Self Reflection

Is self reflection a starting point for getting unstuck? Can we get where we're going without self reflection .. maybe by luck and instinct? Why do we resist self reflection in so many ways?

I teach an approach that combines philosophy and science, specifically Humanist philosophy.
Self-reflection is hugely important. It helps us define who we want to be – ideally -  and how we want to get there and more importantly WHY!

I tell people to start by thinking explicitly about what they value most. Getting your ethics straight gives you a foundation to ask yourself important questions when stuck.  Without that basis, it’s hard to even begin to know where to start.

A good way to do this is to read a philosophy book or a book about values. (Like this one) Reading about someone else’s values kicks starts your thinking. Do I agree with this? If not why not? What is it I value?  A lot of what I do (in my books and my programs) is designed to cause this sort of self reflection. The goal is not to have you agree with me. The goal is to have you think about what it is you value.

Once you have that in place, you can start considering whether what you are doing now is helping you to realize and live by your values on a day to day basis.  I like to take stock every six months. Like spring and winter cleaning. Are my values still working for me?  Is the path I am on still the right path.

Like anything self-reflection is a practice. 

Oh – when it comes to thinking techniques, I encourage people to think of three. One of the ways we get stuck is in false dichotomies. We can’t see our way clear because we feel like we have two options, both of which suck.  So think of a third. Once you can do that, you can think of a 4th or  a 5th. That usually is enough to get the creative juices flowing and it’s a simple thing to remember. Think of three.

To learn more check out my online course - Living Made Simpler
Or read my book: The Humanist Approach to Happiness

Servant Leadership

I love the concept of servant leadership and it’s how I view the role of a manager.

When there is work to be done, people need to do it. But to do the work, they need tools, training and supplies. The role of the manager is to make sure people have what they need to do the work they have been asked to do

This is a very egalitarian model and it is consistent with my instincts as a Humanistic Manager, which is not to elevate one human above the rest, but to help each other build something cool together.

This sort of leadership requires humility. Understanding that the project isn’t about the manager. It’s about the project getting done and getting done well.

Humility also helps a leader to listen to the staff and respect their input when something goes wrong so it can be fixed. The last thing anyone wants or needs when there is a problem is a mandate to do something that not only won’t fix the problem, but that will make the problem harder to solve.

Finally, being a servant means serving. There is a problem to  be solved, the servant dedicates themselves to solving it. It is in this last area that shines for me as a Humanist.  I want to make things better. Not just for myself, but for others and for the communities in which I live.  This is my primary motivation in life.

Servant leadership in business isn’t just focused on business, and management. It’s also focused on why the business exists in the first place and what sort of impact the business is having on their customers, their employees and the communities in which they operate.

Solving a problem for yourself by creating problems for others – IS NOT servant leadership or humanistic leadership. So take your role as a leader/manager seriously and get to work helping us solve our problems.

To learn more – check out these courses

Work Life Balance - for Humanist Entrepreneurs

There is no way to find balance - if you don't prioritize it

Subscribe to my youtube channel.

Humanism is to be Humane

The word Humanism has many connotations, almost all of them positive.

One of the connotations is that Humanism is to be humane. It’s about recognizing the value of other people and not only not hurting them in pursuit of whatever happiness you are seeking, but also – to treat them kindly, with compassion and to actually help. Humanitarians are humane, because they don’t just do no harm, they actively seek to do good.

This is consistent with how I understand Humanism in my own practice. Am I always humane?  I don’t know if I can honestly answer that question yes. But I do know it’s something I strive to do and be and that it’s an ideal I feel very strongly about.

When I think about the word, humane, I think about a human ideal. A humane person is a good person. One who is trustworthy and helpful in times when those qualities are most needed.

This striving for humanity and to encourage more humane behavior among humans necessarily has political, economic and social ramifications.  It shouldn’t matter where you come from or what faith tradition you are from or were from. The only way we get through this thing called life well, is if we are treated humanely. We have a responsibility to both give and receive as humanely as possible.
So go forth  - and be as humane as humanly possible.

Oh – and if you want – here is a podcast by someone else – about Humanism is to be Humane.  -

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