Can you recall a family member, friend or co-worker in whose presence you naturally feel calm and peaceful? Recognizing ‘when’ you are in balance, or whole, is key to a happy, successful, fulfilled life and career. Sometimes your mind and body don’t work together for the results you want. For example, your body’s ailments can tell you where you are not in alignment. Dis-ease and distress are intriguing outward signs of your dis-content, be it at home or work.
When you are in balance, you are a healthier, less stressed individual, and you will experience greater productivity, reduced health care costs and your relationship with yourself and others will flourish. So, how do you achieve it?
Interestingly, I was exploring this perspective with Randy Miller, founder of WHEN®, at an event recently in Phoenix. Immediately, we connected in how we view the importance of living in a balanced way — in a way where “Life Can Be Better®!” as Randy would exclaim. WHEN® has an approach to corporate wellness focused on improving people’s lives through overall personal wellness in their career, health and being. As the CEO of a green energy company, I was keenly interested in each associate showing up for work as a “whole person.” Our team took this approach as we learned the 3 “A’s” process to being whole (Awareness, Acknowledging your fears/blocks, taking Aligned Action).
Here is a personal example of this process to becoming more whole and making a change to improve my life and work. I was a new CEO, who had been selected after a nation-wide search. My human resources director lovingly asked me if I wanted to be a good CEO or great one? To be great, she said, “You need to listen better.” I had become Aware of a behavior to change. I had to Acknowledge my resistance to change, because after all, I had been selected hadn’t I? I released my fear of change and took Aligned Action to change. I placed a piece of paper discretely on my desk and for a month, I noted in one column when I listened and in the other, when I interrupted. I had a space to write down my thought that I was afraid I would forget as the person spoke and raised it after I listened to them. I am a better listener to this day.
The most successful individuals and leaders are the most self-aware. So that is step 1.
1. Acute Self-Awareness.
Neuroscientists reveal that by the age of 35, 95% of your thoughts, beliefs and actions are memorized unconscious reactions, in other words, habits. Your unconscious, that is gut instincts and how you feel in your heart, processes information 40 million times faster than your analytical mind. Often, our old automatic memorized habits may not serve us well any longer. So, if you want to change to become more balanced at work or home, there is only ONE person you can change. That is, YOU! The good news is, you can consciously choose the changes you desire once you become aware of what behaviors, beliefs or judgments are sabotaging you.
It can take 90 seconds for your conscious CEO brain to engage and allow you to be in charge over your subconscious habits. Breathe in deeply repeatedly before you react! Choose your response.
Reaction is not a conscious choice, nor an accountable one. And when you change to become a conscious leader of your life and your work, you show your associates how to do so and empower yourself and them.
The number one skills for the 21st-century (according to a recent study by Harvard and Europe’s INSEAD Business Schools) –are those of acute self-awareness and enhanced intuition; that can be achieved, in part, through breathing and mindfulness/meditation skills. Google, eBay, Intel, General Mills and many more organizations offer classes to reduce stress, gain mental clarity, inspire creativity, and improve team relationships through meditation.
You and your company can lower your health care costs by making a “wellness investment” in helping you become a whole person. When people are out of alignment they get ailments, as we have seen. You can’t ignore the relationship between what type of illness you have and your emotional imbalance. When my employees had foot problems, it was an immediate sign that they were not grounded in some fundamental way with who they are compared to the life they were living. Either they fundamentally were not in the right job, or they dreaded going into work each day and their balance was thrown off. So, we created a safe environment to explore the root cause of their imbalance.
Everyone wants to succeed. Once you are aware of your strengths, you can. Sometimes you discover that you’re reaching too far outside of your natural and trained abilities. This is the premise behind the “Peter Principle.” You’ve seen it, perhaps in others. Recognize it. You’ll be happier doing what you can succeed at rather than faking it and being fearful. Putting this kind of pressure on you undoubtedly results in illness.
