Project 4 – Holistic Goal Design

This section will cover my process for personal Holistic Goal Design based on the Holistic Management® framework as discussed in the previous section: Project 4 – Analysis. Please read that section to learn more about the Holistic Management® framework and how it applies to the following design.

This section will go through all the steps of creating a Holistic Goal from start to finish. I will use all the resources I have available to dig deep and get to the roots of my personal goals, flesh out the future resource base and quality of life that I seek to create for myself, and wrap it all up into a short statement that I can begin to test decisions around.

Defining The Whole

Before I can even start to think about what my Holistic Goal will look like, I first must define The Whole that I am working with. What is The Whole under management? In this case, The Whole, is me. The whole me. It seems pretty simple when you think about it, but Allan Savory asks that you peer deeper into the whole you to find The Whole.

By Allan’s definition, The Whole consists of 3 individual parts. The Decision Makers, Resources Base, and the Money. Please refer back to Project 4 – Analysis for more information on these three categories.

Whole under managementDefining The Whole is a process of analysis and can be included in any permaculture design process. Here’s how I approached this subject:

Decision Makers

Who are the decision makers of my life? Well, this part was easy! I am responsible for myself and making all my own decisions. The more I started to think about this one, however, the more I started to recognize there are several parts of me… maybe they should all get representation!

Decision Makers

I gave myself four different spheres that define who I am. A Spiritual Self, a Physical Self, Emotional Self and Professional Self. All with different needs and outputs.

Resource Base

Defining the Resource base is a little more involved. Here we get into three sub-catigories: Physical Resources, Personal Resources, and Human Resources.

Resource Base

The Resource Base is comprised of three areas. Physical, Personal and Human.

Let’s start with the Physical.

Physical Resources

The Physical Resources are all the tangible assets that make up The Whole (aside from money which is defined separately). For myself, I do not have a lot of material possessions so this part was fairly easy.

Physical Resource Base

As you can see, my Physical Resources are fairly limited.

Personal Resources

Defining my personal resources was more involved. Here I thought of who I am, aside from my material possessions. I determined my Personal Resources to be comprised of essentially two things: Knowledge & Health.

Personal Resource Base

My Personal Resource Base is essentially made up of my knowledge and heath.

Knowledge broke out into two sub-catigores, Certifications & Experience, that demonstrate my knowledge in tangible ways. These could be further expanded on by linking to my Skill Flex & Permaculture CV from Project 1.

Human Resources

This part gets a little interesting as Allan asks that you make a list of all the people who might be affected by a decision you make. That could literally be everyone. I tired to keep this section fairly simple and not get too broad. Instead I focused in on only the people and organizations that have or might be able to contribute to my goals. It was still a big list!

Human Resource Base

A list of people and organizations that contribute to my goals

The list of individuals is cut off at the bottom because it was too long to fit on the screen. I’m sure I could probably add quite a few more people to the list now but the point is not to copy my entire contact list to this mind map.

All together, my resource base if weighted heavily on the side of education and community. My physical assets are a very small fraction of the stock I have placed in the other two categories.

Full Resource Base

Most of my assets are in non-physical assets


Finally, it is time to take a look at another set of assets: Money. Allan suggests that Money is just as much about current bank accounts and lines of credit as it is about the sources of money available to us.


It was at first a little daunting to look at this section. Just like the Physical Resource Base, my current finances are on the very slim side. I have been traveling and doing a lot of networking and learning over the past few years. This has eaten into my savings dramatically… but, as I began to look at my potential sources of money, a clear surplus emerged from the picture.

Current and potential sources of money

My savings have dwindled over the past several years but a surplus of possibilities has developed

As I’m posting this, I am starting to recognize a pattern. It is obvious that I have put a lot of stock in building a network, educating myself, and creating a stock of community resources to form a model of economic opportunity. This is a very valuable insight into my current position and how I might proceed from here.

All together, The Whole that is me could be viewed thusly:

Whole Under Management

The Holistic Goal

After defining the Whole Under Management, it was time to begin designing my Holistic Goal. As referenced in Project 4 – Analysis, the Holistic Goal itself is divided up into three parts: The Quality of LIfe, Forms of Production and Future Resource Base.

Three parts of the Holistic Goal

It was at this point that the real work began. Defining the whole, when it comes to my own self, was fairly easy. Pulling something meaningful, cohesive and coherent from that process proved far more challenging.

