credit: Fernanda Publio — article by Matt Hallmann — Holaspirit

When we think of concepts like self organisation or self management, these two terms are used interchangeable very often, we tend to think only about the effect they have on our work life. But very often there is spillover to the rest of our life, that isn’t that separate from our work life these days anymore as it used to be, let’s say 20 or even 10 years ago. Just like many of us see blurred lines occur between private and work, the pathways that self organisation offers us to deal with tensions or problems, can easily be used at home in different environment. Even more so: the practise of self organisation will inevitably lead to these new habits and pathways at home, since practising self organisation changes our thinking.

Since I started working in a Holacratic company in 2014, I’ve noticed some important things:

  • Work life and private life are becoming more and more connected
  • Things we learn in our work life can easily be applied in our private life
  • The pathways Holacracy offers, are not limited to the work life
  • Holacracy doesn’t just teach pathways, it teaches a structural different way of thinking

This leads to what I see, as a richer, more efficient, stress free and distraction free (private) life. So what are some of the things that might happen? I can only share what I noticed over the years, but in many trainings and coaching sessions, I’ve seen the same patterns occur with others.

You think about tensions and real reasons

I remember well how I used to fight with my partner. Arguments could be long and tiresome and get off track very easily. I also remember how I started to think more and more in terms of ‘tension’ (a person’s felt sense that there is a gap between the current reality and a potential future). In “arguments”, I would then build on what I’ve learnt at the office, asking myself useful questions like ‘what is your tension’ and ‘what do you need’. Reflecting on myself, every time I felt a tension, had a beautiful effect on my private life. A better and more clear understanding of what was really happening and, a solution that would be a first step, even if just a small one, towards solving that tension in the long run. Does it mean we don’t fight anymore? Of course not. Does it mean we only fight about things that matter and find a solution more easily? Absolutely.

You care less about things that don’t matter

Our upbringing and society teaches us to have an opinion on everything. Not having an opinion is very often seen as disinterest or a lack of knowledge. In either case, this is not a positive thing and something we often try to avoid. When practising Holacracy, we learn to think differently and separate our human response to always have an opinion, from the roles that we hold, and thinking how we would react from withinthose roles. In practice, this leads to a mentality of not caring about things that are not important to you. Does someone want to change the newsletter? Fine, I’ve never used it anyway. That same way of thinking makes life so much easier. Realising how many things don’t matter that much is a bliss.

You understand the roles you and others in your household or relationship fulfil

Do you do the dishes in your household? Or the washing machine? Perhaps you’re the person that always picks Sunday lunch or you always put on the music in the evening. Understanding your place, roles and accountabilities can be strong and useful. There is no reason to run your household like a company, but thinking in terms of roles and accountabilities makes it clear what you can expect from whom. It also makes life more efficient. And in our life, time is precious enough. So why not specialise in an aspect of your household, to become really good at it and know what can be expected of you?

You separate ‘role’ from ‘soul’

In our life we very often merge with the things we do, to become a fusion of both. In work this is easily spotted: we don’t know who is accountable for what, we include everyone, are afraid to make decisions and our name becomes synonymous to our position. This leads to a lot of meetings, unclear expectations and paralysis. When we look at our private lives, this point is harder to spot. You are who you are, complete as you are. By starting to think in roles, like described above, we start to see that what we do is not always who we are. Being able to understand this, leads to more clarity and a better sense of direction.

We are all the time trying to improve our companies, teams, collaboration and output. We rarely look at how these lessons can be applied to our, less and less, private lives. Why wouldn’t we want to live lives, with more clarity, less stress, more action, less distraction? Thinking of the personal as something that we can improve in a professional way feels alien or at least cold. I believe that the pathways and thinking patterns, self organisation teaches us, enrich our lives by making them more simple and clear. The above examples are only a few of the many. But one thing holds truth, no matter how we think about ‘improving’ our lives — you can better try something new and fail, than to never have tried.

by Matt Hallmann, VP of International Growth at Springest and speaker/coach at

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