Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Towards Integrative Life Planning: Weaving our lives into a meaningful whole - Part 3 of 6

In our previous article we discussed the need to align our work lives with a global perspective.

Continuing our discussion of the six critical tasks associated with the Integrative Life Planning (ILP) approach this article will address the challenge of holistic development, which should culminate in the living of an integrated life.

To achieve wholeness in our lives, we will be challenged to think about those areas contributing to our overall life planning. As was previously mentioned, there was a time where work was seen to be the central focus of people’s lives. 

With the changing world of work, the integration of our career development, transitions, cultural diversity, and social change, can be incorporated into a unified framework in terms of the ILP approach.

Living Whole Lives

What exactly should we understand of the concept integrative in this context? In terms of ILP, it is seen to suggest an emphasis on the integration (combining / putting together) of the various domains of human development, which are social, intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional, and career or vocational. 

According to Hansen, founder of this approach, the above is sometimes referred to as the six areas of human wellness.

When taking a closer look, we will see that integrative also refers to refer to an integration of mind, body, spirit, gender, as well as time. As soon as we start asking about the definition for holistic development, we find that it refers to the inherent need in people to be whole, which is achieved through the integration of all those aspects making up who we are. 

As soon as we start talking about who we are, we refer to our identity. In terms of the current model, identity is said to consist of the following: ability, ethnicity, gender, social class, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, and so forth. 

Life Roles within the ILP Framework

For the purpose of the current discussion, we will now take a closer look at the issue of life roles within the ILP framework. Firstly, ILP differentiates between the life roles shaping our existence. The Four L’s, as this is sometimes referred to, are said to be Love (including family and parenting), Labor (work), Learning (both formal and informal education), and Leisure (all other activities not related to work). 

As was described previously, Love and Labor were seen to be the core of most people’s existence; with the advent of the new era of work, the importance of the other two L’s, Learning and Leisure, also started to increase. 

If the current value our community and the world ascribes to adult training and lifelong learning is considered, most will agree that this is no longer as unimportant as it used to be within the previous world of work. 

In addition to this, the concept of Leisure is also seen to be less on the periphery of the life roles people will be involved in. 

Judging by the size of the overall leisure industry, there is yet more support for the statement that there is a move towards the elevation of status of all four L’s. What does this all imply? The world within which we love and labor, now also necessitates the granting of equal status to learning and leisure.

In final conclusion, this second of six critical tasks challenges us to work towards full integration of the mentioned life roles. Integration of the said roles may not be achieved by all, yet should be regarded as a lifelong challenge!

In our next article (Part 4 of 6), we will be looking at applying ILP towards achieving a holistic understanding of diversity.  

(Based on the work of Sunny Hansen: Integrative Life Planning: Critical Tasks for Career Development and Changing Life Patterns). 

This article was written by Hennie Scheepers and is used with his permission.  Hennie Scheepers obtained his doctorate at the University of Johannesburg and works as a Research, Career Development and Coaching Consultant.

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