Person lying down with book on face. Is this how we imagine rest?

We’ve previously explored the importance of setting boundaries and prioritizing rest – saying no, in other words, to activities we know aren’t where we’ll have our biggest impact. 

But what about those pivotal moments when you feel the call (or the pressure) to say “yes”? Do you agree reluctantly, with a sense of duty, or from a fear of losing out on status or opportunities if you refuse?  

Or do you commit with a sense of enthusiasm, curiosity, excitement and a willingness to dive in, risk vulnerability and even failure, in the pursuit of adventure and impact? 

In the words of Derek Sivers: is it a HELL YES?  

Or, to put it another way: How are you showing up wholeheartedly for the work you do? 

What does it mean to be wholehearted? 

Wholeheartedness goes beyond our actions, asking us to think about HOW we show up in our lives. It’s about committing fully and unreservedly, without holding back.  

In Brené Brown’s words, “Wholehearted living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’ It’s going to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” 

When we think about applying this to our work, we think about cultivating the capacity to care deeply about the task at hand and the people involved, striving for the best possible outcome – while acknowledging the potential for failure.  

When we pour our “whole hearts” into what we do we’re not seeking to protect ourselves from what others think, or how our ego is perceived.  

Being wholehearted means embracing vulnerability and allowing ourselves to be open and authentic in our endeavors. Whether you’re a leader or a team member, this energy of full commitment and courage can unlock extraordinary potential, both in yourself and in others around you. 

Why choose wholeheartedness? 

Think about someone you know – perhaps a colleague or friend – who embodies the idea of “wholeheartedness”. 

Perhaps they throw themselves into every endeavor, whether it’s a casual ball game with friends or a mission-critical business goal. You might recall the infectious nature of someone who gives their all to what they’re doing, without the armor of cynicism or ego that many of us use to protect ourselves from really being seen. 

The energy of enthusiasm and positivity that accompanies wholeheartedness has the power to transform what’s deemed achievable.  

When individuals approach tasks with genuine passion and optimism, they inspire those around them to do the same, fostering a culture of creativity and innovation within the organization. 

Embracing wholeheartedness creates an environment where others feel empowered to show up authentically. By leading by example and demonstrating wholehearted commitment, leaders encourage their team members to do the same, fostering trust, collaboration, and mutual respect. 

When we approach our work with our whole hearts, we give it our all, knowing that we’ve done everything in our power to achieve success. 

4 ways to practice living wholeheartedly 

Here are some practical strategies for cultivating wholeheartedness in your professional life: 

  1. Expand Your Intentions: Before saying “yes” to a new opportunity or request, take a moment to reflect on your intentions. As the famous anecdote goes – In 1962, on a visit to NASA, President John F. Kennedy met a janitor carrying a broom down the hallway. The President asked the janitor what he did for NASA, and the janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.” How might your approach to your day shift if you felt connected to a bigger vision for your business, your team, or your family?  


  1. Be Selective: When we approach tasks wholeheartedly, we commit to giving our focus and attention in service of our goal. This acts as a powerful invitation to recognize your limits and avoid overcommitment. Assess your current workload and commitments realistically and prioritize those opportunities that are most important. By being selective, you can focus your energy where it will have the greatest impact. 


  1. Prioritize Self-Care: Maintaining a state of wholeheartedness requires nurturing your well-being on all fronts. Prioritize adequate sleep, rest, and downtime to recharge your energy reserves. Cultivate supportive relationships and invest in activities that replenish your spirit. By prioritizing self-care, you equip yourself with the resilience and vitality needed to show up fully in every aspect of your professional life. 


  1. Embrace Curiosity: When you find yourself struggling to embody wholeheartedness—whether due to distractions, procrastination, or fear—adopt a curious mindset. Explore the root cause of your resistance and interrogate any underlying fears, or masks you might be adopting to protect yourself from shame or vulnerability. By embracing curiosity, you transform obstacles into opportunities for growth and self-discovery, paving the way for greater authenticity and effectiveness. 

The journey of saying “yes” wholeheartedly is a transformative one, empowering leaders and teams to unleash their full potential and create lasting impact in the global arena.  

By embodying the principles of wholeheartedness—commitment, empathy, resilience, and authenticity—we not only elevate our individual contributions but also cultivate a culture of excellence and fulfillment within our organizations.  

So, the next time you’re faced with a decision, ask yourself: What would it look like to say “yes” wholeheartedly? 

If you’ve enjoyed this dive into saying “yes”, don’t miss out on more inspiring insights and thought-provoking content from Global Warriors. Sign up for our newsletter today to receive updates straight to your inbox.  


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