How are you, Really?

“How are you?“

“How are you doing?“ 
“How’s it going?“ 

These are colloquial questions often used for greeting, breaking the ice, even casually just saying hello. A client of mine has added, in my opinion, significance, and authenticity to these questions by including the word “really“ at the end of the question. “How are you, really?”  Instead of a casual, throw-it-out-there greeting, they add this simple word which gives us pause and allows for space to truly comment and share how we are, “really“.

Not new to the professional application, nor to our personal perspectives, is the topic of wellness. Well-intended organizations spend serious time, attention, and money in the pursuit of wellness for their employees. We have all read about wellness, or even experienced these efforts in our personal and professional worlds – the intentional and focused effort toward our wellbeing. But what is the real impact of well-being in the workforce?

Gallup defines well-being as a life well lived. Where all the things that are important to each of us, and what we think about and how we experience our lives, intersect. Wellbeing is comprised of five elements: Career, Social, Financial, Community, and Physical. Let’s look at each of the five and Gallup’s simple definitions:
Career: “liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals“
Social: “having supportive relationships and love in your life“
Financial: “managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security“
Community: “liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community“
Physical: “having good health and enough energy to get things done daily“

A key factor and overarching reality to this approach is that these five elements of well-being are not independent, in fact, they are interdependent. They work together and have a great effect on each other. As an example, think about career well-being. If you have ever lost a job or had a career shift, you realize quite quickly the relevance to other factors of wellbeing outside of your career.  Financial wellbeing.  The impact on your Physical wellbeing associated with stress. Community wellbeing if relocation is necessary. And social well-being if your work friendships and relationships will be affected. Again, inter-dependent.

With this in mind, the state of our human reality and the current situation is worth more than just casual attention. Gallup has discovered that 29% of US adults are not thriving in any element, and only 7% are thriving in all five elements. And, in the workplace, we know that well-being is interconnected with an employee’s engagement. In longitudinal studies, Gallup found that well-being and engagement predicts the future state of one another.  Not only are the two correlated but there is a causational relationship.  This discovery may change the lens by which leaders and managers strive to engage their workforce. 

Simply stated, now more than ever, well-being deserves our attention. As managers, leaders, coaches, and even those who just care for others, we have much work to do!  But, what are the intentional steps, plans, intersections with application that can be considered?

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