Supporting others, in achieving their best life, has been a passion of mine for many years now.
What constitutes a successful life is of course unique to each of us. However, one thing I believe we all have in common – a healthy body and mind is the foundation for enabling our choices.
To maintain, or set a path, to our desired life shape with wellbeing as our companion, is a combination that I personally strive to live and breathe by, and the ethos behind much of the work I do.
I am of course not immune to the fact that striking a balance between the two is not the easiest of endeavours. In fact, I often joke that the reason I do what I do is that I am naturally rubbish at it!
So why a blog about staying centred in a challenging world, from someone who is innately flawed at achieving it?
Quite simply, I think we all need to regularly shine a light on ourselves and our health, at the best of times. Right now, I think we need to do this more than ever.
I’m sure you would agree that there are many things that can get in the way of our best laid life and wellbeing plans. Careers, finances, juggling young families, health challenges, relationship issues, aging parents – to name a few.
Not to mention the temptations of our unhealthy habits and behaviours, that can pop up from time to time and sabotage our endeavours.
But for the most part, with the odd life challenge or unhealthy pitstop, we can stay on track…right?
Yet there is something about the post covid period we find ourselves in that has upped the ante.
Watch the news or jump on social media and we are led to believe that the world has gone to hell and high water:
- Covid, past and long
- The economic crisis
- The environmental crisis
- World disasters
- The loss of our high streets
- Access to services
… oh my days.
And perhaps it’s just me, or does everyone you speak with seem to be struggling with some level of hardship – whether it be personally or globally influenced?
It is hardly surprising that keeping it all together, let alone living your best life, may feel like an impossible feat or a distant memory.
The good news is that there is much that can be done to support us flawed human folk, in staying centred in a challenging world.
However, living in this difficult period in history may be too much for some. The world is not as it was, and we are facing many personal, collective, and global challenges.
If you are struggling, please don’t go it alone.
Please put down this blog and make it your number one priority to seek the support of friends, contacts, your GP, or a professional therapist to support and guide you.
Otherwise, let’s continue…
The what, the how and the why
I first came across ‘why statements’ during my time working in the corporate world. A concept created by the author and inspirational speaker, Simon Oliver Sinek.
Let me attempt to summarise the concept into a few succinct bullet points:
- Most businesses know ‘what’ they do and ‘how’ they do it but not all know ‘why’.
- The why is not about making money, getting stuff done or achieving targets. These are results. It is about purpose, cause, and belief.
- In the corporate setting, the most successful businesses start with why – knowing that this is what will inspire consumers, motivate the workforce, and ultimately achieve the what and the how.
One example Sinek provides is for the tech company, Apple.
He says that if Apple communicated like most other tech companies, their message would be something like this:
“We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. Want to buy one?”
Sounds fair enough but it could be any tech company, don’t you think?
According to Sinek, the reason we choose Apple, over other devices and businesses, and their phenomenal success is down to their why:
“Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?
So, why am I telling you this?
Well, I think the world as it is today has left many of us trying to regain our what and our how.
All valid endeavours with so many people just about keeping their heads above water in paying the bills and putting food on the table.
However, rather like the most successful businesses, the most successful people also start with why. And this blog is, in part, about living our most successful life.
What is your why?
For those of you that are running your own business, you may like to formulate a why statement specifically for your business.
However, this blog is all about you and I am going to invite you to take it up a notch and put together your personal why statement.
To come up with the answer to the rather small question of why you exist!
The reason you get out of bed each morning and that inspires you to do what you do best and show up as your most authentic self each day.
Or as Sinek puts it, “Our most compelling purpose that inspires us and acts as the source of all we do.”
Personal why statements help us to get clear on our values, passions and goals and can give meaning to what can seem meaningless. The motivation to show up as our best self and live our best life more often.
They can also show us what does not align to our higher purpose or our values. To motivate us to make change, if change is needed and is possible.
So, how do we go about determining our why?
Like most things, I believe there is more than one route we can take and I have included 5 thoughts below.
Whichever method you choose, give it some thought and some time. The idea is to formulate a paragraph or two that will form your personal why statement.
My hope for you is that this exercise and your why will not only provide you with a clear purpose, but an anchor in navigating the choppy waters of this challenging era.
1. Start with why
“We are here to inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that, together, each of us can change our world for the better”
I’m loving that.
2. Create a vision board
For those of you that are visual, you might like to consider creating a meaningful vision board.
A way of bringing your personal why statement to life through creative and visual expression.
There are lots of resources online, that can take you through how to do this, including one from Mindbodygreen: “How vision boards work & how to make a powerful one for yourself”.
3. Deep dive questions
Alternatively, you might like to work through some deep and meaningful questions.
You can do this solo or perhaps enlist your partner or a friend and work through these together – someone who knows you well and will give you some honest input.
The questions below are not meant to be prescriptive and you don’t need to answer them all. They are simply intended to be food for thought, or discussion, in helping to define what matters most to you.
|1. What are your unique talents?
2. How to you contribute to society?
3. What are your top five values?
4. What are you most proud of?
5. What frustrates you?
6. What are your favourite ways to spend your time?
|7. How do you introduce yourself to others?
8. What are the stories you tell others?
9. Who do you admire and why?
10. Who do you dislike and why?
11. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
12. What are you most grateful for?
4. Start with the end in mind
Considering how you want to be remembered, or not, is another way of understanding the life you are here to live and aspire to achieve.
Writing your own eulogy can be a powerful practice and is another option in helping to determine your why.
Again, the internet is rich with resources for those that this method appeals to. Including the article by Attuned Psychology ‘how could writing your own eulogy help you live the life you want right now’.
