Give Your Heart a Rest

Glacier National Park - Give your heart a rest
Give your heart a rest and share your life.

Athletes all know about the importance of rest as a part of their training regimen. Some maybe know this more than others, but rest is of the utmost importance when you’re trying to to compete. Even if you’re not an athlete, rest is necessary for the body to repair itself, heal injury, fight illness and recover from the stress of life.

I don’t consider myself an athlete, but I do exercise on a regular basis and do my best to stay healthy. As a result, one of my interests is health and fitness, I spend a good amount of time reading and researching on that topic. One article I read recently really had a great impact on me as it relates to rest and totally caught me off guard. For most people when our muscles are sore, we rest, stretch, get a massage or use massage tools, eat protein and do any number of other things to get our bodies back to full speed – but what about your heart?

Your heart is a muscle too and perhaps the most important muscle of all. Without a heart you simply cannot live. So what happens when you perform a really hard work out? Your heart gets a work out too! But how many of us really think about giving our heart a rest?

We think about other muscles, but not the heart.

We go to the gym to get in our “cardio,” and after a hard work out you go sit on the couch, go to bed or do any number of things for pretty much every other muscle in your body but not your heart.

You can’t necessarily do those things for your heart. Your heart is always working and we should be thankful for that fact! The article I read didn’t have any mind-blowing information, so I guess it was just the timing and the way I read it – give your heart a rest.

But that’s not all folks….what about your other heart? Your emotional heart? Your soul? Your essence?

What are you doing to give that heart a rest?

I would argue that you should give your emotional heart a rest just as much as your physical heart. But how do you do that, you might ask? Well, one way to do that is to surround yourself with people who care about you. Develop healthy, positive relationships. Be a good friend and listener to others so that when you need them, they’re there for you. I never took this for granted, but the older I get the more I realize the true currency in this world is the time we spend with others and what that does for us and them.

You can give your heart a rest with family members. You can give your heart a rest with friends. It doesn’t matter who, all that matters is that you do. Don’t get me wrong – it’s hard. It’s scary. It’s difficult. It makes you feel vulnerable. Afraid. Nervous. Anxious.

Yes, sharing who you are with others makes you feel all those feelings and more, but the feeling of being able to rest your heart when you need to is priceless and worth all of those other feelings. I’m working on this and feel those same things, but I will say that it gets a little bit easier the more you do it and the easier it gets, the more you can both give and receive to those you hold dear.

Now let’s take this a step further. Your spiritual heart. Are you giving that heart a rest? I’ll leave you with a quote from St. Augustine’s Confessions

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

I hope you’re able to find whatever it is you’re looking for and someone to share it with. Here’s to giving your heart some rest.


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Leadership Lessons with Bill – Playing Cards and Life Stages

Leadership lessons demonstrated with playing cards as life stages.
Use playing cards to get your team talking about life stages – Leadership Lessons with Bill

Welcome back for another addition of “Leadership Lessons with Bill”! In today’s post we’re talking about life stages and major events we remember from different points in our lives.

I did this exercise with my team before a football game and with five people it took about 15 minutes to hear from everyone in the group and to allow some good commentary after everyone had a chance to share a memory from one of four life stages. To perform this leadership lesson/exercise, I used a deck of cards, removed all the face cards and aces and set aside the rest of the deck. With the face cards and aces shuffled and face down, I first asked everyone to pick two different cards without telling them what they should expect. With a larger group, you could either ask everyone to choose only one card or also include the number 10 cards from the deck to increase the total number of cards from with to choose. Either way, the purpose of the exercise is not who gets the best card…

The purpose of this leadership lesson is to develop team camaraderie through group sharing, understanding and bonding. Once everyone on my team had their playing cards in hand, I explained what each card meant and what they should do, in order, one person at a time. Depending on the age ranges of the members of your team, you can adapt the time periods for life stages I’ll define next. Each team member should share a memory that corresponds with the card(s) they are holding.

Jack – The people who chose this card should be asked to share something from their early childhood, perhaps even one of their first memories as a child.
Queen – The holders of this card should share a memory ranging from their early schooling years up to the end of middle school.
King – If this card was chosen, a memory from high school should be shared.
Ace – Your team members holding this card should share a recent memory, ranging from the beginning of college until the present.

As with any exercise that involves vulnerability and sharing, it’s important to set the stage for openness and acceptance. Clearly state that before anyone shares their thoughts, each person is expected to treat everyone’s responses with dignity and respect, including their own. The memories and thoughts shared with the group could be difficult for someone to share and should be treated with care. By actually stating these facts out loud to the group before the sharing begins, there often immediately flows a sense of calm and listening that is almost tangible. Take care of your people and let them know it’s safe to share.

With the stage set for open sharing, invite everyone to share something relative to the playing card they chose. It can be anything they wish and the others in the group should try to validate each persons life stage memory with positive reinforcement. By performing this life stage group building leadership lesson, the team members get to know each other on a different level, which encourages rapport, cooperation and an over all sense of connectedness that is critical to teamwork.

If this exercise is too touchy-feely for you, don’t worry. You can easily adapt the topics that each playing card represents to stand for something work related or turn the characters into a metaphor for what makes a good leader. If you do that, you can ask everyone to give an example of how each face card character might be a good leader and how they personally demonstrate those qualities in their own work. Either way, the objective is to get people talking and connecting with one another on a level that doesn’t involve work tasks or duties.

If you find this helpful, let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you.

Go Forth!

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