Here’s something you’ve probably never heard before: you do not need to become more resilient.
I really mean that. You don’t.
But at some point, you’ve probably been told by some well-intentioned person that you should work on becoming more resilient. How did it make you feel? What implicit message did you pick up on?
If you’re like most people, your takeaway was probably something like:
- “It’s my fault that I’m struggling and exhausted.”
- “Everyone else seems to be doing great, so there must be something wrong with me. Why else would I be feeling so overwhelmed?”
- “I need to become stronger and more resilient, so that I can start working even harder than before.”
Do any of these sound like you? You aren’t alone.
In our current work culture, there’s an embedded assumption that you should be working too much, and you should feel stressed and overwhelmed. This culture tells you that you should always be right on the edge of burnout, or else you’re probably a slacker!
But in spite of all of this messaging, the truth is that when you push yourself too hard, for too long, you’ll inevitably cross the line into burnout.
We—our entire culture—assume that the way to become successful and happy is to be stressed and overwhelmed: in other words, unhappy. Notice this false logic that we’ve trapped ourselves in?
But even though it doesn’t really make sense, this kind of thinking is everywhere (including everywhere I’ve ever worked!). It’s become worse than ever during the covid pandemic, but it isn’t new.
So is it any wonder that everyone is feeling overwhelmed, inflamed, tired, and physically exhausted?
If this is how you’re feeling, then I have really good news.
If your body, your mind, even your spirit are shutting down from exhaustion and chronic stress, there is literally nothing wrong with you. Despite all that messaging that you should work harder and be resilient, the truth is that there’s nothing wrong with you.
In fact, when your body and spirit shut down, they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing: protecting you from the long-term damages caused by chronic stress.
I’ve written before about cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol is important! In an emergency—say, you’re crossing the street and suddenly notice a car speeding toward you—cortisol is there to help. It activates every resource in your body to get you out of harm’s way.
The problem is that, in our current, chronically stressed work culture, our bodies are constantly piping in that cortisol, even though it was only ever meant to be a short-term response. While cortisol can keep us safe in an emergency, constant cortisol is literally destructive to our hearts, and is directly correlated to heart problems later in life.
So, when your body and mind shut down, know that they’re doing exactly what they were designed to do to keep you safe. They are asking you to step back and recharge, and to allow your own natural biorhythms to come back into harmony with nature. It’s not that there’s something wrong with you, or that you need to be more resilient. It’s literally the way God designed you—and me, and everyone else on this planet.
So if developing resilience isn’t the answer…what is?
My advice is really simple: listen to your body. Listen to your heart. I mean that spiritually, and I mean that literally, physically. That’s what the HeartMath™ and Centering for Wisdom® techniques are designed to help with. Because when you do this, you start to work with the divinely ordered rhythms of nature.
In the Benedictine monastic tradition, we use a Latin phrase to describe this divinely natural rhythm for how humans are made to live in the world. That Latin phrase is: Ora et labora. Its meaning is simple: “Prayer and work.”
In other words, humans were made to alternate back and forth between prayer (or contemplation) and work. And everything else in our life fits into this natural cycle.
Let me be clear: the purpose of ora et labora is not to build resilience, so that we can just keep pushing ourselves even harder! Rather, the purpose is to support us in doing the work we were created and born on this planet to do. To do no more, and no less, than that.
Just imagine, for a second, what it would be like to know what it is you were put on this planet to do—to be in a daily rhythm of ora et labora, contemplation and work. To know at the end of the day that you’ve done exactly what you were called to…and then to set it aside, to be present with your family, to be happy with who you are in the world, to go to sleep without having that stress keeping you up all night.
The problem, of course, is that very few people do stop to really consider: What was I born to do? What singular gift and purpose, born of the divine mind, was I born to share?
Ask yourself: what singular gift and purpose born of the divine mind were you created to share?
If you don’t know the answer to that right now, that’s OK. Most of us are so caught up in the grind, in all our day-to-day obligations, that we never get a chance to step off that hamster wheel and think about what we’re truly called to do.
In Centering for Wisdom®, I teach an exercise to help you discover what I call your Root WHY: your core purpose in life. It’s a simple exercise, but everyone I’ve ever used it with has discovered, usually within a few days, what their core purpose is.
Once you know your Root WHY, and once you develop those rhythms of ora et labora, then you can work, live, and play with the people you love, while being aligned with your body, your soul, and your heart’s innate guidance and wisdom.
You don’t need to become more resilient to do this.
You just need to relearn how to listen to your body, to get in touch with your heart’s intuition, to feel the natural rhythms of your body and of ora et labora. From there, the way to live every day is simply to allow the divine plan to move effortlessly through you.
Once you get into this pattern, things will start to happen in your career, your business, even your relationships, that you’ve dreamed about for years.
It’s not because you’re not working harder—you may find you’re actually using less effort. And it’s not because you’re a better person (you’re already a good person!), or because you’re smarter. But it’s because you’re living aligned with the rhythms of grace in human nature and in your body and your heart. You’re just showing up to live every day, doing what you were put on this earth to do.
Once you get to that point, it’s really just about being thankful and paying it forward. Which is exactly why I’ve put together all of the work that I’ve done with thousands of people over the years into a single program: the Centering for Wisdom® Coaching Program.
If you’re interested but not sure whether this is really the right fit for you, or whether it’s the right time in your life, book a call with me and I’ll be happy to discuss it with you. No sales ambush, no pressure, just an honest conversation about whether this program is right for you.
So if you’re sick of feeling like you “should be more resilient,” if you want to align with your core purpose and live into those natural rhythms of contemplation and work, I’m inviting you to check out Centering for Wisdom right now.