5. Check out the why statement of others
I have been deliberating about whether to include this option.
On the one hand, I feel it may help to get your creative juices flowing. On the other hand, it might sway you off your own unique course.
Additionally, we are not all the Steve Jobs of the world and nor do we need to be, but who will have published their why statements? The Steve Jobs of the world of course. Whilst these may inspire some to act, they will be totally unrelatable and demotivating to others.
You know what, I am going to leave it with you!
For those who feel it will be helpful, by all means spend some time with google.
If not, scroll on by…
My Why is…
If you have stayed with me thus far and created a paragraph or two, that is your why statement – well done.
You might like to consider printing or writing this and displaying it somewhere where you will regularly see it. Or set it as the background or screen saver on your laptop or computer. A visual reminder of your unique why.
If you are not there yet, I highly recommend setting aside some further time to complete this activity.
When we live a life aligned to our purpose, something shifts within us.
We may find that we are less caught up in the choppy seas of the what and the how, and feel a deeper sense of contentment and fulfilment.
And if we find ourselves being carried away, by the challenges of our daily lives or world events, we can come back to our deeper sense of purpose – our why.
Here we are much better placed at staying centred in a challenging world.
However, if you recall, there is one other component we need to consider…
W is for …?
Yep, you guessed it, wellbeing.
If you cast your mind back to the start of this blog, I mentioned that what constitutes a successful life is unique to each of us. This is our unique why.
I also mentioned that I believe that a healthy body and mind is the foundation for enabling our choices.
So, I am going to leave you today with 5 ways to keep wellbeing as your companion and support you in achieving your why.
1. Look after yourself
A lack of exercise, quality sleep, sound nutrition and hydration will inevitably not see anyone feeling or living their best life.
In my blog ‘the road to wellbeing’ I share a flexible and individualised framework for practising self-care, incorporating Cytoplan’s six steps to health, happiness, and longevity.
Perfect for anyone wanting or needing to up their self-care game.
2. Check in often
When we are busy and rushing through the day, getting through our whats and our hows, it is easy to lose sight of our why.
Topping and tailing the day and building in mindful moments, provides us with an opportunity to connect to our purpose and to ensure wellbeing remains our companion.
If you are a shocker for racing through the day, try building in a morning, lunchtime, and afternoon mini check in. Your physical and mental health and wellbeing will also thank you for it.
3. Practice compassion
A lack of empathy, criticism, and attacks in the media and on social media can be sole destroying.
The positive voices and messages drowned out by what are sometimes deemed the ‘keyboard warriors’ who seem unmoving in their quest to spread their poison.
I don’t think for one moment that this is an accurate picture of the true human spirit but I do think compassion has been drowned out by the noise.
The link to wellbeing may seem ambiguous but without compassion we can lose hope in humanity and our purpose within it.
Like most things, compassion starts with how we are with ourselves. As flawed humans, we don’t always get it right and of course things don’t always go our way. When this happens is our own inner critic a compassionate one or that of a keyboard warrior?
And then there are the actions of those flawed humans we come across in our daily lives – at work, at home, and at play. What are our thoughts and actions here?
Whilst practising compassion is not a complete solution and a topic in its own right, it can dilute some of the negativity and deepen our connection to the world around us and those who inhabit it with us.
Here are two ways of practising compassion, you might like to ponder or take on board:
- If you catch yourself being mean to yourself, in thought or deed, try speaking to yourself as if you were a friend.
- If you catch yourself being mean to others, in thought or deed, consider how you would feel if the tables were turned.
The aim is to shift thoughts and responses, about a person or situation, to a more compassionate channel or at least turn the volume down a notch.
4. Practice gratitude
Gratitude is something I have included in many of the blogs I have written.
It is such a powerful practice in helping to shine a light on the many gifts and experiences we receive each day and in balancing out some of the less positive aspects of the challenging era we find ourselves in.
This can be a great practice to do in the evening – to make a mental or physical list of what you have to give thanks for. Maybe 5-10 things.
Of course, some days will go better than others. There will be periods when you will have to delve deep, and others where you will be overflowing with items to include, but the more you notice the things you are grateful for, the more you are likely to see.
5. Enjoy the ride
It is easy when times are tough to forget to enjoy the ride.
But as the saying goes, “life is not a dress rehearsal”
Don’t forgot to make time for the things that bring you a sense of happiness and fulfilment.
That fill up the tank and support you in achieving your why and your wellbeing.
We are all living through a difficult period in history and facing many personal, collective, and global challenges.
With a clearer understanding of our unique purpose and wellbeing as our companion, we may just find that we can stay more centred in a challenging world.
Thank you for reading and I sincerely hope that you found this blog informative and supportive.
Bev Alderson is a Mindfulness, Yoga and Stress Management Consultant who works with individuals, groups and workplaces.
Having spent 18+ years in management in the IT industry, in both the UK and Australia, Bev learnt first-hand the impacts of a high-pressure environment and lifestyle and how, left unchecked, this can negatively impact performance and health.
Today, through her business Practically Balanced, Bev brings authenticity to the work she does, drawing upon her personal experiences, management capabilities and expertise in mindfulness, stress resilience, yoga and more.
Bev completed a Diploma in Yoga with the highly respected Qi Yoga School in Sydney in 2012 and with Sivananda in India in 2015. She also completed a Certificate in Stress Management with the London Centre for Coaching and Counselling in 2014, an ILM with the Stress Management Society in 2014 and a Diploma in Meditation with the British School of Meditation in 2016.
With many thanks to Bev for this blog. If you have any questions regarding the health topics that have been raised, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our nutritionist team via e-mail or phone:
Last updated on 20th July 2023 by cytoffice