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Being a good ancestor

I’ve been reading James Kerr’s fabulous book, ‘Legacy’ about the all-conquering All-Backs. Kerr’s introduced me to the southern African word, ‘Ubuntu’: ‘What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.’

And I suddenly twigged that for the last 10 years The Art of Being Brilliant has been talking about Ubuntu, our version of which says, you’ve got 4,000 weeks to make a dent in the universe.

But there’s a bit of the wider world of positive psychology that is missing. It’s the spark plug bit – small but highly significant.

My PhD has ended up being about ‘flourishing’ - when an individual feels happy and this positivity is transmitted to their work colleagues. In such instances, this so-called ‘multiplier effect’ could be felt within the organisation’s suppliers, business partners, work colleagues and customers. But, of course, the multiplier effect is so much bigger than that. Tisdale & Pitt-Catsuphes found that a child’s sense of well-being is affected less by the long working hours of their parents and more by their mood on returning home. Their conclusion is that working long hours in a job you love is better for family relations than working shorter hours and coming home unhappy. You might have to re-read that for it to sink in? It’s not about work, it’s about how you come through the door.

My research about engagement in the workplace excites me. It has the power to transform individuals, teams and entire organizations. But it doesn’t excite me nearly as much as the transferability of the ‘multiplier effect’ to your home.

Back to ‘Legacy’ where Kerr sums it up better than I ever can, ‘Our first responsibility is to be a good ancestor’.

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Posted by: Andy C