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Our Favorite Book of the Month: INTEGRATE

INTEGRATE by John Drury

This book is a must for high achievers who at some point in their careers lose control of their lives. These careerists feel a great deal of self-loathing because they are isolated from everyone else and cannot find respect of any sort no matter how much they accomplish.

The author John Drury shows the way to recover self-respect by taking responsibility for one’ own inner health. The first step is to admit your need, find peers who can become trusted advisors and engage a mentor to coach you along.

Drury posits that humility is the foundation for gaining self-respect. Humility leads to curiosity and interest in new ideas. Humility leads to openness and the capacity to learn by listening. Finally, humility leads to collaboration and brings about willingness and flexibility to build mutually beneficial partnerships. Because pride creates insecurity you must humble yourself and admit things are not working and you need help.

You must develop resilience to face challenges such as random hardship, failure and loss due to competition in the market economy and failure due to self-sabotage. The way to develop resilience is by being positive and grateful and not negative and cynical. One must be proactive and action-oriented, not passive. There should be no rigidity in thinking and new ideas and solutions must be welcomed. These attitudes lead to knowledge, wisdom and adherence to one’s values and the ability to lead oneself through challenging times.

The first task is to find one’s purpose in life. One must then assess one’s personality, its strengths and weaknesses, and lastly one must determine one’s values. The latter involves reflecting, writing, prioritizing, asking and committing.

Healthy self-respect leads to effective self-care. Holistic health involves looking after your body, soul and spirit. To look after the body eat nutritious food, exercise and maintain a healthy sleep routine. Looking after the soul means finding what replenishes you emotionally and this replenishment must be done consistently. To care for the spirit, try meditation, prayer, allowing time for retreats, and volunteering.

While leadership requires some self-sacrifice, the leader must first learn to deal with his own problems rather than suppressing his own needs in order to serve others. This means cultivating the ability to say no when it is appropriate and empowering others by delegating some responsibility to subordinates.

To inculcate healthy self-respect, the leader must learn to set boundaries in his work and personal life. This means not trying to please everyone and living according to his values. Integrating work and life requires setting boundaries such as limiting telephone calls, sending or receiving e-mails and allotting sufficient time for your family and other interests other than work. The more one respects oneself, the easier it will be to keep boundaries.

This book will prove to be helpful to leaders and other high achievers who face the problems of stress and burnout. Many chapters are buttressed by compelling case studies from real life. The accompanying charts are helpful whether they involve finding your rhythm of life or setting up daily routines at work or at home.

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