Philosopher Dr. Mortimer J. Adler was the first to introduce the Whole Person Concept, which challenges us to strive for a proper balance in all aspects of our lives—spending meaningful time with family and friends, maintaining our health, enriching our lives, becoming all that we can be, giving back to our communities, learning to manage our financial affairs, and growing in our spiritual lives. At its core, the Whole Person Concept is learning to balance our work, our lives, and our successes.
The Whole Person Concept encourages us to remember the importance of growing and learning, and it reminds me of Passages by Gail Sheehy. It is unsettling to leave a secure career or relationship for something unknown but Passages is an enormously helpful resource to explain that each life crisis is an opportunity for creative change. Our thirties are often a time that our illusions are shaken, as well as a time to make, break, or deepen life commitments. Passages helped me to better appreciate that throughout our lives there will be transitions that are very normal and that we need to be open to what those transitions can teach us.
Spending meaningful time with family is a key part of the Whole Person Concept. Learning to focus on my son’s passions became a significant lesson for me. I made a choice to become involved with what he loves to do rather than push him toward the things I love. To have as close a relationship with my son as anyone would want and to be in a career that has given me the time flexibility to be there with him as he grows in his passion is truly a blessing. As everyone can agree, finding meaningful family time while developing a business is a challenge. The lesson here, of course, is that we often have to “make the time,” especially when it comes to our family.
A key component of the Whole Person Concept is the importance of maintaining a sound mind and body. I am the first to admit that being in good physical shape is not a passion of mine. It has always been a challenge. Having said that, there was a period when something had to happen to help maintain a sound mind because I was burning out. Many of you can relate to being at a point where you are working harder than you possibly can imagine, you’re spending less time with your family, and you’re not making any headway with income growth. This is not unusual. Everyone eventually finds her or his way to break through this period. For me it was Strategic Coach. The time I have spent in Dan Sullivan’s Strategic Coach Program taught me more than I could possibly communicate.
However, my biggest insight was to focus on progress, and forget about perfection. When I get in, as Dan refers to as, the Gap, most of my time is spent focusing on all that is not going well. This is a common trait among successful people. We are constantly striving for something better, something bigger, and in the process we beat ourselves up for what we haven’t done! Strategic Coach helped me make a huge paradigm shift to focus first on what had been accomplished and then turn my attention to what could be done.
The Whole Person Concept encourages us to contribute hands-on time through volunteer opportunities without expectation for personal gain. These volunteer situations allow us to meet new people and be exposed to different situations as well as the opportunity to feel good about doing good. When you give of yourself, you get back so much more in the way of learning about time management as well as learning a great deal about yourself. Volunteering can help you to better understand the value of collaboration, the importance of not making assumptions, the value of listening, and how to be an effective leader.
That last lesson had to do with respecting the need to balance process, relationships, and results. Everyone has been a part of a meeting or a project where no one had a clue as to what was going to happen or where the emphasis was focused on, just getting the job done without any attention paid to how it was going to get done. Many of you have probably been to meetings you felt were a complete waste of your time, or you never felt like you were a part of the meeting. Sound familiar?
Imagine what it would be like to participate in a meeting with a clear agenda and time frame. And with a clear focus on not only how things are to be done but also what the end goal is. And with a clear intent to make sure everyone is heard, rather than the meeting being dominated by just a few people. Having a good balance with process, relationships, and results will have a huge impact.
In any major life transition, it seems to take at least three years before settling into a new routine. It is a paradigm shift. I see this with people who go through divorce, deal with the death, retire or sell a business. Whether these transitions are planned or whether it is a medical crisis, a death, a disability, the transition requires time, patience, and perspective.
For me, it is to see and to capture those moments in life. Moments with family, with friends, and in nature. My journey is not yet complete. In your journey to find balance in your work, life, and success, I urge you to take the time to determine where you are in seeking all that you can be. Along your journey, seek to do what really matters to you, seek to be authentic with others and with yourself, and seek to not sweat the small stuff because it is all small stuff. Seek your passion and have fun along the way.