Core: noun, often attributive: ˈkȯr
At Leadership Design Group, we journey often into a person’s core—and, if we are healthy, into what is at our core. It is, after all, at the center of our Circle of Life Model.
Let’s go there again for a few moments this morning with the aid of our friends (and distance mentors) brothers George and Charles Merriam, and Noah Webster.
At Our Core: A Distinct Essence
Merriam-Webster’s first definition: Core: a central and often foundational part usually distinct from the enveloping part by a difference in nature.
Central for sure, and of course the core is foundational. But what about the last half of this intriguing definition? How is our core “distinct from the enveloping part”? What gives it “a difference in nature”?
Our model has the 8 dimensions of a person’s life—intellectual, emotional, physical, family and marriage, social, vocational, financial and what we call CIDP: creative, innovative, designful, playful, all in orbit, as it were, around our core.
At our core is what we believe to be true: about the world we live in, who we are, and who others are in our world and about our purpose: why we exist at this place and moment in time. These beliefs form the source of our values, our integrity, our character.
Here is a little peek into the history of Leadership Design Group: in the earlier days of our model, “Belief System” was one of the 8 Dimensions in the Circle of Life. In the space of a single week, through the valued input from three different members of our Mentoring Development Team, each input independent of the others, we came to understand this as a flaw in the model. The “Belief System” was not just one of 8 dimensions, it was a crucial piece of the model that influenced the other dimensions in very significant ways. It was, yes, distinct. It was of a different nature than the other dimensions.
After some discussion with the team, we moved this most unique piece of our model from the outer rim of the circle to the middle; we put it at our core. It belongs there. Why?
At Our Core: A Basic Entity
Merriam-Webster’s second definition: Core: a basic, essential, or enduring part.
Our core is basic, foundational, essential. This is not to say that the 8 dimensions are not essential or that they come and go.
It means this: our belief system has a fundamental effect on all the other 8 dimensions and all at the same time. What I believe to be true defines who I am: it defines how I live within my family and how I nurture my marriage. It defines how I pursue and sharpen my intellect, how I use my finances, how I use my leisure time and develop friendships. It defines how I put my own creativity and playfulness to use in my world, how I spend the working, waking hours of my day and how I care for my body. Yes, it even defines how I engage with my emotions.
And all of us, in some way, are living in one or more of our 8 dimensions in a way that is incongruent with our core. We may be just a bit off in one or two dimensions that need shoring up or sharpening. Or, we may be living in massive contradiction to our core beliefs and purpose in ways that affect almost every dimension of our lives.
Here’s a little exercise for you. Say this to yourself: “I am not doing with my finances (or body, or emotions, or…you fill in the blank, this is a personal exercise) what I know I should be doing.” Was there a dimension of your life you could honestly put in that blank? Were there many dimensions? Maybe some out there could fill in that blank with every single one of the 8 Dimensions of Life.
The best of leadership mentors will challenge themselves to live a healthy life, with each dimension in harmony with what we believe to be true at our core. They will be honest with themselves and their own mentors about where they need work and diligent about doing the work. And, they will challenge those they mentor to do the same.
At Leadership Design Group, we exist to help leaders thrive in all of their lives. Assessing the health of one’s core and its congruence with the 8 Dimensions of Life is an excellent place to start. How can we be of help to you?
Me, you ask? I’m not walking as much as I should be. I’m headed out the door to get some steps in before the Virginia rains hit…