Pour into Your Soul – Let Your Cup Overflow,
By Dr Maureen Tong
Book Launch at Virtual Global Leadership Activism Summit,
1 Oct 2020
Dr Maureen Tong will deliver a Keynote Address on 1 October 2020 at the Global Leadership Activism Summit, under the theme 'When Women Heal, WE Thrive. The keynote address will launch her book, Pour into Your Soul: Let Your Cup Overflow.
The Global Leadership Activism Summit is scheduled for Thursday 1 Oct, Friday 2 Oct, Saturday 3 Oct 2020 and Sunday 4 Oct on an 'invitations only' basis. The Summit runs mostly at noon, Eastern time (Atlanta, Georgia). It runs in the evenings, South Africa time from 18:00 – 20:00
Dr Tong will host several media interviews as part of the local launch in October 2020. She invites your organization for an interview.
About the Book, Pour into Your Soul: Let Your Cup Overflow
This is a book on self-care. It highlights the importance of ensuring alignment between our heart, mind, body and soul. It is therefore about finding balance in all dimensions of our lives. The book is written in a workbook format with lots of exercises and reflection points. It may be used on its own or as a resource to reflect on your life and intentionally take steps to make certain changes or reach specific goals. It may also interest those who are curious about professional coaching.
The inspiration for the name of this book, Pour into Your Soul: Let Your Cup Overflow, comes from my spiritual values, which see the soul as an important part of who we are. The name is also inspired by the series of books by Gary Zukav, entitled The Seat of the Soul: An Inspiring Vision of Humanity's Spiritual Destiny, The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness, and The Mind of the Soul: Responsible Choice.
In coaching we believe that that for us to be truly effective in life, we need to strive for balance on the eight dimensions as stipulated in the Wheel of Life or the Balance Wheel. These may be summarised as: (1) finance, (2) spirituality, (3) relationships, (4) career or business, (5) physical environment, (6) intimacy, (7) health or self-care, and (8) social or recreation.
I am a certified professional coach holding the credential of Associate Certified Coach (ACC) by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). The approach of this book is based largely on the coaching competencies as defined and assessed by the ICF when a trainee coach seeks to be credentialed. Coaching places importance on continuously nourishing and replenishing ourselves and our energy to ensure that we are better equipped to play the many different roles that life requires of us. Hence, the inspiration for the title Pour into Your Soul: Let Your Cup Overflow is a play on the expression, "You can't drink from an empty cup."
My Life's Journey has Inspired the Content for this book
There were many times during my life when my cup ran empty due to a combination of factors. These factors include the historical time of massive political and social change in South Africa, which coincided with the start of my university studies and professional career. I was very intentional about making my own contribution, however big or small, to shaping the new democracy in South Africa. In the process, I bought into a culture that prized hard work, dedication, and selflessness at the price of self-care. I have absolutely no regrets about the time and energy I spent contributing to a new democratic South Africa based on the values of human dignity, gender and racial equality, social justice, restorative justice, etc. My generation of university student activists from the early 1990s was at a very interesting place in the democratic South Africa. With much hard work and dedication, the opportunities for growth were endless, especially for young female student activists. This placed my career on an accelerated upward trajectory. I therefore write this book happier for having made my contribution, grateful for the opportunities but wiser regarding the importance of self-care. I am now much more intentional about my self -care.
From Urgency Addiction to a Meaningful Life
In the book First Things First, Stephen R. Covey, Roger A. Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill focus on time management. They say that a meaningful life is not a matter of speed or efficiency. Rather, a meaningful life is much more a matter of what you do and why you do it rather than how fast you get it done. We therefore need to move away from a paradigm of urgency to a paradigm of importance. The many challenges I faced on my leadership journey have caused me to run on empty on several occasions. I was relatively young and had responsibilities that required an exceedingly high level of time commitment, dedication, and efficiency. In those days there were not many role models I could emulate or mentors I could rely on. I needed a professional to speak to. I did not know it then, but I needed an executive coach.
Several people contributed to my professional success; some continue to pour into my soul in a significant way. This book pays tribute to the many people who helped me on my journey of life, highlighting the importance of coaching, mentorship, networking, and collaboration.
Intended Readership of this Book
Self-care is important for everyone. As former US First Lady, Mrs. Michelle Obama says in her book, Becoming, that we are all shaped by our life experiences. She elaborates on how growing up as a member of a minority and with a lack of opportunities due to your race or gender can lead to deep feelings of inadequacy that may continue to shape our choices and decisions well into our adulthood. Imposter syndrome affects women disproportionally. Women tend to doubt their abilities even when they are much more qualified for the roles they are expected to play. Mrs. Obama also speaks of the burden of "representing" an entire race when you are the only black person who has the opportunity to get ahead. Oprah Winfrey quotes Maya Angelou when she said "I come as one but stand as 10,000." This means that there are many other people who have sacrificed a lot for us to get ahead in life. This places a big responsibility on how we exercise our freedom. There is an expression: "to whom much is given, much is expected." However, self-care is just as important. This means this book is for every reader who wants to be intentional about taking better care of themselves.
