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Big-time Simplicity

Big-time Simplicity

Simplicity is at the heart of an effective wellness strategy – both for individuals and organizations. Over the 18 years since Catalyst was launched, the successful pattern has been crystal clear: Simplicity wins the day. As individuals, we love to chase the headlines and fads, but it (almost) ALWAYS comes back to the cornerstones: Move… Fuel… Rest… Connect. Positive traction in one or more of these creates margin that then allows further growth internally and expanded impact externally. Organizational wellness strategies aren’t any different. While it’s (temporarily) exciting to chase the latest shiny object, the personalized approach that engages the individual in lasting meaningful (to them – not the algorithm) change positively moves the dial… every time. The resultant outcome then enhances both VOI and ROI.

However, what happens when the simplicity is taken too literally? When it leaves out the broader engagement element so important to the outcome? Suzanna and I are involved in a small group of couples discussing various aspects of life and simplicity is the current topic of conversation. The focus has been on distinguishing needs from wants and thus our dependency on things money can buy. These are certainly valuable steps in the bigger picture, but by focusing exclusively on this aspect of simplicity, are we missing that bigger picture entirely? Are we “minimizing simplicity” and missing out on the opportunity existing within engaged simplicity?

Sure – I can sell everything I own and move to a cabin off the grid somewhere. That would absolutely simplify just about everything in this context, but to what ends? Aren’t we here to be catalysts? To positively impact the lives of our families, friends, communities, and world in the process? Perhaps it’s beneficial to expand our view of simplicity beyond the “minimalist” lifestyle. Rather than reduction, maybe it instead is about creating margin across not just our finances but also our time, energy and talents. Simplicity puts the focus on minimizing. Margin (the difference between available and necessary resources) shifts the focus to expanded opportunity. Margin isn’t simply about reduction – it also involves expansion! Yes – we can shrink our lives to become as small as possible. Or – we can grow our available time, money, financial and talent resources – and thus our available margin! Clearly, if that margin is self-centered, it’s also self-defeating. But if we’re engaged in putting that margin to valuable use, our potential for positive impact expands exponentially.

So what’s the point? Simplicity in a vacuum falls short. Engaged simplicity on the other hand – an approach focused on creating margin across the big 4 (time/money/energy/talent) for the purpose of making a positive difference? Now that’s big-time simplicity!

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