Create Personal Infrastructure or Fail (just like in business)

What is your personal infrastructure?

Think about this question for a minute. What if you managed your life like you manage your business? Would it be successful? If not, why?

Here’s something that fascinated me in my journey of personal development. Despite being well schooled in process, metrics, infrastructure, systems, deliverables, scale, strategic and tactical planning, ect … not one of these principles was incorporated into the programs I used to recover from drugs and addiction.

None. Zero. Instead, I spent a lot of time talking about my problems. A lot … over and over again – and if you’ve even been down this road, you know exactly what I’m talking about. 

Even worse, I had “failed” to incorporate any of these principles into the infrastructure of my life. I call this my, “Personal Infrastructure.” And it was lacking in a big way. In fact, I didn’t even know what it was. 

Think about your life from a business perspective for a moment. You’re good at what you do, right? Think of the different departments (career, finances, health, hobbies, relationships, spirituality), key stakeholders (spouse, family, children, boss, Board, friends, etc …), metrics, and risks that ultimately equal your reality.

What if you become your own CEO?

Here’s what I mean … many of my clients are executives and professionals. They have a deep understanding of process, infrastructure, metrics, failure response protocols, risk management, and goal setting, etc … – yet, they have completely failed to implement any of these tools and principles into their life. As did I. How are you doing in this department?

Ask yourself these questions?

  • Do you have measurable personal goals?
  • Are you blind to the risks thwarting great living?
  • Do you measure your performance in key life areas?
  • Do you have a firm comprehension of the “process” or “workflow” of the bad habits that control your life? Do you know in an acute way the habit cycle that controls your life – that colors the lens through which you experience the world?
  • Have you installed the infrastructure necessary to produce Kaizen (I love this word) … or continuous improvement in your life?

And now ask yourself this:

  • What would your business and career look like if you ran your day job on the philosophies, belief systems, and actions that govern your personal life?
  • Would your business thrive?
  • Or would it be a complete mess?

I want to share a story with you that really drives this point home.

I once worked with the Strategic Planning Officer for a half a billion $ company – he was elevated to this non-traditional C-level position by a CEO who’s company was experiencing massive growth – we’ll call him Steve.

Steve, was highly successful on many levels, but his relationship was a mess, and he numbed and coped by watching copious amounts of pornography. He was a mediocre Dad, had no hobbies, and lacked any sense of a zeal and zest for life. 

Steve’s CEO knew the critical importance of having someone by his side at a leadership level who would coordinate, in a very disciplined way, the massive expenditure of resources and capital during his company’s massive growth phase. 

Steve was this guy. He was awesome at this stuff. He would have made my Project Manager boss at The Hartford, Maria, proud – he was structured, disciplined, a visionary thinker, … and action oriented and goal-centric.

Steve prided himself on his ability to understand systems and infrastructure and process to increase productivity and introduce scale. He fashioned himself a master.

I distinctly remember asking Steve, “do you know what a project charter is? He chuckled and responded, “of course” – and then when on to proudly list the attributes of a project charter:

  • name of the project
  • project scope statement
  • list of key stakeholders
  • budget
  • key milestones
  • deliverables
  • key risks etc … 

To better set up my straw-man, I then shared with him my thoughts that, “all this project mumbo jumbo documentation was overkill and actually thwarted productivity in my opinion.” I basically called his “life calling” a bloated bureaucracy.

I was joking of course (at the risk of my credibility plummeting), but I wanted him to respond with why these attributes are in fact critical to success of any complex, risky endeavor. 

And boy did he deliver. Steve, mildly annoyed by this point, went on to recite what we now call his “process speech” – a speech he’s told many times. Steve declared, “any project that’s worth doing needs this level of structure – without it, you will undoubtedly fail and certainly squander resources – any project with a lot of risks and variables needs to be structured – as this project infrastructure dramatically increases the chances of success.”

Steve was quite proud of his answer.

I then asked Steve, if he felt that his life had lots of risks that needed to be managed proactively and had way too many variables to leave to chance? I asked him if he ever thought of creating a project charter for his life. The line went silent, and I could hear Steve crying. It was awesome. I was witnessing his awakening. 

It was a very powerful moment for him and from this moment on – his life forever changed. He knew in that moment that he had all the tools to create a Personal Infrastructure in his life to create continuous improvement – or what is also called Kaizen. 

What’s your personal infrastructure? What’s your personal dashboard? What attributes do you need to measure and what risks do you need to proactively manage to create the great life you so desperately crave?

Our personal lives need to be treated with the same care that we use in the success we create for our work. The parallels are endless. Infrastructure has changed my life. What can it do for your’s?

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