Earlier this month, I got back from a life-changing trip to Kenya and many have asked about the highlights or my thoughts of the experience. It was grounding. I’ve been much slower since I got back, but that might be due to jet lag from a nearly 20-hour flight! In all seriousness, the trip has me pondering the question, “what really matters?” We met people who literally sleep on dirt floors, yet they seemed full of joy and life. We saw toddlers wandering around alone, playing, with not a worry for their security by the parents. We saw thousands of animals (especially in watching the great migration) with such beautiful colors and features. I am astonished at how they all live and thrive in their environments. It was breathtaking.
Here are my Kenya inspired thoughts:
Seek different perspectives. Get out and see how others live. This might not have to be adventuring half way around the world, it could simply be in a very different community than the one you work and live in your city. Spend time getting to know people different from you to gain a new perspective on life. Visit a new church, attend a community event, go shopping in a different community.
Seriously, do not take things for granted! Whether it be the US-based airline amenities, running (warm) water in our homes, air conditioning to keep us cool while we sleep, drinking water available anywhere you go, everyday conveniences for shopping and eating or easily available Wi-Fi, these are the simple luxuries that many others in the world do not have. I wonder if true joy comes from seeing every single thing we have as a gift. I’ve realized that I can get way deeper in my gratitude prayers.
Connectedness is core. Whether it’s animals or humans, there is one core theme when people are connected. You see joy! Our hearts would go out to that one wildebeest separated from their group and our hearts would warm watching families operate in small spaces, without distraction, helping each other with tasks or laughing and playing together. Isolation is a huge problem in our country. I think it’s important to be proactive in building community around us and our families.
Take time away. Getting away from the regular schedules and environments helps us to dive deep inside ourselves and get new energy, conviction or ideas to propel the next phase forward. I suggest taking time away to work on you, your marriage or partnership and your relationship with your children/family members; they’re all important. Sometimes a getaway is a day trip to a state park and other times it’s an African Safari. Just take time to get away. You’re better when you get back.
Post by Nikki Lewallen
Nikki Lewallen is an accomplished leader, business development pro, speaker and philanthropist. As CEO of Rainmakers, Nikki supports the Indianapolis business community by providing a platform for business growth through relationships. A natural connector of people, Nikki’s expertise in business development enables her to find and nurture strategic relationships that result in meaningful business outcomes. One of her favorite things is to learn new, authentic business development practices and teach them to others. Under her leadership, Rainmakers has served over 5,000 members to date.
As reflected in her leadership style, Nikki is an avid proponent of robust company culture. She believes that for people to succeed in business and life, it is necessary for them to find meaning in their work. Today, Nikki works nationally alongside CEOs, Presidents and key executives to build highly engaged employers. She has built a national network of the best HR and talent solutions to tie her gift of connecting to the resources leaders need to move the needle on employee engagement, ultimately helping more people “Love Mondays.”