How many times have you promised yourself on New Years that you’ll finally make the changes you know you need to make. And how long do you honor that promise? I’m no different, but there is a better way to create positive change in your life…
It’s not just about time management. Your Whole Life Holds the Perfect Blueprint for change
Most of us accept the fact that we only have so much time and energy each day…
Our time is divided among a variety of needs and responsibilities, so much that it can be difficult to tend to our own needs. For this reason, self-awareness and understanding are critical. It’s the first step to making sustainable change in your life.
Pause for a moment and ask yourself?
- Am I allocating my time and energy with what truly matters most to me?
- Am I authentically aligned to the person I want to be for myself? What about the life I want to live?
These kinds of questions keep us mindful of what matters most. More significantly, they prevent us from falling into or remaining within routines that separate us from a life of fulfillment and purpose.
Attention, as well as its absence, determine the course of your life.
In Whole Person Coaching, we hold a truly holistic view of our clients. We honor all aspects of their life, from the interrelated nature of their inner world to their outer experiences. This encompasses thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, as well as physical needs and the like. From psychology to physiology, you are a whole person – mind, body, heart, and spirit.
Our holistic lens allows both coach and client to recognize the countless, highly personal factors that influence the changes desired.
More importantly, this lens gives us an accurate window into how the change itself will impact that individual both in the moment and far into the future. Such a vantage point allows our clients to view their lives in multiple dimensions. As whole individuals, they create the changes that lead them to their ideal existence by acting from a deeper place of self-understanding.
At times, this holistic concept can seem foreign to our clients. This is where we circle back to the ideas of choice and, most importantly, awareness.
It is all-to-easy to focus our attention on only one aspect of life. This singular emphasis is frequently awarded to career, relationships, and personal health. As a result, individuals get to a point where they feel frustrated on multiple levels. It’s a state of imbalance caused by neglecting the larger whole of their life.
Though there can be many good reasons to “prioritize” one area over the others, it’s a state that becomes permanent, quickly and all too easily. In the end, the rest of their life is sacrificed unknowingly and, in some cases, for good.
The same is true when we become fixated on what’s happening externally in our lives without devoting attention to what’s happening inside. This external focus leaves us disconnected from what matters most to us and who we truly are. While we are taking care of our to-do lists and others around us, we forget ourselves.
Focusing on your Whole Life & Whole Self…
Within our transformational learning communities, we use the concept of the Web of Life to represent our clients’ lives. You’ve likely seen versions of the Wheel of Life in which the goal is to achieve balance. Similar tool here but with a few key differences.
Personalized to each individual, our web provides a more accurate version of the dynamic nature of life. While balance is something to work towards, we also believe in vitality and harmony as a way of being.
Achieving balance is an ongoing process. So our focus is centered on how we want to be when life is out of balance as well as actively working towards it. This allows both our coaches and their clients to feel calm and confident on the inside regardless of what is happening in their lives.
The Web of Life
As you can see, each segment represents an aspect of your life. You see your home life. Another represents your career. Others symbolize your health and well-being. Finances, social connections and activity, family, creativity – each of these unique parts are represented on their own. Yet they are still interlinked with each other.
Key difference: No one segment can exist independent of the others if you hope to maintain the structural integrity of your web.
Now imagine a fly landing in one of those segments of your web, let’s say your health. This represents a change in that area of your life, and often one that is difficult to foresee. With something “alive” in that area, your attention and energy become heavily focused on that segment. This can be compared to a spider that senses the vibrations caused by change.
To preserve the whole of your web, you must tend to that area of your life. This becomes a necessity even though other parts of your life fall off your radar.
For example, perhaps you are no longer able to work long hours. Your role as a mother becomes more difficult to fill. Or maybe your routine at the gym is what you choose to sacrifice.
Many of us find a way to “handle it” or dismiss its importance. This is especially true when it’s “only one thing.” Yet the outcome remains the same: tension in the “problem” segment pulls you away from the rest of your life.
And just as no element can exist on its own, neither can one aspect suffer without impacting the whole.
Now imagine an insect landing in a different area of your web of life.
As you tend to your health, the downtime you’ve taken to do so has left you realizing the extent to which your job is impacting your well-being. Suddenly you begin questioning whether you want to return to that job.
While the unexpected health crisis was seemingly unpredictable, you are suddenly conscious of how another part of your life has been affecting you. Now there are two areas of your life that need tending.
I could easily work my way around the web and show you different ways to connect the dots. But I would like to invite you to connect your own dots.
Your Web of Life: What do you want?
Step 1: Using the above web for reference, take note in the various aspects of your life where you’d like to make improvements or change. It’s up to you to first identify what you’d like to change… try this now!
Step 2: Now look closely at each area of your web. Place a star by the areas of your life where most of your energy goes. Then consider the following…
- What do you focus on most?
- What do you neglect?
- How would your life be different if you placed attention on the neglected areas?
- What keeps you centered on the focal areas of your life?
- What are you learning about yourself right now?
- What aspects of your life would you like to bring more focus into?
Step 3: Think holistically about how the changes you want to create influence and are influenced by all aspects of your life. Give your attention to multiple aspects of your life to create the real and lasting change you are looking for.
Far too often we live life compartmentalized. We don’t take time to fully embrace the wholeness of our lives. This leads us to wake up years later to discover that the way we spent our life did not bring us the joy and satisfaction we deserve. For example, if you sit at a computer desk all day how does that leave you feeling later when your family wants to connect? For many of us, the mental exhaustion leaves us with little for the other aspects of our lives. Is it a matter of changing jobs or is might there be something else to change? Instead of a change at work that isn’t possible, maybe it’s eating better or sleeping more… What ever it takes, focus on the whole of who you are and the life you want to create!
Beyond regret, you owe it to yourself and those around you to show up for yourself. As we saw in the web of life, the only way to bring your whole self to life is to honor the multidimensional nature of your being.
Check in with yourself on a regular basis. Make sure you’re on the track you’ve chosen for yourself. Then maintain or shift your attention accordingly!