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Book review: ‘The Circle Blueprint’ can help you focus on success

The Circle Blueprint (Wiley photo)

The Circle Blueprint (Wiley photo)

Is your business or career really thriving? Does your work fill you with a sense of meaning? Does your life have the balance that can help you be a great leader? Or do you need to spend more time developing the factors that contribute to real success?

If you’re interested in these questions, “The Circle Blueprint” is worth a read, especially if you are interested in taking a psychometric self-assessment aimed at measuring the balance of success factors in your life.

Jack Skeen, Greg Miller and Aaron Hill describe a circle as a way of illustrating the factors that determine the quality of your life. Each circle has four developmental elements: independence, power, humility and purpose. When they’re in balance, the circle looks round, enabling true greatness. When they’re not in balance, it looks less round, and greatness becomes a little more difficult.

To the authors, independence means not being worried about pleasing others or win their approval. They describe it as the most important of the four factors. You can’t be truly independent until the motivation for your actions is based on your own decisiveness, and you take full responsibility for all aspects of your life, for every win and every loss. Truly independent people understand that they are both the source of their own success, as well as the source of all of their limitations.

Power is described in the book as the thing that makes you special, whether you have been developing it from a young age, or whether you still haven’t found it. It’s what makes you great at what you do.

Humility is defined as having an accurate opinion of your talents, accomplishments and limitations, and keeping them in perspective. It means keeping the idea that you’re better than other people in check, among other things.

The last element, purpose, is an understanding of how to use your power in the way that is most fruitful. It’s about making the best choices.

Most people don’t have balanced circle blueprints, the authors say. Chapter 9 of the book explains how someone’s actions could be driven and perceived, based on whether he or she has a balanced or imbalanced circle blueprint.

The book asks you to picture this: you’re in a meeting with colleagues. You’re not getting anything out of the meeting. You’re also not contributing anything, so you leave early.

If you had a balanced circle, with equally strong parts of independence, power, humility and purpose, you’d be leaving because you want to be more useful doing something else. People in the meeting would think your leaving was a pragmatic decision.

But, the book argues, if you had a circle that was more driven by independence and power, without humility and purpose to balance it out, your colleagues would probably think you’re insensitive. You’d have left because you decided the meeting is a waste of time. Your goal in leaving would be to demonstrate your power rather than to be more productive.

After studying some scenarios of balanced and imbalanced circles, the book invites you to visit a website and take assessments for each of the elements of a circle. Then it gives you scores and directs you toward areas where you may want to develop yourself.

After the self-assessment, if you decide you want to continue your journey with the Circle Blueprint, you can buy workbooks for each of the elements of the circle. They cost $18.95.

As the authors sum up, “Until you see at least the smallest seeds of greatness in yourself, you cannot nurture and strengthen it.” If you want a book that will get you thinking about what you do, why you do it, and whether you can improve, The Circle Blueprint can provide valuable opportunities for introspection.

The Circle Blueprint
Decoding the Conscious and Unconscious Factors that Determine Your Success

By Jack Skeen, Greg Miller and Aaron Hill

Wiley. 161 pages. $26


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