Make a PACT

Remember the One Minute Manager? Well, as his reputation grew for being so effective, so did the demands on his time. He was beset with requests for more speaking, for more leading, for more dinner appearances. Between his relentless travel schedule and the growth of his company, he found that his waist was growing, too. Success was really taking a toll on his health and sense of well being!  How’s that for irony?

Twenty five years ago Ken and Margie Blanchard, along with DW Edington, helped the One Minute Manager “get fit” in a publication now entitled “The One Minute Manager Balances Work and Life.” Certainly the book is filled with great suggestions for assessing and improving physical health and fitness.  But the authors go beyond the physical, and have tucked into the book a real coaching gem:  the PACT model.

When feeling out of balance, it is helpful to evaluate what is really important. When you re-commit yourself to what really matters, you can return to equilibrium more efficiently. That was what the One Minute Manager needed…not “just” to lose weight, nor to learn to endure more stress. He needed to see what would be BEST for him, and to keep those factors in mind and in practice.

What constitutes “best?” Well, after assessing the responses from 300 interviewees regarding the factors which contribute to a “best time in life” experience, Margie Blanchard noted four themes: Perspective, Autonomy, Connectedness, and Tone. In an acronym: PACT.

  • Perspective helps you appreciate what’s important and what’s not important in your life. Your perspective is informed by your mission, or purpose, or vision—can you name yours? What is your sense of spirituality? What do you stand for?
  • Autonomy helps you determine how much control you have in your life. Are you exercising your choices and options? Are you honing your skills? Is your schedule running you, or have you a sense of “time mastery?” What is your identity, apart from your titles at work or in your family?
  • Connectedness helps you determine where your support reserves are. Do you have quality relationships? Do you engage in activities with like-minded folks? Do you have friends in your workplace? In your neighborhood?
  • Tone is about your physical health. One dozen questions are listed in the book, including: Are you within 5 pounds of your ideal weight? Do you get 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night? Engage in aerobic and strength-training exercises? Drink fewer than 7 alcoholic drinks per week? Do you eat breakfast?

As you consider the PACT model to support your best, begin with tone, because it is the easiest of the four to assess, quantify, and then measure your changes in behavior.  Additionally, you can attend to the other themes as you improve your tone. For example: expand your connectedness by joining a weight loss group. Increase your sense of autonomy by choosing to get up early 3x a week and run. And when you arise, quietly welcome the day so as to expand your perspective.

The benefit of the structure of the PACT model is that it helps individuals get through hard times, and enjoy good times, with greater ease.  Is it time to understand and practice your PACT?

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