Friday, July 29, 2011

Conceptual Clarification of Integrative Life Planning – Part II

Welcome back to our blog – let us continue our current clarification of the Integrative Life Planning / Pattern (ILP) concept, which we started last time. In the current post, we will spend a brief moment considering what role sense of agency plays in the context of life planning.

Before considering the application of the concept to ILP, let us have a look at how sense of agency is defined. One opinion is that the concept refers to “your ability to take action, be effective, influence your own life, and to assume responsibility for your own behaviour” – the sense of agency refers to the feeling of being in control and being able to determine and influence your own thinking and actions. Another internet source summarises it as “the sense one has of being the owner of one's actions and decisions – the language of agency has the sound of intention and of initiative”.

As soon as one starts digging a bit deeper, the notion of being able to control one’s behaviour and actions is seen to be challenged – sometimes from a philosophical and sometimes from a practical or realistic point of view.

From the ILP perspective, Hansen refers to the link, which has been indicated to exist between sense of agency and psychological health. Although different cultures may have differing opinions on whether sense of agency is in fact tenable, and if so, what shape and form it may take, the Western world views this sense of being in control of one’s own behaviour as a core concept – especially in terms of rendering assistance to individual or corporate clients.

Since life is not always predictable and we are not always able to take control of all situations – even though we may be excellent planners – Hansen brings some balance to the discussion by mentioning the concept of so-called non-events in our lives. Non-events refer to events that simply do not happen, even though we may have done all the conceptualisation and planning humanly possible – examples include not being promoted, not completing a course, not getting a job, or anything else for which we plan and which does not come to fruition.

To conclude, while a sense of agency is associated with mental health, we need to realise that planning does not always imply that the desired outcome will be achieved; a more fluid and dynamic approach is required, such as contained within the ILP model. In the following blog posts I will continue addressing more of the conceptual issues underpinning the ILP model – I look forward to seeing you here again and welcome all and any feedback or comment!

Our relationship with money - Part 1 Money and the Mind (new series)

My colleague Hennie and I started this blog looking to help ourselves and others build more balanced and successful lives.  

Hennie did a stellar job so far looking at ILP as an integrative model we may use to integrate our career selves with the other parts of our multifaceted lives. I considered Napoleon Hill's foundational self help book Think and Grow Rich seeking to discuss and develop a wealth mentality. 

As Hennie's work shows, times have changed and the many demands on people have only increased, this is sure to keep increasing.  One thing that has not changed is the reality of money. 

In my new series, I am going to investigate various issues surrounding the psychology of money.  Why the psychology of money? Because I think that money is something that obviously affects all of us. Love it, hate it, shun it or desire it; but money affects us in some way or another.

I recently came to realize that much of the complexities and problems we have surrounding money are emotional and psychological in nature. 

In Think and Grow Rich Napoleon Hill tells a story of an unemployed man walking through town.  The man has no money and no job. He is looking for work.  His shoulders are hunched, his eyes are downcast, and clearly, he is not happy nor confident.  He is an intelligent man, but the lack of money got to him.  His confidence is shaken.  He longingly looks through windows at those people with money enjoying food and drink in the restaurants. All would change, his spirit would lift, if the man "had but a little money"   

To say that money is not important for such a man is ridiculous.   
Economists tell us that money is a 'store of value', 'a medium of exchange' and a 'unit of account'. In reality money appears to be metal discs, plastic cards, or pieces of paper. Yet, psychologically money takes on a very powerful symbolic and emotional meaning, as we all know. It is so much more than copper, paper or plastic.   

Research shows that money issues are often, if not most often, found at the root of all marital conflict, 

Have you ever seen money making people behave strangely and even illogically? Have you ever questioned your own actions regarding money? (why exactly did I buy that thing I did not need so impulsively?).  

Most of us know of situations where money ruined good friendships, perhaps you even experienced that  yourself.    

People have done many atrocities for money, including thefts, robberies and murder.  And yet we can also use money to be charitable.     

Passages of scripture tell us that 'the love of money is the root of all [kinds of] evil' (1 Tim 6 verse 10). Yet, we cannot survive without money in the modern world. We have to live with it, and preferably we should rule over it.    

Part of the journey to financial wholeness,  I believe, involves us developing a healthy 'relationship' with money. This is what my new series of posts are going to look into.  

