The North Shore is one of Katie's happy places...where is yours?

The North Shore is one of Katie’s happy places…where is yours?

We all need a personal strategy to de-stress. For Katie French, Administrative Fellow at Regions Hospital, her sanctuary is in nature. “If I get anxious, my friends ask ‘when was the last time you’ve been outside?’ They know what I need!” Whether she’s rock climbing in Yosemite or taking a more meditative hour in the woods, Katie uses the outdoors as a tool to ground herself – and while she’s out there, she’s frequently thinking about how to keep improving her Seven Fs Wheel.

Outdoor Therapy

Katie had an “aha” moment in Good Leadership Training. She shared with me, “One of the Training facilitators pointed out that what you spend time and money on is indicative of what you prioritize.” She had always known she loved the outdoors, but when she looked at how much time and money she invested into hiking, camping, and outdoor activities, Katie finally named nature as one of her main priorities. “Understanding myself better through Training has actually helped me relate to other people better: even if someone’s priorities are really different from mine, I can now imagine how that person values how they spend their time.”

“I call my time outside my ‘outdoor therapy,’” Katie explains. “Being challenged gives me energy, so I challenge myself outside.” In just a few weeks, she’s hiking part of the Pacific Crest Trail by herself. She’s approaching it as continual meditation – a way to reflect on the goodness in her life, all while adding more good experiences. “To be a good leader, you have to be positive. People want to work with happy people.” And her time in the wilderness keeps her happy.

Katie's phone alarm is her reminder to stay positive every day.

Katie’s phone alarm is her reminder to stay positive every day.

Prioritizing positivity helped Katie in the professional world, too. “Every day of Training was so uplifting, so now I try to bring that to my job.” She makes an effort to find the benefits of having an uncomfortable conversation, or stay positive about solving a problem. And, she’s thinking about how she spends her time at work: “I’ve started to sit down at the beginning of each day and decide what needs to be done, and what can wait. It’s helped me be more productive, and also reminds me that I do have time for things I used to ignore, like networking.”

A Nightly Reminder

At 9 p.m. every night, Katie’s phone buzzes with a reminder to think about three positive things that happened during the day. It’s one way Katie blends the Seven Fs, a tool to measure satisfaction in Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness, Friends, Fun, and Future. She reflects back on funny or charming moments, and frequently encourages her friends to do so, too – blending Fun and Friends. And if she’s alone, it can be a spiritual exercise and a reminder to stay positive tomorrow – blending Faith and Future. “Some people say, seriously, you do that? But I shared this nightly practice with the other professionals in Training, and they were so receptive and excited to try it themselves.”

Katie and her friends went on a mountaineering trip to Alaska - next year, Mt. Rainier!

Katie and her friends went on a mountaineering trip to Alaska – next year, Mt. Rainier!

Katie keeps her Goodness Badge in her office as a reminder to think about the Seven Fs during the day, too. “The pressures of life fluctuate, so my Seven Fs Wheel falls short in different places at different times. But I’m always trying to strengthen it.” And she’s turning back to nature to keep supporting goodness in her life – she hasn’t even left for the Pacific Crest Trail, and she’s already planning to climb Mount Rainier next year!

Good leaders know what helps them de-stress, and they share those strategies with people close to them. And they set up constant reminders to focus on goodness.

Please tell me: what rejuvenates you?