• tmilus

"Your Business, or Your Life" as a System






We are in the midst of very challenging times. We are used to hearing about some natural disaster somewhere other than where we live. We are not used to having it in our own backyards, stores and restaurants (the ones that are open)...everywhere. We are used to watching the news of the disruption of all the lives in the disaster area as we settle back into our comfort.


We are not used to living in the disruption as we pass strangers wearing face masks indicating danger in the air or seeing the empty paper aisles in the grocery stores having been decimated by anxious people hoarding at the expense of their "neighbors". We are not used to seeing our retirement accounts taking a deep dive as a result of something other than a goofy economy. We are used to going to work and hearing about unemployment in someone else's life. We are not used to being furloughed from OUR jobs along with nearly everyone else. The list is long.


This is a special time in some important ways. For many of us, it is an opportunity to stand back and examine our lives and the world we live in. We can ask questions like, "Am I doing what I want to do in my professional life?" Although being furloughed carries the promise of return to work, we don't know what this world-wide disruption will do to our companies, schools, and other jobs.


I thought it might be helpful to build a compact systems model of the major components that make up our lives. This is a tool for looking into how our lives are working and how the pieces fit together. The model does not propose any solutions; those are for you to create. The model helps you hold a bunch of pieces in your head at once.


We will use four components here: challenges, resources, values, and safety/security. These groups can all be connected in a system, each with a relationship to each of the others. A change in any of them will have an effect on all the others. If we ignore, or marginalize, any group, the system will suffer.


Challenges may be ones we choose or be imposed from outside us. Starting an exercise program could be an example of a challenge we choose; whereas, working over the weekend on a project your boss gave you would be something imposed.


Resources can be anything we can use to meet the challenges in our life. Some are renewable; others are not. Some can be expanded or multiplied while others will diminish with time or use regardless of what we do. Resources help us meet challenges. They must be of sufficient quality to uphold the standards set by our values and be of sufficient quantity to make sure we are safe and secure.


Values are the elements at our core that influence the choices we make. They motivate us to select challenges or meet the ones imposed on us. They provide meaning to the things we do. We might select a challenge that increases our safety, improves our resources, or makes us feel good about ourselves (like volunteering to help others). Our values help us to create meaning in our lives, identify what is necessary to be safe, and determine the quality of resources we need to accomplish our goals.


Safety/Security work to keep us safe. Challenges can pose real threats to us. They can drain resources, make us question our values, or directly threaten our personal life situation. Safety issues can influence what we value, the quantity of resources we acquire (or hoard), or the types of challenges we select or avoid.


Some questions you might ask yourself are, "What challenges has this current crisis posed for me? How has it affected my resources, values, and safety/security? How have the changes in each area affected the others? How can I grow from this challenge?"