1. the act of combining or adding parts to make a unified whole
I recently met with a friend of mine and he described his life as a circus.
Can you relate?
I shifted to asking him about each of the three rings of that circus:
We are all spiritual beings and all of us have a personal life and a professional life we are trying to balance. Interestingly enough, when we surveyed over 100 business owners a few years ago and asked them about their needs and challenges, they not only described their lives as something akin to a “circus”, but they noted that they were having a hard time balancing those three rings.
I am hearing the word “integration” a lot lately. It is used in the context of marrying your internal world to the exterior of your life. It is about the integrity of your honesty in terms of what is really going on inside. Like many people, I’ve spent most of my life masking my internal world with what I thought people wanted to see.
Funny thing is, that when the internal is not fully integrated with the external, people sense the internal despite how hard we work to keep up appearances.
Something feels off.
Something doesn’t seem right.
Something doesn’t ring true.
There is no freedom outside the integration of the internal and external life. And there is a presence, a confidence, a power really, that I don’t think is possible otherwise. It allows you to be much more fully present and available for every person sitting in front of you. Incredibly powerful for a leader, but pretty essential for a coach.
The other way I have heard the term integration used has to do with marrying the different arenas of our lives. The primary ones we focus on are personal, professional, & spiritual. Those hundred leaders we surveyed a few years ago pointed to this specific issue.
The leaders we surveyed weren’t slackers, they were the super intentional ones. They listened to podcasts, read lots of books, attended conferences, and most of them even attended group leadership experiences or were part of executive boards.
They were finding friendship and information.
They were not finding real, measurable change in their businesses.
They were not finding the integration of their personal, professional, and spiritual lives.
We decided that if we couldn’t address those two deep needs while also cultivating friendship and arming leaders with the important information they needed, we needed to get out of the business. Thankfully, the leaders we now work with say that they are finding more of all of the above.
If the way we are investing in our leadership isn’t actually changing our businesses and we aren’t finding the essential integration of all of the arenas in our lives, what’s the point?
- Does your life feel like a circus?
- Are all three rings of your circus balanced and integrated?
- Do you find that you can effortlessly move in and out of all three without penalizing the others?
- Are you ready to do the necessary work required to find the integration you truly desire?