Monthly Meditations: June 2019 Issue

Monthly Meditations is a series that I started in order to catalogue my thoughts on various subjects. I write and share these with somewhat of a consistent schedule on LinkedIn. I decided that it would be a good idea to put all of these thoughts into one place. That way, you don’t have to consume more information on social media (hats off to you), and you can catch up in one sitting over a nice cup of coffee. I try to encourage engagement and discussions on these topics, so feel free to comment on LinkedIn, in these monthly entries, or reach out to me personally. Enjoy!

When’s the last time you took a moment to drop expectations in favor of appreciation?

Look at how far you’ve come, and where you are currently at.

Your mindset. Your skills. Your family. Your friends. Your work. Your body.

Sometimes we get lost on our journey.

But know that the truth is always there, waiting for your acknowledgment.

“True places are not found on maps.” - Herman Melville

Having a vibrant wellness culture means that everyone on the team is contributing in healthy conversation and action.

You are the sum of the five people you surround yourself with the most. Keep in mind you are also in someone else’s core five.

This means that you are influencing someone(s) around you in some way - consciously or unconsciously - whether you like it or not.

A meaningful gift you can give away everyday to yourself or someone else is a healthy idea, thought, or action. Even if it’s just one thing, that’s still better than NOthing. It doesn’t have to be some big profound gesture.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” - David Viscott

Learn to expect the unexpected.

Living healthier presents us with many important lessons. One of which is that nothing is going to go perfectly, and that’s okay.

It’s a part of the process, and something to be embraced.

When we meet obstacles with resistance, dig our heels in, and push away the things that make us feel unlucky, we lose focus on what really matters - showing up anyways.

View obstacles as lessons, opportunities, and feedback. Your mental script and worldview will heavily dictate your outcome.

Figure out what’s in your control, and take ownership of those things. Then accept the fact that a lot of what happens to you will take place outside of your control, and there is nothing you can do about it.

This should be liberating, and empowering. Keep going.

“Everyone’s got a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.” - Mike Tyson

How your team communicates is a massive part of the wellness culture.

If your team members show up to work with the stress of not being able to communicate effectively with others, there is a massive energy leak. This leak will spread quickly throughout an organization.

The New Zealand All Blacks have a mantra of, "No dickheads." Put quite succinctly, it summarizes a very real sociological problem: One toxic person can outweigh a dozen positive people.

Getting the right people on the bus is extremely important.

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In a world of increasing complexity, we need to lean towards simplicity.

What are the biggest levers you can pull to live a longer, healthier life?

Sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress management, mindset.

Now, find your largest limiting factor and strategize around improving that area.

Most of us do not:

a) get enough sleep
b) move enough. No, a one hour workout does not offset 8-12 hours of sitting.
c) eat adequate amounts of protein and vegetables
d) take time to destress, and unwind
c) have positive self-talk, and self-compassion

Pick one thing and go all in. Start now. Repeat tomorrow. Just keep showing up.

Finally, top all of your actions off with mindfulness, love, and kindness towards yourself. Own your actions, and respect yourself - because what’s the point of trying if you don’t love what you are doing, why you are doing it, and who you are doing it for?

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” - Ernest Hemingway

Be careful about sending that email to your team at dinner time. The intent may be harmless, but the perception could be stressful.

You help your team create a greater sense of work-life balance through your actions.

- Emails late at night
- Constantly looking at your phone
- Staying longer at the office
- Talking about pushing off sleep because of deadlines
- Not eating well, or drinking enough water
- Communicating with feet and shoulders pointed away, and minimal eye contact
- Rushing everywhere, and telling most people, “I just don’t have time.”

These are all choices. Which become habits. And these habits influence the behaviour of those around you. For better or for worse.

If you value health and wellness, and want your team to thrive, audit yourself. Look at your own actions and ask yourself, “Are my actions leaving a legacy of true health and well-being for those around me?”

Sometimes the answer you are looking for is in the least suspected places. Looking at your own actions takes vulnerability, courage, and humility.

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.” - Joseph Campbell

You don’t have to be a personal trainer or nutrition expert to make an impact on your team’s wellness status.

Start shifting the culture today by opening conversations in ways that are meaningful to you and your team. Ask questions such as:

- How’s your energy today?
- Are you stressed about anything at work lately?
- What goals have you set for this week?
- How’s that new gym you spoke about a couple weeks ago?
- Training for that marathon going well?
- Thinking of bringing in a healthy lunch for the team today, I know you love checking new restaurants so thought I’d ask you!
- Who wants to join me on a walk at lunch today?

Notice that these are just small, yet meaningful nudges. They are sparks. Constant, engaged, and empathic conversation will inevitably start to move people.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” - Theodore Roosevelt

Are you currently in a disciplined environment that is supportive of your goals?

It took me a long time to come up with a post for today. I just sat staring at a blank screen waiting for the inspiration to hit me, and the words to pour out.

It didn’t happen.

So I waited. Then I did some other work. Came back and wrote a couple words. Then I deleted them. Around I went.

Still nothing.

I finally decided to take a breath. I looked up from my computer and noticed a few things:

- An open notebook I was jotting notes in.
- A book I randomly continued to flip open to read.
- My cell phone I would pick up sporadically to check messages.
- Close to ten open windows on my laptop. Email constantly pulling me in.

I put myself into an environment that stole my energy, and that I could easily get distracted in. It’s funny to me because I never work like this, but sometimes I can unconsciously put myself in that position.

Step back. Take a breath. Remove the clutter. Sometimes it’s not this easy to achieve productivity. But sometimes it is. Don’t let a cluttered workspace and cluttered mind be your crutch - because you can control these things.

“Start thinking about your environment being full of relationships, not objects. You interact with your environment. You don’t use it.” - James Clear

We have created a mismatch between our biology and our culture.

What we put around us, does not align with what our bodies require. McDonalds, cars, desk jobs, cellphones, and every product and service we buy is trying to eliminate an inconvenience, and take us down the path of least resistance.

Now we have to try and get to the gym, to offset the 10-12 hours of immobility built into our lives. It’s a start, and that's amazing. But it isn't enough.

Now we have to try to choose healthier options although we are surrounded by cheaper, hyper-palatable, ultra-processed foods we are biologically wired to seek out. You don’t have a lack of willpower. Instead it’s the societal and cultural forces around you that weigh far more than humans have ever experienced before.

Now we have to try to remain calm and present in a time where everything is fighting for our attention, and literally rewiring our brains to crave instant gratification at an exponential rate. Social media, push notifications, streaming services, double tap likes, ads, fear-driven media, and more.

We are being forced into disease care.

Society moves forward with whatever is on demand. We just have to work harder than ever to create the environment we need.

A healthier culture starts with a choice.

Thank you for reading my article. I hope you found it helpful or at least thought-provoking. If this post did help you, consider sharing it with someone you think it would help too.