From the Inside Out

For the last few weeks, I’ve been very intentional in my self-care.  As Wendy Thompson and I prepare for our retreat next week, experience has taught me that in order to hold the space and create the right environment for leaders to engage and recharge I must be at my best.  To that end, I have been working out about 8-10 times per week, monitoring the nutritional value in the food I’m consuming and making sure I get a good amount of sleep.  

This isn’t the norm for me – although I would really love it to be!  After a relatively short amount of time, I notice my energy level is higher, I act with more confidence and feel physically and mentally stronger.  The people closest to me have noticed.  The change is truly coming from the inside and moving outwards.  

There is a special power of when change is felt intrinsically vs. extrinsically.  It led me to reflect on what else might have the same kind of positive impact in a person’s life.  I came up with 3 things that much like physical health and wellness can increase our creativity and achieve an internal right-sizing.  

1.     Values & Life Purpose:  Reflecting on what is important to you; moving forward on the path you feel you were born to walk and living in a way that is congruent with the values you hold dear is energy-giving.  When we make choices to continue activities that have meaning, to stop commitments that aren’t working for us and to start our decisions with our values fully in charge, we renew our sense of self.

2.    Courage & Reframing:  Courage is a powerful attitude and emotion.  It is the signal that we are willing to risk in order to believe something better is possible.  This often requires us to reframe a situation that up until this moment in time we were seeing as negative.  The external circumstances may not have changed, yet through the power of our mind we find a new perspective from which to move forward.  

3.    Spiritual Discipline:  Every person benefits from a practice that offers time for contemplation and connection.  It might be meditation, prayer, being out in nature or participating in an organized community.  Studying the wisdom of thought leaders, whether through ancient scripture and text or by reading the autobiographies of important people, engages our integrated brain and challenges ourselves to continue forward on our own path of higher and deeper understanding.

The demands of our lives can sometimes feel like they take twice as much as what they give to us.  Beyond a cup half empty, we can feel like a gas tank running on empty.  Growing stronger from the inside out is about what fills up with and for the good.  

(And, it just so happens that most of this list are themes in our upcoming leadership retreat.)