ALABAMA COUNSELING ASSOCIATION n Leadership Handbook
BACK TO LIFE
Effective leaders understand the importance of wellness and balance. In all their many responsibilities and duties, they realize the need for ongoing self-care, self-reflection, and self-development. In order to be fully congruent in their leadership functions, leaders must recognize the need to restore their energy and recapture their drive and determination.
To sustain a sense of enthusiasm and avoid a loss of momentum, active leaders must do whatever they can to preserve their emotional, social, mental, physical, and spiritual health. If they are not able to achieve some sense of balance and wellness, they risk burnout.
WELLNESS AND BALANCE
"To live your life to its fullest, you must find a way to put your heart and soul into your work. Failing to find the work you love has costs, not only to your self-esteem, relationships, health, and creativity, but to your world. As a human community, we all lose when people's creative abilities do not find expression in constructive, purposeful action."
"Achieving a healthy sense of balance in our lives is central to overall success and happiness. It is important, therefore, that we seek equilibrium among such major factors in our lives as career, leisure, family, and community."
-HECKLINGER & BLACK
"The degree of satisfaction which you get from your work directly affects the degree of health and vitality in the rest of your life."
"As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career. Be yourself. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. Be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."
"No matter how old you are, what job or career you have, what your background may be, what your family situation is, or who you are, it is essential that you actively plan the lifestyle that you want to live. Your career will play a very important role in your lifestyle, but there are many other factors to consider. Some may be as important or even more important than your career. Your interests, family activities and responsibilities, recreation, religion, community activities, friendships, and many other parts of your life all contribute to the definition of your unique self and help to determine your happiness and satisfaction with life. It is vital to maintain a balanced lifestyle, one that involves a variety of activities and interests. It is important to build a pattern of activities and interests that you can take with you through life."
-HECKLINGER & BLACK
Your lifestyle is unique. Consider the factors that make up an enjoyable lifestyle and a long, healthy life. What steps can you take now to develop a well-rounded, well-balanced lifestyle? In what ways is your total life enhanced and enriched? What elements play an important role in your life satisfaction?
In recognizing the interrelatedness of career and life, consider the following factors: Career, Friends, Education, Vacation, Hobbies, Colleagues, Relationships, Home, Community, Entertainment, Health, Finances, Recreation, Service, Diet, Leisure, Exercise, Religion, Family, Spirituality, Politics, Knowledge, Culture.
QUALITY OF LIFE
"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge."
"Surely, life is more than eating and drinking, more than buying and selling, more than getting and spending, more than the cultivation of the mind and a healthy body. It is the widening of our horizon, the broadening of our vision, the reaching out to eternal realities, the discipline of self."
-E. CLOWES CHORLEY
"The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it."
"This is the true joy in life, to be used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I love. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch, which I've got a hold of for the moment. And I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
-GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
To achieve balance in your life requires a concentration on total wellness. Total wellness is represented by the ideal balance that exists in the lives of successful individuals who strive to be whole or complete human beings. To be well-rounded is to recognize the various dimensions of your personal development. Human beings are multi-dimensional creatures. We can refer to these dimensions as body, mind, heart, and soul. Or perhaps as physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
The growth of effective individuals occurs in a variety of different areas and in a variety of different ways. Well-rounded individuals seek to develop all aspects of their personality, and endeavor to grow and mature in each dimension. To be successful, you must have a broad perspective on life that comes from an array of experiences.
"He grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."
Well-rounded, broad-based individuals understand the importance of growing in wisdom (intellectual) and stature (physical), and in favor with God (spiritual) and “men” or other people (social or emotional). Well-rounded individuals are aware of all the major dimensions of their personal growth and seek equilibrium among the many interrelated facets of their personality. Any excessive attention to a single area or any negligence of a single area could cause an unhealthy imbalance.
"There are certain things that are fundamental to human fulfillment. If these basic needs aren't met, we feel empty and incomplete. Each of these needs is vitally important. Any one of these needs, unmet, reduces quality of life. Any of these needs, unmet, can become a black hole that devours your energy and attention. The essence of these needs in captured in the phrase, to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy. These needs are real and deep and highly interrelated. Some of us recognize that we have these needs, but we tend to see them as separate compartments of life. We think of balance as running from one area to another fast enough to spend time in each one on a regular basis. But the touching bases paradigm ignores the reality of their powerful synergy. It's where these four needs overlap that we find true inner balance and deep fulfillment."
Our physical need for food, clothing, shelter, economic well-being, and health.
Our social or emotional need to relate to other people, to belong, to love and be loved.
Our intellectual or mental need to develop and to grow.
To Leave a Legacy...
Our spiritual need to have a sense of meaning, purpose, personal congruence, and contribution.
The physical part of a person's life centers on the fitness of the body and the attainment of material possessions. It emphasizes recreational activity, proper diet, muscular development, physiological health, financial security, and the creation of resources as the means of becoming a better person. Development in this area involves regular exercise, proper nutrition, adequate rest, economic thrift, and principles of industry. Do you have sustained energy and physical capacity throughout the day -- or are there things you'd like to do that you can't do because you feel tired, ill, or out of shape? Are you in a position of financial security? Are you able to meet your needs and have resources set aside for the future -- or are you in debt, working long hours, and barely scraping by?
The intellectual or mental dimension of an individual's personal growth centers on educational, academic or creative matters. The broadening of a person's mind, the sharpening of mental awarenesses, an openness to ideas that challenge one's thinking, and attention to continuous learning are the traits of an effective individual. Growth in this area involves reading and researching in an effort to be an informed and updated individual. Are you constantly learning, growing, gaining new perspectives, and acquiring new skills -- or do you feel stagnant? Are you being held back from career advancement or other things you'd like to do because you don't have the education, training, or skills?
The emotional or social aspect of a person's development is concerned with a conscious awareness of one's own feelings and a genuine sensitivity to the feelings of others. It is concerned with effective interpersonal communication and positive social interaction. An individual's maturity in this area is characterized by showing respect for other people, fostering meaningful relationships, building positive self-esteem, and enjoying satisfying life experiences. Maturity in this area involves principles of trust, responsibility, and commitment. Do you enjoy rich, satisfying relationships with others? Are you able to work with others effectively to accomplish common purposes -- or do you feel alienated and alone, unable to spend quality time with the people you love, or challenged in trying to work with others because of misunderstanding and miscommunication?
The spiritual realm of one's life concerns itself with the ongoing search for meaning and truth. Pondering philosophical and religious questions, wrestling with ethical dilemmas, addressing moral issues, providing service to one's community, and expressing one's own values and beliefs are all part of spiritual maturity. Renewal in this area might involve meditation, prayer, worship, altruistic service, studying the wisdom of sacred literature, and ultimately living for something higher than self. Do you have a clear sense of direction and purpose that inspires and energizes you -- or do you feel vague about what's important to you and unclear about what you really want to do with your life?
ALABAMA COUNSELING ASSOCIATION n Leadership Handbook