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AHA fosters and supports community efforts to make healthy eating and physical activity the way of life in Wake County.

Perspectives May 2014: Managing the Learning

I just joked to AHA’s former director, Sheree Vodicka, that I need to master alchemy. There is incredible energy and support for AHA’s work, and I love it. Yet I’m reaching physical limitations of how much I can do – time and volume of work, meetings, and taking the next steps that come from all these.

We have been sharing a ton of events, work projects and outcomes. I feel so good about these! I’ve shared with you some of my learning curve and exploratory campaign. There is so much we want to do, and so much opportunity, but there often comes a point when we can’t finish a week’s to-do list or do “more.”

I keep noting, mostly with humor, that this work is about improving health and happiness, fitting truly nourishing food and natural movement into our days, and into the days of residents throughout Wake County. I am constantly tempted to give in to the excitement of the work, and the pressure of what I think I must do in order to do the work really well, and not put attention to my own physical needs. My body is rebelling!

So I am working to honor it. I got a standing desk for my office. I’ve had some walking meetings. I’ve skipped some meetings that I really wanted to be at and am practicing structuring my time. Those are all structure and process, which we have to do really well to be successful in our work, and to make our lives work. While I feel guilty for some of the limits I am setting, I know that working too many late nights is not a healthy choice and is not sustainable.

I am reminding myself that, in addition to the structure and process work, there is a way to hold space for the magic to happen, and pay enough attention to appreciate the synergies or synchronicities that are beyond the physical resources we put into something. In the world of alchemy, 2 + 2 = far more than 4. We see this with people and organizations who are true masters of their work. I see Steve Jobs as an alchemist. Brilliant, visionary, more than technically proficient, and his impact went beyond what we might think a person or organization’s work can create.

So I will continue to practice choosing a healthy work-life balance. Ultimately I am motivated by wanting a good life, for all of us – our partners and residents, and me too. I am grateful to my colleagues and Board of Directors for their support as we plan and do the most important work, honor limitations of time and physical capacity, and leave room for the magic to come in too. There is such energy and support for this work, and no one of us is doing it alone.  Thanks for being part of AHA!

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