Maria’s Sunday Paper: Making Time for What You Value Most

by | Apr 29, 2018 | I've Been Thinking, The Sunday Paper

Maria’s Sunday Paper: Making Time for What You Value Most

by | Apr 29, 2018 | I've Been Thinking, The Sunday Paper

This week was a good time to think about what you value in your life.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron delivered an impassioned speech to Congress this week about what he values and what he believes in. Hearing him speak got me thinking about my own beliefs and values.

“Our strongest beliefs are challenged by the rise of a yet unknown new world order,” Macron said. So true. There are so many forces these days that are testing our values and our beliefs — those we hold as individuals, and as nations.

That’s why I think it’s a good exercise for all of us to stop and think, “What do I believe?” “What do I value?”

Do you know what you believe in? Do you live your life according to those beliefs and values? None of us are perfect at walking our walk, but what I’ve found helpful is to stop and check in with one’s self and assess how one’s values and beliefs are lining up with one’s actual life.

For example…

Do you talk about saving the planet and then not recycle?

Do you talk about the importance of parenting and then look at your schedule and see that you are a workaholic? 

Do you talk about women’s empowerment, but as a business leader, you refuse to provide paid family leave?

Are you a registered Democrat, but in your mind and heart you are more purple than blue and yet you’re afraid to register as an Independent? Or vice versa?

Do you talk about brain health and then not follow what doctors tell you? (My daughter told me to add this because I need to do a better job at what I’m telling others to do, like managing stress and eating less sugar.)

This week, I spoke at a women’s business conference in San Francisco. I thought quite a bit about what message I could offer the crowd of thousands of women that would rise above the other professional advice they might hear that day about branding, networking, or asking for a raise.

I thought long and hard and asked myself, “what do I wish someone would have said to me when I was 20, 30, 40 and beyond?”

Here are the three takeaways I shared with the crowd. (Trust me, I had a lot more to share than this, but I only had 25 minutes on stage.)

1) Look at your life like a big pie (or cake, if that’s more your thing). Then, draw a pie of your life. Divide the pie into pieces and name those pieces, with the biggest piece of the pie going towards what you value most in your life.

Color code the pie, and then color code your schedule. Check it monthly. Is what you value being valued by you? If not, rearrange it. Let this serve as a visual reminder to yourself as to what you value. This might sound simplistic, but I think it’s practical.

My pie consists of: my children, my larger family, my work, my friends, my mission to end Alzheimer’s, my health, my self-care, my faith, my joy and my “yippee!” moments. I try to focus my life on these pieces every day.

2) Your work is not your family. Don’t think of your work in the same way that you think of your family. It’s a business. Now, if you are in the workplace, use your voice to bring change and compassion into that space. That’s not only good for your health. It’s good for the bottom line. Employees that feel seen, valued and treated with compassion are more likely to be loyal and stay longer.

I’ve spent the vast majority of my work life in professions that didn’t value compassion, kindness or care. Instead, they valued competition, an incessant work ethic, and a survival-of-the-fittest mentality. It never dawned on me that I could use my voice in the news business to change it to be a more compassionate place. Today, I know that I can.

No one also spoke to me about the importance of emotional intelligence. I now tell my children that their emotional intelligence, coupled with a strong work ethic, will be what they will really need to succeed in life. And, if they find themselves in a business that doesn’t value their emotional intelligence, they should leave.

3) Every year, put a day on your schedule towards the end of the year and block it out for a yearly personal check-in/self-inquiry day. Ask yourself, how has the year impacted you? Have you changed, if at all? Have your opinions changed? Your beliefs? Who are you today compared to the year before?

Growing and evolving aren’t things to be scared of. They’re things to embrace.

Finally, know this: you are the only person who can make your life meaningful. You are the only person who can prioritize your health. You are the only person who can determine why you are here on this earth and what you are meant to do here. If you don’t care about yourself, then that sends a message to others not to care, either.

Self-confidence can disappear, so work to stay on top of it. Work to get it back if it fades, but don’t despair if it does fade. It can fade for all of us at different times, but you can resurrect it, and in doing so, you resurrect yourself.

Surround yourself with others who value what you value — not people who are the same as you, but people who value the same things as you. Keep your eyes, ears, mind, and (most importantly) your heart open. Know that you will experience heartbreak, loss, grief and pain, but you will also experience joy, laughter, love and plenty of “yippee moments” along the way.

You don’t get the good stuff in life without some of the bad along the way, so cultivate your inner fortitude so that you can get through it all. Cultivate your open mind and heart. Leap into your life, stay the course and be grateful for it all.

No matter your age, no matter where you are in your career or your life… take time to figure out what you value and then pursue something bigger than you that’s worth believing in. Trust me, this exercise is worth taking the time to do. You are worth it, as is your life.

P.S. “I’ve Been Thinking… Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life” is still on The NY Times Bestsellers list! OMG, thank you and yippee! Oh, and it’s almost Mother’s Day! Yippee, yippee!