To understand what your body’s telling you, consider the function that the painful part of your body performs. You will glean insights into what’s not aligned in your life. When your head hurts, Dr. Gladys McGarey, the co-founder of holistic medicine wrote in her book, Living Medicine, The Dwelling Place, that we must approach the patient as a whole person, one who’s a spiritual being, not a disease. Healing the entire person is the goal, not simply curing, alleviating or destroying a disease. “Because an individual has a purpose for living, the whole person—his or her past work, emotions and thoughts—all are part of the illness that exists,” Dr. Gladys might ask,” How are you putting pressure on yourself?” Or if it’s your shoulder, “Are you shouldering too much?” If it’s your neck, ask whom are you allowing to give you a pain in the neck or what are you being a pain about? Use these clues to explore what your underlying resistance may be. Then you can deal with whatever it is.
All people want to be connected, to belong. Finding the best-fit for you and for your employees provides this satisfaction. When you work out of joy and do what you love, your physical health will reflect it. As within, so without.
Many intuitive health experts opine that at the root of dis-ease is the seed of not forgiving yourself. The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. You can be a best friend or your harshest critic. This is a very common issue. Your view of your self-worth = your net worth. Look in the mirror, sit on a chair and talk to yourself. Tell yourself that you are worthy of creatively expressing yourself in work that matters to you! Guess what blocks intuition and access to all the answers you possess within? Fear and low self-worth. Suffering is a residue of pent-up energies that accumulated from your past. Forgiveness releases these energies. When you confront your ghosts of the past, you can move beyond them. Step 2.
2. Acknowledge Your Fear!
Think of fear as F.E.A.R., an acronym for “False Expectations Appearing Real.” Fear is the anticipation of something that has not and is not likely to happen. The emotion of fear is the root cause of blocked energy. Your personal power then is blocked, and ends where your fear begins. Fear blocks you from seeing new opportunities. Fear can paralyze you. You believe you cannot move forward to change, become aligned with your strengths, and live your dream. Fear can show up in your life as anger or frustration, impatience, unworthiness, lack of trust, resistance or separation.
To release your fear, you must first identify what you are afraid of. Back to self-awareness. You may think you have no fear. Or perhaps you think that you have things you want to change, but they are not based in fear. I believe, as do many other authors and experts, that your feelings and emotions emanate either from survival, which is fear based, or creation, which is love based. It’s more likely than not that what prevents you from living a life as a whole person—a life of your dreams –is the very fear of change itself. If you are acting in ways that don’t serve your highest and best self, you can bet there’s an underlying fear to deal with.
The process of change requires not only that you become acutely aware of your fears, but that you own and acknowledge them and the valid purpose they once served. After you have identified your fears, you have to unlearn your fear-based feeling or response, release it, and replace it with your desired way of being. Dr. Joe Dispenza explains this process in greater detail in The Art of Change.
For example, scientists measured a skydivier‘s heartrate and the anticipation BEFORE the skydive jumped out of the plane causes his or her fear. Once the person jumped out of the plane, the brain realizes the threat is over, and calmed down. Yet, you are in more danger once you leave a perfectly good airplane, which I know from experience.
We only fear the fear not the activity itself.
So, for less than 2 minutes, muster up the courage to step forward to make that sales call or move toward change, because just on other side of fear is success. And once you release your fear, you make room for the new, whole you. Then you can proceed to Step 3.
3. Aligned Action
Once you have made space for the new you, you must think, feel, hear, see, yourself AS IF you have already changed—as if you are living in your new way of being. Do not prescribe “the how.” For the greater consciousness, the Divine, whatever your belief in something greater, will deliver to you in the best, often most unexpected, time and manner. For where your intention and attention with an elevated emotion of love goes, your energy flows to make it happen. Many things have happened in my life that I have imagined creating in this manner and I know it works. When you live and lead consciously, and direct your energy to create the life and work you love as a whole person, you cannot help but succeed, be fulfilled and happy.
Vicki Sandler, CEO of Green Energy Co.
For more, see www.vickisandler.com