(This post is part of a 4-week series on resiliency training.)
After 14 years of joyfully directing people towards personal growth, I can tell you that most of us are operating in survival mode on a regular basis. Survival mode is soul-sucking. It's squeezing every last drop of our attention and energy. And for what? Simply to wake up and do the same survival dance tomorrow.
My coaching practice centers around raising my clients up to a level of primary stability, and ultimately strength to escape the exhaustion and meaninglessness of survival once and for all. The first level of growth, stability, is all about regeneration and regrouping. You actually get to keep a little of your energy and attention for yourself- imagine that! From stability, you can take a much deserved breather to see yourself, your relationships and your life with bright eyes, a clear head and a sharp mind. No one can think straight in survival mode.
After stability, you get to party! The next level is strength, which delivers a sudden infusion of vitality and a vibrant burst of concrete possibility to "spend" on wherever you want to maximize results and change in your life. Want to feel more secure in your partnership? You need strength. Want to feel like your daily work life is going somewhere, meaning SOMETHING more than just a paycheck? You need strength. Want to feel like you finally have enough time and energy to do something different and take a real leap in your life? You need strength. By now, I'm sure you get the picture.
Laser focus upon developing the following 5 types of strength will catapult you from exhaustion to balance and finally to partying with life, step-by-step!
#1 Physical Strength
Physical strength doesn't only speak to the condition of your biceps. This includes gastro-intestinal health, stamina and endurance, cardio capacity AND strong muscles. When you possess physical strength, your immunity is rock-solid, your GI tract is flourishing with healthy microflora, you can climb the escalator in the morning without huffing and puffing. You don't get sick and you don't have trouble falling asleep as night. Physical strength is generally valued in our culture as important so there is a lot of information out there, though I support my clients (both individuals and companies) to up their physical scores with unique tips and cutting edge tools of the field.
#2 Emotional Strength
Emotional strength rules your capacity to respond in high-intensity, stressful situations and remain professional, calm and collected. You don't take other's emotional reactions personally. You don't often get triggered, and when you do, you know how to effectively steer yourself back to a centered, balanced state of mind within minutes. Sound like a tall order? That's because unfortunately, this is something that our society is only beginning to be interested in. It's not something we often instill in our education, although that is gradually changing. Procrastination and mental focus also fall into this category.
#3 Meaning Strength
Here we have a strength that is not commonly treated as essential in our culture, but which may be the most critical quality of all for a happy, successful life. Strength in the dimension of meaning points to purpose, passion and depth in all that you do- in your work, relationships and hobbies. You feel that the pains and challenges of life are well-worth weathering because it all fulfills your soul deep within. To most, the meaning dimension is far out of reach. While anyone can consider themselves lucky to have discovered the meaning of their life in their elder years, I am fortunate to have attained this clarity at ripe "young" age of 30. I believe this opportunity was given to me so that I may lead others through this patented method of tapping into deep meaning in life behind all you do.
#4 Relationship Strength
What is the only thing that human beings really need? Sure, we need food and water, but we don't need each other for that. Put out a rain barrel and plant a garden, and you're good to go. We need one another for LOVE- to give it and receive it. To enjoy strength on the relationship level means your connection to others feeds you vitality, support and love on a daily basis, much more than it taxes or depletes you. Your relationships are helping you to grow as a person, in your career and in your passions. They are certainly not getting in the way of them (which is actually the benchmark of being in survival mode).
#5 Material Strength
In our Western world, material strength is revered as the most important measure of success and happiness. But take a look at numbers 1-4 covered here. All 5 strengths comprise a whole individual. To let 1/5th of you drive your entire life is absolutely absurd and destabilizing to all the other dimensions of yourself. No wonder anxiety and depression exist at record-breaking levels today! On the other hand, avoiding finances and organization in our home space will pollute the other dimensions as well. Material strength provides a platform, a vehicle to propel growth in the other areas of our life. It should not warrant the amount of priority on its own that it currently does if we genuinely want to affect a healthy, sustainable culture and world.