Problematic to the issue of money is that the topic of money is actually embedded with deep emotional issues.  In a thought provoking blog article Ron Haynes claims that Money is 100 Percent Emotional (follow the link to his article). 

An impending job loss tends to be incredibly terrifying.  Being deeply in debt tends to leave one feeling suffocated, hopeless and depressed. A failed business affects more than just your pocket, it reaches into issues of competence and self-worth. When a spouse overspends people often feel very angry. Money evokes a lot of emotion.  

In a 2009 research article, the authors Zhou, Vohs, and Baumeister argue that having money, as a social resource, increases one's general sense of confidence, efficacy and (psychological) strength.  

I agree that money is embedded with profound emotional issues.  Our 'money self' also seems to lie on the unconscious levels of the mind. Outside the area of reason. Our values, attitudes and beliefs regarding money develops from early developmental experiences. It seems that all of us develop different symbolic values we attach to money.   

Robert M Young, a psychologists, says it best: 
"My first point ... about the social construction of money is that our identities are inescapably forged in relation to whether or not our families have it and how they deal with it if they don't".   
This suggests that money plays a major role in the psychological construction of our identities.  In my next postings, I am going to expand on some more psychological issues regarding our relationship with money, we will be looking at topics such as
  • The psychological concepts of retention, security and power/prestige, related to money;
  • Different money personalities;
  • Money as a substitute - Midas and Tolkien's dragon;
  • Psychodynamic perspectives on money;
  • Money and happiness;
  • etc. 
Thank you for reading. Please feel free to add your comments and experiences on this complicated topic.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Overcoming six basic fears that stifle your potential and success - Part 15

In the closing chapters of Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, Hill discusses six basic fears that prevents us from attaining wealth and success in life.  I am going to expand on these ideas in this posting.  In closing I am also going to mention Napoleon Hill's ideas on how to overcome these basic fears. 

According to Hill there are six basic (existential) life fears that people have to overcome, they are: 

1. The fear of poverty
2. The fear of criticism 
3. The fear of ill health
4. The fear of loss of the love of someone
5. The fear of old age
6. The fear of death

(Note that I am not referring to phobias in this post, rather to existential human fears)

Fear refers to "a negative emotion in response to a perceived threat".  In contrast to anxiety fear usually has a specific mental focal point.  Wikipedia also tells us that fear is usually focused on future events. In contrast the anxiety, fear has a specific focus.

Fear is a future expectation of being 'worse off'  than you are at present. This is evident in the the list of fears as described by Hill.  All six of the fears have a specific focus. The causes of fear may be external or internal.   

Fear typically activates survival responses in the form of adaptive behaviours and avoidance. 

Unfortunately, the fears listed above tend to live mostly in the unconscious mind (according to Hill), making it difficult for us to identify and deal with them. 

Hill tells us that fear is "a state of mind" and nothing more.  But, problematic to those of us seeking to build wealth in life, is the reality that fear tends to stifle human potential, creativity, faith, along with an entire range of positive emotions.

For example, even if someone has all the potential in the world to become a great public speaker, he or she will not become one if the fear of criticism restricts the development of that gift.         

Hill notes that fear of poverty as especially destructive.  This fear paralyzes all of the qualities that are needed for the creation of wealth. To elaborate; in earlier posts we were told that a definite purpose, desire, persistence, and faith, amongst others, are needed in order to build wealth.  

The fear of poverty neutralizes all of those positive qualities mentioned above . This fear produces and is evidenced by counter productive mental states such as indifference, indecision, doubt, worry, over-caution, and procrastination.

Obviously such negative qualities will not help one to accumulate real wealth.

The fear of poverty takes away your power of self-determination. It leaves you a victim of circumstance.  

The fear of poverty also leads one to consciously or unconsciously, expect poverty and failure in  every endeavor.   By now it should be evident that our thoughts tend to create their 'physical equivalents', in the real world (as Napoleon Hill tells us throughout Think and Grow Rich).

Maybe this happens because of some or other mystical mechanism or maybe it is just the result of self-sabotage and self-fulfilling prophesies. The result is that the fear of poverty will lead one towards  poverty and away from wealth.      

In the Biblical Book of Job, Job told us that: 
What I [greatly] feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me (Job 3:25). bracketed emphasis mine. 
I think this reflects a core principle according to which fear works: our deep fears, in time seem to clothe themselves with reality. Hill tells us that 'thoughts are things', and negative thoughts create negative things in our lives.  Consequently, in order to be successful one has to resolve one's fears successfully. 

