A year into the pandemic, we’re reminded of how important it is to guard your heart.
Here we mean our metaphysical heart, our sacred center. Parker Palmer said it beautifully:
“I’m using the word ‘heart’ as they did in ancient times, when it didn’t merely mean the emotions, as it tends to mean today. It meant that center in the human self where everything comes together—where will and intellect and values and feeling and intuition and vision all converge. It meant the source of one’s integrity.”
So many of us these days have suffered anxieties, losses, hardship, or tragedies. All added on a baseline of busyness and burnout. With frazzled days and heavy loads. Negative self-talk. With fear and uncertainty.
This year, our hearts have taken a beating.
The effects on our health, relationships, and work can be devastating.
So we must guard our hearts, preserving every ounce of hope, wonder, awe, gratitude, and love we can muster.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” -Proverbs 4:23 (King Solomon)
Why does heart matter so much?
We need it in our lives. We need it to stay grounded and faithful that we can survive, that we can learn the lessons life is offering.
We need it in our relationships, often frayed or neglected during hard times.
We need it at work, with opportunities to connect with colleagues also facing ghosts or demons.
We need it in our leadership, especially during hard times. In his adaptive leadership framework, Ron Heifetz of Harvard University encourages us to maintain a “sacred heart” and avoid numbing our soul with cynicism or defeatism.
How to guard your heart?
For starters, develop resilience through disciplined self-care. There are many possibilities, so choose the ones that resonate with you:
- Writing or journaling
Some of the most powerful heart defenses come bottled in larger themes: Live purposefully. Preserve your vitality. Stay connected to people. Serve others. Take time for renewal.
If your heart is asleep, dormant from years of neglect, reawaken it.
And if your heart is closed, crack it open.
If your heart is cold, bring it warmth.
Finally, if your path forward is hazy, ask your heart to light the way. We see things with our heart that we can’t see otherwise.
Guard your heart.
Gregg Vanourek is an award-winning author and entrepreneurial leader who trains, teaches, and speaks on leadership and personal development. Bob Vanourek and Gregg Vanourek are leadership practitioners, teachers, trainers, and award-winning authors. They are co-authors of Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations, a winner of the International Book Awards, and called “the best book on leadership since Good to Great.” Take their Leadership Derailers Assessment or Gregg’s Traps Test (Common Traps of Living) or sign up for their newsletter. If you found value in this, please forward it to a friend. Every little bit helps!