“Doing deals [in business] does not yield the deep rewards that come from building up people.” These are words from Clayton Christensen in a Harvard Business Review article (July/August 2010) titled “How Will You Measure your Life?”
Professor Christensen’s business school students (like many of my psychology, coaching, and theological students) seem aware of how the world has changed and is changing but they don’t know how to apply these changes to their careers and to their personal lives following graduation. Christensen urges his students to find answers to three questions:
- How can I be sure I’ll be happy in my career? The answer is in finding a clear sense of purpose. This purpose and career success are not tied to money, writes Christensen. Purpose comes from “the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, [and] contribute to others…. Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have received; worry about the individuals you have helped to become better people.” In words that are unusual for HBR, the writer concludes that “the metric by which God will assess my life isn’t dollars but the individual people whose lives I’ve touched.” Purpose often is found in “the deep rewards that come from building up people.”
- How can I insure that relationships with my family provide an enduring source of happiness? Christiansen gives three answers. First, keep your purpose in mind when you decide how to spend your time, talents and energy. Second, allocate your resources by giving your time and energy to the things that matter most. Third, create a culture in your life and family that will reinforce and meet your ultimate goals and purpose.
- How can I live a life of integrity? Clarify your values and stick with them. Remember the importance of humility. That includes building up others. The article argues that humble people tend to have high self-esteem, with no need to be putting others down.
How does this apply to your life and to the people with whom you work? How can we help them measure up? Please share your comments on this newsletter.