Chaordic Lives

Managing your finances on top of the responsibilities of a modern family can feel like uphill chaos. No matter how organized and well-intentioned you may be, reaching long term financial goals requires a level of commitment that can sometimes feel out of reach in your busy daily life. I know for myself that some days it’s hard enough to find my wallet, nonetheless update our budget. The good news is that’s perfectly O.K. as long as you keep your family moving toward your goals.

At least that’s one of the lessons I got from a recent reading for a work-related leadership training about Dee Hock, past CEO of Visa International. Hock is an amazing thinker who structured Visa around the fundamental organizing principles of nature and evolution. Visa is perhaps the largest global company in terms of customers and transactions, and this success wouldn’t have been possible without tapping into Hock’s “chaordic theory.”

The Chaordic Field is described as the “perfect balance of chaos and order where evolution can occur.” Living systems thrive in this narrow link between chaos and order. While in nature sometimes the goal can seem hidden to us, in a system such as a family, living your values gives a meaning that equals success. Hock asks that you create an enduring purpose and principle – actions occur in networks across the the system unified by a shared sense of purpose and principles. Hock: “Purpose is discovered in that wellspring of common commitment and caring.”

Hubby and I certainly have an interesting dynamic, as I am more comfortable with activity and chaos, and he needs order and structure. We often find it uncanny how we can accomplish anything, but chaordic theory helps me see why we make such a great team.

Hock recommends you manage yourself first “manage self: one’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, temperament, words, and acts.” We cannot control our children or our spouses, controlling others is ineffective no matter how much we might wish. As parents, we serve a role as leader in our families, and it’s important to remember that role in the daily chaos of our lives. Here’s an essay on Hock, with an excerpt from his book: Dee Hock on Leadership


Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Hock:

Money motivates neither the best people, nor the best in people. It can move the body and influence the mind, but it cannot touch the heart or move the spirit; that is reserved for belief, principle, and morality.

The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.

Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.

Make another list of things done for you that you loved. Do them for others, always.

Here are two of Hock’s books:



Which rules in your family – chaos or order? Or both?

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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

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