slow” thinking, on the other hand, requires more effort and concentration, but is often warranted even though we may not think so. Sometimes we are too confident, even when we are wrong.

Character Move:

  1. Have the courage to know when to question your judgments. If you’re in an emergency it usually isn’t the time for “slow” thinking. However in other times when we “really” know we’re right, some additional validation may be warranted.
  2. Recognize that objective observers are normally more likely to detect our errors in judgment than we are. It is important to have that network of trusted advisors who can honestly point out our potential errors in judgment and biases. We need to have an open mind and listen.
  3. Be proactive in calling for an analysis when the situation warrants. Give yourself the time and apply “slow”, “system 2” thinking. Challenge yourself and call for an objective look at the evidence. It is a worthwhile investment and the self-learning can be profound

Balancing “slow” and “fast” thinking in The Triangle,

Lorne