Flourishing: Beyond Wellbeing


Something is happening that’s worth talking about:

As we confront some of the greatest challenges we’ve ever faced at the global level, people are talking more about what matters most to them and about the future. Wellness, wellbeing and happiness are words we are consistently reading about in mainstream and social media, our politicians are concerned about mental health and corporates are sponsoring mindfulness programmes.

In the wider business communities mental health and psychological safety are major concerns. The marginalised are being included, fear-free zones for open dialogue are being created, diversity and inclusion are headlining corporate agendas. Whilst progress is being made these issues are often being highlighted from a genuine concern and in some instances when a crisis has occurred, we have yet to shift the business context regarding the subject of wellbeing from a ‘nice to have’ to wellbeing as an ‘essential foundation’ for business prosperity.

The travel industry has changed incredibly catering to this burgeoning need: destinations are now becoming journeys of self-discovery. Travellers are going to exotic destinations to ‘find themselves’, visiting spas to restore and regenerate. For many, hobbies have become opportunities for personal development – yoga classes are booming. Alas in many situations after just 2 short weeks back at work life does not look very much different than before they left. Short term fixes, temporary relief from the stresses and strains or our lives does not produce transformation. The sad but true discovery for many is that optimum wellbeing is a continuum not an interim, a life long journey not a destination. A continuity of discipline and practice is needed to retain and continually regain a deep sense of wellbeing that remains with us even in the face of adversity.

In his book ‘Outliers’ Malcolm Gladwell writes of 10,000 hours being the number of hours that it takes to be masterful. If we counted the hours each of us have engaged in the conscious practice of being the best we can be and living well, what might that be? Living beyond the everyday notion of health & wellbeing, which is often seen as a ‘nice to have’ is flourishing. This state of being fully alive, of flourishing is dynamic. The greatest example is of course lies in Mother Nature with her wonderful ability to move through each season with grace. For us humans, it means moving through the seasons of the soul with grace, the letting go of the past and what no longer serves us, being able to return to the better version of ourselves in the face of setbacks, embracing the new as it arrives, being engaged in meaningful work and having a purpose that enlivens us.

With the privileges and choices we have in our western lives, combined with the resources we now have available at our finger tips its time to transcend our reasons and justifications for neglecting our responsibility for personal health and wellbeing and move to a new level of conscious action and disciplined practices which would enable us to flourish. We all are seeking to thrive not simply survive. At the corporate level leaders who genuinely care for their people are able to contribute in this state of flourishing within the enterprise by valuing the contribution of their people, engaging them in the vision and purpose of the enterprise and providing environments in which people will succeed enabling a shift from single focus on profit and results to human flourishing and business prosperity.