“Wellness is about how you show up, it’s about how you allow yourself to BE.”Dallas Hartwig
That’s paraphrased from an episode of The Living Experiment podcast. I’d like to go into a bit more detail on this, and along the way I’ll explain how this came into play in my coaching, as well as how it informs my writing.
He went on to say that what wellness isn’t about is how much you can lift. It isn’t about what your abs look like. These are just two external factors, strength & appearance – that join with other external, as well as many internal, factors to make up wellness, and importantly, whole body well-being. Let’s look at one example of this interplay of factors – weight loss.
Have you noticed that when you put on a few pounds, you feel…off? It’s almost like your overall health and well-being and your weight are connected, right? There are two ways to approach this situation. You can go on a diet to lose weight and hopefully feel better and attain better overall health and well-being. OR, you can work on your overall health and well-being, and watch as your weight slowly but surely comes into alignment with those goals.
Can you spot the difference?
In the first option, you’re addressing the weight loss as though it was the root cause. In the second, you’re treating your weight as a symptom, and addressing your overall health as the root cause. Which sounds like the more sustainable, and effective, method?
Top 3 aspects of well-being
Now, how to address something as broad as “overall health and well-being?” By looking at the separate pieces that make up the whole of course. What are the aspects of BE-ing that lead to that elusive whole body well-being?
For the sake of brevity, these are my top 3:
- Being mindful
- Being fully present
- Treating your body right
These are still REALLY broad categories, I know. I also know there is a staggering amount of interplay between them, so I’m not going to attempt to cover that in depth here. This post is for summaries and highlighting interconnections.
I once heard Mindfulness described as “paying attention, on purpose.” That sums it up so well, I can’t add anything useful. Mindfulness is the the overarching idea, the one that encompasses the other two in this article. Think about it for a minute, what better way to monitor how you’re showing up than by paying attention, on purpose?
Before entering a room, be it for a meeting or otherwise, where you want to be sure of your presentation – stop and take a deep, intentional breath. Then as you enter, you’ll be more present and more tuned in to how the others in the room are reacting. You will, in turn, be better able to fine tune how you’re presenting yourself in real time. Eliminating the after-meeting hair-tearing-out where you get all over yourself for that thing you said that you KNEW you shouldn’t have…etc.
Being fully present
Honestly this one could be seen as simply another way of saying “stay mindful.” When you’re confronted with that jar of candy on your boss’s desk, do you mindlessly take one? Or 5? What if you took a moment before you walked into their office, took a deep breath, and primed yourself on your reasons for going in there in the first place? Not only does this narrow your focus to the task at hand, it can also quell the inherent unease many feel when talking to The Boss that leads to the candy looking so irresistible in the first place. Now you’re set to enter, ask your question, make your pitch, etc…and you probably won’t even notice the candy jar because you’re present with your purpose for being there.
Treating your body right
What am I talking about here? Simple—don’t do things that you know cause your body harm or discomfort. Sounds easy, right? Yeah…well…this is one we all have trouble with, whether or not we can admit it in public.
The takeaway for this one is this—if you know you have a presentation tomorrow morning, and you know that you’re a hot mess when you don’t get enough sleep…maybe think about NOT staying up until 2 binging the latest Netflix series. If you know caffeine makes you blarghy and causes your brain to vibrate inside your skull (personal experience here)—maybe it’s time to ween off coffee.
The Coaching-Writing Connection
This topic came to light while I was in grad school for coaching. The route I’ve taken from IT to coaching, back to IT, and finally to writing is a winding and circuitous one. And one that I’m going to address with a roadmap at a later date. Right now, the key point is that nearly everything I learned in that grad program was applicable not only to coaching, but also to my IT work and my work as a freelance writer.
To whit—when your commute is from the bedroom to the desk by way of the kitchen, it helps immeasurably to be present and able to stay on course. Otherwise you’ll find yourself at 4:00 PM having watched Youtube and surfed blogs all day and have zilch in the way of word count to show for it.
Staying present and mindful is a mainstay of wellness coaching, and other disciplines as well. From my work on building the ability to be quiet and listen to clients, I developed the same ability with coworkers who brought me their malfunctioning computers. And from there, to do the same with potential clients (whether they realized they were potential clients or not).
I’ve talked about listening vs. truly hearing someone before, so again, not going down that road here. Needless to say the key is staying present and mindful, in this case of your thoughts and how they’re getting in the way. Feeling the urge to jump into the conversation with a soliloquy about how your service is exactly what the other person needs and how you just did this exact thing for someone else and how happy they were with your service and…and…and…you get the idea.
Stop, breathe, and listen. Let the other person tell YOU what they truly need, then you can quietly explain how that’s exactly what you’ll do.
How you show up isn’t about your looks. Or your clothes. It’s about how you are.
Your homework this week is to assess your behaviors and look for opportunities to make minor tweaks in just one area—tweaks that you think just may improve how you show up. And if they don’t work, don’t stress. Now you know those tweaks don’t help, and you can try something else next week.