“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound to mine, let’s work together. ~ Lilla Watson, Indigenous activist, academic and artist who has said this quote is a collective belief born from the activist groups she was a part of.
In September, Sweet Livity will turn six years old. As the fall and our anniversary approaches, now is a good moment to take stock and reflect on where the vision and work has landed and how Sweet Livity got here.
When this wellness journey began, it was born out of a deep desire to shift my personal healing journey into one that could benefit not just me, but many. The original idea was to support people to be happier and healthier in their personal lives and in their work; to be able to do their good work in the world without sacrificing their well-being.
In the beginning…
Sweet Livity began offering wellness retreats and coaching in people’s homes and later began offered wellness retreats and coaching for organizations. Learning what supports people to manage stress and increase personal sustainability led to articulation of the Self-Care pillar we currently offer
Self-care – Services support workers to: a) recover from and better manage stress; b) work in healthier, more productive ways; and, c) improve mental, emotional, spiritual, economic and cultural well-being.
About two years in….
But supporting self-care was not enough. Studying the connection between people’s stress and the culture of their workplaces, Sweet Livity began offering services to support leaders to gain awareness about and address the ways they unconsciously contribute to inequitable work place practices which trigger stress and trauma for workers who already experience multiple internal and external oppressions based on cultural differences of language, age, race, ethnicity, gender, ability, sexuality, citizenship status and geographic boundaries. Learning how to shift the way leaders engage workers and partners so that everyone’s authentic voice is heard, understood, affirmed and included motivated articulation of the Community Care pillar.
Community care– Services support: a) workers to cooperate and resolve conflicts across teams, partnerships and intersecting identities of race, class, immigration, gender, sexuality, etc.; and b) work sites to address and eliminate “on the job” discrimination, one of the leading sources of stress for Americans (American Psychological Association 2015).
About 4 years in…
Yet, neither pillar adequately addressed growing economic disparities for many workers who live in households and communities with more limited resources and services. Recent work supporting nonprofits to become more entrepreneurial, encouraging cooperative business efforts for collective impact, and cultivating greater equitable economic investment into our businesses and within the vulnerable communities where we operate inspired articulation of the Business Care pillar.
Business care– Services support business (nonprofit and for profit) leaders to have greater impact in the vulnerable communities in which their businesses operate by: a) reimagining and restructuring their business models to be more sustainable for workers and to generate greater profits and impact; and, b) cooperating across their businesses for greater collective impact including advocating to influence policy and generate more equitable economic development in vulnerable communities.
Preparing to move forward…
Today, the reality is that the majority of Americans are still stressed out, with the two main factors being work and money. And data shows that stressed workers are more likely to be unhealthy, poorly motivated, less productive, less safe at work and their organizations less likely to be successful in a competitive market (World Health Organization).
As we look forward, Sweet Livity is looking across the thee pillars to better understand where it’s having the most impact on helping people reduce their stress, what offerings are best supporting the effectiveness, sustainability and well-being of the individual and groups we serve. This includes looking at opportunities to deepen existing and cultivate new partnerships with people whose aspirations and liberation around connected with our own. Stay tuned!
With love and gratitude,