How solid is your foundation?

I’m home alone this weekend – it’s just me and our five furry creatures, and I spent time rearranging some bookcases. Yes, I know, I’m a wild and crazy guy. I came across When You Throw a Pig a Party, a companion to When You Give a Mouse of Muffin, and it made me think about the three little pigs – which we don’t have to my surprise.

I trust you know their stories and life lessons that are still relevant today. I love to say that slow is fast, but I want many things done immediately, like everyone. After all, “time is money,” as they say.

However, if we only know one gear and rush and hustle through life, we build everything quickly out of straw or sticks to see immediate results. “It’s good enough,” we say, but it’s not solid.

As the story goes, the third pig decides to build a house of bricks with a solid foundation. It takes more time, but he’s patient and willing to put in more effort than his “do it right now” brothers. When the big bad wolf comes, and he usually comes for all of us, the third pig has a house that can withstand any windstorm.

Hey, most of the HGTV makeovers we love are built out of straws and sticks – they might look good, but they fall apart after the cameras go home. Similarly, most corporate and personal development initiatives fail over time because we don’t inspect our foundations before we build. Since we’re in a hurry, we assume that they are fine.

It’s natural to want a curb-appeal house to put on that PowerPoint slide or share on Instagram without having to do the unsexy stuff, but it’s costing us, and we can’t all move in with that third pig because, well, you know, his house becomes a sty eventually, but a strong one, nevertheless. 🙂

Over the years, after speaking with thousands of like-hearted humans about living a rich life, I see these four cornerstones as essential to a solid foundation.

Identity: It’s about knowing who you are beyond your job title. What fires up the engine inside you? What are you good at? Where are you headed? It’s the compass you bring on your journey.

First-Principles (Values):  What first principles will guide your journey? These guideposts are different for everyone, and that’s what makes us unique. They help you make better decisions as you travel forward, especially when things get challenging.

Community:  Together, we go far! Yes, we may wish to escape the noise, but nobody is truly alone unless they choose to be. Surrounding yourself with like-heartedness is a source of inspiration, motivation, and encouragement to help you move forward or get grounded when you feel your foundation swaying.

Mindfulness: This cornerstone strengthens the other three because it enhances your awareness, sharpens your focus, and enables you to meet life with equanimity. It slows the game and creates space when everything is rushing past you.

Without mindfulness, there’s reactivity.

Without community, there’s loneliness.

Without first principles, there’s instability.

Without identity, there’s wandering.

With them, there’s alignment and strength to build upon. When I share this model with companies I speak at, someone usually says, “What about health? Isn’t that a cornerstone? Health is essential and honored through mindfulness and values, which allows it to become a first-floor attribute.

Your cornerstones may look different from the ones I’ve shared. The key is understanding what creates a solid foundation for you and knowing that foundations can shift and crack as we work to live.

They need attention and maintenance to withstand the pressure of modern life, but if we continue to try to build things on weak or non-existent foundations, everything will come crumbling down.

What’s the quality of your foundation? 

What cornerstones are essential to you? 

What can you do to reinforce your foundation?

Take a moment to Pause Breathe Reflect on the health of your foundation – it might be the sexiest thing you do all week.

If you wish to receive My Better Life Workbook and exercises to help you strengthen your foundation, please let me know. And don’t forget to download your Pause Breathe Reflect app for free today and build your cornerstone of mindfulness

Until next week, have fun storming the castle!