Overcoming the six basic fears

Hill argues that indecision grows into doubt, and doubt grows to fear. These three mental states; indecision, doubt, and fear, are seen as working together and fear is the culmination.

Let's again consider the fear of poverty as an example. We are told, by Hill, that if you want to attain wealth, you have to 'refuse all circumstances that lead one to poverty'.

If you have ever read the biographies of many of the successful self-made business people, you will see that many of them faced failure at some point in their careers. Why did they recover from failure when  others could not?

In part, I believe it is because they refused to accept their failures as final. They were not overtaken by  doubt, indecision and fear,  but remained focused on the possibility of a better future; even when nothing seemed to be going their way.  

As people, we are always making choices.  Poverty, we are told by Napoleon Hill, comes to those who chooses to accept its reality as final.

Perhaps you are seeing where HIll is taking us with this. Perhaps you are seeing that the antidote to the six existential fears of humanity involves choices.  Let's then consider Hill's antidotes for the six basic fears.

Antidotes to the six basic fears

In essence, the antidotes to all the fears listed above begins with a decision, a decision not to worry.

Hill explains why, arguing that "an unsettled mind is helpless". Deciding not to worry may sound a bit simplistic, but we have to do exactly that.  

Indecision makes our minds prone to every whim of opinion and circumstance. Indecision makes us helpless to the prevailing thoughts and unqualified fears that restrict so many from reaching their potential.

Hills asks us to overcome the six basic fears by making the following six decisions:       

1. Regarding the fear of poverty - firmly decide that you will accumulate wealth responsibly and that you will happily get along with the wealth you are able to accumulate. I like to think of this as a decision to stop focusing on what can go wrong and start to focusing on what can go right.  

2. Regarding the fear of criticism -  decide not to worry about what other's think of you. In reality, I think that most people are so busy thinking about themselves that they don't even notice others most of the time.  

3. Regarding the fear of ill-health - decide to no longer focus on diseases and their associated symptoms. Don't unnecessarily fill your mind with pictures of real or imagined diseases.

Decide to focus on living in health, instead of focusing on the avoidance of any and every  dreaded disease.

4. Regarding the fear of the loss of someone's love - decide to enjoy and value the love you receive and to love back in return with as much love as you can. Also decide to happily get along without love if the situation occurs where you have to do that.

5. The fear of old age - decide to accept old age as a blessing ... remember that many people have not even had the privilege of reaching old age. Also decide to be grateful for the wisdom and experience that comes through  age alone.      

6. The fear of death - dealing with the fear of death, in my opinion, is a very personal matter and depends on much your religion, or lack of religion, and beliefs regarding the afterlife.  Evaluate your your beliefs on this matter, but also decide to accept and make peace with death as an inescapable event.

That covers this post on Hill's "six ghosts of fear".  I am hoping that it has helped us to put a spotlight on  some of the conscious and unconscious fears in our lives.  I am ending with one of may favorite quotes of all time:

My life has been full of (many) terrible misfortunes; most of which never happened.  
~Michel de Montaigne 

Thank you for reading this blog post, hope you found it insightful. Please feel free to add your ideas and comments below.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Conceptual Clarification of Integrative Life Planning – Part I

Hello – and welcome back to the newest blog where we will be considering further aspects of the Integrative Life Planning (ILP) model! In keeping with what has been said before, we need to emphasise that the model is constantly undergoing change and renewal – this is due to the impact of a constantly changing world and the reaction of the ILP model to these changes.

In her original work, Sunny Hansen mentions that when she first started working on the conceptualisation of the model, she found herself vacillating between using the concepts of PLANNING as opposed to PATTERNS. The purpose of this current posting is to briefly consider her thinking around this choice – in conclusion, I will pick sides and make my choice with regards to this challenge!

As we usually do, let us take a quick look at what connotations are made in respect to each of these words; we will then be able to deliberate which of the two concepts is more apt or descriptive of what ILP is about.

