I just got back from leading a self-renewal retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health for 50 women from across the US and Mexico from their 20’s to their 70’s; our theme was Embracing the Wild Unknown. I love leading retreats at these national centers as it gives me a “macro” snapshot of where women are and what they’re thinking. This time, many shared they were grappling with a sense of urgency to make a difference in the world and perhaps become more involved socially and/or politically. At the same time, many were feeling overwhelmed and dizzy from either overextending themselves at work or in their communities, bingeing on news or over-analyzing where to start and how to truly make an impact. Understandable, right? We’re living in highly chaotic times and regardless of who you voted for in the US, there is an unprecedented number of us who are feeling called to rise up and “be the change.”
Whether it’s running for office, marching for a cause, organizing neighbors to contact their elected officials, reaching out to your local nonprofit that supports people in crisis or volunteering at your child’s school to teach stress-reduction to parents—people are taking action in large numbers. But our energy is precious—and, finite. We all want to help in a way that is fruitful and that matters. Here are three concepts I have been embracing as I reflect on “What is uniquely mine to do in 2017?” I’m sharing these here in case they may help you:
3 things to consider BEFORE you take action:
1. Self-care right now, is crucial. It’s a non-negotiable. Many of us are walking around with high levels of stress hormones surging through our bodies and we don’t even realize how anxious we are (read more)! You must be fully resourced before you can help others. If you don’t first take care of you, you’ll burnout fast, you’ll be scattered and ineffective and you won’t be functioning from your wise zone—where we do our best work. “Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it’s about self-preservation.” Audre Lorde. Read more.
2. Move with intention. To make an impact, it’s better to do a couple of things with depth and thoughtfulness-rather than running around like a headless chicken. It will serve you to move from the inside-out, rather than the outside-in (read more about my Live Inside Out movement) so your actions are in alignment with your core values. I highly recommend meditating and reflecting on “What is uniquely mine to do?” Then from this stillness and depth—move forward with intent, focus and kindness-to yourself and others. We’re all in this together and we have a lot of work to do collectively.
3. Honor your path. If you are one of the many who is feeling called to take action—whether it’s around education, the environment, mental health, or something else—there are many ways to serve. How we help is going to look different for each of us. For some, the most important thing you do in 2017 could be to listen very deeply, to hold a space for someone you love to step up and heed a calling or to rest in preparation for what you’ll be taking on in 2018 (this is a marathon, folks). And for others, this may be working on the front lines, charging forward and even mobilizing others. Or, you could be somewhere in between. The point is honor where you are and what is yours to do (this is a great time to take a personal planning retreat–read more).
Einstein said, “Problems cannot be solved with the same mindset that created them.”
Listen to your Wise Self and how you are best meant to help your brothers and sisters this year. We need one another’s wisdom, not just one another’s ideas. This is a time, more than ever, when it’s important to cultivate our “state of being,” and yes, to keep moving forward, but with great care and discernment. Often one of the most powerful actions you can take is to go inward. Before you go outward.
TIMELY SUPPORT FROM RENEE:
- Would you love to gather, support and connect women in your community who are feeling called to focus on their self-care while also reflecting on “What is uniquely mine to do?” Find out more about our 14 year-old global Personal Renewal Group Program and consider becoming a RTA-Certified Facilitator and leading self-renewal groups/retreats for women in your area ($100 off training special through 2/28/17!).
- Self-employed and live in Texas? I am co-creating a beautiful new community for business owners seeking a like-minded tribe called UNLEASHED ATX: Mastermind Workshops for Enlightened Entrepreneurs centered around “The Conversations You Wish You Were Having.” The March 31st theme will be Harnessing & Leveraging Our Energy. Learn more/register; space is limited. We’ll be meeting at the inspiring, luxurious, Austin JW Marriott in a window-filled space overlooking one of the most creative cities in the world!
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance teacher/coach/speaker and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-care groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 14 year-old son. More on her background here.