There is not one client who doesn’t feel exhausted, tired, overwhelmed or even burned out sometimes. Well-being is not a nice-to-have—it is essential if you want to be the best version of yourself. Most people prioritize others over themselves, say yes too much, and don’t ask for help. Once we reach burn-out, it is much harder and takes longer to recover. Interrupting this cycle holds the key to inspiration, or breathing life back into yourself. Think of it like your phone—it’s easier to be fully functional if you charge it for short bursts throughout the day rather than plugging it in once it’s completely dead. 

You can’t give away what you don’t have. 

HOW DO WE DEFINE WELL-BEING?

The definition of well-being is the state of being happy, healthy or successful (whatever that means to you). It is more useful to focus on the two words: well (meaning to wish or will) and being (the most important or basic part of a person’s mind or self). The key is to define the basic part of your mind or self.

To help you define your own well-being, below are some of the ways participants in our BOLD Leadership for Women programs define it for themselves:

  • Doing for myself what I really need
  • Taking care of myself—mentally, physically and spiritually
  • Making my mental state a priority—taking time to pause, reflect and do things to keep me “charged”
  • Putting myself  first—focusing on my health through food and exercise, time with loved ones, disconnecting from work, not feeling guilty, etc.

Bottom line: You are always consciously—and unconsciously—
making choices
that either breathe life into you or suck life out of you. 

The first step is to answer the not-so-easy question: What does well-being mean to me? How does it look? What does it include? There is no should in that question. It is easy to think: I should exercise, I should eat more vegetables, etc. Don’t shame yourself into what you should do – ask: What matters most to me?

What breathes life into you allows you to operate as your best self. 

To answer that question, let’s provide five general areas that might illuminate your needs. If you would like our 5-minute quiz and tool that we use with executives to diagnose and plan well-being, please click here to request a copy.

FIVE AREAS OF WELL-BEING

The five domains of well-being are familiar and obvious. As you review the summary below, ask yourself: What is/are the biggest area(s) where my well-being is suffering? 

Knowing what to do is completely different than practicing what to do.
That is why knowledge is NOT power. Practice IS power. 

PHYSICAL: Body What could I do to feel better?

These are the elements that provide or remove energy in your body. While this includes many areas, the three main areas are sleep, food/drink and exercise. 

An executive in the middle of overwhelm from leading through COVID, supply chain issues, talent challenges, etc. committed to his executive coach that he wanted to prioritize his weight and create a plan. Twenty-five pounds lighter, he reports being able to attack the challenges in his job with productivity, confidence and energy. 

How you do anything is how you do everything

  1. EMOTIONAL: Feelings What could I do to feel better?

Many believe the brain sends messages to the heart. In actuality, science shows the heart sends more messages to the brain and has a significant effect on brain function in emotional processing, problem-solving, attention, and memory.

Gratitude, from the Latin gratia, means grace, thanks, or goodwill. It is appreciation for what we receive—tangible or intangible—no matter how good our mind perceives it. 

A client struggled with overwhelm and felt disconnected from herself and her team while she was leading them through massive changes in her organization. After cycling through options that did not work (meditation and various practices others told her she should do), one thing she identified for herself was a daily practice of gratitude. She began to have thankful appreciation for whatever occurred, even when it was her hot water heater breaking (she was glad she realized it before she left for work), when she got sick (she was grateful to slow down), or having a key member on her team announce a resignation (she gained a chance to hire a better performing team member). Focusing on the positive made a significant impact on her emotional state and self-awareness.

Feelings are a vehicle to explore how you are really doing.

  1. MIND: Focus What helps me be focused and productive?

Our mind is one of the most obvious places where we experience an inability to think, focus, or be productive. Almost everyone is talking about the level of overload they are experiencing: too many competing priorities creating the feeling that they are doing nothing well. Instead of being strategic, they are focused tactically; when they want to be thoughtful and prepared, they are rushed and tired; when they want to be calm and present, they are distracted and reactive.  