Quality of Life

I began writing out my thoughts on what a Quality of LIfe Statement might include. These thoughts were mostly scratched out in my Learning Journal. Below are some of the various writings transcribed for easier reading:

Holistic Goal: Quality of Life

Economic well-being: How do you want your life to be, what experiences do you want your economic well being to create?

“Prosperity, comfort, a sense of abundance, generosity.”

{A comfortable sense of abundance & prosperity in time, money & well-being}

Relationships: What do you want to give and receive from your relationships?

“Love, generosity, authenticity, inspiration.”

{A genuine relationship of love & generosity with myself and others}

Challenge & Growth: What requires all the resourcefulness & Creativity you can muster?

“Cultivation, meditation, service, self-expression, education.”

{Achievement & maintenance of prime physical & emotional health}

Purpose & Contribution: {The strength and wisdom to compassionately give all profit & gain to others… creative solutions to both individual & world problems}

Other areas to consider: Health

“Vibrant, vital, relaxed, energetic & flexible.”

This constituted my first stab at a Quality of LIfe statement. The text in {braces} is the statement that arose from the questions posed. After some time thinking about these statements, internalizing and processing their meaning, I tried to hone in on the main theme. The following is transcribed from my Learning Journal.

Quality of Life:

Abundance of genuine love, generosity, prosperity & well-being for myself & others.

An abundance of genuine love, generosity, prosperity, happiness & well-being for myself and others.

{An abundance of genuine love, generosity prosperity, health, happiness & overall well-being for all life.}

This entry shows the steady refinement and evolution of the Quality of Life Statement. The area in {braces] was the conclusion of the statement up to this point. Further evolution began to take shape as I also considered Forms of Production and Future Resource Base. These will be covered bellow, but it should be noted that, although I have separated these sections for the purpose of this report, they were all worked on concurrently.

Quality of Life Statement:

“Consistently engaged in meaningful activities that produce an abundance of genuine love, generosity, prosperity, happiness, health & overall well-being for all life.”

As you can see, the Quality of Life statement continued to evolve. At this point, I took a different approach as I had discovered a PDF that outlined a process for forming a personal Holistic Goal. Before I explain that process and how it changed and refined my thinking I should cover the formation and evolution of the Forms of Production & Future Resource Base statements.

Forms of Production

The Forms of Production statement evolved along side the Quality of Life statement above. The first draft, as transcribed from my Learning Journal appears below:

Forms of Production:

What do you have to produce to create the Quality of Life?

Ethics, meditation, yoga & exercise seem to rise to the surface when I think about what I need to do to create the quality of life I want for myself. Creating & living in an environment of natural beauty & clean healthy food & water are also very important.

In regard to contribution – “for all life” – Teaching and creating these environments are also important.

In order for prosperity to exist in this system money will have to be produced & all systems should be regenerative in nature-creating & building longterm prosperity. Many of the environments that facilitate this quality of life require capital to create and income to sustain.

After brainstorming this, I went back and underlined the areas that seemed to point to key elements of what I would need to produce to attain my Quality of Life statement. This was further refined in later statements:

Forms of Production:

  • Time for meditation, yoga & exercise.
  • Time for growth & learning – skill development
  • Time for meaningful contribution to local & international communities’ well-being
  • Financial wealth enough to effectively foster ecological regeneration
  • Knowledge & time to teach
  • Knowledge to create & sustain healthy environments
  • A balance of work & leisure in natural environments
  • Sponsorship & funding to support international aid work
  • A sound, ethical & transparent financial plan that inspires contribution

The Forms of Production was taking shape in connection to the Quality of Life statement. Transcribing this from my Learning Journal right now is cause for reflection and introspection regarding this past work.

 Future Resource Base

Also considered concurrently to the Quality of Life & Forms of Production statements was the Future Resource Base. What follows is a transcription of my Learning Journal regarding the Future Resource Base:

Future Resource Base:

The People: customers, clients, family, environmental groups, people of various cultures, etc…

{I must be ethical, visionary, honest, professional, well informed, compassionate, confidant, highly skilled, cooperative, & engaging.}

The Land: {Stable, healthy, productive & regenerative ecosystems with clean living water ways, rich soils, maximum energy conversions – solar, electromagnetic, etc… – An abundance of mutually beneficial relationships}

Community: healthy, happy, compassionate, free, informed, ethical, inspired, skilled, harmonious, cooperative.

Available Community Services: Permaculture propagation services, trees, informational services, local government cooperation.

The areas in {braces} shows promise of developing into a real statement as apposed to being simply a list of values. As the statement evolved it became more coherent as statements rather than value lists.

