Integrating – Body, Mind, Heart and Spirit

Insights/Distinctions: Very important for me had been the concept of living a balanced life however in practice, I wasn’t entirely certain what balanced meant? How far do I need to move the needle…and I confess it was easier said than done! I learned why – in mind I felt that I was either pressing the gas pedal or easing off – when you’re learning to drive it can feel abrupt. I read Stephen Covey’s “The 8th Habit – From Effectiveness to Greatness” a few years back that helped frame a slightly different perspective. “At the core, there is one simple, overarching reason why so many people remain unsatisfied in their work and why most organizations fail to draw out the greatest talent, ingenuity and creativity of their people and never become truly great, enduring organizations. It stems from an incomplete paradigm of who we are – our fundamental view of human nature. The fundamental reality is, human beings are not things needing to be motivated and controlled; they are four dimensional – body, mind, heart and spirit.”

While he applies this to the workplace, I saw value in my own perspective of my own life. I didn’t need a gas pedal and brake – I needed to be concerned for each aspect concurrent and overlaying the others – taking all aspects into account always as every problem, issue, opportunity involves all aspects. In this regard, was I myself aligning my own values, commitments and actions to a whole-person paradigm of me? An obvious clue is in how we allocate our own personal resources – the investment that we make in ourselves with our time and money, in our relationships, and in our willingness for continual growth?

Here is a simple way that Stephen Covey organizes the thinking around the whole-person paradigm that can become a very effective framework and reference point for building on our enjoyment, satisfaction and success through 2010! A few years ago, I included this in my slide show “vision board” to inform my personal Ten Year Vision which I review regularly!

Four Human Needs

Body – To Live (Survival)

Mind – To Learn (Growth and Development)

Heart – To Love (Relationships)

Spirit – To Leave a Legacy (Meaning and Contribution)

So in order to simply and best fulfill our needs…

Body – Keeping arteries clear

Mind – Continually Learning

Heart – Involving others

Spirit – Living as though life is guided by a higher wisdom

Applying the Whole-Person Paradigm to how we see employees…

…and relating those to how we govern our own conduct and for those around us. In running your own business or working for an employer with responsibility for others, it is important to make the distinction between management and leadership which I will discuss in detail in coming months. A simple view for this purpose is that we manage things (budgets, plans, accounts receivable) and we lead people. Here you can think about your own personal leadership as it relates to your own professional and personal life.

Stephen Covey points out, “The new Knowledge Worker Age is based on a new paradigm, one entirely different than the thing paradigm of the Industrial Age…people have choices. Consciously or subconsciously, people decide how much of themselves they will give to their work depending on how they are treated and on their opportunities to use all four parts of their nature. These choices range from rebelling or quitting to creative excitement. One who is paid fairly, treated kindly, used creatively and given opportunities to serve human needs in principled ways – makes one of the upper three choices of cheerful cooperation, heartfelt commitment or creative excitement.” We choose to engage or withhold in personal relationships all the time. You can read about a very lovely young man who realized this for himself recently! How happy for his family that he had this insight!

And finally, Steven Covey suggests making these four simple assumptions to “immediately begin leading a more balanced, integrated, powerful life.”

For the Body – assume you’ve had a heart attack; now live accordingly

For the Mind – assume the half-life of your profession is two years; now prepare accordingly

For the Heart – assume everything you say about another, they can overhear; now speak accordingly

For the Spirit – assume you have a one-on-one with your Creator every quarter; now live accordingly

Personal Story: Whether you have teenagers, are married, are an employee, someone’s boss or partner, this is fantastic food for thought! I quit a previous job that paid me fairly (Body), used me creatively (Mind), however did not consistently treat stakeholders fairly (Heart), and did not consistently act in principled ways (Spirit). When we are clear about our own values and principles, we are sometimes called upon by our “whole person being” to make what can feel like difficult though right decisions. This is where we experience the largest personal growth when called upon to demonstrate personal leadership in regards to oneself or those within our family or community. Otherwise, we will continue to get what we are willing to put up with! The Abraham-Hicks teachings say that there are no limits to our joyous journeys to experience. Isn’t it time to begin creating the life we wish for?!

Quick Tip: I found “The 8th Habit” by Stephen Covey to be invaluable to me as a manager and leader responsible for highly productive teams and in charge of nurturing and growing my family. This book also contains fantastic information about Finding Ones Own Voice and then Helping Others to Find Theirs. I will discuss in future posts how we reach inside ourselves and others to discover and engage genius, talents and passionate engagement. This has very practical application to families, business and any of the communities we belong to. Enjoy!

Please visit my site From The Titanic To The Ark – Handbook to Survive and Thrive in Epic Times – see you there!

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