I’ve been thinking about the word nourish lately. What it means when it comes to nutrition, creativity, self-care, business, and even lead generation. I guess this time of year is the time when I reflect on my goals in every area and what’s working and what’s not.

I used to divide my task list each day into sections: Work, Self, and Home. It helped me remember that the tasks I did to take care of my household were important, and not just impediments to running my business. The Self section came after that, when it became clear that taking care of myself was equally as important as my business and my household. If I’m not engaged in some creative pursuit, my performance in all other areas suffers. If I’m not taking care of my health, my productivity declines.

A image of four triangular raised beds, mostly empty, with a few plants scattered here and there.
My ever-growing medicine wheel garden, early in the season.

This time of year, I look at each of those areas and think about what my goals for the year were and how did I do? Did I get closer? Did I change my mind about any of them? Did I just ignore them and coast along?

After a visit with my doctor last week, it became abundantly clear that I wasn’t making progress toward some of my health goals, which made me reconsider the work I’ve been doing in that area, which led me to the word nourish. As I began to plan some shifts in how I eat (I’ve been following a low carb, keto-ish plan for a few years, and I’m going to move to more of a whole-food, lower fat plan), I also began to think about what else I might need to spend some time nourishing.

Google tells me that there are two definitions of nourish:

1. provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition
“I was doing everything I could to nourish and protect the baby.”
2. keep (a feeling or belief) in one’s mind, typically for a long time
“he has a long nourished an ambition to bring the show to Broadway”

Those two definitions can apply to all three of my focus areas. There are certain business goals I’ve nourished for a long time (I’m happy to tell you that one of my longest-held income goals is within reach this year). This week, a friend and I have blocked out some time to talk about our business plans for 2022, and help each other figure out how to reach our goals.

Of course to meet those health-related goals I need the right nourishment, and not just when it comes to food. That definition includes “other substances.” In my case that means the right mix of exercise, medications, and rest. The best formula of all of those things changes over time, and it’s helpful to consider what’s working and, for me, right now, what’s not.

Nourishing my creative self is one component of good mental health. The thing that’s been missing here is creative writing. I’m trying to build that habit back, but it takes consistent nourishment!

Do you find that proper physical nourishment improves your creative life? Do you have long-held goals that you keep well-fed?

As a gardener, I know how important it is to keep the soil nice and balanced and full of nourishing substances. If I can manage that, surely I can manage to nourish all the facets of myself, too.

Two triangular raised beds, surrounded by saw dust, filled with healthy-looking plants.
One section of the garden, later in the year.

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Practices for Perpetuity

Several weeks ago, I saw this on Twitter: “Use of the word sustainable is unsustainable.”  Joining the ranks of green, eco-friendly and all too many other buzzwords, sustainable is quickly becoming a word I try to avoid in writing simply because it is so overused as to be nearing cliche status.   Even worse, once a term becomes a buzzword it begins to invite suspicion.

Avoiding the word though, doesn’t mean I don’t support the movement that spawned the overuse of the word.  My favorite businesses are those that follow practices don’t necessarily encourage growth, but that are designed in such a way the business can exist for years to come without exhausting resources.  In every town there is a store or a restaurant that has been operated by the same family for generations.  Those businesses were sustainable long before it was a buzzword.

The recent economic difficulties should provide a lesson in the results of  un-sustainability.  Constant growth of towns, of profits, of home sizes, of home prices simply cannot continue.  There is a ceiling whether we choose to see it or not and when we choose to not see it, we may crash into it painfully.

Sometimes, the outlook for our society seems so grim, I cannot see a solution.  Then I will read about or meet an entrepreneur or farmer or writer who is making a change in the way things are done.  Perhaps they are delivering their products or services in a new, novel way or refusing to grow in order to maintain the business they built conscientiously or choosing to make less money so that they can make a difference for people instead.  I see young professionals fearlessly starting their own businesses because the employment landscape doesn’t suit them.

Focusing on people who choose to improve the way business is conducted, who work to make sure resources are used responsibly, who are not afraid to make a living by approaching their chosen profession from a new angle will help the rest of us have the courage to make a difference ourselves.

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