Wellbeing is achieved through feeling happily and healthily connected to ourselves, the people around us and the environments we exist in. What that looks like though, is deeply individual to each of us, and largely comes down to the personal values we hold – high wellbeing occurring when all facets of our lives align with our values; low wellbeing arising when there’s a tension between our values and our present reality.
In our webinar, Spiritual Wellness (now available to listen back on demand), everywoman Associate Trainer Des Christofi, invites you to spend some time exploring these seven ‘big’ questions, designed to give you a clearer understanding of your own values, as a route to deeper wellbeing: “They’re great instigators, that can help us: know what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to; reflect on peak moments and what stood out for us in those moments; understand our values – which ones we’re honouring or not at the moment; know our non-negotiables; understand what matters to us beyond food, warmth and shelter, and what irritates us about others’ behaviours and actions,” says Des.
Question 1: What is it about today that would make your 8-year-old self cry?
Des recalls how asking a client this question in a coaching session made her reflect on what she’s stopped doing that she used to enjoy. One of those things was writing children’s stories, and she’s since gone on to reignite that and make it part of her professional life. What have you stopped doing that you need to start up again? Or what it is that you’ve taken up that you need to stop doing?
Question 2: What is the problem you’re seeing in the world that you want to fix?
The world is currently full of big, scary problems that seem beyond our control. But amongst all the noise, what are the issues that you’re drawn to trying to solve, and what does that say about what you have control over within your own life? What is it about the idea of solving certain problems that would bring you joy, and what can you distil from that about what truly matters to you?
Question 3: What would the best version of yourself look like?
This question really asks you to get to the heart of your passion and purpose. Once you’ve reflected on the answer, you’ll need to explore the gap between the best version and the current version. Why the gap? Are you in a job that doesn’t use your true strengths or match your true values? Is there something about your life right now that’s depleting rather than giving you energy?
Question 4: What do others come to you for and really value in you?
It can be tough to truly grasp how others see you. By asking this question you’ll gain some insight into how those around you perceive your skills, abilities, strengths and values. Think over your last few interactions initiated by others. Were they coming to you for deep insight? To be provoked, inspired? To be entertained, soothed, challenged?
Question 5: What do you dream of doing but have no idea how you’ll achieve it?
We’re not talking about day to day goals here; we mean the big stuff. The dream that gives you that ‘Oh my God!’ feeling. Sometimes we stamp on those dreams because we get into this frame of mind where all we’re focussed on is ‘how’ we’re going to deliver it. This is interference. We have to allow ourselves to dream so we can gain that bigger, clearer understanding of purpose. Remember that anything is possible when we combine capability, ambition and energy.
Question 6: When you imagine yourself a decade from now, who would you like to be?
Purpose is fundamental to giving us meaning in our professional lives, driving how we consciously show up and make decisions. It brings clarity of focus to everything we do and can be deeply personal and intimate. But sometimes distance can be a great instigator for understanding the purpose of our existence. By doing a bit of mental time travelling, you may uncover something about your here and now that invites you to make positive change.
Follow up exercise: Do a healthy mind detox
No lemon juice or green tea required! This is where you work through a platter of ingredients to examine which might be missing for you right now in terms of your wellbeing diet (remember that wellbeing can only truly exist when you’re looking at it as a whole, not just in one aspect of your life). For each element, ask where you are on a continuum; 0 being not at all fulfilled, 10 being completely fulfilled. Where can you begin to make little, positive shifts? What might fulfilment look like in one of these areas, and what step changes can you make to move closer?
1. Sleep time (how effective is your rest and restoration?)
2. Physical time (exercise: this is as much about your mental as your bodily wellbeing)
3. Focus time (how well do you manage your attention, focus, performance, concentration and goal setting?)
4. Connected time (what is the dynamic in your core relationships? What is the give and the take?)
5. Play time (do you create sufficient time for laughing, having fun, creating adventures and taking risks?)
6. Down time (how are you carving out the space to allow new ideas to take shape?)
7. Time in (how often do you reflect on your empathy, compassion, how well you’ve shown up for yourself and others today?).