For the past few months I have been seeking the advice of established philanthropic leaders from across the country to hear about what they did in their first few months on the job, how they balance work and home, and how to balance local needs with national visibility for our foundation's work. The advice is always amazing and gives me a new thing that I can start doing right away to make my work more effective but there is one topic that comes up in every call and that is finding peace. I know that is an unusual topic, more expected in talks with spiritual leaders and philosophy classes, but it keeps coming up so I thought I should talk about it.
One CEO, who had a very high stress and high visibility position told me that she took time every morning (while exercising) and every evening (while meditating) to be alone with her thoughts. She said that the whole day was spent tending to other people's needs and listening to their thoughts and opinions that she needed to have time where she could regroup and understand what her own priorities were. She also avoided any extra social events (which was very different than before she started the job) because her job was filled with social events and it was no longer relaxing. Another CEO told me that he takes time to mentally congratulate himself after he completes a big project. It is a nice mental break before beginning the next project which is probably bigger and more stressful than the last.
My favorite piece of advice about peace came from the director of a religious foundation. She said "each of us is called to seek peace in ourselves and in our community, we can't have one without the other." It's easy for me to get wrapped up in the problems in the neighborhoods that our foundation works in and try to think of ways to make those communities more peaceful but its hard to give something to someone else that you don't have yourself. So, I'm starting to take the time and give myself the space to create peace in my own life. I'm giving myself the space to regroup after a long day, I'm saying no to social and work activities that don't support my priorities, and I am staying away from things that stress me out.
What do you do to bring more peace to your life?