Sunday, January 20, 2013

Leadership resilience and well-being: Integrating what you love into your life



For many busy people achieving work life balance remains elusive. The multiple demands of work, children, spouse, wider family, social and community engagements and self care all pile on each other and nag away. There are always more things to do than time, money, and other resources allow.
While there is no simple solution to the above, and everyone is different, there is a delightful ANTIDOTE to this conundrum.
Do more of what you love most and integrate this in your life as much as practicable. Do this on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and you may just be surprised at the outcome. More often than not, as we get busier, the very things that we love, that give us joy, slip through the press of time and deadlines.

Such is human psychology that if we don’t express our joy, we soon cease to feel it.
- Lin Yutang
Integrating what you love but may have ignored is what refreshes and recharges us. Integrating what you love doing most, (but may have ignored) is what refreshes and recharges your life’s battery. It is “food for the soul.” We find that “joie de vivre” returns. As positive psychology encourages, we then live a meaningful life through engaging in these activities and savouring their uplifting moments. These positive experiences become part of our ongoing emotional bank account and final legacy.

This change of activity and pace through integrating what we enjoy can be as good as a holiday. Conversely, not integrating them in our lives leads to life’s batteries running low.

The secret to life’s purpose is to be happy. In order to be truly and permanently happy , we have to fulfil our best intentions and act on them right away … even if that means we start by just giving good thoughts to them.
-Brahma Kumaris

By way of example, one of the things I enjoy is creative writing. Just making time to let the mind drift – letting thoughts and ideas emerge in whatever intuitive and random manner they do and then giving it shape is an enjoyable act for me. I love words and language. However, I noticed as things got busier this year, I let my writing go as I succumbed to other demands. Julia Cameron, author of “The Artist’s Way” puts it well, “When we don’t pursue our creativity, we find ourselves feeling restless, irritable and discontent. And when we do pursue our creativity, we find ourselves unexpectedly happy.” Having reclaimed my writing, I feel whole again.

Your personality will also have a part to play here. If you are more inclined to have an introverted preference and get energy from being by yourself with your own reflective thoughts, it is likely that you find solo activities more replenishing. On the other hand for the more extroverted personalities, activities where there is opportunity for companionship and banter may have a greater pull. Having said this, sometimes it is the opposite – where extroverts need quiet self reflective time and introverts need social contact for balance!

A consulting engineer client – quite gregarious by nature – loves to strum his guitar. As he puts it, “I trained as an engineer, I’m good at it and it’s my living, but it’s when I play my guitar I lose all sense of time. I lose all sense of any issues or problems that we all face on a daily basis.” Last year, this led him to create a band of mostly other fellow engineers who jam monthly – finding pleasure in Rock and Roll and each other’s company, followed by a big shared feed at the end. As he puts it: “This brings intense joy and pleasure not only to me, but to ALL THOSE AROUND ME.”

As we get older, doing more of what we love becomes even more critical as we are forced to contend with unforeseen mental and or physical limitations which can impact on our good intentions of “when I have time I will do this.” But time waits for no one, as we know too well.

SQ Reflections:
So how about you?
What makes your heart sing?

When you are in your ‘flow state’ what are you doing?

What is inside of you needing a voice and expression?

What is something you enjoy doing but haven’t done in a long while? What is that one thing that you absolutely must do before time runs out?

What is something you can integrate in your life on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis?

We all have many facets to us – why not express these more fully? Now!


Jasbindar Singh is a coaching psychologist, author and speaker and loves seeing people be more of their authentic self and in their groove. She is also re-discovering the joys of writing again!



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