How to ensure well-being and focus on important things after the holiday and in these turbulent times?

How do you make sure that the positive effects of a holiday do not become secondary in the middle of hectic everyday life? How can you ensure that you can maintain enough focus on the things that are meaningful? Please find below my blog where I try to answer to these questions coupled with my own experiences and what is going on at the moment in my life.

August 26, 2022

After a hectic spring at work, I found myself longing for a long vacation and a break. Returning to business travel, especially to other countries, was really inspiring after a long streak of working remotely  and I enjoyed meeting client groups face to face. However, traveling took a surprising amount of time and energy. That's why I decided to for the first time for many years to have a five-week vacation without any work or study stuff, only mandatory accounting tasks of an entrepreneur.  It sounds normal and healthy thing to do especially here in the Nordic countries, but for myself, sometimes with an overly excited attitude towards my work and self-development, it has been common for me to during the summer holidays at least envision the future, read, brainstorm or study something. This summer was different: I played a lot of the sport I love, beach volleyball and participated a few tournaments, had boat trips with family, traveling in Europe and Finland, and just being at home. In other words, something totally different from work and studying, and it felt good!

In August, it has been really inspiring to restart work and postgraduate studies and meet both the individual coaching and management team clients, and this week I will start the first group training process. After the holiday, discussions many of my clients have highlighted the question on how to take care of one's own well-being, balance between work and the rest of life, and keep the focus, as autumn and hectic everyday life easily suck into the same kind of spin as before the holidays. In addition, the current uncertain and rapidly changing world full of crises brings with its own additional challenges, at least indirectly, for all sectors. In the following, I will consider how to ensure well-being and focus on the essentials, mainly at the individual level, but also briefly touched on the community level.

1. At the work community and team level, it is especially important to clarify the common purpose and focus and to strengthen psychological safety so that things can be talked about openly and honestly, without avoiding conflicts, and where everyone can be themselves and situations can be reacted to in an agile manner. One of my business trips after the summer vacation was to Oslo, where we had our third team coaching session with the Nordic management team of a global company. The team felt that they had developed tremendously during our coaching process both as a team and as people, and there was a palpable trust, openness and honesty in the team. They dared to be themselves, genuinely show their feelings  without unnecessary masks. The common purpose of the management team is now clear and focused on management teamwork in a broader context rather than parts of individual organizations. In addition, listening, reflecting in peace before jumping to conclusions and giving feedback had increased. Human touch and business go hand in hand. As well as growth as a leader, as a team and as a person. It is important that everyone can come to the workplace as a whole and as themselves, otherwise a lot of potential will be left untapped and energy will be stored in unnecessary secrecy or optimization, which naturally erodes well-being and trust. When we asked the team when they felt they had been most alive during the holiday, the majority said that being together with family and loved ones. In the end, the most important thing is those most beloved people. It is also important to remember this when making everyday choices, and at the same time to promote well-being at work by creating work environments where we can be more ourselves instead of playing roles that are too strict.

 2. Clarify your own purpose at work and/or in life in general. The prevailing global crises are bound to affect each of us in one way or another. It has made many people think more deeply about what really matters to me and what do I want to spend my precious time and energy on? Many also wonder how I can best contribute to these challenging situation? Where am I needed now? What ignites me and when I feel alive at work?  What work or activity do I find meaningful? What is my purpose in fulfilling the purpose/mission of my organization? For a long time now, my purpose in life has been very clear to me. It is to help people and organizations bring out the potential they already have, grow as human beings and leaders, through growth and enabling human, shared leadership. In this time,there is an increasing need for leaders who are guided not by the ego but by the desire to grow as a person and contribute to the creation of a better world, and together strengthen the conditions for a more humane working life, where everyone's potential can be revealed. That is what I want to contribute to. I feel really lucky that I still get to work on these things. Somehow you always feel it holistically in your mind, heart and body when you are at your own core doing what you love.

 3. Be aware of and make a plan for what will help you keep your direction and purpose clear and focus on the essentials, as well as maintain your peace of mind, especially when there is turmoil around you. It's different to make decisions with peace of mind than out of  fear. What serves as your lighthouse to help you stick to the right course, and especially if you're straying from your own priorities? After the holiday, it was wonderful to hear how one of my executive coaching clients, as a result of the insights in coaching, could during vacation for the first time to let go of his own need to be on the map all the time, occasionally reading email and be available. He described to me how, alone on the shores of his cottage island, he had reflected on his growth as a person and leader and realized how important it is to take time for reflection. He especially rejoiced at how his own daughter had already noticed a change in him. It's useful to regularly stop and listen to yourself, how you are doing, what you feel, what you need and what is relevant now. Also learning to recognize your automatic patterns of mind that will make you put aside your own well-being and purpose. What kind of routines of listening to yourself and strengthening your peace of mind work best for you?  The above picture of me swimming towards the lighthouse on a calm summer evening in front of Söderskär lighthouse depicts, in my opinion, the progress towards my own purpose with great peace of mind. When I look at the picture, I clearly remember the beauty of the environment, smell the scent of the sea, hear only the sound of seabirds and experience deep peace and clarity. I tend to daily - usually in the morning to take at least a short moment with myself by meditating or doing other exercises, and by returning the focus from bouncing thoughts to my core and what is essential. A trusted friend, spouse, co-worker or coach can also be there to support you on the way.

4. Know yourself, be aware of your strengths and ensure growth and development that supports your purpose. What strengths do you have in fulfilling your purpose?Where do you want to develop? Observe and ask for feedback on the environment,but do not listen to it blindly, as not all views are relevant to you. Use self-reflection to support your growth. I am very humbled in front of my ownpurpose, and now it is exciting and inspiring through my own doctoral dissertation to study an inspiring phenomenon and reflect on my work and draw from research to my own practice. Doing dissertation already seems to be more of an exploration of myself, as a person and as a professional to grow, as well as to develop my own work. I will soon start recruiting second-phase participants for my research. If you are a leader in a self-managing organisation andinterested in growing via coaching. Maybe it might interest you? In addition,the ongoing studies in hypnotherapist and coaching supervision provide more tools for both coaching and supporting the development of other coaches.

5. Create a balanced life that looks like you and identify the cornerstones of your own well-being. What inspiring things did you do, for example, on your holiday,which you could also do on weekdays, but you haven't done it yet because you think that it’s not possible? Is it really true? Do family, friends, hobbies, sleep,healthy food, or just being get enough attention outside of the holiday season as well? For me, daily exercise gives me a lot of energy and can also be done with friends and family. I've also started occasionally arrange short few-hours to half days “enjoy the location moments”, instead of minimizing being at the site itself on work trips. A good example of this is a fjord cruise in Oslo combined with a business trip a couple of weeks ago, or a visit to Austrian mountain wineries on a leadership development trip in June. My youngsters both started a new school this fall, and I think the mother has been even more enthusiastic about this than them. Autumn has always meant a new beginning, and, in my case the new beginning and creating a new kind of balance is perhaps best illustrated now by the fact that at the beginning of September I will move to a new office and coaching reception space on Arkadiankatu 28 in Helsinki, which I am really excited about. I hope to meet you at my new office, virtually or in another context!

Inspiring and meaningful early autumn for you!