We forget the facts: Neuroscience has proven we need to renew our brain, which operates as a battery. Every 90 minutes, the brain starts to drain, just like your phone. Think about those long days or the multiple meetings you schedule back-to-back. Your brain needs a strategic renewal break (daily, weekends, vacation).

An executive was in back-to-back meetings and saving her work time for nights and weekends. She completely overhauled her calendar: she stopped accepting every invitation and started setting criteria for which meetings she would attend. She renegotiated her participation, empowered team members and created strategic time blocks in her calendar. By putting the oxygen mask on herself first, she was able to fit everyone else around what she needed to be her best self.

Put the break back into breakthrough.

  1. SOCIAL: Connection What connection inspires me and with whom?

Loneliness is more common today than ever. Research shows strong connections can have significant positive advantages such as stronger immunity, lower stress, improved self-confidence, happiness, and overall health. 

One leader, working from home, struggled with the remote environment most acutely after the company announced they would not be returning to the office until further notice. She started to reach out proactively to colleagues and schedule one-on-ones with them, some outside for a drink or walk. She blocked her calendar from 4pm-5pm to spend time with her children. She had coffee with her husband in the morning. She trained for and ran a marathon with friends. By focusing on important social connections, she breathed life back into herself by reaching out and getting connected.  

Social connection is a necessity to prioritize, not a luxury to neglect.

  1. SPIRIT: Renewal, Meaning What matters most?

Spirit means a lot of things to a lot of people. It derives from the Latin spiritus, loosely translated to breath of life, and is the basis of inspiration. Your personal definition of spirit is what breathes life into you as a human, leader, parent, etc. This is where our purpose, why, values and meaning live. Spirit is personalno one can tell us what is right or what should be. 

What matters most to you? This is what you do because you want to, not because you have to. It creates fulfillment and energy such as making a difference, developing people, solving seemingly impossible challenges, working directly with customers, being creative, etc. These are also things that connect you to your deeper, best self, thereby creating meaning and inspiration. Renewal—feeling restored or replenished—is another way to access our spirit. It could be spending time with loved ones, seeing art, listening to music, volunteering, etc.

One high-performing female executive just accepted a role in a new company because she was not fulfilled in her current role. She identified what mattered most to her: making a difference by solving big challenges through building a high-performing team and growing as a leader. She voiced these needs to no avail and has chosen to uproot her family to relocate across the country for a new opportunity that will meet those needs.

Spirit is what matters most and what creates fulfillment, motivation and even joy. 

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR WELL-BEING:

In BOLD leadership, the breakthrough comes when you do three things:

  1. Identify WHAT would make the biggest difference. Be realistic. Keep it simple. Walking with a friend in the woods might meet a lot of needs at the same time. Pick one or two things you can practice consistently and frequently to create a habit.
  2. Get a COACH for accountability and support. Don’t do it alone. A conversation with someone else can be helpful. Start with your mindset (why it feels impossible and what needs to shift). Making a declaration of what you will start or stop, and how often you will do it, is more likely to work if you tell someone else. It’s an added bonus if they pick something and do it, too.
  3. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Consistency breeds the habit. Knowing means nothing, doing means everything. Plan out how you will start small and build up. The more you practice, the more it will become a habit.

To assess the current state of your own well-being and next steps, click here for a 5-minute quiz and a tool to determine what matters most so you can be the best version of yourself.

Ask Yourself

  • What is/are the biggest area(s) where my well-being is suffering?  
  • What are the fewest, most important things that would breathe life into me? 
  • What help (coaching, support, accountability) do I need to ensure that I focus on the fewest critical areas?  

Here is to a holiday where you breathe life into yourself and focus on what matters most. Consider creating a “reset” where you include yourself as your most important priority and then notice how much you have to give away to others.

Please reach out and my team if you’d like to connect about how to apply these ideas, to help members on your team navigate these conversations, or to discuss the biggest current challenges you are facing today.

Wishing you good mental, physical, emotional and social health.

Remember to find resources to inspire you here.

With gratitude,

      Gisele

      If you are interested in exploring how to unlock the potential of yourself, your team or the women in your organization, contact us for a complimentary discovery conversation.