Altruism and Self-Care
Being altruistic is good for our mental health, our physical health, and our general wellbeing, to the point of increasing our longevity. However, some studies have shown that feeling over-taxed by the needs of others can have negative effects on our health and happiness. Sometimes those receiving your generosity may start to make you feel obligated to assist them because they are less fortunate than you. They may then make you feel obligated to offer them assistance, which may be financial in kind, or may demand your time.
Black South Africans understand the concept of the black tax. This term refers to the expectation that as you beat the odds of structural racism, become successful, improve your social standing in life, or have better prospects or more money, you should do your best to uplift your family. This often does not only refer to your immediate nuclear family, but the extended family as well, which includes grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. This expectation sometimes creates a dependence and a sense of entitlement among those you are trying to assist.
Pathological altruism refers to situations when altruism is taken to an unhealthy extreme and harms the altruistic person or when well-intentioned actions cause more harm than good. An unhealthy focus on the needs of others to the detriment of your own health and wellbeing can cause depression and burnout. The huge demand on the time and efforts of health workers during the COVID 19 pandemic has caused many health workers to suffer from depression. Some have lost their lives while caring for coronavirus patients. They put their lives on the line on a daily basis to protect the most vulnerable patients infected by the coronavirus. They often work under conditions that are detrimental to their own health and face chronic shortages of medical equipment and supplies.
While health workers' actions are heroic, the loss of the lives of healthcare professionals during this time is a great loss to their immediate families, colleagues, and friends. It is an even greater loss to humanity at a time like this. Helping coronavirus patients should not have to come at the cost of healthcare workers' own lives and wellbeing. It is important to care for oneself while caring for others. It is important to pour into our souls and let others nourish our souls for our continued effectiveness. You cannot drink from an empty cup.
Nourish Your Soul to Continue to be Effective
Years of working as a research assistant to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, as well as years of writing and teaching on the topic, have created in me a deep appreciation for nature and the earth. These experiences led me to believe we must ensure that we interact with nature in a way that is sustainable and allows it to continuously regenerate. Central to indigenous peoples' value systems is the notion that we should continuously refill the cup of nature and never let it run completely empty. There are several exercises in this book that allow you to work on pouring into your soul or letting others pour into you.
We rely on our minds, bodies, and souls to enable us to live and achieve many things. However, we need to continuously pour into our souls or let others pour into us in a way that allows us to replenish or refill our cups. If we replenish our bodies and our souls in this way, we will be able to manage our lives in a way that is beneficial both to ourselves and to those around us. We can identify others who can pour into our souls for our nourishment. This will enable us to become active citizens that contribute to the good of humankind in ways that leave a legacy for future generations. We therefore need to continuously replenish our cups to ensure we are able to continue to drink from them. We must also pour into others' cups as well.
Financial Management is an Enabler of Reaching Your Dreams
Former American First Lady, Mrs Michelle Obama, in her book Becoming, talks about the academic and financial hurdles she had to overcome to be admitted to study at Princeton University and Harvard University. The lesson from this is that without sacrifices and proper financial management her parents, Michelle Obama would not have been able to study at Ivy League institutions of learning. This highlights the importance of managing personal finances, investments and savings to ensure our future, despite being from a historically disadvantaged background. This book addresses the importance of efficient management of personal finances.
How the book is Structured
Chapter 1, entitled "authenticity" looks at the importance of discovering who you truly are separate from the many roles you play and the responsibilities that life requires of you. Chapter 2, entitle "altruism." aims to demonstrate that as human beings, we are inherently good. Chapter 3, entitled "Setting Healthy Boundaries," emphasizes the importance of setting healthy boundaries for yourself and others in order to ensure that you do not create dependence and, in the process, overstretch yourself to the limit, resulting in burnout. Chapter 4 focuses on self-care. Chapter 5 focuses on emotional intelligence and social intelligence. When we have emotional and mental wellbeing, we become more balanced and effective, and our cups overflow. Chapter 6 focuses on managing emotions during times of change or uncertainty. Chapter 7 focuses on self-mastery, discusses self-care and the development of a self-care plan. Chapter 8 focuses on finding balance in your life. It also introduces you to professional coaching and how a coach can help you to find balance in your life. I hope you will enjoy reading this book. I also hope that you will be inspired to pour into your soul to ensure that your cup overflows.