Obtaining your World Peace: A lesson from Gracie Lou Freebush and Simon Sinek
Sorry to Miss Congeniality Gracie Lou Freebush, but ‘World Peace’ may be a bit far off these days. However, she’s got a passion for a cause (whether that’s living in harmony or strengthening the parole system…), and I like it.
Often times, we as professional women seem to lose sight of the fact that we can lead outside of the office, court room, hospital, classroom, etc. [insert the location where you’re fabulous 40(+) hours a week]. Especially in this country, at this time, we have the power to cause change for the betterment of others. Okay, sounds a little cliche perhaps, but try and tell me there isn’t one thing you’re passionate about.
WE ALL HAVE OUR OWN ‘WORLD PEACE’ MISSION, WE JUST HAVE TO HARNESS IT.
I recently had the opportunity to hear best selling author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek at a conference (and he signed my copy of his book, so yes I am an official ‘fan-woman,’ a step up from a 1D ‘fan-girl’). Based around his latest work, “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t,” Sinek touches upon the four “happy” chemicals that we often don’t realize are at work in our bodies. I couldn’t help but find a connection between these four chemicals and the feelings one often experiences when giving back and chasing that passion. Bear with me, Sinek is the one with the scientific background—here are our four players:
- Endorphins: Pain masking, they give off the effect of a “runners high”
- Dopamine: Goal achieving, they provide a feeling of “YES!” (think crossing something off your to-do list, or scoring a great deal at the Kate Spade outlet)
- Serotonin: Leadership/pride, often paired with receiving respect from peers
- Oxytocin: The chemical of love/’warm and fuzzies’
NOW HOW DO WE APPLY THESE TO YOUR GRACIE-LOU-PASSION-POINT?
Let’s take the example of running a race for a charity.
1. Endorphins: The obvious ‘runner’s high’ will/should kick in. It will mask your physical pain, and hopefully keep the shin splints at bay. But remember, this is most likely for a cause close to your heart and even if you aren’t doing something as taxing as running, you may have some pain associated with it, like a disease that took a loved one. By doing something to find a remedy for your cause, your brain will focus more on the actions at hand than the pain of the problem, allowing more energy to be spent working towards the end goal. Which leads me to happy chemical #2,
2. Dopamine: Obviously with our race example, crossing the finish line will probably include the urge to celebrate like Brandi Chastain in the 1999 Women’s World Cup Championship. This feeling also applies to surpassing a fundraising goal, selling out tickets to a gala event, or increasing attendance at a self defense class for women in your neighborhood. No limits here, accomplishing a goal feels fantastic, and it’s even better when others catch the fever, saying hello to #3,
3. Serotonin: So you cross that finish line, throw up your (subtle) fist pump, and look to the sidelines. Parents, friends, and significant others are grinning, cheering, teeming with pride. But your biggest fans can sometimes be complete strangers. Maybe a woman your age thought ‘I could never do a race like this, or plan a fundraising event for hundreds of people,’ and then she sees you-the living proof. Her inhibitions are gone because your giving is contagious. You’re a leader. Don’t be afraid to admit that. It’s like those Starbucks pay-it-forward lines. I just want to know who these people are that start them, is it a teenager getting her grande Frappuccino fix or a 37 year old SVP grabbing her daily Americano on the way to the office? Either way, people are catching on, and then you see the news reporters giddy to note this feature story, a big fat smile on their face and of course a huge dose of #4,
4. Oxytocin: And then it’s the fun part. You celebrate. Those fans on the sidelines give you a bear hug, and once you catch your breath, you grab a glass of prosecco (or fine, a Gatorade) and toast. You may have not found ‘World Peace,’ but you raised $3,000 for St. Jude Children’s in memory of your baby cousin, or finished building 10 homes with Habitat for Humanity. And then you find yourself craving more.
CHASING YOUR WORLD PEACE IS KIND OF LIKE THE WORD ALOHA.
Gracie Hart: In Hawaii don’t they use aloha for hello and goodbye?
Miss Hawaii: Yeah, so?
Gracie Hart: So if you’re on the phone with somebody and they won’t stop talking and you say, okay take care, aloha! don’t they, like, start all over again?
Yes Gracie, it can be a little addictive (in a good way).
What’s your ‘World Peace?’ In future posts, we’ll be featuring readers’ favorite causes and notable leading ladies in giving-send us yours at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: #WomenDoingWell
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: JAMIE SULLIVAN
Jamie is an account associate at a Boston branding and advertising agency. She has a passion for working with nonprofit organizations-most notably taking the field as both a player and planning committee member of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Blondes Vs. Brunettes flag football program Boston chapter. A New Hampshire native and 2012 UNH alum, Jamie loves traveling, reading, and though it isn’t always enjoyable-running. You can find her exploring Boston’s neighborhoods, and confusing people when she says she’s going to the “barre” after work.Read more about and from the author: Jamie’s WiLab Profile