Over the generations, there have been varying ways success has been perceived by the global community. In nomadic societies, success was gaining territory that would sustain the needs and safety of the tribe. In a feudal society, developing the skills of your father was critical to perpetuating your ability to provide for your family. The monarchy was tasked with addressing social needs. As the industrial revolution took hold, success was being gainfully employed outside the home – the birth of the notion that “going to work” should become a social norm of success and responsibility. Throughout the Industrial Age, there have been vacillating views on how the community should receive care.

As we stumble out of the Industrial Age into the 21st century, we are still searching for a defining characteristic of success. We have bore witness the awkwardness of being in the throes of dissonance between Industrial Age success (primarily wealth) and the desires/needs/demands of 21st century world views. We try to fit wealth, as a measure of success, into this 21st century context but it feels off-balance, disingenuous, and out of place. There is a reason for this…we have grown in our thinking, but our measures have yet to catch up.

There is an under-reported renaissance taking place. The global vox is clamoring for a new way to describe the brass ring. In my discussions with people from various ethnic and national backgrounds, along with my own journey, a new picture is coming into focus: The value and desire for human flourishing.

flourishMuch of the challenges we have attempted to address previously have been symptomatic of a lack of flourishing. We have been treating the symptoms of humans not flourishing, but have yet to get to the root of it all. We have built government policies, performance development plans, punitive legal measures, and social constructs all designed to present us with the behavior and appearance of flourishing; however, they lack any real substance. We have just been painting over the cockroaches on the wall to make it more aesthetically pleasing for us.

Flourishing requires a completely different tack altogether. It requires us to frame our thinking around a simple biotic principle – Healthy things grow. We have been fixated on creating growth, and the health of the thing growing has been less relevant. Unchecked growth without health is cancer and we have experienced the ill-effects of this socially for many decades now. The irony of it all, is that if we focused on human flourishing we would be able to achieve the things we have tried to prescribe into existence much more effectively.

If I focus on my team flourishing as humans, they will behave differently. They will be engaged. They will perform at a high level. They will find ways to make me money. Money isn’t the focus, it is the organic output of human flourishing.

If I focus on those around me as humans who need to flourish, and I feel a sense of responsibility to help facilitate that with them, I will behave differently in how I interact with them and what I am willing to do for/with them. Under the notion of being flourish-centric in our choices and thinking, many of our social ills take on a very different texture. You see, helping others to flourish doesn’t make room for judgment regarding the reasons for why someone hasn’t yet flourished to the degree they can. If a flower doesn’t bloom, we typically look at the surroundings and don’t berate or shame the flower for not having achieved its full potential.

Finally, human flourishing begins with you. How are you working to help yourself flourish? This isn’t “How can I step on others so that I may gain?” type of thinking. This is learning the value of flourishing so that you are emotionally and psychologically capable of seeing those around you in the same capacity – with the same needs and value as you esteem for yourself.

I am constantly challenged to see how I can help myself to flourish and how I may participate in the flourishing of those around me. I suck at it and wish I could do it better. I want more for me and I want more for others. Helping others flourish doesn’t have to cost money, it just costs emotional capital to see others as deserving the best in life simply because they exist.

This has become my life’s passion and The Leadership Advisor will become the standard bearer for this. As we grow, we change. Human flourishing is the evolutionary next-step for me and more details around how this is going to show up will emerge in the coming weeks and months. If you are passionate about this and this post has stirred something in you, please comment below. I would love to hear more from you!

Keep business human – help humans flourish.