PRA’s focus on wellness is very exciting, and I jumped at the idea of writing a blog on wellness. I chose occupational wellness based on some recent experiences, but when sitting down to write couldn’t remember where it all started. Then it came to me as a sipped my tea from my favorite mug bearing a “Half Full” graphic. I’ve always been a big fan of Life is Good® merchandise. I like the entrepreneur’s rags-to-riches story behind the company and the overarching message of optimism. I am most definitely a glass-half-full kind of person. But, one thing about the product line always makes me stop and think.

On almost every product there is the statement, “Do what you love…Love what you do”. Hmmm…am I doing what I love? Do I love what I do? The answer for me has always been “Yes” and, of course, “No” to both questions. I mean, for an absolute yes all of the time, I would have to be working as an artist in a beachside studio and using all the proceeds from the sale of my paintings to fund a nationwide effort to end homelessness. Now that would be love.

Based on the above and other life circumstances, I have recently given a lot of thought to my own occupational wellness. Consider the facts: I do love my job (most days); I love the company I work for and the mission of our work; I’ve been working as a manager for over 16 years; I’ve learned a lot during this time; I have worked with many interesting people, and I have certainly had the opportunity to hone many useful skills. But, what now? How do I keep it interesting? How do I continue to grow? How can I improve or bring my work to a higher level? How do I become a stronger leader?

Over the last 12-18 months, I considered these questions and explored opportunities to find answers. Last fall, I received a serendipitous email promoting the Mindful Leadership Summit and I thought, “why not?” The Summit was an intense experience with more than 700 people from 34 different countries. The presentations were dynamic and informative, and I met some very inspirational leaders. Several of the presenters referenced books they had recently authored and I was moved to immediately take advantage of my Amazon Prime account! I managed to read all 3 books over the months that followed, and I was able to incorporate some new practices into my life and approach leadership in a new way. I also recently presented some relevant strategies at an internal leadership meeting that helped us consider possible organizational-level changes. Needless to say, I am strongly considering heading to Washington, D.C. in November for the 2017 Summit.

To wrap up, rather than write too much about what my “take aways” were from this experience in occupational wellness, I’ve provided reading recommendations and links so that you can do your own exploration and find your personal occupational wellness strategies, if you’re so inclined.

Recommended Readings

The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success, by Emma Seppala, PhD (I follow Dr. Seppala on Twitter. She provides great resources and current research to support the power of happiness with science)

The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Warner Klemp

Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership by Janice Marturano