When I work with businesses, organizations, families, and individuals, people are usually confused by this question: What do you intend to cause? It’s as if the idea they are the cause of something is foreign. Yet there could be nothing further from the truth. We are causing things all the time.
At LifeWork Systems, we primarily use Alfred Adler’s psychology. Adler’s “individual psychology” is based on five concepts.
1. We are social; we seek a sense of belonging and significance and this occurs when we feel empowered, lovable, connected and contributing.
2. We are purposeful; our every action is intended to cause an outcome whether we know it or not,
3. We are subjective; we see things through our own private logic based on often-faulty interpretations about how life works and our role in it.
4. We are self-determining; we organize our experiences in order to confirm our private logic so our lives make sense to us.
5. We are holistic; we are always seeking ways to live to our highest, most loving potential. Why does this matter?
Consider this example. I recently went on a walk with a friend and we were discussing this concept. She jokingly replied, “I want to cause my body to look like hers,” referring to a women in front of us. I said, “Ok, imagine you look just like her. Now, what would you want to cause with her looks?” She was taken aback. She didn’t have an answer. She was focused on fulfilling an ideal body image without any real reason as to why.
I pressed her, “Do you want to cause more people to look at you?” She said, “No, I don’t.” “Do you want to cause your husband to be more attracted to you?” She answered, “No, he’s pretty crazy about me already.” I said, “What do you want to cause?” She said, “I guess I have an unexamined belief that attractive people are more influential.” I said, “You know attractive people who are not influential and unattractive people who are, right? You are attractive! How influential do you want to be and what do you want to cause with the additional influence you seek?” In addition to being fit and beautiful, my friend is already highly influential.
This example is not unusual. Many business owners don’t consider what they want to cause. Nor do parents. Nor do educators. And on and on…In fact because many people don’t, they lack inspiration; they are not moved by a fulfilling purpose. That’s likely why 71% of 700,000 US workers were found to be moderately or severely disengaged at work, according to a survey from Gallup. The work of LifeWork Systems is to help people become conscious about what they want to cause and get behind a big, hairy, audacious and joyous why as well.
I’ll tell you a story to illustrate where actions devoid of meaningful purpose often originate. I was at a grocery store one day and I heard a small boy (about 5 years old) ask his mom, “Why can’t we park in that spot?” He was pointing to a handicapped space. She replied, “See that sign. It says we have to pay $200 if we park there. A policeman will come and we’ll be in big trouble.” This is one approach to explain why not everyone can park in a handicapped space, but the focus of this mom is on arbitrarily complying with a rule and using fear as a motivator. She did not offer other, more inspiring and fulfilling reasons why nor offer a meaningful purpose in what we are causing as a community.
Each of us might ask: Do we want citizens to maintain order and create policies based on fear of consequences to ourselves or in order to create caring and supportive community? Which purpose is more fulfilling for this child and everyone in his circle of influence, now and later?
If Adler is correct in asserting that our deepest needs are to feel connected, lovable, empowered and contributing, what happens when our natural desire to be caring is not fostered? We become apathetic, self-centered and reactive. We self-protect. The quickest route to happiness is making intentional choices aligned with the best in us. When we use our personal power in considerate ways that cause others good and take actions in alignment with social interest and personal responsibility, it is then we are most free, helpful and fulfilled.
To get help to develop the systems that make LifeWork, call me. I want to cause you to have all you dream possible. You can reach me at 314 239-4727 or visit www.LifeWorkSystems.com
As published nationally in Women’s Journals August 2014