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What is Your Life Strategy?

April 2, 2013
  • How can you ensure you will happy in your career?
  • How can you ensure that your relationships with your spouse,  partner and other family and friends become a lasting source of happiness for you?
  • How can you  hold true to ethical imperatives and not take shortcuts that will leave you vulnerable?

These are the questions that  Clayton M. Christensen discusses in his 2010 article describing his lecture to the Harvard Business School’s Class of 2010.

Christensen mentions  organizational  behavior guru  Frederick Herzberg who theorizes that the powerful motivator in our lives is not money, but to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others and be recognized for our achievements.  I have  discussed this in many of my blog posts.  Money is a resource – that’s all it is.  We need money  to meet our obligations and provide for ourselves and our families. But you cannot expect to be a happy person if you are  focused solely on making more money.

Christensen tells a story describing how when he was running a company, he pictured a woman leaving for work feeling a high level of self-esteem. Then he envisioned  her racing home after a 10 hour day feeling frustrated , underappreciated and demeaned.  How is she able  to have positive interactions  at home? I often am contacted by employees who feel unhappy in their work for a variety of reasons, and then describe how it  negatively affects their home life and relationships. Doing deals does not yield the profound rewards that come from the good management skills that grow and develop employees, putting them in the ‘best fit” jobs, and encouraging their own career development.

Christensen reports that Jeff Skilling of Enron fame was a classmate of his at HBS.  He  was a good guy that went  astray and it landed him in jail. He also mentions the many  HBS classmates who come to reunions divorced and alienated from their children.  They did not intend these things, but they happened perhaps as a result of their failure to  develop and keep keenly focused on their life strategy and  purpose.

It’s about  knowing  what you want to get and contribute in this life, and  reviewing daily how you will allocate your resources to demonstrate your commitment to your values and life  strategy.

If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you  to do a values/priorities exercise, like the one I give my clients. Then develop a written life strategy that you can review as you go about your busy day.



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