The Wellness MoonshotTM: A World Free of Preventable Disease has experienced amazing growth! What began in our imaginations only a few years ago now touches the lives of over 154 million and 4,400 organizations worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 69% of all deaths globally are due to largely preventable diseases, such as some cancers, cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and mental health disorders. As we reflect on the mission of The Wellness Moonshot to encourage wellness lifestyles and the immense potential of this initiative to effect global health and prevention, we honor each of you, the vast network of wellness leaders who are stewarding wellness every day, in every corner of the world.
WE DON’T USE THE WORD “HONOR” LIGHTLY
Honor may seem like an old-fashioned word. But it’s the only one that captures the profound respect we hold for leaders, like you, who have dedicated their lives and work to advancing wellness. Just as the bow of a ship breaks through ocean waves, you stand courageously in the face of organizations and societies which are often designed to pursue economic gain at the expense of human health and wellbeing. We know that the path of wellness leadership can feel disheartening and rudderless at times. Yet, you remain steadfast in your deep conviction that wellness and wealth can be partners rather than adversaries—and no amount of preventable illness and disease is acceptable in today’s world. You model the quality that Nelson Mandela once spoke, “Honor belongs to those who never forsake the truth even when things seem dark and grim, who try over and over again, who are never discouraged by insults, humiliation, and even defeat.” Your wellness leadership offers the world hope.
MAKE HONOR THE CENTER OF LEADING WELLNESS
This is first about accepting the basic worth of all human beings and holding people, as well as yourself, in the highest regard. How? Experiment with these practices in your team and organization—as well as your own life:
LEADING YOUR TEAM & ORGANIZATION
• Honor the wholeness of others. Honoring people is, in part, about welcoming and celebrating our differences. That starts for most of us with owning and challenging the biases we hold dear so that we open to a deeper understanding of ourselves and others. How are you valuing the rich diversity of people on your team? Here are a few strategies to try: Establish a norm at team meetings for all voices to be listened to, learn from others’ viewpoints (particularly when they differ from your own), and employ flexible work schedules when possible so that people can care for their lives beyond work. When you honor people as whole human beings, not just human resources, work can be a source of elevating wellbeing.
• Be a conduit for human development. Psychologist Carl Rogers shares that early in his professional years, he asked himself, “How can I treat, cure, or change this person? As he matured, the question evolved, “How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his own personal growth? This question is transformational. It honors the unique life-work journey of every person—and is at the heart of true wellness leadership. If you made this question your guide, what would shift in how you and your organization lead wellness?
• Know your boundaries. There are at least five boundaries to consider as a wellness leader: your emotions, your material goods, your time and energy, your thoughts, and your physical self. When you clarify your boundaries, choose what to say YES and NO to, and stop taking the reactions of others personally, you honor your own wellbeing.
• Honor the community within. Instead of thinking of yourself as static or unitary, imagine that, like all of us, you are comprised of a community of selves. (Check out this 2-minute tour of the book, Your Symphony of Selves, to dive into this concept more fully.) If you are like most wellness leaders, some of your selves have been overlooked, undernourished, or marginalized. For example, perhaps in your desire to be responsible, joy and lightness have taken a backseat. Or, by expecting yourself to always be powerful, you’ve failed to realize your vulnerabilities as a source of strength. With compassion, ask yourself: What aspects of you is it time to honor and embrace?
MAY HONOR BE YOUR FOUNDATION AND RESOURCE
Musician Bob Dylan originally wrote the famous song Forever Young as a sweet lullaby to his son. It is all about honor. We share this excerpt as our wish for you as the year ends and a new one begins:
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow to be true.
May you always know the truth, and
See the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous, stand upright, and be strong.
May you stay forever young.
We are grateful for your contribution to The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease initiative to create a more inclusive, sustainable, and well world.