What you Focus on Grows - The Case for a Daily Practice of Intention Setting and Gratitude
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.”
- Melody Beattie
Lead with Love is an organization founded on principles of wellbeing. What does it take to be well and not just survive in life, but thrive? I’ll make the case below why a dedicated personal daily practice is essential to thrive in life and reach your human potential, but first, some data:
According to the Gallup polling agency, there are five essential elements of wellbeing, each of these areas must be strong in order to have an overall feeling of wellbeing.
The five elements are:
Career Wellbeing: how you occupy your time or simply liking what you do every day
Social Wellbeing: having strong relationships and love in your life
Financial Wellbeing: effectively managing your economic life
Physical Wellbeing: having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis
Community Wellbeing: the sense of engagement you have with the area where you live
I believe these five elements are a good start to measuring or assessing one’s overall wellbeing. I think any of us could agree that if any of these areas are in deficit, our overall wellbeing suffers.
In Aspen, where Lead with Love is based, we have one of the highest suicide rates in the country. It is 3x the national average. We may look happy and healthy on the outside, as visitors often remark - Aspen is home to beautiful, fit, active, intelligent people - and yet, many of these people are suffering and suffering to such an extent that suicide seems like the only way out. Suicide and mental health issues including addiction are at an all time high, not just nationally where suicide is a leading cause of death, but globally. We are not well as a whole, statistically speaking.
I believe this stems from many things and in particular a lack of meaning and purpose in life, social isolation, and a sense of identity that is based on appearance, job title and comparison.
Many of the factors that explain why we are not well have to do with the elements labeled by Gallup as “essential” for wellbeing, but that’s not the whole picture. I think one of the things that is missing from that list is a connection to something bigger than oneself; some sort of spiritual connection that helps to soothe us and guide us through the journey of life.
We are not a religious organization and focus mostly on practical tools to help achieve wellbeing in mind, body and spirit. Our workplace wellbeing programs, trainings and events focus on movement, meditation, breathing, self inquiry, leadership and service. We know these tools work. We’ve seen the evidence in our pre and post program surveys and know it from our own experience, as well as a huge body of scientific research into the positive effects of these practices.
We can only do so much ministering from the outside in. Offering support that we know helps alleviate mental, emotional and physical pain through programing and events is one way. We know long term positive change and societal change starts within and that's why a personal daily practice is essential.
What is a daily practice?
This can be anything that you do on a daily, consistent basis to help elevate your wellbeing - physically, mentally, emotionally and so on. All of us at Lead with Love are yogis and practice yoga regularly. This is a essential part of our daily practice to move the body, sit in meditation and be aware of the breath.
We developed our daily practice this year focused on three intentions based on the mission of our organization to shift culture from fear to love from the inside out. As I mentioned, our roots are in The Aspen City of Wellbeing (the previous name of our non-profit) and our community programs designed to improve wellbeing. To that end, the first intention of our daily practice is to improve and increase our level of wellbeing. The second intention is to increase our level of presence. We know from our own practices and the work of incredible authors and scientists that presence, being in the now, is the best antidote to fear, anxiety, depression, disappointment, guilt, shame, resentment, blame, etc. Those things do not exist in the now, only in the past or the future. How are you doing right now? Are you breathing? Are you aware? Can you let go of the tension a little more? Can you release the judgment in this moment?
The third intention of our daily practice is to shift from fear to love from the inside out.
We developed a Daily Accountability Journal to help those of you who wish to join us in our daily practice and focus on these three intentions. It is available HERE and your purchase supports Lead with Love, an Aspen, Co. based 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization focused on leadership, wellbeing and service initiatives locally and globally.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”