My last article was an introduction to the Dimensions of Wellness. Before I dive in to focus on each dimension of wellness individually, I would like to connect the individual dimensions back to an overarching inside-out well-being journey. I believe the answer to pursuing wellness across all dimensions is an inside job. Even though occupational, social, and physical wellness are technically outer life dimensions, as in everything in life, there is a sort of fractal (repeating pattern) happening where everything operates from the inside-out.
DIMENSIONS AND RESOURCES
You may recall the Inside-Out System I’ve shared in a few articles. We have these personal resources at our disposal to take intentional and conscious action toward wellbeing. These resources are our “tool belt” within each dimension of wellness.
In Dimensions of an Inside-Out Wellbeing Journey, I shared that spiritual, emotional, and intellectual wellness are foundational as inner life dimensions to have the ability to achieve wellness in the physical, social, and occupational (and beyond) outer life dimensions. These inner life dimensions are strongly connected with the inner core of our personal resources, our value system. However “well” we are in our inner life dimensions (spiritual, emotional, and intellectual) is how capable we will be of understanding a foundational value system to guide our other resources. Our value system and intentions represent our inner life, while our attention acts as a bridge to our outer life resources of connections and actions.
I hope this is beginning to reveal just how important the inside-out journey is. If you’re operating in an outside-in approach, you’re not only ignoring the foundational half of your dimensions of wellness, but you’re also using your resources beginning at attention with nothing to anchor it.
In other words, you’re a ship with no sail…
SWITCH TO INSIDE-OUT
If you switch your journey to focus on the inside-out, you will work to address and grow your wellness in the inner life dimensions, and you will awaken your inner core of personal resources. From here, you will begin to provide your outer life a foundation to grow upon, AND you will have the resources to approach your outer life wellness from a place that is in line with a true value system. Your attention will begin to shift to things that will bring wellness in your dimensions and you will seek connections and actions that align. Soon, you will notice that your actions are producing fruit that connects with your inner value system, which brings a greater sense of fulfillment, joy, and more peace as you navigate the journey of life. When our actions align with our value system, we also experience less cognitive dissonance.
As I said, I see it all as a fractal (repeating pattern) where everything repeats the pattern of working from the inside-out.
To provide an example, if I am trying to improve my occupational wellness, I would begin by reconnecting with my value system within that dimension and let that guide my intentions, attention, connections, and actions toward greater occupational wellness. I would use these personal resources to define the why, who, what, where, how, and when within my occupation.
If I am seeking to work on my occupational wellness, I should attempt to begin with first principle thinking about how my work connects to my foundational value system. Occupational wellness connects why I work, who I work with, where I work, how I work, when I work, and what I work on back to an overarching goal of wellness. So, if that’s the case, I should consider what defines these details through the lens of my value system and let that be the foundation to how I proceed toward action.
For example, if my foundation for my work is to earn money or build my resume, that will dictate my intentions, where I put my attention, how I interact with connections, and what actions I take. However, if I approach my occupation with the foundation of using my gifts, talents, and experiences to serve others on their inside-out wellbeing journeys, imagine how that influences the use of my resources. Rather than seeing others as separate from myself where competition and selfish motivations rule, my value system would keep me connected and responsible to those around me and it would hold me accountable to the effects of my actions.
I want to be clear that this negates the concept that seeking occupational wellness is all about connecting to human issues or health or philanthropy or purpose-driven brands that convey a “green” or “human-centric” sensibility. Not everyone can work in a job that influences “wellness” as the world defines it. What would we do if we didn’t have people doing the work that needs to be done on all fronts? How can we diminish the importance of jobs that keep the world turning?
I will continue to pound on the fact that it’s all about the inside coming out. Someone who works at Walmart or McDonald’s with a passion to positively influence their occupational environment is practicing occupational wellness. Their inner life wellness is their foundation, so they don’t associate wellness with an external or worldly measurement. If they’re showing up every day and putting something good into the inner life dimensions of their customers, colleagues, and communities, they are the heroes of our society. Something good could be a simple as a kind gesture or a genuine smile.
REVERSE THE CRITERIA
Rather than ask the questions that have been permeating workforces in recent years: Why do I work? How does this company align with my values? I propose a much more effective way to seek harmony and align your value system to your work is to ask the reverse questions. How does my value system dictate the way in which I work? How does it define the why, how, when, where, what, and who of my occupation?
The issue is that most people are operating in the world from an outside-in perspective, so they’re looking for the external to fulfill their inner life. This is completely backward and completely ineffective as far as creating real change and influence in the world.
Businesses are made of people, so businesses will change as people change from the inside-out. My focus with clients is to reveal this from the top-down because I believe real leaders should be transforming their business through their own authentic, sincere, and vulnerable inner changes.
THE “WHY” ISN’T NEW
You may have heard of Simon Sinek and his popular book from 2009 “ Start With Why.” He’s been a force in the realization that all businesses and people need a purpose and a reason to anchor their work. Below is his “golden circle”, which I believe compliments the personal resources I focus on. His golden circle is a way of THINKING in business, whereas, I believe I am providing a way of BEING in life by focusing on very real and valuable intangible resources that we’re using all of the time — both consciously and unconsciously.
Digging deeper into why we work is nothing new, but I believe businesses have been forced to focus on people’s deeper value systems quickly with younger generations, such as Gen Z, entering the workforce and due to the pandemic and human issues shifting a deeper connection to shareholders (customer, employees, communities) into high gear. It is no longer possible for businesses to think that solely their products and services are sufficient to attract and keep loyalty. There has to be a connection to what people value and how that translates into improving their daily lives. All of today’s major human issues need to be at the forefront of business because they are connecting with what people believe on a deep level. People are beginning to see the need to connect these issues to their occupational, social, and physical wellness. The inside is coming out whether businesses are ready or not!
Just as “ Start With Why” became the new language for leadership focused on being in touch with an effective way of thinking and leading, I believe there is a deeper level where people can be empowered to actually improve and work on their wellbeing while also being more empathetic and genuine about the wellbeing of those around them.
I realize this is a lot of content and it dives into some deep concepts. My primary goal is to introduce streams of thought to make us all consider how we’re aiming toward and reconciling our own inside-out wellness (if we are at all) and how we are dedicating our lives to the same goal for others. I so deeply want to shift the monologues in our own hearts and minds as well as the dialogues that we’re constantly having with one another.
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
Originally published at https://www.alexismaida.com on August 17, 2020.