As I was talking to a wonderful group of people in the construction industry, I knew they would get the concept of a firm foundation. They will explain that nothing will stay standing if not built on a strong foundation. Build an amazing house on a swamp, and it will sink, no matter how well built it is. Build that same house on a firm foundation, and it will stand strong through all the storms and conditions it will face. Okay, so how does this relate to our lives?

As mentioned, I was talking to a group of people in the construction industry, but not about building homes, it was about their wellbeing. I know, I know, here we go again! The wellbeing talk. I have heard it so many times before, and I know it all. This is what so many people think. I know this for a fact because when I started talking to four different groups of people last week and I was introduced as a wellbeing speaker, I could see the body language change and the eyes glaze over, in each group. You know exactly what I am talking about right now, don’t you? In fact, you may even be tempted to stop reading this blog because you believe you have heard what I am about to say, and you already know it. But I ask you to hang in there for a few more sentences before discarding me and my message.

I long ago stopped trying to tell people stuff they already know, and instead, help them actually act on that stuff. Knowing is one thing, but it is of no value if not acted upon. It is said that knowledge is power, however, the reality is that knowledge alone is only potential power. It is the application of that knowledge which is where the power lies. That being said, when I am referring to wellbeing, I am actually talking about the things most important to you. I am talking about your family, I am talking about your career, I am talking about your hobbies, I am talking about your spiritual life, and I am talking about anything that would move you to take immediate action.

If you are a parent, and got a message from a child declaring that they needed you desperately, would you send a message back saying, just wait a little because I am reading this really cool blog, I’ll get there when I can? Of course not, you would stop reading, drop everything, and be there in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t even be offended. Why would you do that? Simple, because your family means everything to you, right? Or do they? Let me ask you some hard hitting questions that may cause you to squirm. Is your family important enough for you to give up smoking, start exercising, make better eating choices, and reduce your alcohol and/or soft drink consumption? Is the example you are setting for them important enough to begin doing the things you are saying, yeah, I know that, but aren’t actually doing?

You see, the greatest mistake people make when it comes to health and wellbeing is that they consider it as a pillar in life. They see it as standing alongside, family, career, financial, social, hobby, spiritual and all the things we choose to prioritise. Why is this a problem? Because, as you know, you cannot invest 100% of time and energy into all pillars. You have to prioritise the important ones, and the only way to do that is to steal time and energy from others. Guess which gets stolen from the most? You know, don’t you? You’ve done it, haven’t you? Have you ever said any of the following, or something similar? I couldn’t make it to the gym this morning, because I had an early meeting. I had to get take-away because I was rushing and didn’t have time to prepare dinner. I had to have that chocolate bar because I was hungry and didn’t have any healthier snacks.

Let me tell you loud and clear, your health and wellbeing is not a pillar in life. It is the foundation upon which every pillar stands. In other words, it is the foundation upon which everything that is important to you rests. And as you know, a building built on a weak foundation will sink, and so will your life sink, if your wellbeing foundation is not firm. So, when you skip meals, hit the snooze instead of exercising, skip breakfast, drink a litre of Coke (including Coke zero), drive through to get fast food, and, you know all the rest, you are not actually saying that your health is not important. What you are saying is that your family is not important, your career is not important, your hobbies and social life are not important, and the other pillars in your life are not important. Wow, have I just hit you between the eyes?

It is time to get real. Every tiny and seemingly insignificant decision you make every day is either cementing a brick into your wellbeing foundation and strengthening it or, removing a brick and eroding it. Yes, every decision. Honesty check; If you were to keep making the daily decisions you are currently making, how is that foundation looking in the next year, five years, ten years or beyond, if you make it that far? If you want great relationships, look after your wellbeing. If you want to excel in your career, make healthier choices. If you want to be a positive role model to important people, make your wellbeing a foundation. If you want to live a life of joyful longevity, assess the decisions you are making every day, and change the ones that are not creating a firm and strong foundation.

One of the greatest things you can do for your wellbeing is giving. In my podcast this week, called, Give a hand up, I speak with the amazing Kate Watson and Sheree Elliott from Pentecost Care. We discuss the distressing rate of homelessness, and how we can help people by simply offering them a hand up, not just giving them a handout. I know I have been a bit full-on this week, but it is your life, and I want you to live the best one you can live. Please, don’t ever look back with regret, instead, look back with joy and gratitude, that you made decisions each day that strengthened the foundation that everything that matters to you stands on. The only way you will look back, in the future, with joy and gratitude is to start building a firm foundation today.