How Will You Measure Your Life?

[Clayton Christensen, YouTube]

We make the most important decisions about life every single day. How do we go about deciding? Is there a thought-out reason behind the plan, or do we go for the easiest choice? Say you are not a deeply spiritual person, you live in the secular dimension, what are your guiding principles?

If there ever is a perfect time for reflection, the holiday season presents a good opportunity — lots of cheer in the air, work projects reach a natural culmination, and we turn our attention to family and friends. Yes, I know about the dangers of generalizing.

For someone who enjoyed reading since an early age, I've been doing much less of it in the last couple of years. Aside from the occasional business book asking a question differently (thus why I read and recommended it), I feel the poorer for not spending more time offline and curled up with a good story.

One of my year-end resolutions is to listen to myself more deeply.

More in the accepting the gifts that come my way and learning to enjoy the little situations in life than in steering where I want to go next. Part of it is getting back to my roots, to in person conversation, and looking to give birth to my own art without hiding behind excuses (I've got plenty of those).

So when professor Clay Christensen asked: How will you measure your life? I paid attention.

The truth is you can look accomplished, and indeed you may have done a lot of work to get to where you are right now, and still have that nagging feeling that your life's work is somewhere in you, unexpressed.

I do like the question Christensen poses, and his approach for starting this dialogue.

Over the years, I explored a number of topics and industries here at Conversation Agent. I could say everything has led me to this point. Especially our exchanges, whether public in the comments or private, via email. They are still the majority.

Talking has been about making sense of issues, sharing lessons learned, and staying in touch. I experimented with formats, posts length, a Premium Newsletter (it was a 14-month adventure), sponsoring, and even a workshop-as-working-session, which ended up not working out.

I haven't been afraid of failure.

However, I can honestly say I have not looked hard enough for the one thing I want to accomplish with this medium, aside from thinking out loud — and that is not enough for me anymore. So I've been heading in this general direction for a while…

… and then came across this post about Christensen's book and had a moment.

I'm a long time fan of Clay's work, and have used it in my roles in product marketing and brand development. In the book:

He explains how his “jobs to be done” theory of identifying product demand applies to being a good spouse and parent, and how the perils of outsourcing a PC business to Asia has parallels in how parents outsource the teaching of their kids to other caregivers.

[…] “The decisions that cause it to happen,” says the book, “often seem tactical–just small decisions that they think won’t have any larger impact. But as they keep allocating resources in this way–and although they often won’t realize it–they’re implementing a strategy different from what they intend.”

This is important work we're outsourcing one minute or hours at a time. Values work is an investment that will help you figure out what you stand for — and standing for something in the end is much easier than falling for everything.


[author's site]


Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and company events on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.

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