On my recent TEDx Talk I shared two definitions of the word ‘sustainability’. One is very common and familiar to us – and was especially so for the TEDx audience, given that the theme of the conference was ‘Growing Greener Generations’:
the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance
The other definition is more literal:
the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed.
Sustainability is, then, about the capacity for something to be sustained, upheld, lifted up.
I’d like to invite you to bring that definition into your life at the moment. Is the way you are living your life right now sustainable? Are you compromising your values and beliefs too often? Are your boundaries – for example around your ‘life/work balance’ – being (re)negotiated too much?
You are a stand for what you tolerate.
You may argue that you have the thick skin and resilience for that tolerance now – or you may think that this is the simple price to pay for current and future success. But after how long will those compromises around what matters to you be bearable? Another year? Two years? Five? And then where will you be? And who will you be? Too many people forget all this and end up being whatever is left when their employer has had its way with them.
One of the ways we realize that our boundaries have been compromised is by remembering what the boundaries were. Or creating them afresh. That’s why sustainability begins in language. What is this life you want to sustain? Who is the person you want to uphold? What are you Yes to? To what are you No?
No small questions, these, but the answers are the foundation of our life.
If you’d like to explore the idea of a personal sustainability in your life, send me a message. I’d be happy to speak with you.