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Doing Life Well


do life with


[Doing Life Well – New post from Tom Miller – President and founder of Symbolist. You can read more about him and where he’ll be this year on our Leadership page.]

When I refer to my family, closest friends and people I work with (plenty of people are in multiple categories), I like to use the phrase, “people I do life with.”  I can’t remember if I heard it somewhere or if I made it up – but I’ve been using it for awhile because it feels right and it reminds me of some important principles that I try to practice as I “do life” with everyone I encounter

  • All of us are very unique and very special.  Different perspectives, skills, hopes, dreams, fears, circumstances, etc…
  • In the Grand Scheme of Things (insert your personal God/Darwin/other belief system here – it doesn’t change the principle), no one person is that important, yet all matter.
  • Because I’m unique, I need to surround myself with as many people as possible that “get me” because plenty of people won’t.
  • It’s bad thinking to try to “measure” anyone based on how they’re made.
  • In the Grand Scheme of Things none of us are here very long.
  • Since none of us are here for long, why not live in a way that expands capacity and generates hope.

Ok… so fine – now I’ve shared my personal values.  I don’t think these values are that different than those held by lots of other folks and I’m betting nothing stuck out as odd to anyone reading this.  So why share them and what’s the point for anyone involved in how an organization builds a culture that generates great work?

Companies should have a “grand scheme of things” perspective (lower case purposeful because no company’s grand scheme should trump an individual’s Grand Scheme) that nurtures, strengthens, measures, tracks and cheers the marketplace success of the business model – even if it is simply – go make money.

As that is being done, care for the individuals that have enabled that success.  No one person is that important, yet all matter.  Is everyone in your company honored for their unique contribution?  How do they know they matter to the company?

Has your company determined what kind of person fits well in the culture you’ve created?  Can you articulate the culture and give real examples of how it lives?

All In

If your company has chosen to “do life” with someone, you have to go all the way.  Does your company look for ways to enable everyone to succeed?  Are you generous with the resources of the company?  How do you encourage community?  If, after trying everything possible, the person does not fit in the grand scheme, are they treated with dignity?


Most important – does everyone in the company have the chance to hope?  To be valued more, to “show up”, to contribute something really cool, to find a friend, to provide for family, to have the income to travel, to create more personal capacity.

There’s no way an organization could (or should) imagine all the ways hope can be created in individuals – it’s as varied as people.  But the desire for hope is universal, and can be found in the people you do life with.

Companies will be stronger if they are places where individuals can hope.


One response to “Doing Life Well”

  1. Symbolist says:

    […] Yet it isn’t that way.  But I think it should be.  I think people should have a statement of what is important to them and guides their behaviors.  Reminders if you will.  I want employees to think about what drives them at a very core level – and not just the money/benefits/time thing – I want to know how they want to “do life” as our President, Tom Miller is fond of saying. […]