The concept of PLANNING is seen to describe a process where someone follows a scheme or process, which has been worked out beforehand. According to Hansen, the concept of planning is indicative of a linear, rational process or method, which is usually associated with a fixed or known outcome. In terms of the general use of the word, planning is associated with lowered levels of stress or anxiety about future events – if we plan, we are supposedly ensuring that our ideal goals are achieved in the final analysis. This reminds me of the popular saying that failing to plan is planning to fail! At this point I feel pressed to state that using the concept of planning seems quite alluring, as it has the potential to curtail uncertainty…yet, if we look at the seven reasons posted on the blog as to why a new approach to career management and development is needed, we will possibly agree that we have no option but to opt for a more open, fluid approach.

Turning our attention to the concept of PATTERNS, most would agree that patterns are usually associated with someone making use of a guideline when they are making or producing something (often patterns are associated with sewing or cutting forms from wood). If one follows a pattern, chances are that some kind of known outcome will be achieved. As anyone who has ever followed a pattern or recipe would know, the mere fact of following said set of instructions does not imply that a desired outcome is guaranteed. Hansen therefore views the concept of pattern to be more fluid; yes, direction and guidance is provided, but the outcome will never be the same.

Further to the above, using a pattern implies that we are – in a planned way! –bringing different and sometimes (un)connected pieces together to form a new whole – this is exactly what the ILP model stands to achieve.

Upon due consideration of the pros and cons of each concept in relation to the ILP model, Hansen decides to rather use the concepts interchangeably in the explication of the model. She argues that both these concepts are focused on “bringing together the parts of a life” and not on the jobs or careers only.

If I look at my own professional and academic development, I was raised in the linear model – at that time, it was appropriate and managed to offer solutions to most career planning and development scenarios. The world of today is vastly different from the one I was raised and trained in in the Nineteen Eighties and Nineties. Considering this, and having been exposed to life-changing visits to Minnesota where Sunny Hansen resides and puts patterns to the test, there was only one way to go: realise that linear thinking and approaches are of value, but that they are hardly able to react suitably to the new world and the constant effect of change.

Thus, considering and respecting Hansen’s thinking on the conceptual framework, I would have preferred referring to the model as Integrative Life Patterns, while fully acknowledging the importance of planning with regards to life and everything we associate with it!

In the blogs to follow, I will continue unpacking the ILP model – in addition to providing some insights into the model I will also make applications to the contexts of personal and corporate lives.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Using the quilt as metaphor to represent Integrative Life Planning

Welcome back to the blog! In keeping with the theme of finding new solutions to all the challenges brought on by change on all levels of society, the Integrative Life Planning (ILP) approach has been introduced. Today’s blog will mainly consider some of the reasons cited by Sunny Hansen for using the quilt as metaphor to represent the ILP approach.

Before we start looking at how a quilt represents ILP, it seems fair to ponder how quilts are made, what they are good for, and how these characteristics can be likened to what we try to achieve by introducing ILP into the context of career management and development.

According to a web-based source, the word quilting can be traced back to the Latin word culcita, which refers to “a padded or tied mattress”. First examples of quilting can apparently be traced back to the First Century; the technique has been used to produce a thicker and stronger form of fabric, which was used for protection and warmth. In addition to the above applications, traditional quilting techniques have also been used to create forms of art. Quilting is also not unique to certain cultures – many examples of quilting are found in various cultures across the globe.

Now let us take a brief look at how the practice of quilting can be linked to Integrative Life Planning (ILP). According to Hansen, the “quilt metaphor can be used to convey many messages and (can be used) to offer an idea of how to weave together the personal, the professional, and the practical”.

As with all things in life, we need to consider the quilt on multiple levels. Firstly, quilts can be seen to represent the global context – big picture – within which large-scale change has become the standard. As the ILP approach spells out in some great detail, these global changes are seen to impact on individuals, groups, families, communities, nations, as well as the entire globe.

A second level at which we need to consider the quilt, is in terms of the world of careers, which includes career management and career development. In a previous series of seven articles, the need for new approaches to career management and development were indicated; these changes can be represented by the quilt metaphor, due to the high degree of change observed in terms of knowledge and knowledge management.

A third level at which the quilt metaphor can be considered, is to say that the quilt represents the ILP approach itself. In blogs to follow, we will be taking an in-depth look at the six critical tasks associated with the ILP model. In the final analysis, these six critical tasks are to be integrated with the intention of creating a new and meaningful whole – the opposite of the high levels of disintegration seen in societies of today.

