by Jodi Clark
As Lori Hanau wrote in her article: Leading From Wholeness * in the July/August 2016 issue of Conscious Company Magazine, the daily journey of resetting our balance and wholeness is truly “an inside job.”Inside GRTL, we are committed to exploring what it means to cultivate our own wholeness both individually and collectively in our work together. We offer you our top 10 practices we have been exploring in our daily work life together.
We ensure that the spaces we work in have photos, paintings, flowers, a window facing forest or gardens or some other source of beauty. When we travel to other spaces to work with colleagues and clients, we will frequently bring flowers with us to carry that essence of beauty with us. Walking into a conference room that has flowers in it feels immediately different, lighter.
Either alone or together we practice breathing deep, slow, intentional breaths. Sometimes it is right before we commence with a meeting together or on the phone with a client or walking into the office. The steps: Feel your feet on the ground. Roll your shoulders back slightly, opening up the chest cavity. Smile inwardly to yourself. Make sure your energy is grounded and calm. The breath should be easy without any forcing. Slowing down even for five minutes sets a completely different tone for the work ahead. Download GRTL’s Healthy Breath Practice Resource Guide
We try to eat with each other or outside, but somewhere away from screens and more intentionally with each other and/or the natural world. We also make sure to have a monthly social night out with no work talk allowed focusing on play, restoration, food, celebration or all of the above. (see photo to the left from our pizza night at Orchard Hill Breadworks in Alstead, NH!) During the week, enjoying afternoon tea and home baked scones together is a frequent occurrence since one of our team members has a wife who bakes magnificently and shares generously!
Ask, Don’t Tell:
We invite feedback from each other and cultivate our curiosity. It helps us check our egos when we ask more questions rather than assume we have to be certain all the time.
We make room for silence, even in the middle of a meeting or conversation to help balance the busyness that still creeps into our daily lives.
Take it Outside:
Much of our work can keep us indoors staring at screens for long stretches of time, impacting our energy levels and physical well-being. Whenever we can take a phone meeting or in person meeting outside, we do so! We ensured that our WiFi does allow us to work outdoors. But we also take walks. A daily walk of 10-15 minutes either alone or with a colleague does wonders for lifting the spirit and resetting, not to mention stretches the legs!
Weaving play into a day allows for different kinds of thinking. Play and laughter are great friends. Laughter supports us to become more nourished and relaxed. We shift out of stress and the fight or flight syndrome into a more nurtured state of being. We access more of our creativity. And we celebrate each other in a moment that helps fuel the rest of our work together. We have started having both planned and spontaneous 5 minute dance parties as an intentional moment of play and even as the structure for our team check-in!
Even when we aren’t dancing, having music in the background can lift the mood of the work space, as long as it isn’t distracting. One of our team members loves to have classical music in her space. She says: “There is a particular vibrancy to classical music that both lifts me and puts me at ease at the same time. When I have it in my work space, even on low volume, I tend to be more productive and joyful.” And those of us walking by her office are also appreciative to connect to music for even a moment. Deep sighs are heard and felt!! The best breath work ever!!!!
Write it Down:
We each try to keep a journal to reflect on our days. What are we noticing? What are we challenged by? What is inspiring us? Surprising us? What do we want to remember and refer to later? We are just now exploring a new norm of writing down our progress with learning new practices together to hold ourselves compassionately accountable and be able to both integrate and track our learning. We believe that personal development, team development and organizational development are all essential parts of the whole.
We can find ourselves getting caught into a swirl of activity or stuck in a complex problem that starts to put us into a stressful, anxious, uncreative space. Taking a few slow, even breaths even for 30 seconds can make all the difference to slow us down and remember to access our bodies as sources of wisdom.
What are your top practices to cultivate your wholeness at work? We would love to hear what works for you and your colleagues in the comment section below.