Inviting Heart Into Your Life

Heart is about giving a damn.  It’s about showing up and being present with ourselves and others.  Having heart is how we share and experience kindness, compassion, and connection.  Heart needs nurturing; it rarely appears out of nowhere and doesn’t tend to stick around without any effort on our part.


I asked some members of Vestalia’s Culture Team how they sustain heart in their lives.  Here are some of their answers:

How do you invite heart into your environment/relationships/workplace?

Being honest in check-ins, remembering things from people’s interviews/reviews/check ins that are important to them, encouraging people to take mental health time when they should but are scared to, telling people when others say nice things about them, telling someone when their kind words made a difference to me and why, being vulnerable with others and saying thank you when someone is vulnerable with me (Emily O’Brien, Pizzeria Lola’s GM/Store Director)

Kindness is a personal value of mine. I feel that this is my foundation for inviting heart into my life. It is a guidepost for me and a way for me to always show up in situations with heart. (Amie Bresnahan, Associate Director of People Development)

How do you turn yourself around when heart is missing in a day or situation?

Remember that you’re not the only one in it. Ever. It’s never solely about you. You’re not alone and there are others that have a piece in this with you as well. (Jeff Wynn, Associate Director of People Services)

I ask myself, If heart is missing in a particular situation, is it really what I should be doing? Then I can evaluate what the situation is and move forward with the action…or not. (David Suggett, Hello Pizza’s GM/Store Director)

What would you get out of bringing more attention to heart in your life?

I would be able to focus more on the present moment and worry less about what is going on in the world that I cannot control. I would also be able to build better and stronger relationships with the individuals around me. (Jeff Wynn)

I tend to be more comfortable keeping a small group of close friends. I can get exhausted or overwhelmed when I have too many people asking for my time. Doing this has led me to be more closed off from people I am genuinely interested in purely because I am protecting my personal needs. Leaning into my heart and values could open space up for me to have different connections with new people while still maintaining my mental capacity to connect with others.  (Amie Bresnahan)

How do you increase heart for yourself?

I increase heart by re-focusing on what I have (gratitude) and what I want to intentionally do in the future. (David Suggett)

I try to stay connected to the things I hold most valuable and identify the rest as extra.  My wife, friends and family, my doggie along with nature and laughing are the things that make my heart whole. (Joe Stouffer, Young Joni’s GM/Store Director)

How do you increase heart for the people around you?

Being dependably compassionate, accepting, open to possibility, encouraging, making people feel seen, asking questions, sharing my lessons and triumphs, sharing my vulnerability, sharing my excitement. (Emily O’Brien)

I always try to remember that we all share the same shortcomings and pains in life.  So if someone appears to be negative, I try and sympathize and determine how I can help.   Connections. (Joe Stouffer)

How do you invite heart in your life?

Check in on how heart is showing up for you by answering the five questions above.  If you’re looking for some quick and easy ways to increase heart for you and those around you, try engaging in some of these activities:

  • Battle the slouch with CorePower Yoga’s Power of the Heart: 10 Heart-Opening Postures 
  • Check in on your language – where can you make conversation and self-talk more positive?
  • Think of three things you’re grateful for.  Right now.
  • Meditate: simply focus on your breath to quiet your mind, try a guided heart-opening meditation, or recite METTA mantras for loving kindness
  • Practice compassion with strangers: Don’t know their story?  Make the kind assumption.
  • Discover your “heart triggers” – identify the music, people, images, etc. that instantly make you come alive and bring them to mind when you need to kickstart your heart
  • Think of activities, hobbies, or crafts that bring you joy: schedule blocks of time throughout your week to do them 

Side Dish

Sometimes the main course just isn’t enough – find links here to content that rounds out the themes explored in this week’s article.

Article, 6 minute read

A Culture of Positive Appreciation
By Ari Weinzweig, Zingerman’s Co-Founding Partner

In this article, Weinzweig outlines the many ways that his organization weaves appreciation into every aspect of their culture.  It’s a wealth of actionable information, including this excerpt describing one of his methods for inviting heart:

“The ‘3 and Out’ Rule 

This is an internal mechanism that I use regularly. When I’m having a rough day, positive appreciation is the easiest way to turn things around. The old baseball saying is, “three and out. Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate—when in doubt, three and out. I find at least three people that I haven’t fully appreciated as I should have, and then quickly let them know that I do. In the process of turning my day around, I’ve contributed something small but upbeat to those with whom I’ve interacted.”

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