The Three Dimensions of Meaningful Experiences

September 23, 2015

I recently had an opportunity to attend the Fiesta Bowl’s annual football kickoff luncheon at the Arizona Biltmore, where University of Nebraska head football coach Tom Osborne and quarterback Tommie Frazier were the keynote speakers. I was more than just a little impressed when their message centered around important life lessons being the difference maker for them individually and a major contributing factor to the team’s incredible two-time national championship wins in the 1990s. More importantly, their knowledge of the importance of life balance is what separates many athletes and non-athletes from leading exceptional lives.

Years after playing and coaching, Osborne would see many players at games or in the community, and he was saddened to see that some appeared to be lost and living unfulfilling lives once their football careers were over. These players had once been living the American dream of wealth, fame and doing what they loved, but had lost the dream.

The takeaway?

The most fulfilling lives are made up of meaningful experiences that center around three dimensions: physical, intellectual and spiritual.

  1. Physical. The athletes Osborne coached were in the top .01 percent of talent in the world, and many went on to play in the NFL, earning huge salaries to play the game they loved. When football ended, that physical dimension was lost for them as they didn’t receive the notoriety they once enjoyed that drove them to great achievements.
  2. Intellectual. Most of the student athletes went on to earn degrees. They were capable of going on to great careers, and many achieved success off the football field. Some, however, didn’t pursue or leverage the intellectual dimension fully and slipped into lives of drugs, crime and depression.
  3. Spiritual. Spiritual is not necessarily from a religious standpoint though many achieve this dimension through religion. In Osborne’s opinion, spiritual means dedicating yourself to something bigger than yourself. This can be achieved through family, coaching, volunteering, mentoring or anything that a person engages in that provides value to others with nothing being sought in return.

The balance of these three dimensions is critical to living a great life and being fulfilled. Without balance of the three dimensions, lives are incomplete.

The most fulfilling lives are made up of meaningful experiences that center around three dimensions: physical, intellectual and spiritual.

As brands design and deliver meaningful experiences, it is important that all three dimensions are considered. How can a brand deliver physical and intellectual/emotional experiences that are meaningful and turn consumers into raving brand lovers and fans? How can a brand support the third—and very important—spiritual dimension for its consumer? What can be supported through environments, services and opportunities where special moments may be enjoyed between a couple over dinner, between a mother and daughter getting away for a girls’ weekend, or a son visiting his dad in a healthcare facility after surgery?

Brands that prioritize a culture of designing and delivering meaningful moments will be successful when they prioritize all three dimensions of experience. What can you do today to prioritize delivering meaningful moments to consumers rather than just making the sale?

Putting meaningful moments first will lead to exceptional sales results, and it might even be somewhat spiritual for you and your colleagues as the consumer is prioritized.