The final level at which Sunny Hansen looks at the quilt metaphor, is to state that it represents the pieces of her life. This is in fact true of everyone – our lives consist of (almost) enumerate facets, each significant and important in its own way, and in one or the other way connected to one another. The manner in which we live our lives is indicative of how we view and fulfil the various tasks and roles we choose; it is also part of our developmental challenge to find ways through which we can optimise these various facets and how they are or may be inter-related. As promised, the blog will be providing detailed information and guidance in terms of the ILP model – so please check back and make comments or ask questions!

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

Creative imagination and the sixth sense - Part 14

I have studied psychology for many years, only to realize that the human mind defies explanation.  The mind is much more complex and intricate than we imagine. Scientist are doing their best to hack the human mind, but it remains mostly elusive and unexplainable. 

Disclaimer: this is a difficult chapter, and I am not exactly sure how to translate the ideas into a post.  I will do my best to shape a picture of Hill's ideas.  

Napoleon Hill writes in Think and Grow Rich about one such unexplainable occurrence of the human mind; something we call 'the sixth sense' or intuition. Hill also calls this the creative imagination.  Most of us recognize times when we received solutions, insight and even unexplained knowledge through experiences of hunches and inspiration.       

I like to think of it as 'flashes of brilliance'.  When you intuitively know something that is later validated ... when something suddenly dawns on you such as a solution to a problem, a warning that is proven accurate, or a 'feeling' that you have to do something.  Sometimes, we just know something about a situation when we have no logical way of knowing it.  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pink Elephants, Garbage and the Unconscious Mind Part 13

In my previous posting I discussed several mental stimuli that may help us to energize our minds to higher levels of success and achievement. In this posting I will focus on the unconscious mind.

Working through Think and Grow Rich, it is clear that Napoleon Hill regards the unconscious mind as a very important part of his philosophy for attaining wealth.  Hill argues in chapter 12 that the unconscious mind works to 'transmute' desire into its physical equivalent.    

Lets consider some principles of the unconscious mind. 

Psychologists tell us that the unconscious mind refers to all the cognitive and emotional activity that occurs below the level of conscious awareness.

We aren't aware of this, but the unconscious mind registers much more information than our conscious mind is able to attend to (a process called monitoring).  

Exactly how the unconscious mind works is still being disputed.  Psychologists are pretty certain that the unconscious mind registers volumes of information below awareness. Such as the smell of your local fast food restaurant when walking past it.  

I will briefly highlight some things that we do know about the unconscious mind.  I will then relate that to Napoleon Hill's perspective in Think and Grow Rich.      

The unconscious mind frees up space for conscious processing

To start, recognize that the unconscious mind controls activities such as breathing, heartbeat, digestion, and bodily temperature. If we had to control these functions consciously, we would have had time for little else.  The reality is that the conscious mind can only work with a limited volume of information at a time.  

Those of us who are able to ride a car, motorcycle, or skateboard well often do so without giving the action much conscious thought.  Trough practice we are able to do certain things automatically.  This shows how our mind becomes programmed through practice and learning, to perform certain actions automatically on an unconscious level (a process called automaticity).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Healthy mental stimulation Part 12

Lets consider a short post about the human mind.  Napoleon Hill argues in chapter 11 of Think and Grow Rich that the human mind needs to be stimulated to high levels of creativity in the quest for wealth.  Inspired ideas are often found behind the real 'game changing' creative ideas. We all know that.    

We need creativity to solve the problems of life.  Creativity helps a lot in the quest for building a successful career or business.  Hill suggests that it is indeed possible for us to 'heat up' our mental functioning to higher levels of creativity.  I am not talking about narcotics and other addictive substances, although drugs are listed by Hill as a destructive method of mental stimulation.  

Most of us may be able to recall certain times in our lives when we were able to function at a really high levels of creativity and inspiration.  Hill tells us that most people fall into such periods of inspired creativity by accident.  What he also suggests is that we may consciously stimulate our minds by following specific steps.  

How to positively stimulate your mind to a higher level of creative and inspired functioning (according to Napoleon Hill): 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

ILP and Individualism, Spirituality, and Community (#7)

And now, let us take five minutes to meet the 7th reason why new approaches to career management and development are needed: individualism, spirituality, and community.

One key change, which is reported in literature and observed by career professionals, is the (new) emphasis being placed on individualism. Individualism is obviously defined differently by different authors, but from a philosophical perspective individualism refers to a belief that all actions are determined by, or at least take place for, the benefit of the individual.

