I've been asked some provoking questions recently that have made me stop and consider more deeply what Wake Up Kate is all about.
After carefully processing each question, I realized they all came down to one single question:
Why Wake Up Kate?
Wake Up Kate originally started as a call to action to myself to WAKE UP in my life and take greater care of ME.
I soon discovered that staying awake in my life and practising self care wasn't just another 'to do'... it was a habit that became a way of life.
That's one of the secrets you need to know about how to maintain any kind of REAL change in your work and life.
Today, Wake Up Kate is about WAKING UP.
It's about reclaiming our shrinking attention and inner wisdom and using them every day to create thriving cultures, individuals and organizations. And it's a wake up call to make ourselves a priority.
I'll tell you why I really love the question... it's because of the word 'Why'.
Having a deeper understanding of our 'Why' is really important, not just from a business and brand building perspective but also a personal perspective.
Simon Sinek's work in this area is a great resource. Simon is the best selling author of Start With Why and Ted Talker. According to Simon our Why is what inspires us to wake up every day and do what we do. It helps to define our calling and is often rooted in something that is distinct and unique.
Whether you're a business owner, or an employee, whether you work or don't work, if you're a caregiver, student, or retired, it can be life changing to know your Why.
Because what we do in work and life is not as important as why we do it. At the end of the day, no matter what we do, we all want to feel like we're contributing something in this world.
To truly know our Why and our real purpose in life, takes time. Because so much of our Why is tied into our story and the things that have shaped us into who we are.
In fact, our story is absolutely critical. And our ability to tell that story.
I often tell audiences, I wish my story was unique, but it's not.
I know MANY people who can relate to it.
In fact, you could argue 60% of workers can relate to it.
As a senior executive, I struggled to achieve work-life balance. I found myself frequently frustrated, sometimes on edge and a few times actually losing it!
I was lulled into a false sense of belief that my body could keep operating indefinitely. Just like the Energizer Bunny.
I chose to ignore my stress because I was 'too busy' and I had no idea of the physiological impact stress could have on my health.
The only thing that could get my attention and force me to hit the pause button on the hedonistic treadmill, was a cancer diagnosis.
It took a life crisis, a life changing book called Anti-Cancer by David Schreiber and the discovery of mindfulness (MBSR) to teach me about the power of the body's natural defences.
To discover that work-life balance is a myth that's not attainable.
And to know that change must start from within ourselves.
My training in mindfulness made me aware of many things, like how much of the time my mind 'wandered' and why getting lost in thought is one of the root causes of stress. Matt Killingsworth (Ted Talker who earned his Ph.D. in psychology at Harvard University) conducted groundbreaking research to show just how ubiquitous and pervasive our mind wandering is. Killingsworth, Rick Hanson and other scientists have shown that being in mind-wandering states, instead of being aware of present moment activities, is not a happy state for us. In fact 2/3 of our thought content is either negative or neutral.
I also discovered through direct practice, how much communication with others, self awareness and emotional intelligence is influenced by physical sensations in the body, emotions and thoughts. Our thoughts can trigger physical aches and pains in our body and our body sensations impact almost every thought we have. Our mind and body are inextricably connected. Make no mistake. This is a highly subtle connection. And something which we rarely tune into during our busy, highly distracted lives.
This knowledge, combined with formal meditation practice, is leading to ground-breaking changes in how we function and thrive in the workplace and in our lives.
Today, I train organizations and their teams in mindfulness interventions and stress resilience and give powerful talks on mindfulness and the myth of work-life balance.
And my story is the springboard for my Why.
Perhaps it will encourage you to consider your Why more deeply.
What are the things which inspire you and make you get up everyday and do what you do?
What's your Why?