“…I’ll be dead because my blood pressure is way too high!”
“Kham was a tall, big boned Asian man who had asked for my earliest appointment time and booked it immediately. He was an emerging entrepreneur with a thriving lawn care business with five staff working for him. He worked hard and long on his business and projected both enthusiasm and dedication to it…the hallmarks of a successful person.
When he arrived, he looked flustered and almost out of breath with his trip to my office. Once he hung up his coat and settled in a chair, he took a deep breath and kind of melted further into the chair.
Now it was only 8 AM, I said, “Busy morning already?”
He look over at me and replied, “No…pretty typical, actually! I just get so frantic at times…like there is too much on my plate, too many pans in the fire, juggling too many plates in the air at once…you know what I mean?”
“So, today’s pace is pretty common for you, Kham?” I asked.
“Way too common! It’s partly why I called you. The other part is my doctor said if I don’t learn to focus fast…I’ll be dead because my blood pressure is way too high!”
“What’s on your plate today, Kham?” I asked him.
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” – John F. Kennedy – politician
“… which contributes to our species and motivates you in life.”
“Well, let’s see. I have a sick stepson at home with the flu; I have to talk to one of my staff about his tardiness; I have to call my banker; I have one of my best customers upset with her last shrub trim; my back is sore again; and it goes on and on.” he replied, exasperated.
“You do sound busy with lots of things going on at once. How do you set priorities about which to do first?” I asked.
“While I like to think I have priorities, the truth is I tend to deal with whoever is in front of my face or making the most noise at that moment in time.” he said.
“How long have you been using that approach, Kham?”
“As long as I can remember. And, I think it has finally caught up with me…which is why I’m here.”
“Let me first state the obvious, you have several important things to do at once and you’re struggle with their order of importance. That suggests you don’t have a clear direction for your daily life. I need to ask you a couple of questions..first, do you know your life purpose?”
“I would guess, to survive. But beyond that I have no idea, Ken!” he said.
“Well, you’re right we are all genetically wired to survive…but I’m wondering if you know the specific form of your purpose which contributes to our species and motivates you in life.” I said.
“I have no idea, Ken!” he replied.
“I would argue that nothing gives life more purpose than the realization that every moment of consciousness is a precious and fragile gift.”
– Steven Pinker, scientist
“… if I learn to be more decisive, I will reduce my blood pressure?”
“My second question is, do you know your highest values?”
“I would say my family, honesty and hard work.” he responded.
“I suspect these are related to your values…but I’m wondering if you can articulate your top three highest values and how they are demonstrated in your daily activities.” I said.
“Ken, how will knowing my purpose and values help me with my blood pressure?”
“Kahm, it looks like your mind is too scattered too often because you don’t have a clear idea of what’s most important to you. When you do know, then you can act decisively whenever the situation calls for it. This decisiveness reduces your stress and your blood pressure.”
“Are you saying, if I learn to be more decisive, I will reduce my blood pressure?”
“There is lots of research which shows clear, concise decision making, based on a clear set of priorities, can reduce stress dramatically.”
“So, knowing my purpose and my highest values will enable me to make decisions that I like, and so, will relax me more than using my other strategy…it kind of makes sense when you think about it,” Kham said, staring thoughtfully off to the side briefly.
“Knowing your purpose and highest values creates a state of presence which is simply a gratitude for your life as it is, a certainty of who you are and what you represent, and an expectation of both support and challenge at all times. This creates emotional and physical homeostasis or balance within us. This stabilizes all our physiology including our blood pressure. It is why so many people practice yoga, meditation, mindfulness and other forms of creating presence.”
“To the person with a firm purpose all men and things are servants.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, poet
“But, my health, being first, kind of surprised me.”
“That makes a lot of sense, Ken. I have a friend, Serge, who says his yoga regime is the best thing he does for his health.”
“That’s exactly what I’m talking about, Kham. If you’re ready, we will start by uncovering your highest values. It involves you finding three responses to thirteen questions. Then, we use your 39 answers to uncover your highest values. Are you ready to begin?”
“I am, let’s get to it!” he replied.
About 45 minutes later, Kham had uncovered his highest values and seemed both pleased and a little surprised.
“What do you think about your highest values, Kham?”
He was thinking in his head for a bit before he said, “My family being number 2 and my work being number 3 fit for me. But, my health, being first, kind of surprised me. I wasn’t expecting that.”
I replied, “You have probably heard that without our health, we got nothing else. You can’t be much of a family member or a business person unless you have your health, eh?”
“I never realized how my health is a prerequisite to the rest of my life…it must come first…so, I must come first…if I’m to have a future at all!” he said with a grave seriousness to his voice.
“Kham looked down at the four words and his eyes teared immediately.”
“Ready to uncover your purpose? I have seven questions for you. Remember to avoid over thinking them. Trust your heart and intuition and write down whatever idea or which event surfaces in your mind, OK?” I asked.
“OK!” Kahn replied.
We spent the next fifteen minutes collecting his answers. I took his responses and looked for a common theme. I uncovered four words, which seem to capture that theme. I wrote them on the clipboard under his answers which were already collected there. Then, I passed him the clipboard and waited.
Kham looked down at the four words and his eyes teared immediately. Then, he closed them for a minute, and one tear squeezed from his left eye and rolled down his cheek. I waited.
Then, I said softly, “Kham, it has been my experience knowing your purpose explains your past and present to you. If that’s true, then perhaps you have a clearer idea who you are and why you do what you do!”
“Ken, these four words, Show Everyone Constant Respect, not only explain how I raise my children, how I relate to others, but also, what I strive for in my business. But, what is most telling to me is that it is also what I need to do for myself in relation to my blood pressure, my health and really…my future.”
“Tell me more, Kham!”
“…when I change my mind, I can change my health…”
“I haven’t been respecting myself, my health or my body. I need to focus consciously on my purpose and highest values. Then I will know what needs to be done first, second, third, and so on. Then, because I know my priorities, I will be more calm and this will help, not just my blood pressure…but my life.”
Kham came back to clean up some other confusions he had been carrying around. He reported initially just more clarity in his thoughts, then more efficiency in his work and then more presence in his daily life. His blood pressure stabilized first, and then slowly returned to a more normal range as he consciously led a more purposeful life using his highest values as his reference point. He reported feeling more grounded and calm both inside and outside. He noted how appreciative he had become for parts of his life he hadn’t even noticed before, especially his partner. And, one of his closest friends accused him of being, “so spiritual, lately.”
One of his parting comments to me was, “I never realized we are all one unified system, body and mind, and when I change my mind, I can change my health…awesome!”
“There is a plan and a purpose, a value to every life, no matter what its location, age, gender or disability.”
– Sharron Angle, politician
Until Next time…
Now you know your mind and body are one system ensuring your well being. Without a clear idea of your purpose and values you will experience scattered thinking, and ineffectiveness which could endanger your health and well being. So, uncover your purpose and highest values so you can create more presence and appreciation in your own life.
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