According to the ILP model, the emphasis on the individual leads to a fragmented society where a significant emphasis is placed on egotistical needs and decisions, and where development for the greater good of society is largely ignored. In line with this notion, Penn (2007) states that “the one-size-fits-all approach to the world is dead”. Yes, even though we may try to ignore this truth, most of us are in it for ourselves! The more money there is to be made, the happier and more fulfilled many become!

This fragmented context needs our attention and career professionals need to consider the importance of re-establishing the connection between body, mind, and spirit. Once the connection is re-established, will we be able to once again approach a state of wellness and wholeness. The ILP approach takes cognisance of this fragmented reality and offers a framework, which manages to provide people with a new focus on making a difference in our communities, by adopting big picture thinking, and being able to think holistically.

The ILP approach offers guidelines in terms of how we can link our life choices to societal issues and make sure our development takes places for the common good. In these times of over-emphasising individual wants and needs, a call is made to pay attention to spirituality and connectedness.

Implications of the above? Those who function as career professionals are required to help people place less emphasis on the self and its needs, and to rather start seeing work as an activity that needs to be done for the benefit of society. Simply put, people are to be helped to realise the importance of wholeness and connectedness between all of the parts mentioned above.

In closing, the series of seven reasons as to why a new career management and development paradigm is needed has now been concluded. I hope we are all in some form of agreement that old (modernist) models of career planning are really obsolete and that a new, post-modern approach is required.

In the next few blogs, I will spend some more time introducing some of the key concepts of Integrative Life Planning; then we will be heading straight into ILP proper where the model and its various considerations and critical tasks are to be discussed in greater detail.

Hope to see you there and get your comments and feedback!

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

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Success through a MASTERMIND GROUP Part 11

(Robert Kiyosaki)

And the LORD said, Behold, the people is ONE, 
and they have all ONE language; 
and this they begin to do: 
and now NOTHING will be restrained from them, 
which they have IMAGINED to do.
(Genesis 11 Verse 6, American King James Version) 

There is a definite energy available in the UNITY of minds bound by passion, faith and purpose.  History is full of examples of small minorities overcoming much larger forces through unity, faith, and passion.

Napoleon Hill tells is in Chapter 10 of Think and Grow Rich, about the power of the Mastermind Group. 

Hill defines the Mastermind as: 
the "Coordination of knowledge, and effort, in a spirit of HARMONY, between two of more people, [toward] the attainment of a definite purpose"

I think it is safe to say that great power is available to a group of people who acts in unity and harmony.

Unity is a force; a force that serves to focus the efforts of like minded people.  Acting in unity two horses can pull a much heavier load than only one could pull working on its own. Some call this tendency synergy. HIll tells us that human minds connected through a unifying purpose is very powerful.  

Minds working together in harmony, seem to create a 'whole that is more than the sum of the parts'.  The exact technicalities of my previous statement is debatable.  But if you have ever been a member of a truly energized team, you will agree that something incredible happens in such teams.

Hill metaphorically relates the human mind with a battery.  The more batteries you have in series, the more energy is produced.  The same appears to happen with human minds in a team setting.  I love teams for that reason. 

In all probability, the cultivation of wealth is not possible without employing the mastermind principle to some degree.  In a previous post concerning the application of specialized knowledge we also touched on the importance of a mastermind group.  Being part of such a team is indeed a privilege.    

I often see people living from a 'takers' perspective.  Seeing how much they can secure for themselves at the expense of others. Sorry guys, but I have to say that I have often experienced this among white South Africans.  Being only a 'taker' opens the door for the poverty mentality, in my opinion.  

Steven Covey describes the poverty mentality as the expectation that only limited resources are available to all.

I am convinced such an approach and mentality will not work in a mastermind team. The poverty mentality makes one a 'taker', thereby excluding the possibility of creating and contributing (in what ever capacity). Creating wealth is normally a central aim of a mastermind group.  Note the word CREATE not take.  

Hill's books has challenged me much on my own perspective.  In the past when I thought about truly successful people, the picture of a 'boardroom zealot' bashing on his subjects while climbing on the backs of defeated foes to get to the top, came to mind. 

Hill describes a mastermind team as working together in HARMONY, sharing a vision and a passion, fully energized and looking out for each other's interest.  Creating and sharing in wealth together. Without that perspective deep coordination of effort and knowledge is not possible at all.  

