Introduction to the Integrated Life
If you have a Type-A personality you probably excel in a handful of areas of your life. By your very nature you are driven to excel and overachieve in many situations. Unfortunately, the vast majority of entrepreneurial leaders never apply these strengths to their personal lives. By doing so, they tend to sabotage their own efforts and struggle with “work-life balance”. Too many have destroyed their lives.
For the entrepreneurial leader, work-life balance is a recipe for disaster. Your driven nature and obsession with greatness prevents you from turning off one aspect of who you are in order to focus on another. So what is the answer?
The Integrated Life Framework is a proven system for allowing all areas of your life to compliment and work in harmony with one another.
Know who you are.
It is impossible to create a recipe from unknown ingredients. No formulas of measurement, by themselves, will create a tasty treat. You must know both the ingredients and the measures.
You cannot integrate what you do not know.
The first step to living an integrated life is to know yourself. Interrogate your own life. Spend time thoughtfully considering the following questions:
- What do you love?
- What are you passionate about?
- When do you feel the most fulfilled?
- Where do you find great joy?
- What do you feel a calling to do?
- What is your current state of life?
- What consistent behaviors have you consistently shown throughout your life?
- What do others say that you’re great at?
- Answer the questions: Who am I? What is my vocation? What is my passion?
Now boil it down. List at least three and no more than seven things that make you you.
From this list, create a mission statement. What were you made to be? What is your life’s purpose?
See where you’re going.
Speed without direction is spinning your wheels. Progress is determined by both forward momentum and direction.
In order to progress towards living an integrated life, you must know where you’re headed.
The second step to living an integrated life is to cast a vision. If you’re a Type-A personality, you’ve probably created a vision for one of the many projects you’re involved in (your work, your charitable efforts, your hobby), but, very few people take the time to develop a vision for who they are as a person. Spend the time to consider all aspects of your life.
Craft a vision for each part of your life. If you’re married, cast a vision for your marriage. If you’re a parent, cast a vision for your relationship with your kids. If you’re a professional, cast a vision for your career. If you’re a person of faith, define what you want your faith life to look like. Don’t leave any critical aspect of your life out.
You have just created a puzzle. Figure out how the pieces begin to come together.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How does achieving each particular vision enhance the others?
- Where do efforts overlap and create challenges in other areas?
- How will I make decisions when they inevitably overlap?
- What do I need to do to ensure that I grow as an integrated person and not only in one aspect of my life?
- Explore all possibilities and consider what a perfectly integrated life looks like.
Now create a vivid picture of what living a fully integrated life looks like. Do not be held back by your current realities – remember, you’re creating a vision.
Develop healthy habits.
You can’t write a book without writing the first word. A grand vision is achieved by making consistent progress towards it.
In order to live the integrated life you have defined, you must consistently make progress towards your vision.
The third step of living an integrated life is to develop the healthy habits that will move you towards your end goal. You will be amazed at how powerful small, healthy, habits can be in your own life. Take the time to consider what healthy habits are required for you to achieve your vision. What are those things that you need to do regularly to ensure that you live the integrated life you envision?
Here are three habits that I believe everyone should make staples in their own lives:
- A deliberate morning routine,
- A consistent sleep pattern, and
- A quarterly review of your progress.
Create a list of the habits that you will need to be successful in attaining your vision. Learn to develop these healthy habits and make them staples in your own life.
Live with humble confidence.
Understanding yourself requires self awareness. Casting a vision requires foresight and creativity. Taking the first steps forward requires discipline.
But to truly live the Integrated Life requires leadership.
You cannot live an Integrated Life without impacting those around you. By definition the circles with your family, friends, and coworkers will begin to collide. The fourth step of living the integrated life is to lead with humble confidence.
Entrepreneurial leaders are full of passion, zeal, and determination. They typically exude confidence. This confidence is essential to their success and a key aspect of their ability to lead. Yet, if they are not careful, this confidence can become stubbornness, blindness and reckless abandon. It can just as easily lead them astray.
Great leaders also know how to listen. They are aware of their surroundings and those around them. They collect data points and connect the dots. They are committed to their vision but adjust their strategy in order to navigate the horizon safely.
Develop humble confidences by following these five steps:
- Truly respect those around you.
- Be bold in your vision.
- Seek out continual feedback.
- Surround yourself with trusted advisors.
- Be accountable to your goals.