Posts Tagged ‘ Philosophy ’

The “L” Word—Is It On Your Mind?

In his closing remarks at yesterday’s company meeting, Ken Blanchard shared Covey’s four basic needs which underlie human fulfillment: to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy.

 “The need to live is our physical need for such things as food, clothing, shelter, economical well-being, health. The need to love is our social need to relate to other people, to belong, to love and to be loved. The need to learn is our mental need to develop and to grow. And the need to leave a legacy is our spiritual need to have a sense of meaning, purpose, personal congruence, and contribution.”
Stephen R. Covey

The “L” word—the BIG one—is legacy, the story of you and your imprint upon the world. It’s been a repeated topic of conversation in my spheres lately, as it should be in yours. Visioning is central to the success of organizations, teams, leaders, and individual contributors because it creates a dialogue around the meaning and value behind the work that we do. Your legacy extends far beyond your career into your personal and professional relationships; your family or community involvement and recreational activities; and in your moment-to-moment everyday experiences. What kind of legacy are you building, and where do you even begin? Covey reminds us that life is short, so ask yourself:

  • What makes life worth living? What’s missing?
  • What do I need to learn? To unlearn?
  • How will I be remembered?
  • What do I dream of?

These are big questions—Give yourself time to develop honest and deeply rooted answers.  It can be tempting to dismiss dreams as unattainable or impractical, but dreams stem from a place within each of us that British philosopher, Alan Watts, calls “the deep, down, basic, whatever there is.” In this inspirational video, Watts talks about the human need to feel significant and connected to something greater than ourselves:


There is nothing trivial about finding and giving voice to your purpose in life and however you frame the concept of legacy, the story is yours to write. In another moving video, The Real You, Watts talks about the idea of waking up and finding out who you are. An individual’s sense of self is a complex, idiosyncratic, and exquisite answer to the venerable question: Who AM I?

Before you can build a meaningful legacy, you first need to have a clear picture of who you are and what gives value and purpose to your life. Because your identity defines how you see yourself belonging in the world and relating to others, it is fundamental to creating your vision, living your dreams, and leading others to do the same. In Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the peak is self-actualization—the human need for self-fulfillment and striving to achieve one’s highest potential. This is a process of continual learning so you can always seek new ways of infusing energy and creativity into your everyday events.

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Self-development is profound work but it doesn’t need to be intense. A variation of Covey’s four basic needs overlays learning with laughter because we can’t be serious all the time. That’s also why one of the founding principles of The Ken Blanchard Companies is to have fun! On your journey of life, never forget the gift of child-like wonder—not in the sense of immaturity or naivety, but rather of being curious and light-hearted along the way. As you think about who you are and most importantly the unique story you are leading, remember that life is short. Keep the “L” word always in mind.

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About the Author:

Sarah is a Professional Services Intern at The Ken Blanchard Companies. She is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Consulting Psychology and her research is based on mindfulness. You can reach her at sarah.maxwell@kenblanchard.com.

The Art of Strategic Procrastination

Procrastination gets a bad rap. When you hear a tale about procrastination, it usually implies or explicitly states that the offending procrastinator is being lazy. Yet, to procrastinate simply means to defer action or delay. If your procrastination is purposeful, are you being lazy or strategic?

If you’ve ever multi-tasked or had a to-do list, then you’re already well on your way to mastering the art of strategic procrastination. When determining your priorities, you’re basically identifying which tasks can be delayed. From the top down, it’s a priority list. From the bottom up, it’s a procrastination list.

It’s safe to assume that you always have a long list of tasks to complete at work and a laundry list of things to do at home (which, coincidentally, includes doing the laundry). In both cases, you constantly re-evaluate and re-prioritize tasks depending on their level of importance, the amount of relevant information you have (or don’t have) required to complete the task, and various time factors. What are the deadlines? How much time do I currently have to perform ‘X’ number of tasks? How much time will each task take? Each must be carefully considered when balancing your priorities against the candidates for procrastination.

A few weeks ago I was given an important project. I determined that it wouldn’t be difficult but it would be incredibly time consuming. The time frame given to complete the task was roughly three months – plenty of time despite the amount of work involved. I felt I had most of the information I needed in order to get started (and had been encouraged to do so), yet I had a nagging feeling that there was still more information to come. Instead of diving right in, I decided to purposefully procrastinate.

A couple days ago, I had a meeting with key stakeholders in the project and new information came to light. Because of this new information, it was determined that there was no longer a need to undertake this project. Thanks to my strategic procrastination, I didn’t waste countless hours on a project that was ultimately abandoned. Furthermore, due to the nature of the project, had I started I would have had to spend many more hours “reversing” any work that had been done.

Until technology develops a way to simultaneously do EVERYTHING at once, there will always be a need to procrastinate.  Just make sure to be purposeful and strategic about it. And, if you have a procrastination success story, feel free to share it in the comment section now…or perhaps tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that…

Half-Full? Half-Empty? Half-Capacity.

Are you someone who sees the glass as half-full or half-empty?

I typically tend to see things for how they are instead of  for how they could be…a realist, if you will. More often than not, that sort of thinking tends to get you lumped into the half-empty camp. That never seemed fair though. I am just as likely to have an optimistic outlook about something as I am to have a pessimistic outlook. It’s all about the individual situation and its unique set of circumstances. So when posed with this question now, I answer that the glass is not half-full or half-empty, the glass is at half-capacity.

On that note, I’d like to share with you an enlightening video from the RSA Animate series by the RSA.  In Smile or Die, acclaimed journalist, author and political activist Barbara Ehrenreich explores the darker side of positive thinking.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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