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If you do not adapt, if you do not learn, you will wither, you will die.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Your Philosophy of Life

The most determining factor for influence, for health, for satisfaction, for love, for success, and for many more desirable outcomes and ‘states of being’ is your philosophy of life. Certainly, your personality, the circle of people you surround yourself with, the place on earth you were born and where you live, your skill sets and many more factors play a role, but none as crucial as your philosophy of life, which influences all the other ones.

Dick Daniels, who spoke at the November conference of the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development talks about the difference between corporate culture and corporate climate. The distinguishing factor for the type of climate in any organization is the philosophy of life of the company’s leaders. Daniels describes corporate culture as the ideal work environment reflected in a company's values, and corporate climate as the actual, daily reality of the workplace environment. And this very climate is to a large extent shaped by the effectiveness of leaders, which, in turn, is shaped by their philosophy of life. So what exactly is this ‘Philosophy of Life’?
Some of the many questions that can help you discover and develop your philosophy of life are:

è Which are the values that guide me?

è Which are my motivations? What drives me in what I do and how I do it? Whereto do I do what I do?

è What guides me most of the time: living a life of success, living a life of significance, both, something else?

è What role do integrity, credibility, courage, and conviction play?

è How much of my life is about ‘to have’ and how much about ‘to be’ – why so and how so?

è How easily and often do I solicit uncensored feedback about how I am doing and about how people perceive me? How easily do I draw from people with different views and perspectives?

This list goes on but you get the picture and these questions can get you off to a solid start. You can add your own insights and questions and, often more importantly, those of others. As Socrates liked to say: “The unexamined life is not worth living”. I love to live and work by this belief, most of the time.
So leaders are defined by their beliefs, hearts, attitudes, thinking, and acting, and not by their position, even though that position might be highly desirable and rewarding. Leadership is less about skills and abilities and more about capabilities based on the inner life of the person.

o   Leadership is about your level of personal and social awareness – with many thanks to the Gestalt Psychology.

o   Leadership is about your Emotional Intelligence, including awareness –with many thanks to Daniel Goleman and his colleagues.

o   Leadership is about your beliefs about yourself and the world – with many thanks to Cognitive Psychology with Beck and Ellis, or should I go back as far as Epictetus?

o   Leadership is about your attitude towards yourself and others – with thanks to just one of the many inspirations in this field: Viktor Frankl.

Bottom line: Leadership is about your inner life, about your philosophy of life. My wish for all of us is that we keep questioning and developing it.

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