In closing I am leaving three questions that really challenged me; 

1. Am I the type of person that will fit well into a mastermind group? Do I have the right perspective and qualities? 
2. Which qualities do I have to cultivate in order to fit into a mastermind group?
3. Which areas do I have to change? 
4. If I am to lead a mastermind group, who should I invite to join the group? Why should they join?


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Personal Transitions and Changing Work Patterns (#6)

Welcome to the penultimate discussion of the reasons why a new paradigm for career management and development is needed. If you were able to read the previous postings, you should fully agree that the one word encapsulating the entire discussion is CHANGE. Today’s blog is no different as we will take a brief look at how personal transitions and changing work patterns are offering yet another reason in support of the application of a new career paradigm.

In spite of overwhelming evidence that change is truly pervasive, we still encounter many who follow the notion that society is static, and that a choice made once is a choice made for always. Imagine for one moment just how limiting this position must be! By holding this position, we are not giving the full attention and respect necessitated by the various forms of career transitions taking place in today’s society.

Yes, people may be changing jobs or careers for different reasons, but the fact remains that each of these changes is associated with a degree of starting over! Although people may change careers as part of their career development needs, each time such change takes place, a degree of retraining is needed, which forms part of the notion of life-long learning.

Hansen (1997) quotes the work of Charland in this context who believes that –

· 1/3 of jobs in the USA are in transition;

· 1/3 of all technical jobs are to become obsolete; and

· 1/3 of all workers leave their jobs.

Another well-known and respected author, Bridges (2004), has also contributed to the discussion through various publications. The core of his writing considers how people need to approach Transitions – making sense of life’s changes.

Scanning the internet – and other (printed) sources – will soon reveal just how many authors are making their contribution to this discussion. Some state that individuals are, on average, bound to make a career change 5 – 7 times during their working lives; another goes as far as stating that the average American is changing jobs every two to four years (Penn, 2007)!

Considering the above, there is but one option, which is to agree that a new way of looking at careers and career development has become a necessity! Transitions have come to stay, and professionals assisting individuals with their career management and planning will need to rethink their relationship between personal transitions, their value systems, as well as organisational and social change.

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

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Changing Organisations and Workplaces and the need for a new paradigm #5

Welcome to my newest discussion on why a new paradigm is needed for the future handling of career development and career management challenges. In previous blogs the impact of changing lives, changing demographics, changing societies, and the need for new career definitions, were cited as some of the key reasons for the introduction of a new paradigm – today’s blog will consider the impact of changing organisations and workplaces as yet another reason.

The way in which organisational structures are changing, is offering clear signs of the fact that traditional person-environment fit models of career development and planning, have become obsolete. The significant manner, in which organisational structures are changing, is causing changes in the relationship between organisations and employees.

In the business world the incidence of restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, downsizing, right-sizing, business process optimisation, and take-overs have increased significantly. More often than not the large-scale impact of these changes on individual employees is not given the full attention it deserves.

The roles and contributions of career professionals should also change as to offer optimal assistance to individuals impacted by these changes in organisational structure.

In the context of these changing organisational structures, contract or part-time workers, also referred to as contingent or portfolio workers (Charles Handy; 1990), independent contractors, seasonal or leased workers, and the like, are increasingly being found. Further to this, the introduction of specialised work teams has also been associated with these changes in organisational structure.

The common denominator in this changing context is the individual employee. Regardless of what shape or form their work role may take, such individuals need to adopt special approaches to managing their personal career planning and development. In the absence of significantly diminished job security, the onus for looking after oneself is further underscored.

The implications of the above discussion is clear: old models of career management are truly obsolete, since can they can in no way assist individuals in handling the many issues and challenges associated with changing workplaces and organisational structures; contingent workers cannot rely on appropriate guidance or input from old models of career development and are therefore required to adopt a new approach – the Integrative Life Planning (ILP) approach has been conceptualised to assist individuals in attaining wholeness and integration and to be able to function in all contexts of change, including changing workplaces. The ILP model will be discussed in great detail on the blog – not only will the context of change be further explicated, but will the Integrative Life Planning model be applied to various contexts.

(Based on the work of Sunny Hansen: Integrative Life Planning: Critical Tasks for Career Development and Changing Life PatternsDescription: Description: