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Are you a human being or a human doing? How to get wellbeing right

Wellbeing is not the result of a perfect set of conditions; wellbeing is an inside job.

So what do we mean by this?

We’re not talking about the power of positive thinking. We mean that wellbeing is already inside of us – it’s not something we need to go and get, it’s preloaded inside all of us. The problem is, nobody told us this! And even if they had, they didn’t tell us how to access it.

Let us explain.

We’ll wager that many of our lives look like this.

Whirlwind busy scaled Ivy House

We play many roles – we’re employees, leaders, parents, daughters, sons, friends – the list goes on. And we rush from one role to the other. In doing that, we can feel overwhelmed, overworked and striving for the life we want. Living like this is what we call living as a ‘human doing’.

Ivy House Founder Elke Edwards can attest to this: “I know human doing well. I spent most of my adult life looking like this until I would collapse and send myself off to a spa, vow to do things differently – only to end right back in human doing. And it’s easy to do because everyone around us is living like this!”

If you’re not sure if you’re living as a human doing, here are some common characteristics:

  • Living in our thinking
  • Worried what others think about us
  • Motivated by fear
  • Past and/or future focused
  • Pleasure as a reward
  • Yearning for something different

So what we do is be even more ‘human doing’ to try and achieve things that will solve our problems, with the same level of thinking that created this state in the first place.

The key to wellbeing is to live as a ‘human being’.

We all have a unique personal blueprint. We have a vision for our lives, values, a belief system, things that put us in our element, driving forces and a purpose. And to stay well, we need to stay aligned to our core – our blue print. The trouble is, most people don’t know these things about themselves.

So how do we go about understanding who we are at our core so that we can create a life where it’s easy to be well?

Elke says: “There is a deeper dimension to us. A deeper knowledge that sits outside of our thinking and doing. We always have 2 forms of intelligence: Thinking intelligence and wisdom intelligence.”

A great example is a toddler. A tired toddler sleeps. A hungry toddler asks for food. A lonely toddler ask for a cuddle, and seeks company. They are not operating from their thinking – they are operating from innate wisdom and an inner guidance that we all have available to us all the time. A deeper knowing that instinctively guides us to what we need.

It’s this wisdom reveals a moment of insight when you’re out walking, thinking about something completely different, and the answer to a problem you’re trying to solve suddenly comes to you.

The trouble is, we override it. It’s 3pm and you’ve got 20 emails you haven’t replied to and a report you haven’t finished and you’re exhausted. What do you do? Our guess is you’d grab a cup of coffee and crack on. The decisions we make in these moments are what makes the difference.

We love this quote from Isik Tlabar: “Get quiet enough to hear the whispers.”

When we get quiet enough to hear our wisdom, the decisions are pretty easy.

Wellbeing, peace and clarity is already inside of us. The job of our organisations’ is to support their people to find it and stay aligned to it.

How do organisations achieve this? We need to teach people the difference between human doing and human being and help them understand who they are as a person, that there is a better, easier way to stay aligned with their core. The second thing is to give them skills to help them align to their wisdom.

Wellbeing underpins of all the leadership programmes we run, because unless you can proactively look after your own wellbeing, it’s questionable whether, as a leader, you should be supporting others to look after theirs. Get in touch to find out how we do this, or learn more about our programmes below.





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