The world we live in seems to be moving at warp speed, and one of the biggest challenges facing most of us is to feel a sense of alignment. Our lives are often composed of a demanding array of disconnected components all of which bid for our attention, focus and energy e.g. work, children, partner, health, fitness, friends, home, finance, leisure, spiritual practice to name but a few. With all these different areas of our lives competing for relentless amounts of our time, it is easy to be distracted, flitting from one thing to another, feeling slightly out of control much of the time and leaving us with a disappointing lack of fulfillment. Who has not wondered at some point: “Is this all there is?”
Whilst the obvious solution to the problem of too many demands and not enough time might be to learn better time management skills, a more fulfilling and sustainable solution to creating a more harmonious, engaged and empowered life starts with looking inside ourselves. We feel dysfunctional as individuals because we are not aligned with our highest values and what is important to us. The key to feeling well, energised, and with a sense of purpose in life, is to create alignment in the four key areas of life: mind, body, heart and spirit.
Most of us tend to focus intently on one area – often using mental energy at work and perhaps exercising obsessively or to extremes in our spare time. Whilst we are overusing our energy and flat lining in one or two areas, we generally under-use or ignore our needs in the other areas. All four areas need to be aligned for us to feel whole and connected again and to be able to function at higher levels of personal performance.
Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in alignment.”
We have become misaligned as a result of a life time of poor habits, shortcuts, staying in our comfort zone, fear of failure and resistance to change. To feel aligned we need to spend time exploring what our values are, what is important to us, how we need to take care of ourselves and how we can return to our core, our true inner self.
Creating internal alignment takes time in much the same way that re-educating the body through physio and exercise takes time after it has been stressed or injured. It has taken years of misalignment to get to this point so it is important to spend the necessary time and be patient to be able to realign all four areas of life.
One of the first things we need to start the process of realignment is to shift old ways of thinking. The way that we live in the world has/is/and will continue to change dramatically. Collective ways of thinking are changing and with that new paradigms are being created daily.
As individuals we need to create new paradigms for the way that we operate in life. The old mindset consists of beliefs such as:
• We need to manage our time;
• Reduce our levels of stress;
• Be disciplined;
• Work hard all the time;
• Financial rewards and recognition drive performance.
However to enjoy a more fulfilled and engaged life these mind sets need to be altered to encourage new paradigms along the lines of:
• Manage our energy,
• Enjoy intense but limited levels of stress,
• Introduce habits and rituals to support us,
• Take time for recovery,
• Purpose is the key to high performance.
The key to high performance is creating alignment in these 4 cornerstones of life:
Mind – our ability to focus our attention and organise our lives
Body – our fundamental physical well-being which is the key source of energy in life
Emotional – our ability to manage our emotions, connect with others, access positive emotions and experience joy, challenge, excitement and inner calm.
Spiritual – our connection to, and courage to live by, our deepest values and a purpose beyond self-interest.
I will explore in further blogs what it means to be aligned in each of these areas and things that you can start to do to find greater alignment in your life.
To be fully engaged in our lives, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused, and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest.”
Creating high performance teams starts with creating highly aligned individuals. If you take the analogy of the body again, if you have an ache, pain or injury somewhere, the body will try to compensate for this but in doing so other parts of the body will become misaligned, leading to strains and pain elsewhere. The same is true for machines. If there is a part that is misaligned then the rest of the machine will not function in a coordinated fashion and damage and excessive wear and tear occurs.
The most empowering condition of all is when the entire organization is aligned with its mission, and people’s passions and purpose are in synch with each other.”
Bill George Peter Sims
If you want to create great results in your organisation it is necessary to work with the individuals in the organisation to ensure that they are aligned in themselves and aligned as a team. It is hard to have one without the other. Creating individual and team alignment takes time and can be undoubtedly challenging. The rewards, however, are immense, not only in terms of the business results generated but also in terms of the creation of highly energised, motivated and engaged individuals. Who wouldn’t want to work in a team or organisation made up of people like this?
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