How Will You Measure Your Life?

Physical Copy:


By: Clayton Christensen

Rating: A-

I have seen this book on a ton of top 10 lists. Well deserved. This was a great one. I think every high school and college graduate need to read it.

It is a great guide to find what you are called to do or passionate about.

I wish I would have read this 10 years ago!

Making more money will not make you happier.

Making more money does not correlate to a happier work life. Professional satisfaction and motivation are derived from work that matches your needs and interests.

Needs and interests are divided into 2 categories: hygiene factors and motivation factors.

Hygiene factors: General conditions at work, company policies, supervisory practices, and job security.

Motivation factors: Recognition, responsibility, challenges, and personal growth.

Job satisfaction is created when you tend to both.

A good career strategy intentionally plans for opportunities we foresee and allows freedom to explore what we don’t.

Do you have a career strategy? Do you know where you want to go? Probably. But how are you going to get there?

A good strategy incorporates both deliberate and emergent strategies.

Deliberate strategy: Anticipated opportunities that you recognize and choose to pursue with a detailed plan.

Emergent strategy: Unanticipated opportunities that you allow yourself to explore to determine if they are fruitful.

Life is not linear and neat. Unexpected things happen. It is important to be calculated AND flexible to seize the best opportunities. I loved this section of the book. It is so applicable to every life stage. I think none more than a recent college graduate.

How do you know that your major is the exact career you were made for? There is so much you haven’t experienced.

The author recommends spending your 20s with a dominant emergent strategy. Try multiple careers. Ask to be trained in multiple areas of your organization. Experiment, experiment, experiment.

All stages of life have both deliberate and emergent strategies but they may be emphasized differently in different seasons. 

Be intentional to explore opportunities to find what the highest and best use of your time is. That way you won’t have to wonder if you should have at the end of your days.

Your life is your “business.” Act like it. Give it the resources it deserves.

Your resources are your time, energy, and skills. Spending all of them in your career is short sighted. 

If you gained the promotion but lost your marriage or health, would it be worth it?

You have to prioritize your resources in all areas of your life with the same level of attention as your career. No one wishes they had spent more time at the office on their deathbed.

Your career will thrive if you are prioritizing your “business.” You will have more energy if your health is taken care of. You will avoid burnout and be more creative if you make time for rest and presence with your family. You will be inspired if you are funding and pursuing your side passion. You will inspire your team if you are more prepared for retirement than those 20 years your senior. Think big picture.

Relationships with your family and friends are the true sources of happiness.

We are always tempted to spend those spare hours on a work project. Is that really going to matter or move the project forward substantially more? 

(Side note. If you are spending more than 40 hours at work, I highly question your effectiveness. Grow up. Use your brain.)

Relationships require consistent attention and care.

Our friends and family rarely shout for that attention. Instead, they support you in those long hours at the office. BUT what they really need is your presence.

The earliest years of your child’s development are some of the most important. That. Is. Terrifying. What damage have I done? Make time now!

Intuition and empathy are superpowers that serve those at home and in the workplace.

A marriage works when each spouse understands what is expected of them. It takes intuition and empathy to learn what is expected. These same skills serve you well in the workplace.

What if you thought of your relationships as a job? Meaning how can you make it your job to meet the needs of those close to you? Your family would be uplifted and drawn to each other if you gave their needs the attention they deserve. 

One of your most important jobs is to raise your kids right.

Kids need your presence. They need you to educate them about the world and teach them right from wrong.

They also need the tools to teach themselves. One of the best ways is to allow them to face challenges and find solutions on their own.

Allow them to fail. Provide support and encourage them. As they grow to meet the challenge they will develop a healthy self-esteem that will serve them the rest of their life. Our freaking world needs this! Teach a growth mindset!

Don’t dwell on the failures but celebrate the wins. Build that healthy self-esteem! 

Do not compromise your integrity. It is a slippery slope!

Integrity requires constant self-awareness. We must remain aware of the trap of marginal thinking.

Have you ever made a decision that went against what you believe, but justified it as something you’d only do “just this once?”

This is a slippery slope and can ruin your reputation and self-esteem for decades. 

Next Action:

How can I be intentional with an emergent strategy?

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