As I was recently reading Thrive, I was inspired to think about ways to best promote the Third Metric in our local communities. I realize it’s not always easy to encourage such ideals as well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving within work cultures that value more traditional definitions of success. Even within settings and around people who whole-heartedly agree with these principles, it can be challenging to implement practices that support such ways of living. I recall when my husband worked at a non-profit organization that built in time each day for reflection and meditation. I was surprised to learn that so few employees took advantage of this opportunity. It seemed the effort required to take a break from their work didn’t always feel worth the potential benefit. Maybe, too, we sometimes lose our ability to easily shift between doing and non-doing — to move from being productive to just being. Often, taking a break in the name of self-care and intentional living can feel like it requires the energy needed to turn a train around because it asks us to change our momentum in the opposite direction of our to-do lists and agendas.
I experienced this same challenge within a university program I directed. As professionals focused on holistic health, we were committed to taking several minutes at the beginning of each faculty meeting to pause and turn our attention within. We wanted to do this to be more present and to feel clarity and gratitude around the work we were doing. But that commitment didn’t always make it easy to pause. It often felt more compelling to launch right into our agenda because it almost always seemed like there was more to do than time to do it in. We realized, however, that if we didn’t regularly practice being quiet, it would only get harder to slow down and be mindful, and to encourage others to do the same. Also, we came to see the illusion involved in our felt-sense of “time famine.” We knew deep down that if we waited until we felt like we had time to connect with the principles we valued, it was highly probable that we never would.
Regardless of whether our workplace offers such encouragements, any of us committed to Third Metric qualities such as self-care and intentional living need multiple sources of support. Along with our personal commitments, it’s helpful if we can connect with others who value similar principles. As an example that might inspire others, in my local community we’ve started a monthly support group for wellness-focused entrepreneurial women who are looking to thrive while improving the world around them. The group was started by a friend who reached out to several women she knew who were stretching themselves personally and professionally in order to bring greater levels of wellness to the community. At the time, she was publishing a book on the importance of bringing spirituality into the world of sports (entitled Sportuality). The interests of others in the group varied from promoting healthy eating to authentic beauty to finding balance amidst busyness. Other women were taking on such tasks as re-envisioning how we assess health and bringing Third Metric qualities into the corporate workplace. Although our endeavors differ, we’ve shared a felt-calling to pursue our work while also tending to our own well-being. It’s been helpful to support each other with these values, but even more so, to have a place to honestly share about the joys and the challenges — and the victories and the vulnerabilities — around attempting to bring wellness into our lives and the lives of those around us.
As more and more conversation emerges about how we can best support individuals to thrive, I’d encourage others to consider creating similar types of supportive gatherings in their communities. Along with whatever structures can be added to our workplaces and our daily routines, sometimes we also need to create a village of support in order to sustain the values we most believe in.
For more Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit inspiration, visit: fullcupthirstyspirit.com.
For more by Karen Horneffer-Ginter, Ph.D., click here.