In the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell, the famous Scottish runner who won gold in the 400m at the 1924 Paris Olympics, and who later became a missionary to China, reads the following verse from the Bible as he describes the way his faith is his source of strength that enables him to run and live life with conviction and joy.
“Even young men grow weary and faint, but those who hope in the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint…” (Isa 40:31).
If you own a business you understand pressure in a way that a lot of people on wages rarely experience. You carry the responsibility to make things happen every day. And if anything goes wrong the buck stops with you to fix it. It’s easy to become stressed and overwhelmed and allow the pressures to weaken the foundations of your life.
There are 6 sources of inner strength that I have found helpful to focus on:
- Be physically fit – a growing number of studies show the link between physical fitness and mental and emotional health. Good nutrition helps look after the body and the mind. Physical exercise is a great stress release which has huge emotional as well as physical health benefits. (P.S. Fitness starter – walk 20 minutes every day! )
- Find out what replenishes you emotionally – learn what fills your emotional tank and make time for that every week. Take time alone reading or gardening, or if you need some adrenalin rush that pushes your body and mind, or social time just being with friends. (P.S. What relaxes you, helps you unwind and leaves you refreshed the next day? so that probably excludes alcohol)
- Attend to your spiritual life – you can become attuned to who you are as a person, to know and respect your true self, to know and live from core values, to know how to draw spiritual strength from prayer and meditation and find what place faith has in your life. Too many people seem to neglect this part of their life. (P.S. What grounds you or helps you feel centred?)
- Make sure you have emotional support – we all need good people in our lives, family, friends and mentors who help us to hold firm, keep perspective and stay focused as to what is really important when we get too stressed and forget sometimes. On your own you probably will go under one day. (P.S. Do you value those close to you?)
- Listen to the rhythms of your life – this is self learning about your body/mind/emotions/spirit that enables you to understand your unique rhythms of energy and life. Everyone needs a day off each week and to have a 2-3 day timeout or slower weekend every 25 – 35 working days. We are not built to go and go like a machine without replenishing and renewing our strength. As you learn to work with yourself not fight yourself life flows a lot better. (P.S. Keep a journal for the next 3 months and track your weekly and monthly energy levels)
- Laugh out loud often – something that good leaders of every generation can teach us, but I love the way Gen X and Y leaders tend to mix work and play. Fun and laughter will appropriately (and sometimes rudely) be part of every healthy spirited person’s world. I learned this one quite late! (P.S. What if you laughed rather than stressed about a problem in your life right now?)
There is so much to learn about yourself that will greatly assist you to live a healthy and strong life! If you are like me this is a work in progress, especially learning to give attention consistently across all 6 areas.
What are your sources or strength? How do you replenish? What have you found are the rhythms that work in your life? I’d love to hear and learn from your experience…..