Today was the final day of 5 days workshop delivery and tomorrow I head off to India to work with a new client on developing an internal brand and culture strategy connected to 5-star service delivery. That is quite a mouthful and as I write this I realise that I must take some time and just refocus and relax my brain. It has been running on high voltage for the past week and now it seems to have just reverted to robot mode and repeat what it knows. During this workshop, we discussed the habitual mindset and how this can alter one’s perception of change. This week has shown me the importance of time to allow the brain to shut off and recharge as this ‘always on’ not only impacts health it also dulls forward thinking and creativity. I am sure it is much like how Buster felt the one time I saw him chase his tail. He did try for about 5 spins and then realised it was not for him. His active brain saw no sense in it and off he went in search of something to sniff or eat – got to love a beagle. I appreciate that some people find solitude in sameness and in routine and that is what makes us all unique in our own way. However, if I was to speak on my behalf and for others with dyslexia or with ways of thinking that need more autonomy and scope of creativity and change, it is important that we look at employees more as individuals. To be healthy we need to feed the body with the correct level of nutrients and hence the mind is equal in finding the right balance of workload. Over the next few months, I plan to monitor this more with myself between my need for sameness, creativity, exercise, social and me time. What I have truly recognised is just how out of balance I am in these 5 zones. It is like I live in excess in 1 or 2 of them till I drain the bucket and then I move to another and with excess, I drain the other. In order for my creative brain to find the nutrient that it needs to be happy and healthy, I must start to balance the filling and draining of these 5 areas with more conscious and forward-thinking strategy.
Mantra: Be kind to your creative brain
Even though it was nice to have a few days of freedom, it was also great to get Buster back. As much as we may think the grass is greener on the other side we sometimes just need a break from something so that we can balance the difference between an emotional relationship with a connection and that of a habit. We all can fall into a rut where we can disconnect from the joy and higher purpose that most aspects of our life fall under. Buster is a great example as when he is not there I truly miss him, with his funny and extremely loyal ways, but need the break to really see and feel it. In looking through this lens at my Balance challenge I have yet to totally connect with it as a much as I would have thought. My relationship with my own wellness is still somewhat fragmented and there seem to be lots of floating parts with some light roots starting. It has been a constant balancing act between time, priorities, intent and actions. However, what it has done is activated my conscious mindset and I am starting to look at myself and the world around me in a different way. I have introduced some new views on my diet and moderate drinking, dabbled in personal training and started to delve into the connection between my mind and body to uncover some of my barriers to my own success. I keep coming back to the point that the complexity of wellness in the workplace is far bigger a subject than I ever thought. What needs to sit at the heart of any initiative is a dual higher purpose connection. One for the individual and one for the collective. These then should be interwoven into a more supportive and forward-thinking strategic plan that has the support and recourses needed from the senior management team. We also must recognise that we need to allow it time to take root in the hearts, minds and ways of our people. Just saying you want it and finding the balance are two separate things. The first step is recognising that you want change for yourself and then finding a natural progression in the following one’s journey that will lead to the desired version of you.
Mantra: Love the Journey
Wow, I woke up with a bit of a heavy head today as I broke my eating late at night rule after a few beers in the evening. In my mind, it was not extreme and the whole idea behind Balance is that I am also allowed to break away from my focused diet. One of the food groups that I have had very little of in the past few weeks has been gluten as I have not really eaten bread and drank beer. Throughout the years I have done elimination diets and sometimes question if I have a slight intolerance. I am not jumping on the Gluten-free bandwagon, as I am not sure I could ever live without bread on occasion. However, I did feel a bit sluggish this morning and it made me think more carefully about my diet. One is everything in moderation and two, is all about timing. Victoria our Balance Nutritionist did discuss this with me and how the body needs to break this down and hence it impacts on ones ability to sleep properly. So that even though that late night pizza with extra pepperoni and cheese tasted great at the time – my body had to work hard at it while my mind just wanted to relax and ZZZ. Linking this to employee engagement and organisational change is the importance of timing and when is the best opportunity to introduce new layers to the transformation strategy. People need time to adjust to change and if thrust upon them at the wrong time or it too great a quantity they too can suffer their own version of my gluten hangover. We all have a slight intolerance to change but when delivered well and with clear rationale and participation then it can be made less extreme and without the heavy side effects. Back to my late night pizza for a minute as the other factor that needs to be considered was that I had not eaten since lunch so I was extremely hungry and consumed more that I should have. The Mind said more whilst the Body said enough is enough and I cannot take any more. This is the balance between senior leadership’s drive for change and the front line’s ability to manage it in real-time. They both often work on different priorities and timelines and when senior managers delay delay delay and then push push push it can overwhelm and unbalance the team that will be impacted most by the changes.
