Sunday 7 July 2013

Personal flourishing

In a previous blog I shared why I preferred flourish as an outcome of the ICECAPS process I've developed rather than success. Today I'd like to explore personal flourishing.

As a reminder - the main differences between flourishing and success are: success is the achievement of goals and flourishing is to thrive, develop and be healthy. Which means you can succeed and not flourish - which I suspect would lead to failure at some point in the future.

I'm sure many of us would suggest we already have flourishing as our main goal in life rather than success. After all health, happiness and love are all qualities we say we want and of course are all essential if we are to flourish. If Maslow and his hierarchy of needs are right then flourishing also requires safety, security, belonging, esteem and self actualisation.

But look a little deeper and I'm not sure our actions always support this? If asked what success looks like in life I suspect that many of us would include attainment of something such as a particular job or salary, financial independence, a partner, a nice car, a bigger house, a longer holiday and so on. Whilst I appreciate these don't exclude flourishing, I do think we sometimes lose sight of the main aim of flourishing and make achievement of these 'things' our main aim. Lack of them means we think we've failed and yes our flourishing can spiral down as a result of our feelings about this. However is it really their lack that is our failure or instead holding a belief that having these things will somehow enable us to flourish. Of course there's a minimum level we need to achieve to ensure we're safe and secure (as suggested by Maslow) but I'd suggest all of us able to read this are well past that mark - whatever we may think. 

In short I believe we're human beings not human havings or human doings. Human beings flourish. Human havings and doings can succeed but may not necessarily flourish. 

A future blog will consider organisational flourishing. Your homeplay in the mean time is to observe when having and doing is getting in the way of being and therefore ultimately your flourishing. 

Alison Smith
Inspiring change inside and out

Flourishing is the outcome of a 7 step process I've developed that uses nature as our teacher and suggests that, just like nature, we need to preserve our ICECAPS. 

Blog 8 as part of the ultimate blog challenge writing 31 blogs in July. 

Poppy picture with kind permission of Pixabay.

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