Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post and one of the most powerful women in media, says it is time to redefine the workplace. We need to add a third leg to the stool that measures success by money and power. Our personal well-being is an equally important metric. When we do that we'll become more productive and our companies will benefit as well.
I know from personal experience that most of us are not there yet and our companies certainly aren't. But each of can get there individually by visualizing that we are there already and our companies are sure to follow.
Women are the ones to lead this change Huffington told a full house at the Women of Influence lunch in Toronto early in September. Companies are losing billions each year due to employee stress and absenteeism, most of which can be prevented. She contends that making employee well-being a priority is completely compatible with a healthy bottom-line in spite of the fact that many CEO's believe otherwise.
One of the things that gets in the way of women's well-being is our own perfectionism, she stated. We need to learn that doing everything perfectly isn't possible. Letting go of our own internal judgements removes our biggest stumbling block. She called this "the obnoxious roommate in your head" that constantly puts you down and makes you double-guess all your actions.
Women also need to prioritize. "Did you know that you can complete a project by just dropping it?" she challenged the audience. Any project that you start in your mind drains energy, even if you aren't actively working on it. When you make a decision to eliminate things that don't really matter you have more energy for the things that do.
She cited a personal example saying that she always wanted to be an expert skier but it took too much energy. So she completed that ambition by dropping it. Now she sits at the bottom of the hill, content to drink hot chocolate and read while her daughters navigate the slopes. She is happier and healthier for it.
Although she hasn't specifically defined the third metric I believe she is telling us each to adopt more Feminine Energy in our lives and take more time to just "be". Currently the system is functioning on overdrive. It is too full of Masculine "doing" Energy, which is all about accomplishments. Definitions can be found here: http://bettyannheggie.com/definitions
Our desire to overproduce is making both men and women exhausted. It is no sense working around the clock if you are going to impair your own health. Who wants money and power if they haven't the energy to enjoy it? Huffington recommends each of us commit to getting a full night's sleep every night. We'll feel better and will make better decisions.
It is difficult to source your inner wisdom if you are always plugged into technology. If we want to connect with ourselves we need to take time to dream and reflect. Huffington says she has been meditating for many years and finds it an incredibly valuable way to disconnect with the many stressful issues she deals with each day.
In my opinion, Huffington is promoting the addition of the feminine energy values of success (wisdom, empathy, wellness, wonder ) to the masculine energy values of money and power. She predicts it will cause a revolution in the workplace not unlike what happened when women got the vote. Women can make it happen by starting with themselves and making their health a priority. And men will be grateful as the system they designed isn't working, she concludes.
For the women at the luncheon the message was sound but many are mothers with demanding jobs and unsympathetic employers. This makes finding the time to jump on board very daunting.
Clearly women are inspired to make changes but need some tools to do it. In this spirit let me offer up a concept I have used successfully called "This is who I am, this is what I do".
I heard this from a lecturer at Canyon Ranch, a health spa in Tucson Arizona. The lecturer was an occasional jogger who decided that she wanted to run a marathon. In order to make this a reality she changed her mindset and visualized herself as if she already were a marathoner. Then she started living her life that way as well.
When she came home from work and didn't feel like training, she'd simply say to herself: "I'm a marathon runner. This is who I am, this is what I do." When she went out to dinner and was offered desert, she'd say: "Thanks, but no thanks. I am a marathon runner. It's not who I am. It's not what I do."
There's a reason it's so important to have a mindset for change: every time you have an argument with yourself, you will lose. It's better to decide to do something and just make it a part of your everyday practice. It removes the argument, making it expected and routine.
Each of us can use this tool to improve our health. Start by making a commitment regarding your self-care actions. Then institute this tool to follow through. Our commitments will be as individual as we are- it could be taking time for yoga, getting more sleep, meditating or putting down technology when we go to the bathroom!
Whether you are a man or a woman making a commitment to develop your feminine energy will give you the time and space to connect with your inner wisdom. It starts by making your health a priority. You may not be there now but you're sure to get there by visualizing that you are there already. Make the commitment and repeat the words, "This is who I am, this is what I do". Better health will not be far behind. Can you see this improving your health and ultimately that of your workplace as well?