Mantra: Be kind to my body.
Wow! Life is a rollercoaster. Just when I think that I cracked one part of this challenge, I rotate back into this circular pattern of mixed priorities. I woke in the morning and focused heavily on my four ‘value words’ that I wrote down in my session with Martin. I promised myself that I would get motivated and go full steam ahead and ensure my fitness session would fit into the day. Then there was a priority shift and I could not make the 2 pm session as I needed to make a client call. Once again, this challenge is taking such a different direction to that of my dream state. I thought that I would just get better and stronger with each passing day. Instead, I am making conscious connections and learning more about myself, my environment, poor habits, stressors and the many things that are impacting on my un-wellness. What I have discovered is the interconnectivity between my mind, body and spirit is stronger than I have ever imagined and we must focus on all three to achieve a more desirable outcome. It is much like the way many organisations approach employee development in a scattergun approach. There is no real joined-up strategy at the deeper core and hence it is parallel to what I have been doing with my own wellness, lots and lots of band-aid fixes. If an organisation does not establish the deeper connection of its core and root of the culture and its people to the vision, values and higher purpose, then it can easily become unravelled at the first sign of challenge. Much like what I have been doing for many years.
Mantra: Find calm in the journey
Today very much flew by and reminded me of the variety that we can have on a Monday. We are starting to get busy and a few projects are all backing up so I know this is the calm before the storm. I managed to get lots done and this was most likely a by-product of a very mindful and restful Sunday. I am still not getting any closer to the swimming pool and this is something that I really must focus on. I am still intrigued just as to why I seem to go through so many peaks and troughs with respect to my exercise. As when I go I do enjoy it and feel the benefit of whatever I do. I am still trying to untangle the mess of wiring between mind, body and spirit and they clearly are not lining up. I hear myself using the excuse of work and how this just unconsciously takes priority but I know there is something deeper at play as I would find time for a less healthy past time like a bottle of wine and watching my guilty pleasure TV show, Judge Judy. Hence what I have really focussed on is just how one prioritises better health in a world that seems so easy to slip off the radar and eat what you want – when you want – and watch endless Netflix and social media stalking. There are just so many distractions that I know will not benefit my health challenge – but like moths to the flame I find myself attracted to it all. I believe that this is one area that companies need to reevaluate and that is to give employees more options for downtime. It does not have to be expensive gyms and only organic food however more consideration should be given to employee breaks as much as to their working hours.
Mantra: Look to the future.
I had a really great start to the day and filmed some bits for our Balance project and this is always fun, one day I will watch the blooper real. Working with Phil on this aspect of the project reminded me of what a great team we have put together for Balance. Each individual is a specialist in their own area and each one contributes equally to that of the overall success of the 50-day challenge. It also brought light to the fact that we must take direction from others that know and be humble enough to allow yourself to trust in the process. Looking at organisational culture it’s always important to remember that the team that supports the organisation must approach this from equal standing. Everyone is a specialist in their own right and each lends to the greater good and overall perspective. A company needs a form of hierarchy whether that be departments or management in order that it can function within its structure. However, when we look at a company culture it must be equal if it is to be healthy and well balanced. Each one of us brings something special to the party and I think more organisations should focus on delivering this message to their teams –we are all in it together!! This would allow for a much better-balanced approach and supportive team and bring relationships much more to the forefront. Today was also my second body session with Martin and once again it has left me feeling much more open and again somewhat a little confused and I am not quite sure why. However, I do feel like that I am walking a little taller and have just a little more spring in my step. I guess I just need to let go a little more, and in my own words – trust the process. As he goes through various touch points in my body and releases them the pain can be almost unmanageable but once I begin to let go I can really notice that the pain is less about what he is doing and more about what I have been holding on to. Following his advice, I took some extra time just to myself to reflect not only on the session but on my intention for my own well-being going forward. I am always quick to give advice to others however now it is time I take some and time for me to practice what I preach. I must learn to better appreciate all the positive gifts that I have been given and with a pure intent learn that it is ok to be more kind to myself.
Mantra: Thank you for my gifts