What do we need to be content and successful?

May 4, 2011
Sharon Williams

04/05/11 -  What do we need to be content and successful?

I was having a conversation the other day with a friend who is starting out on a new blended family arrangement. You know the thing, both split from original partners, both with a mix of kids, both starting out with a new combined home and belongings. Both are dealing with new relatives and importantly starting out with a new mix of friends.

Daunting or exciting? I decided new beginnings can be daunting (as well as exciting) and it takes courage to overturn past histories, past hurts and start anew — to protect children from the change, leave everyone intact and create new relationships that come bundled with more baggage than most. I turned up to their party in a conscious show of support.In a world where 40 percent of marriages end in a split and 20 percent of de facto relationships end 18 months after having a child, more than 70,000 children in Australia under 18 are affected by their birth parents separating. Add into the equation struggling to work or run businesses, organising cash flow, signing up new customers, dealing with suppliers plus maintaining one's health and friendships and the juggle for work-life success is a ponderous thing.Another colleague and friend, Hugh Gyton, who runs Conversations Matter, started his business on the back of the above statistics. He educates corporate and individuals on the art of good, solid productive conversations. His premise is that if we could have better conversations in the workplace and at home we would find greater success and peace. I am constantly reminded of this in my conversations with my friends, children, staff and customers.Hugh also refers to research that proves if you are "conversation trained" you live longer and happier. He notes that since 1998, Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" survey shows they deliver five times more return for their shareholders, one can only surmise that environments with constructive conversations are equal to excellent results.So why isn't good conversation taught in schools, I ask myself? Digging around, I did some research into our basic needs. Tony Robbins has a top six and I like them. Take them as a health check on you and your business.1. Certainty/Comfort

This is about being safe, secure, comfortable and having some certainty in your life. Too much certainty of course and we get bored. Too little and the result is stress and discomfort which can cause us to be unproductive. For most people, certainty equals survival. Certainty equals peace.2. Uncertainty/Variety

Variety is the spice of life – one of my own Mothers' favourite sayings. We need variety to keep us engaged and enthused. But the ideal is to have a mix of certainty with a level of variety. Variety keep us alive and fresh - we need variety to feel fully alive and to experience fulfilment. With too much certainty we become bored. Like-wise, with too much variety we run the risk of becoming destabilised or exhausted. The ideal is to find the balance of variety and certainty that works for you, your work and your partner.3. Significance

We all have a need for significance, that need to feel special to somebody or somebodies. We need to feel valued in the work place, valued at home. We can choose to live a life extraordinary significance or live within the confines of relevant normality. Whatever your choices – defining what significance means to you is a good start.4. Connection & Love

This is about the need to love and be loved. To feel connected. At its extreme – we see the success of Facebook – today’s primary vehicle of connection. At it’s most basic, it is the need to be loved, liked an accepted by your loved ones, work mates and peers. People join clubs, associations, sporting groups to seek appropriate connection. To be loved remains one of our primary emotional needs.5. Growth

The laws of nature require that we continually grow. Growth equals life. All worldly things are are alive are either growing or dying. Growth is one of the two primary needs in life. It doesn't matter what you have today, or what success you enjoy, unless you feel like you're growing, you will be unfulfilled.6. Contribution

Most people deep down, have a need to live a life that serves the greater good. It is in giving, we can experience some great joy and fulfilment. A balance of contribution to oneself and others, especially unselfish contribution, is the ultimate secret to the joy that so many wish to have in their lives.The six needs resonate with me across all my life roles. And in a world where relationships appear so difficult a bit of conversation training could go a long way!

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