As wellness leaders, we are flooded with ways to increase our effectiveness and impact. If you asked us to narrow the choices, we’d put the ability to lead from wonder at the top of the list!
Why? Because the wellness challenges we’re tackling are enormous and complex. As leaders, we’ve taken on the responsibility for improving the state of the world, the health of our workplaces and communities, and the quality of people’s lives. However, we frequently don’t have clear paths to do so. There is not one right answer for solving our vast crises of mental health, food insecurity, climate or the inequalities amplified by the pandemic—and this reality can weigh us down. We may be driven by a wellbeing mission, but we are at times also stressed out by the burden of it.
An antidote? WONDER.
USE WONDER TO TAP INTO YOUR POTENTIAL
Can you recall a time when you experienced a star-studded sky, the miracle of a birth, or a majestic landscape—and it brought out a childlike delight in you? You witnessed the extraordinary and likely felt humbled, awed and elevated all at once. That’s wonder, a priceless capacity already available within you as a resource for living and leading.
Wonder transforms how you perceive the world, no matter who you are or where you live. While approaching situations out of stress or fear can cause a tunnel vision that handicaps thinking and decisions, being in a state of positive awe naturally leads to comfort with uncertainty, an expansive perspective, heightened creativity, and innovation. In wonder, we feel time-rich, rather than time-poor, and thus more patient, open and present. We experience a deep connection to people, our potentials, and a grander purpose for life—along with generosity and compassion for that which is greater than ourselves.
Find Your Prescription for Wonder
Albert Einstein once said that “he…who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” Wonder gives us new eyes to see! As a wellness leader, how can you bring wonder into your workplace and your life? Try one or more of these practices:
The Benefits of Wonder at Work
Encouraging wonder at work benefits the organization and everyone who touches it. Positive awe promotes prosocial behaviors, such as less stereotyping and more volunteering. It sharpens our brains and motivates ecologically conscious behavior. And, it facilitates less inflammation and greater wellbeing and satisfaction. A study by the Wisdom Works Group measured six dimensions of wellbeing-driven leadership with close to 1,000 leaders worldwide. The study found that leaders scoring high in wonder were also more likely to report leading from an inspiring vision, purpose and values to guide their decisions; greater resilience during stressful times; wellness behaviors, such as eating, moving, resting and breathing, to manage their energy and stress; and a deep motivation to energize and maximize the talents of people and teams—essential capabilities for building and leading thriving workplaces.
Lead Your Team & Organization with Wonder
Shake up the normal. Invite employees and colleagues to break up their work routines by walking outdoors. Give teams permission to forget being serious, at least for a little while, and bring humor into a meeting. Wonder is not only refreshing to mind and body; it also reminds us to balance lightness with responsibility.
Make wonder part of work. Encourage people to ask constructive questions to break down social or organizational barriers and build healthy relationships. Invite your teams to genuinely ask, “What else could be true?” to broaden everyone’s perspectives about a problem. Hire and reward curiosity. Foster a culture where wonder empowers vibrancy and adaptability at work.
Guide wonder strategically. The pandemic has disrupted traditional approaches for wellness engagement. With global lockdowns causing more work from home and less travel locally and abroad, telemedicine, well-tech innovation, personal delivery services, and momentum for a zero-carbon economy have exploded in many parts of the world. Involve employees and partners to engage in wonder to your organization’s advantage by asking, “What radical wellness opportunities is it now time to embrace?”
Lead Yourself with Wonder
Start your day with wonder. Most people wait for the world to stimulate wonder within them. But perhaps that’s the wrong way to begin. Instead, ask yourself, “How can I bring an attitude of wonder to life, rather than waiting for life to amaze me?” Begin with this question and notice how it sets the tone for your day. As Socrates once said, “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”
Make wonder a priority. Connecting with nature and traveling have long been known to boost wonder and emotional wellbeing. What experiences bring out wonder within you? Write down your list, then identify how you’ll make wonder a conscious practice every year, every month, and, better yet, every single day.
WONDER IS VITAL TO YOUR WELLNESS JOURNEY!
The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease is a huge commitment. How will you bring a sense of wonder into this responsibility? Share your ideas on social media using #wellnessmoonshot, and we’ll spread your inspiration to wellness leaders worldwide. And don’t forget to join in the Wellness Moonshot celebration on February 26 to inspire and learn from others!
Next month, we’ll touch on what the topic of PROSPER means to leading wellness. Until then, check out each of these Wellness Moonshot articles from past years with science insights and strategies to support you on your wellness leadership journey.