Future Resource Base:

People: I will be known for my compassionate, caring and ethical vision. I will be recognized as a well informed, highly skilled, honest, engaging & cooperative professional person.

Land: The world will be full of stable, healthy, productive & increasingly regenerative eco-systems with clean living waterways, fresh air, rich biological soils that promote maximum energy conversion from solar & electromagnetic into increasingly complex forms of life.

Community: An abundance of mutually beneficial relationships.

Another Approach

At some point during the development of my Holistic Goal I rediscovered a file that had been gathering bits of dust in the ol’ electrical storage vaults of my external hard drive. This file helped me approach the Holistic Goal Process from a somewhat different angle.

The original PDF document can be found here.

Following this approach I was able to refine my thoughts further and really hone in on what I was trying to create. I had already created a mind map of The Whole I was managing (above) which fulfilled the first step of this approach. The next step included a list of questions that I had already explored through the process of writing my Quality of Life, Forms of Production and Future Resource Base statements and a “Whole Life Wheel” depicted below:

Holistic Wheel

My life depicted on the Holistic Wheel. As you can see here, I don’t have feel particularly outstanding in any of the realms in question but I recognize a notable dip in my financial well-being.

As I performed this activity it became clear that my weakest link seemed to be in the realms of my financial well-being. The above wheel helped to pin-point that focus and gave me a bit of pause. It was obvious that I was feeling the stretch of my current financial situation as I was traveling and spending but finding it hard to produce income during this process.

Another activity in this workbook that seemed helpful was a word association. This helped me find words for what I was trying to create.

Holistic Word Association

A word association activity helped me narrow down the words I was trying to find for my holistic goal.

Many of these words were words that I was already using in the formation of my Holistic Goal but some of them were new to the process. Expanding my vocabulary proved very helpful to the overall process.

After these interesting approaches it was time to take another stab at the formation of my Holistic Goal. At this point I decided to just go with whatever came to me in the moment and not reference back to previous writing. The result is as follows:

Holistic Goal draftAfter completing this section and writing a new draft of my Holistic Goal the workbook provides an opportunity to refine your language.

Word RefinementBecause I had already done quite a bit of work refining my goal and using intentional language I found that this activity didn’t have a huge impact on my actual language. The one phrase that I felt needed refining (number 3 above) was framed negatively. I wanted to rephrase this into the positive. Putting it through this tool did refine the statement a bit but was still not exactly what I was looking for.

Second Draft of Holistic GoalOn my second draft, I jumped ahead and change the lead-in sentence from “I’d like my life to…” to “My life IS…” This proved helpful in the wording and the feel of the goal.

I reworded the negative phrase about financing into more positive language, which was an improvement but still didn’t seem to fit with my intention. Later revisions would eventually resolve this language.

At this point the workbook started to transfer into the Future Resources Base:

Future Resource BasePutting it all together and revising a third time:

Holistic Goal Draft 3Once again, through many iterations, you can see the evolution and refinement of my language. I was finally feeling as though I had come to a solid goal. You can take a look at my full workbook here: Theron – Holistic Goal 2013

The Holistic Goal

Finally, after many revisions and a host of different approaches I was honing in on the final wording I would use for my personal Holistic Goal. At this point, I decided to write down my goal on a page from my Learning Journal that I would then detach and carry with me to reference and test decisions on.

I folded the page in half and on one side I wrote the following Quality of Life statement:

I am fulfilled & enriched by constant growth & Learning. I contribute fully to the health, happiness & well-being of myself, my family, and my community – free from any financial fears, restrictions and/or limitations. My life provides the greatest level of possible leverage toward regeneration, harmony & abundance for the benefit of all beings.

On the other half of the folded page I wrote the following:

Future Resource Base

  • I will be known for being compassionate, loyal, thoughtful, trustworthy, loving, engaging, joyful, knowledgable, passionate, experienced, ethical, humble, creative, generous, courageous, cooperative, healthy, helpful & worth investing in.
  • My environment will be healthy, clean, regenerative, full of natural wealth, comfort, serenity, abundance, healing & peace.
  • My community will be diverse, ethical, peaceful, cooperative, happy, healthy, educated, understanding, compassionate, supportive & generous.

On the back of this page, I wrote down the Clarifying Questions put forward by Allan Savory to help us test our decisions against our goal. I was now equipped to begin using my holistic goal in decision making processes. The following section describes how I began using my holistic goal and testing decisions.


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