Posted on April 21, 2024  
by Noel Guilford

Last Thursday I had lunch with three of my best friends and as usual our conversation went on long into the afternoon. At one point Sarah said something that surprised me: many of her similarly middle-aged friends and acquaintances didn’t know what they wanted to be when they grew up!

My other friends agreed. Apparently, it is common for people to reach middle age without defining what they want from life. The demands of everyday life – the here and now – overwhelm us leaving little time to think about the long term and what we are working toward. As a result, when faced with big and small life decisions, we are left with nothing to guide us.

The business equivalent, of course, is attempting to run a business without a strategy, which as every business owner knows is a losing proposition.

So is the model for strategic thinking that we use with businesses suitable for the design of life strategies for individuals?

At the Boston Consulting Group, they think so. They have devised a programme they call Strategise Your Life that takes the corporate strategy model and adapts it to help individuals. The programme involves asking seven questions:

  1. How do I define a great life?
  2. What is my life purpose?
  3. What is my life vision?
  4. How do I decide where to invest my time (BGC calls this your life portfolio because they use their acclaimed product portfolio analysis matrix as an assessment tool)?
  5. What studies can I learn from to set benchmarks for life satisfaction?
  6. What portfolio choices (ie what if I change my priorities) can I make?
  7. How can I ensure and measure a successful and sustained change?

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They argue that just as corporate strategy is a set of choices that positions a business to win, life strategy is a set of choices that positions a person to live a great life. They apply tools from classic business and organisational strategy to help individuals find answers to the seven questions above and make better decisions about their life actions.

These tools help individuals to find their path in a seven-step life strategy process. In step one you define what a great life means for you, in step two you outline your purpose and then in step three your life vision. Step four is the analysis of how you spend your 168-hour week, while step 5 involves setting benchmarks for your level of life satisfaction. In step six you incorporate the results of the first five steps and determine your choices and the changes you are going to make in your life, then in step seven you map out a plan for putting your choices into action.

That said, it won’t be easy. You will have to challenge yourself and face your fears. You may have to accept the need to step outside your comfort zone.

In next week’s Sunday Supplement, I’ll share with you the tools you can use during each of the seven steps.

But after all, what’s more important than your life? Commit to thinking strategically about it, look forward to the insights you will gain and enjoy the journey.

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Noel Guilford

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