As we come out of Covid-19 lockdowns and all that has entailed over the last year and half nearly, it is surely time, if we haven’t already done so, to review where we are as individuals. I notice a surge of articles discussing important issues like resilience, flexibility, neuro-agility and such-like, and this is good; but the question I would ask is – why do we want these ‘things’? They are, in fact, components – elements if you will – of a bigger picture: the one word that defines this bigger picture might be ‘well-being’. I like the word but my problem with it is that it has too many connotations of ‘health’ rather than what I am meaning by the bigger picture. What I suggest everyone really wants, at either a conscious or sub-conscious level, is success: when we have resilience, flexibility, neuro-agility, well-being and other qualities or skills we have taken a huge step forward to being ‘successful’.
Now what being successful means is going to vary from person to person because people have different values and motivators. That said, and given that some people prefer to fail rather than realise their potential, there are 7 key strands that make the rope of success tight and strong. A weakness in any one area can undermine the whole enterprise of your life, and some of the strands are intimately connected with others. The cumulative effect of being strong in all 7 areas is to make you virtually unstoppable. What are they, then? Take a look, and as I outline them, give yourself a score out of 10 – ten being have it fully, and 1 being not at all.
- Self-esteem. To know whether you have strong self-esteem consider the following:
Do you sleep well? Do you feel sufficient for most situations you find yourself in? Do you believe in yourself? Do feel that things are going to work out well for you? Can you say what you feel directly? Can you say no? Do you express yourself?
- Energy. Are you in good physical and mental health? So, how much energy and zest
do you have on a day-by-day basis? Without energy – motivation – little will get done.
- Quality Relationships. Do you have a substantial network of long-term
genuinely loving and caring relationships? These truly do make life worthwhile.
- Wealth. Do you have enough money set aside to stop worrying about money? This
increases your options for what you can do. Remember Abraham Lincoln’s observation that the best way to help the poor is not to become one of them.
- Meaning. Do you have a purpose in life? Do you have worthy goals and ideals?
- Growth. Are you becoming all you might be? Are you realising your full potential in
life? Nobody on their death bed says, I wish I’d spent more time in the office.
- Self-Awareness. This is your reality check. Do you seek to learn about yourself –
through self-analysis and by scrutinising the feedback from others?
Notice the final component is self-awareness: this is absolutely necessary as the guarantor of the other 6 components; another way of putting this is that it is the starting point. And the good news is: this mini-test is a way of becoming self-aware (and so is completing a Motivational Map!) So, if you have fairly given yourself a score out of 10 for each of these components, then to calculate where you are, do the following: multiply the first item, Self-esteem, by 3 so that it is a score out of 30. This is because it is the single most important item. Second, multiple the second item, Energy, by 2 so it is a score out of 20 (for more on reasons why this is the case, read chapter 2 of my book (with Bevis Moynan), Mapping Motivation for Coaching, Routledge, 2018). Then, tally all the scores: which will give a percentage total (30+20+10+10+10+10+10).
A rough guide to scoring would be that yours is in one of four quadrants:
80+ - you are on course for a successful life
60-79 – you have many elements in place, tweaking needed
35-59 – some big changes needed to get what you want
10-34 – you are very unhappy – resolve to change now!
Keep in mind these scores are not an absolute law. But we have found with hundreds of clients that the four quadrants of scoring do give a pretty accurate picture. This is especially true where the client, perhaps, has scored big in one area – say, wealth – and may be a millionaire, BUT – are they successful? Their relationships may have failed, they cannot relax, and their health may be poor; or to put it as GK Chesterton did: “The typical modern man is the insane millionaire, who has drudged to get money, and then finds he cannot enjoy even money, but only drudgery”. This cannot be construed as success in life, for apart from the lack of true meaning, there is an underlying unhappiness. The same excess in one or two other elements equally can cause imbalance elsewhere.
When you have done this, take some time to look at your scores. Here are some rough guidelines: scores above 8 are excellent; 6-8 are good; 3-5 are poor; 1-2 is a major challenge. Also note, whether there is one area especially that is low and problematic. If so, this is what is sometimes called the ‘Choke Point’ – the point which is preventing achievement in your other areas or overall. To take a simple example, if all your scores are 9 or 10 but your health is a 2/10, then eventually your health condition will impede your otherwise excellent progress.
One key factor for development, then, might be: take your lowest score and use this as the basis of a development plan that takes at least 18 months to complete! (If you have equal low scores, intuitively choose the one you feel is your biggest issue). It is a mistake – usually – to think that one can change one’s life overnight. Even the profoundest insights and mental shifts require time to be practiced and embedded. Oftentimes, slow and easy, the tortoise, wins the race.
As we come out of lockdown, perhaps being a tortoise is not so bad – as we surely but firmly readjust to a new reality. Of course, a great coach can help you accelerate this process and I strongly recommend, if this interests you, that you find one who is Motivational Maps accredited, for my view is that these coaches are best equipped to understand the energy question and its contribution to your ongoing success in this time of turmoil. Here, then, is to your success over the next 5 years: make it happen!