Culture of Selfcare
Several colleagues, friends, and I got together to discuss root cause patterns that we were seeing in corporate America. This discussion spawned from a genuine love of humanity and the pain in seeing who we were becoming as a people, as organizations, as a country. Foundation LLC was born out of my need to be actively part of creating solutions. This conversation solidified my goals. You see, I believe that any organization reflects the community within which it operates (neighborhood, city, state, country, the world. In that order.). It doesn’t matter which side you are on, most will agree that what is community today is not working. We can tackle this challenge within our organizations (“manageable chunks”). As we do, people go home and are better spouses and better parents: children are better students in and out of the classroom. Within a generation or less we can change what is. This is Foundation LLC.
But wait, there’s more! We are all human. I launched this company in February of 2017. I was super excited, but also clear that I needed a moment to regroup, evaluate the past years and center. Still, I felt the pressure to do, be, and accomplish, then life stepped in. Life has this beautiful and painful way of letting you know when you are doing too much; when you require a break; or when you are running in a direction away from your values.
In a matter of a few months, I lost 10 family members (primary and distant, sudden and expected), my mother had brain surgery, my uncle was accidentally poisoned by his doctor and my sister was afflicted with a mysterious bacterial infection that threatened her life. In total, I lost 13 friends and family members in 2017.
My blood pressure, which had already been elevated from long days, sleepless nights and fighting for justice that never replaces what’s been taken, was 250/120. Yup, you read that correctly. My blood pressure was teetering around twice the healthy level, well beyond stroke level. Doctors didn’t know how I existed without “major incident”. But there were telltale signs that my kidneys were stressed, and my body was considering forsaking me. To be clear, I am ever so grateful for this body and its ability to manage the myriad of things that I/it have been through in this life with grace and fortitude. Grateful. But, she was screaming at me to hang my “Not now! I’m self-caring.”TM sign and I needed to listen.
I am a huge proponent of allowing team members space to take care of themselves, unapologetically. And it dawned on me to ask myself, “Are you being a hypocrite?” I dislike it when people say one thing while doing something else. As a child, I’d always call out adults that used that, “Do as I say, not as I do.”, phrase. Today I pay more attention to what people do than what they say. And yet, here I was living the opposite. From a practical perspective, this leaves teams confused about what’s really important to you and, as such, to their success.
So, I practiced what I preach and took some time off, only now returning to this work that drives me. It wasn’t easy, with everything going on and my own internal fight re: priorities. However, I want the culture of the spaces that I design to place a high value on selfcare. I’m a better (partner, friend, everything) when I take care of myself. . .as are we all. Three hundred and fifty-four days left in the year. How are you doing so far? Let’s all endeavor to be kinder to ourselves and others. Happy and healthy 2018!
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Founder and Senior Managing Partner