By Dr. Susan O’Leary
I once thought that most businesses were primarily motivated toward accomplishment and self gain, an embarrassing judgement for me to admit as I write an article for a Business journal. I expect this may be true for some businesses but I now recognize that owners, managers and staff, care about business success because they care about the jobs they create for people, the customers they impact and the value of the service they offer. That is an awful lot of caring. We have however established some patterns and practices in our working worlds that are creating significant imbalance and stress in ourselves. Simon Sineak refers to this as the “split" that occurs as the momentum of a company creates feelings of disconnection from the original vision. When what we are doing , moves us away from the intention, values and most importantly the intended experiences. I hear the word “wellbeing” used often, but like many well used terms what exactly does it mean to us in our day to day lives? More importantly , what does it feel like? In practical terms , it might be the ease and flow of a great team project, the safety created by a difficult conversation that is met with understanding, the inspiration of a new focus. It may also be the satisfaction of service and helping another, the gratitude of feeling valued, having energy at the end of the day for your family, or perhaps the bone deep feeling that comes from belonging and being a part of something with others. Over the last 23 years of working in wellness health care, I began witnessing a steady rise in stress-related illness which prompted me to ask if there was a better way to approach how we spent our work lives. I am happy to see how we are talking much more about self care , mental health and environmental health and am curious how a culture of wellbeing could create the potential of peoples’ success becoming the driver of business success . As a culture evolves , we align values around it and then decisions and creative input move it from being a good idea to a practical part of our daily experience. Moving beyond the “lunch and learns”, we can begin to organically integrate into our business structures and workplace environments, the supports and tools that make us feel great. We have the opportunity to facilitate real change for people with ideas such as nature infused workplaces which allow the discharge of stress , and to provide places to restore and reconnect to creativity. Making corporate meetings a workplace retreat, so we don’t return to our office and homes depleted. Integrating yoga and movement onsite, so we are energized in healthy ways. Using mindfulness tools as part of team meetings to facilitate discussion. Filling our environment with healthy foods to support lifestyle change and supports that include positive mindset training. What if through our businesses we could treat our people well and also make them well ?
My experience with promoting wellbeing is that as we build capacity for energy and feeling well, what is inside of us will spill over to be outside of us as well. From this place emerges a world of creativity, connection to each other and genuine caring, which regardless of outside stressors , allows us to feel value in our lives.
I recently heard Zita Cobb of the Fogo Island Inn say, “we start by starting”. With each of us taking a small step together perhaps we create enough momentum it starts a movement.
Dr. Susan O’Leary
SOuL Wellbeing was formed during a creative moment wandering the streets of Edinburgh while researching ways to expand on Susan’s years of work in wellness health care. Her 23 years of experience as a chiropractor and 30 years with lifestyle mentors in yoga, meditation & positive mindsets, complements her passion to help people express inspired lives they love. She appreciates opportunities to facilitate positive change working with individuals and groups to curate practical solutions for wellbeing. Outside of her work, Susan can be found humbly learning the world of horses, lost in nature and connecting with others through travel and culture.