A short blog on a big issue
If I asked you the question “What matters most?” I imagine your answer would depend on where your mind is at. If you’re in a traffic jam on a motorway (a situation in which you shouldn’t really be reading obvs) your priority might be a service station, water and hoping the car doesn’t overheat!
If you’re thinking about the survival of the species, then you might suggest how we treat the planet is what matters most.
Mostly though, in answer to this question, I think we search our hearts for what makes it sing, or or feel warm or feel safe.
Mostly, when I ask this question, people say that what matters most, is the people who matter to us.
From a field
I write to you this week from a field. (I’m hoping there’s enough phone signal to send it!).
It’s my annual retreat into the countryside with a large proportion of my favourite people. We’re not very far from home, the facilities are far from luxurious, there is no entertainment other than what we provide for ourselves. And yet it’s one of the most restorative and heart-warming experiences of my whole year. Yes, I get to be with lovely people, but the power of these few days is in the ‘freedom to be’.
There is no timetable, no diary, no expectations other than each person does what they want, when they want and at some point, does something that helps everyone else. Like washing up, cooking, singing or running a yoga session. I got a lot of pleasure snipping thistles from someone’s tent floor whilst they pumped up my airbed with an electric pump. And by the way, nothing like camping to remind you what we normally take for granted, like a soft bed that is always ready to climb into!
It’s an extreme example of what I aim to deliver in my work; helping teams and organisations to develop a culture in which each person feels valued and is encouraged to bring their whole self to work and feel healthy while they’re there.
We can easily slip into habits of not listening to our own needs and not working together with others. We can also get so familiar with having our needs ignored by other people that we forget to stand our ground and ask for even the basics.
We forget to ask, “What matters most?”. Focusing on that, and figuring that we have this in common, can lead us to a happier way to work and live. Constantly focusing on the next urgent task or the latest drama, moves us away from people and can mean it’s actually harder to figure out a solution. We move further away from a healthy and happy way to work through things.
A reminder and a request
I want to remind you, to ask you, to tune in. To ask yourself regularly; “How do I feel, what do I need?” And to ask the same of others.
And then answer the call.
Check how you behave with different people. At work, home, socially or when you’re in a shop or restaurant. Are you aware of what matters most? Are you checking with other people?
In your workplace, is there a culture of valuing each other’s contribution? Do you have ways of communicating that build a sense of trust and enjoyment every day?
What could you add to your daily environment that would increase the levels of wellbeing and sense of value for you and everyone else?
In the field
Meanwhile, I’ll be here, being at one with nature in this nurturing and empowering environment for one more day. Then I’ll be heading back into the city late Monday afternoon to see if we can recreate it there. We all need a sense of value, purpose and support. We all need the freedom to be. Let’s start a ripple.
Keeping it short and sweet today, have a great week, focusing on what matters most.