Striving for “True”

The balance and structural integrity of our lives.


In construction, the word “true” is a simple rule in building. It calls for everything to be square and equal. If any one angle is off, even a seemingly insignificant one, the damage could permeate through the entire structure. One tiny mistake could cause the roof to leak, the floor to crack or the entire structure to collapse.

The structural integrity of a building relies on a foundation that is true.

Analogous to foundations in construction, are relationships. The relationships we have with our friends, our lovers, our families, coworkers and business associates. As individuals we are surrounded by relationships. Each relationship starts from something, a foundation, and develops over time. When we are young, the relationships we have with our parents begin to define our personal foundation. Falling in love starts with a connection that blooms into a relationship over time. The relationships we build in the workplace with our colleagues, clients and partners start small, and develop as our careers grow.

The structural integrity of our lives relies on a foundation the is true.

Someone recently shared with me a simple self-assessment based on Adlerian Psychology. The exercise measures the energy we allocate to the six closest relationships in our lives, and plots them on a scale from 0–10. The relationships are; work, spirituality, self, family, love and friends. The goal of the exercise is to make a visual benchmark of where we spend our energy today.

For example:

The goal is balance.

The graph on the left may represent an individual who works too much, whereas the graph on the right is much more balanced. The goal is balance, not score.

Beneath each relationship is a foundation. As individuals, it is our responsibility to build and maintain these foundations. The energy we pour into them will define who we are today and who we become as friends, leaders, lovers, parents and individuals.

What will the net effect be if one or many of these foundational relationships are untrue? Is it possible to be a great leader if your family life is unbalanced? Is it possible to be great husband if your career is blown off the tracks, or on the other spectrum, if your career consumes more energy than it should? Can we take care of ourselves without nurturing our spirituality?

I would venture to say this differs per person, but I generally think it is a healthy practice to strive for balance and structural integrity across all six relationships.

If you have thoughts or comments I’d love to hear them inline or responses below.