Tuesday 15 June 2010

Man's Search For Meaning- Viktor Frankl

A few years ago I came across the story of Viktor Frankl, an extraordinary man who survived 5 different concentration camps. How he did that was reflect on the MEANING of his life and VISUALISED himself having a life beyond his current circumstances. He's been an idol and hero for me. His story is humbling to read. I'd encourage you as a start to look at this short clip from TED from 1972 when we's speaking about Meaning. It's very powerful. (The link's at the end of the post...please read on!)

The facts are that up to 80% of people are not engaged in their work. Many people in that category are not even aware of that fact. As Leaders we can influence this by being good role models ourselves. Today people don't want to be told what to do. They appreciate much more being helped figure it out for themselves. That's what the best people do anyway and it also lies at the heart of Coaching.

Frankl's gift to the world (in addition to surviving the concentration camps and giving life to 'logotherapy'- therapy work engaged with helping people find meaning in their lives) is he pioneered the "FREEDOM TO CHOOSE" movement.
Why he's such a hero to me is he really walked his talk. The statistics showed that the survival rate in the camps was less than 10%. What he showed us is with a mental attitude where you own your own life and not let yourself be victimised by your captors you're able to find MEANING to your own existence. He realised he was in fact more free than the guards who were often cruel and obviously deeply unhappy. The piece of this video that most appealed to me was the idea that if you treat someone like they are that's all they'll become. But if you treat them like they can be that's what they WILL BECOME!!

How much time as Leaders do you spend investing in the future potential of your own people...? The opportunities abound for such development; stretch assignments, cross functional teaming, exposure to new environments. They all take us out of our comfort zones and that's where all the learning and growth takes place.

Sadly we're not taught how to as Frankl later said "detect" our own life's meaning. This is part of the struggle of life. The paradox as I see it is we have to grapple with our own abilities in order to detect what we do best! Nothing's for free but most of the best stuff actually IS free. We have to earn the right to our own birth right! That is bizarre, but it is the way of the world. An analogy in the natural world would be how caterpillars become butterflies. We each have to earn our own right to fly, but fly we all can if we want to engage with our own story and respect our own potential.

As we head into summer season and many of us take time with family and away from the "busyness of being busy" use some of this time to reflect on your own meaning. Here are some Coaching questions which may assist that process:

1. Why do you do what you do....?

2. What are your best talents and highest passions...?

3. If Q2 is not supported by Q1....you may not be using all your potential.....Start there and if you struggle to so this on your own, that's where a good Coach can help you...............
Enjoy the link!..........


SincerelySarah said...

Love this! I am almost finished with this book and I think it is amazing what Viktor Frankl has accomplished. He really makes it so that we, with much less problems, have no excuse for self-pity. I recently started a blog and my last post was about this book. Everyone should own a copy! Check out my blog and let me know what you think.

Man's Search For Meaning

SAMARTH. said...

why do humans reproduce?...Lets bring an end to all the misery pain and suffering. STOP REPRODUCTION.

Justin Brown said...

I loved the book as well and took a similar message from it. You can find my review here: http://www.researchnexus.org/network/index.php?option=com_joomd&view=joomd&layout=detail&id=1&Itemid=37