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WHAT OTHERS HAVE BEEN THINKING

I’ve been thinking about the individuals featured below and how their views on the world rise above the noise… 

GUY WINCH TELLS US HOW TO FIX A BROKEN HEART

I had an enlightening conversation last week with author and Architect of Change Guy Winch, Ph.D. In his latest book “How to Fix a Broken Heart,” he discusses why it’s crucial to treat our emotional health as we do our physical health. [WATCH OUR CONVERSATION HERE]

 

IN HER NEW BOOK, LAURIE NADEL, PhD, EXPLORES HOW TO MANAGE SELF-CARE FOLLOWING PERSONAL TRAUMA  

I admire people who turn their traumatic experiences into a passion with the purpose of moving humanity forward. Architect of Change Laurie Nadel, a psychotherapist and author of the new book “The Five Gifts: Discovering Hope, Healing, and Strength When Disaster Strikes,” works with people who’ve experienced extreme trauma. Through her own family’s disaster, she discovered “five gifts” that helped her rebuild her life and will help you, too. [READ MORE]

ELENA FLORES-BREESE EXPLAINS HOW THE 2018 BOSTON MARATHON HELPED HER OVERCOME PTSD

Architect of Change Elena Flores-Breese experienced, firsthand, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing as her husband was nearing the finish line. She spent years working through PTSD and finally faced her fears by returning to this year’s marathon. [READ HER TRIUMPHANT STORY HERE]

PATRICK COOK-DEEGAN EXPLAINS WHY TODAY’S YOUTH MUST FIND PURPOSE AND PASSION IN LIFE

Architect of Change Patrick Cook-Deegan, a founder of Project Wayfinder, has made it his personal mission to help young people find passion in life. In this Sunday Paper exclusive, Patrick explores how his work with today’s youth empowers them to find purpose and contribute to the world around them. [READ MORE]

AS HEAD OF LOS ANGELES CHRISTIAN HEALTH CENTERS, DR. LISA ABDISHOO PROVIDES DIGNITY AND CARE TO THE HOMELESS 

My brother Bobby brought the efforts of Dr. Lisa Abdishoo to my attention and suggested we honor her as our Architect of Change of the Week. President and CEO of Los Angeles Christian Health Centers, Lisa ensures quality care, spiritual support and dignity for homeless people on Skid Row. [READ HER STORY HERE]

NEWS ABOVE THE NOISE

I’ve been thinking… these news stories will inform and inspire you.

1. France’s President Emmanuel Macron Extols the Importance of Climate Change Policy: I was glad to see President Macron stand up for the importance of climate change policy last week. During his address before a joint session of Congress, he enforced the legitimacy of the Paris climate agreement, demanding that the U.S. do its part to provide future generations with “a planet that is still habitable in 25 years.” [WATCH HERE]

2. A New Poll Reveals Some Christians Don’t Believe in the God of the Bible: I must admit, I was surprised by these findings, which reveal that religion in America is even more complicated than one would think. [READ MORE]

3. The Effects of Falling in Love on Your Brain: Ever wonder what falling in love does to your brain chemistry? Helen Fisher, an author of “Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love” and a biological anthropologist, scanned the brains of 100 people who had recently fallen in love to understand what’s going on inside their heads. [READ MORE]

4. Can Standing at Your Desk Make Your Smarter?: This theory makes a lot of sense. According to a recent study, sedentary behavior has a negative effect on brain health. The author posits that movement and activity would be beneficial for brain function. [READ MORE]

5. Taking Mental Breaks After a Bad Day at Work Can Help You Sleep Better: I say to do this even if you don’t have a bad day. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, negative behavior by a work colleague often leads to repetitive thoughts and contributes to insomnia. [READ MORE]

6. Special ‘Closet’ Gives Students Safe Space to Have a Good Cry: What a great idea. A visual arts student at the University of Utah installed a “cry closet” in the library to allow fellow students to take 10-minute crying sessions when they need it. [READ MORE]

7. Instead of Checking His Wife into a Nursing Home Following Her Brain Aneurysm, He Took Her Around the World in a Wheelchair: Finally, I wanted to share this moving story of true love and dedication. Defying doctors orders, Andy Fierlit decided to show his wife of 50 years, Donna, the world following her devastating brain aneurysm. Despite being wheelchair-bound and suffering from short-term memory loss, the Fierlits’ have visited more than 20 countries. [WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW]

SUNDAY REFLECTION

This week, I wanted to share a portion of the eulogy I gave at the memorial for my dear friend, Nancy McFadden, who I wrote about recently in The Sunday Paper. This reflection reminds us all to be “like Nancy” and to stay the course.

INSPIRATION FOR THE WEEK AHEAD

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JOIN ME THIS JUNE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ALZHEIMER’S REGISTER TODAY!

I’ve been thinking… you might want to join us for Move for Minds 2018! This initiative of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement returns this June. Join me in person at these events as we work to make a difference in the fight to wipe out Alzheimer’s. 

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SHOP OUR STORE: SEE OUR COLLECTION

Get Empowered. Pass It Forward.

We’re so excited to announce that we’ve added a few new items to our shop! Check out our stylish apparel to fight Alzheimer’s, created in partnership with Art With a Purpose. You can also order our newest product, the “Maria” candle – the same scent used in her office and home. Visit the shop on MariaShriver.com to learn more.

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