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Sometimes the things which have the biggest impact on your world are the ones you least expect. That’s certainly what I discovered when I stumbled on a surprising way to boost your leadership. It’s something you might be inclined to dismiss as “frivolous” or “unnecessary” but for me, quite the opposite was true. So read on with an open mind!
A couple of years back, our family needed to move house unexpectedly. With two small kids and a business we run from our home, the upheaval was pretty intense. After the move, I found I really wanted to focus on replenishing my energy, making sure our community and clients weren’t impacted by what was going on, and spending lots of time with my family to make sure we were all settled in.
Decorating, arranging the house, sorting out furniture… all of that went way down on the list. I was happy with that, and if you’d asked me I definitely wouldn’t have said it was a problem.
Choosing dining room furniture, prettifying the bedroom?
I had bigger priorities.
Or so I thought…
Do you prioritise beauty?
Now you might not be starting from scratch with an entire house. But I bet there’s an area of your environment – a corner of your living room, your desk, the kitchen – that’s on that “must get round to it at some point” list.
It might function perfectly well – but it’s not beautiful.
That element of beauty is something we almost never think of as part of being a leader. Let alone think of it as a way you might be able to actively boost your leadership.
And yet, to my surprise, my experience proved different.
You see, after a period of time, it started to dawn on me that I was really finding it hard to continue to replenish my energy in a meaningful way. Knowing the possibility that I saw for the spaces in our home, and seeing them not being done was a constant loop running in my mind.
Every time I would walk from my bedroom down the stairs, through the house, to the kitchen and up to the office each day, I’d be walking past places where I had ideas, or I wondered what we could do to make it more beautiful.
It was just adding up as a stress.
And it turns out – science backs me up.
The science behind beauty
You might have heard that having beautiful things around us is supportive to our wellbeing, but it might interest you to know that there’s quite a bit of research to back this up. An interesting study back in 1984 looked at the medical records of people recovering from gallbladder surgery. They discovered that, all things being equal, patients that had bedside windows looking out onto leafy trees healed on average a day faster, needed significantly less pain medication and had fewer post-surgical complications compared to patients who had a view looking out onto a brick wall.
Since then, further research has shown that just three to five minutes spent looking at views dominated by trees, flowers, or water can begin to reduce anger, anxiety, and pain to induce relaxation in healthy people. And can even cause physiological changes on our blood pressure, muscle tension, heart and brain electricity.
Nature is so powerful that even pictures of landscapes can soothe!
And I think it even can go beyond that. There’s some interesting research done on behalf of the commission for architecture and the built environment here in the UK. The research demonstrates that beauty produces a positive, emotional experience in the observer, which enhances feelings of happiness and wellbeing.
Some of us are more or less sensitive to our environments than others. But for many of us, every time we walk through a space which is chaotic, that doesn’t look the way we’d like it to look, or that’s less than beautiful, it contributes to a sense of stress and lack of wellbeing.
Is it frivolous to focus on beauty?
Despite this evidence of its impact, beauty is one of those things that lots of us secretly judge as being a bit frivolous, perhaps a waste of time, a waste of money.
I know in my own experience it’s something which often falls to the bottom of the list. I’d be far more likely to invest in coaching or training than in the space I live and work in.
And yet I know that lack of beauty does stress and impact me.
So, one of the things I committed to doing,was just picking off a room at a time.
One of the things that I noticed, was that simply by opening up to the idea of making a space beautiful, I started to activate a part of me that I hadn’t paid much attention to: I began to feel into what I liked and what I didn’t like
“Yes, I like that”
“No, I don’t like that.”
Because, having had to ignore mess and having to ignore chaos for a period of time, I’d really had to numb myself out to what I did and didn’t like.
Can you relate? When you “tune out” from your own discomfort, it actually takes a while to get used to making choices again!
For me, that muscle of “Yes this… No that” had got a little bit blunted. So going through this process, just by picking off one room at a time, began to open up my own awareness of what I do and don’t like to be around, visually.
And I think for me, the bottom line of what I’ve loved about the process is that it has invoked and reactivated my Lover PowerType.
The Lover PowerType and how it can boost your leadership
The Lover s one of our 5 Women’s PowerTypes. These archetypes are role models of feminine leadership, that each contain qualities we can bring to different situations.
Lover is the part of us that is connected to bringing ambience and beauty and pleasure into our spaces.
She’s also the part of us that is the source of our own creativity.
She is the center of our own self care. She is the center of our sensuality and our sexuality.
And I’ve got to say spending some time with her has enhanced all of those other areas of my life: my creativity, my own sense of wellbeing and my relationship too!
As a leader, Lover is powerful and magnetic. Others are drawn to her presence; she makes everyone around her feel great.
Far from being selfish, when you can bring more Lover to boost your leadership you’ll find you’re able to create powerful connections and achieve new results.
By taking exquisite care of yourself, you open up the potential to create and connect on new levels with those around you, too.
If you’d like to discover your unique Women’s PowerTypes profile, you can do so for free with a ticket to the One Woman Conference happening 12-13 June 2021. Click here to find out more and book your ticket.
How connected are you to Lover?
Many, many of us women find the Lover challenging to connect to.
Here are two things you can do right away to begin to nurture this connection.
#1 Look at your relationship to beauty.
Is it like mine was for a time – a little bit closed down, or even something you don’t really even notice? And it’s just not important or interesting to you?
Is it something which you’re aware of, but you’re frustrated by because you feel for time or money reasons, you’re not able to do anything about it.
Is it something that’s really important to you?
Reflect on it for yourself. What, how do you relate to beauty? Perhaps you’d like to journal on it over the next couple of days.
#2 Consider the space around you.
It might be your home environment and your office space. It might be even in your car, your garden, anywhere you spend a significant amount of time.
How beautiful does it feel to you?
If like me, you look at it and it’s overwhelmingly not beautiful, then, you might want to consider doing something about it.
I’m not suggesting for a second that this has to be something that takes over your life and your budget!
But what I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by is those hidden places that you may or may not know about to bring beauty into a space. Finding hidden gems in secondhand shops, or passed on by friends or family. Maybe something you already use in one part of your home would work brilliantly in your office. Frame some kids drawings, find some plants to brighten your space, get creative yourself.
Be on the lookout for beauty.
And you might find it makes a surprising difference to your wellbeing and your leadership.
How about you?
Where do you find beauty in your life – and is it something you value? Have you ever looked down on creating beautiful spaces as being “frivolous” or “a waste of money” – or are you already conscious of the impact your external environment has on you?
I’d really love to know your thoughts on this – be sure to leave a comment and let me know!
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