I once had a teacher who had a favorite phrase: “The outer is always a reflection of the inner.”
The idea is that who we are, what we do, the activities we engage in, our chosen work – all are outer manifestations of who we are as people. As a principle, it is one I deeply believe in and have practiced most of my adult life.
Jim Rohn, the author, motivational speaker and personal development icon who was Tony Robbins’ first mentor, put it this way: “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.”
With more time at home the last couple months, I’ve been able to reflect more on my own inner being and take some time to do my own personal work. Because of the pandemic and then because of the racial tensions and struggles around the country, it has seemed a good time to do this. All of it has affected me deeply and many whom I speak to.
I realize that the external world and outer work is where we spend most of our days but I also realize that, at least for me, my foundation is my inner work. This can take many forms – journaling, meditation, prayer, spending time outdoors in nature, walking, reading. Sometimes it’s just giving myself some unstructured time – a day off, white space, time out for a mini-retreat. Talking to a trusted friend or coach can help bring clarity to a situation I’m dealing with. Reflecting on my important values and how I’m honoring them in my day-to-day life is important, too.
In times of stress and uncertainty, taking excellent care of myself becomes more important than ever – good nutrition, regular exercise, stress management and sleep. A big part of self care for me is also making sure I spend time with the important people in my life, my family and good friends.
I try to remember what a good friend once said to me: “No one ever said on their deathbed – ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office.’ Taking time to reflect on what I want to create in my life, what I want more of or less of, and to be guided by my values – all of these help me bring the best version of myself I can bring to the people and world around me. Yes, it can be work, but to me it’s the best work I can do.
Wishing you bright moments in the days ahead.