Make Your Productive Life, Significant

Make Your Productive Life, Significant
Is the pursuit of a significant life getting in the way of being productive? A recent blog post on by Umair Haque provided another reminder of the importance of pursuing a life of significance. It even provided some helpful tips to achieve that. But as I read it, I wondered if such pursuits get in the way of my productivity at work. Can I have both? Can I achieve significance and be productive? Can I keep my eyes toward the stars while logging my time? Can I dissect the monthly financial reports while contemplating our company’s vision?


But to do so, we need to consider productive activity and significant pursuits on a continuum. Let’s put productive actions on the left side of the continuum and significant pursuits on the right. Place a mark somewhere on the continuum that represents where you typically operate for each principle.

  1. I follow societal order. I oftentimes dissent.
  2. I instill policy. I operate on principles.
  3. I sacrifice desire. I embrace desire.
  4. I’m goal oriented. I sell out to a compelling vision.
  5. I guard my emotions. I unleash my emotions.
  6. I’m defined by my role. I’m defined by my impact.
  7. I present myself well. I show my authentic self.
  8. I don’t take things personally. I make things personal.
  9. I work to achieve power. I work to grow.
  10. I love building teams. I love building individuals.
  11. I execute the work. I inspire change.
  12. I effectively navigate through the known. I effectively navigate through the unknown.
  13. I strive for balance. I manage life imbalance.
  14. I strive to live safe and secure. My passion pushes me closer to the edge.
  15. I manage the outputs. I manage the outcomes.

Are you more skewed to the productive life or the significant life? I hope your continuum doesn’t always line up on either extreme. The key is to have your marks move across each continuum at certain times. Sometimes you should follow societal order, but not always. Change often calls for challenging our sacred tenets. Always pursuing our desires would be counterproductive. But never pursuing them leaves us stale and boring, not inspiring. So I hope your marks are at various places on each of these lines. And I hope the next time you take this simple assessment, your marks have changed locations. Don’t always be on one side or the other. To be productive and achieve significance, you should move back and forth along each of the continuums at various times in your life.


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Thursday, October 20th, 2011 Leadership

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About the Author

Mike Thompson BlogMike Thompson is the CEO of SVI, a leading organizational development company that provides leadership development services to companies such as Walmart, PepsiCo, Tyson Foods, University of Phoenix and many more. Mike is also the author of McGraw Hill's new leadership book The Organizational Champion.

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