There is one big flaw in how we are taught to live. It is imposed upon us at birth, and as we get older, people forget to tell us one big rule about living an abundant and happy life.
So we go through life believing our destinies are in the hands of those who control our resources. Those who pay us, feed us and shelter us.
It takes many of us many years and challenges to realize one big truth within the big lie we've been taught...
Your destiny is in the hands of those who control your resources, and the ultimate controller is YOU.
Ok, I know what you're thinking. "Mary must have really drank some kind of optimism kool-aid that has twisted her mind straight out of reality."
Perhaps that is partially true. But what others don't know is that your environment is the true controller of your destiny and you are the architect of your environment.
The Truth About Control
It is true that it is incredibly frustrating and mostly impossible to control other people. Other people feed us, shelter us and pay us. Other people keep us safe from the unknown world of unemployment. Other people manage us and tell us what to do. You can see why people believe that responsibility for their life fulfillment and happiness rests squarely on the shoulders of other people.
But what about when you take the reigns on your environment and begin to architect the support mechanisms that will bring you closer to the fulfillment of your own personal values and ambitions?
When you become the architect of your environment, you get to manage the contractors of your life.
Start controlling the controllables, and everything else will fall into place.
Why This IS Important
Humans have a natural compulsion towards abdicating responsibility for our happiness to others. It is ingrained in us from conception, through birth, to adolescence and beyond. As a baby, we do not have the means to care for ourselves, so we intently go about manipulating our environments and our parents into pursuing our survival.
As we grow older, our manipulation powers somehow grow weaker. Fewer and fewer people are doing what we want them to do. We somehow see this as a flaw in the universe. We aren't conscious that the skills we used as a baby to manage our environment are not the same skills we must use as adults.
As adults, we must take a more active role. It is no longer about survival, it is about fulfillment. The skills required for fulfillment are very different.
When you learn the skills for architecting your environment, you are no longer the victim of your employees' and managers' demands. You instead become an assertive presence, who is able to coach and mentor others in pursuit of fulfillment. As others begin to design their own environments, a more supportive network is formed. Personal energy is elevated. Organizational energy is elevated.
Results become more easy and more profound.
How To Architect a Winning Environment
There are three basic questions to ask yourself as you start to design your environment.
1. What do I truly want for myself?
2. What is missing from my environment that would support me getting what I want?
3. What am I tolerating in my environment that is holding me back from what I want?
Next create a chart containing questions #2 and #3 along the top, and the following 9 environments in the left column:
• Inspiration Environment - where you get your ideas and strokes of genius from
• Financial Environment - money, wealth, budget
• Relationship Environment - family, close friends and close colleagues
• Network Environment - professional connections and community
• Physical Environment - places and things
• Body Environment - your energy, health, appearance and clothing
• Self Environment - your strengths, talents and character
• Spritual Environment - deep connections, sacred spaces and nature
• Technology Environment - electronic devices and virtual spaces
Begin to answer the three questions through the lens of each environment.
Where you find gaps or tolerations, create a statement that will empower what you would prefer to have instead. For example, let's say you wish to get a promotion at work, and when you look at your relationship environment you notice that you have been tolerating a boss who is uninterested in you, and there is nobody else around who cares if you progress. A statement that empowers your preference might sound like this: "Expand my Supporters by Sharing my Strengths".
Finally, create an action plan that is inspired by your statements. A statement like the one above might inspire the action of "use my socializing strengths to meet new people of influence who can help me progress".
A quick assessment of your environment will quickly reveal areas of your life that you have been leaving unattended. Attend to those spaces the way you would attend to your garden or house chores this weekend. Do a cleanup of your 9 environments, and watch what you want in life unfold before you.
Mary Legakis Engel is a global management expert and coach based in Toronto, Canada. She helps managers and executives get personal and professional fulfillment faster. Visit her at www.managementcoach.ca.