Using a Three-Frame method to view your personal life

I hope this message finds you well on this Labor Day of 2012.  In the eyes of many Labor Day is the end of summer, but for some of us summer may go on for quite a while.

I am in the midst of reading and teaching a class about understanding organizations using the Four Frame model devised by Bolman and Deal in the book Reframing Organizations.  As we dig deeper into this material it gave me pause to think that a similar methodology might be used for my own personal life and I wanted to take a moment and share that thinking  with you.

I am always looking at my life from multiple views and when I had to take a moment and decide the most common views I use I came up with the following:

  • Professional
  • Personal
  • Spiritual

Here is a short description of what is included in each segment:


The professional vertex includes things that relate to our income producing jobs as well as developmental opportunities that we accept or embark upon to make our professional life more successful.  There are times when professional issues can bleed into the other vertexes, but this is more uncommon.


The personal corner involves anything we do for our selves or those we love or care for.  This would include our spouse and our family members and friends.  In some cases our friends can also bleed into the professional arena.


This corner is going to vary for many of you, but for me the spiritual vertex is solely about my faith and belief in God, especially through my faith in his son Jesus Christ.  This vertex is typically the least used in the world as I see it, but I have also met many people who have a well developed spiritual area.

A diagram for this might be something like the following:

For those who remember some of their elemental geometry, you will see that in a perfect world we have complete balance between the  personal, professional and spiritual.  This is not the norm and what I see more often, especially for myself is more like this one:

In this diagram we see that the professional far outweighs the spiritual and personal and this kind of situation also has effects, not all of them good, on our personal life.

I’ll be back later this week to talk about how we get into a situation like the one shown above and then also talk about how we can bring ourselves back into balance or equilibrium.

I will sign off now on this holiday to do a little more on the personal side of my triangle.

I hope you will choose to do the same.