What does it take to be a change maker, thought partner, or community leader? First and foremost, it takes passion. Elements also include education, knowing the people you are serving, and social capital. But may of us forget the most important thing...you have to take care of yourself, mind, body, and soul. Otherwise, you will get burned out before you get to reap the fruits of your labor.
Today, I was listening to Kid Rock on The Howard Stern Show (My husband listens in the morning). Kid Rock was saying that the average pop star only stays around until they are about 40 years old before they get burned out in the industry. Many famous people are said to be crazy, but have you ever stopped to ask why? We often call them crazy, and ask what's wrong with them. How could they possibly be miserable with all of that fame and fortune? The question is not "what's wrong with them, "but what happened to them?"
The same thing goes for our community business owners, politicians, teachers, and other people who are responsible to the well-being of large amounts of people. I often have conversations with people who tell me the same story over and over again. They are so tired and their body hurts. They know that they have to take time for themselves, but they feel like if they step away, things will fall apart. You don't even have to be a community leader to experience this. As parents, we are the most important people in our children's lives. What happens if we get sick or worse? Do you want to just get by, or thrive? Do you want to just be OK, or feel great?
When we are on the go-go-go we don't slow down until it is time to go to bed, or if we get sick. Even then, we feel like we have to keep going. This makes us disconnected from the messages that our bodies give to us on a daily basis.
When you get up in the morning, sit on the edge of your bed and take ten deep breaths. Think of one thing that you are grateful for. Do a few stretches, and get the day started.
Regular mindfulness practices help us to stay grounded and centered. Think of it as a daily reboot. When computers malfunction, sometimes all they need is to be turned off, and given a few minutes, so that they can function at optimal capacity. Don't wait until you are malfunctioning before you reboot. Warning signs include: Wanting to escape, depression, catching a cold, body aches, impatience, and poor communication. These are all symptoms of someone who is overwhelmed, and needs a break.
The idea here is to be proactive VS reactive when it comes to our wellness.
Who's Lifting You Up & Who's Holding You Down
My grandmother always said, "Birds of a feather flock together." Who are you spending time with? When you are around them, do they activate you or drain you? When it comes to energy, like attracts like:
If there are positive people in a room and a negative person walks in, one of three things will happen. 1.) The person with the negative energy will bring everyone down. 2.) The positive people will bring the negative person to a positive mood. 3.) The person with the negative energy will leave. Who are you in the equation? Be mindful of the energy that you bring.
Trust Your Gut
As I said before, your body sends you messages. Do you listen? We humans are the only species that will not listen to what our intuition tells us, because we don't want to offend anyone, or our ego gets in the way.
I call it listening to Spirit, or our higher self. The more you listen the clearer the connection. What is your narrative? What is the story that you are saying to the Universe? Your soul is speaking. Are you listening?
There is nothing to fear, but fear itself. Fear is the biggest thing that keeps us from achieving optimal wellness and success. We come up with excuses or so-called reasons why we have not done the things that we think that we want to do. Dr. Oz once said "[You take 8 years off of your life when you stress yourself out about the things that you think that you should be doing.]"
This includes self-care. We are afraid that if we stop doing all of these important things for the people that we want to help, then things will fall apart. Well, what happens when you get burned out, sick, and/or die, because you did not take the time for yourself. The best thing that you could possible do for others is take care of yourself.
You Are Worth It
Sometimes, we think that we will disappoint those who are depending on us if we are not there for them at all times. It is just not possible to maintain that type of performance without calling a time out every once in a while. I have watched a number of my close friends suffer from stress related conditions such as stroke, depression, obesity, chronic fatigue, and anger. Don't wait until you get to a point of illness before you take action. The time is now. Start with TEN DEEP BREATHS and a show of gratitude.