This week took me to a Naval Surface Warfare Center, where I spoke to 100 scientists, engineers and administrators. There were easily 3 generations represented from many countries, with impressive educations and lots on their plates.

It never works to lecture. It only works to connect. It’s a joy to be the instigator!

After perusing the PowerPoint very lightly, we got down to brass tacks. The net net is that time is precious, workloads are piling up and living freely is a pipe dream for most. However, the desire is there for more balance, healthier bodies and minds, and energy-giving friends and colleagues.

tree spouting out of dirt

A few ideas:

  • The younger generation reminds us that life is about fulfillment, satisfaction and joy. Work might be the engine, but the boundaries must be flexible.
  • Expressive writing can be a helpful outlet to identify feelings, thoughts, wishes and complaints. Just like the personal diaries of days gone by, that were written in ink and hidden under mattresses, this type of documentation is for the writer’s eyes only – and a good place to record and to get over the surface of our thinking. It is not to be judged or shared. It calms us and taps our innate wisdom to find solutions, to let things go or to suspend them for a time.
  • Sleep, nutrition, exercise and play are requisites for healthy living and for productive, innovative and creative work. There are no substitutes here.
  • Walking our talk means that we align our values with our actions. When this is out of sync, it is time to revisit what is going on and what needs to be changed, embraced or dropped.
  • Remembering someone who displayed resilience in the face of chaos or despair helps us to model similar tactics in the face of our own fears or disappointments.
  • Celebrating what we’ve overcome in the past can spur us onward and upward, with less hesitation.
  • Personal growth is messy, necessary and the sweet spot of life.