On the Road with James Lim
Senior VP of Operations, Sunland RV Resorts
I have always considered myself to be someone who values health – I work out, pay attention to what I am eating, and actively manage my professional and personal time very well. When COVID-19 turned all of our lives upside down, it was natural for me to immediately seek ways to take care of not only the physical well-being of myself and those around me but the mental well-being as well.
Although I always make time for my family and friends, I found myself getting to know people in so many ways I never would have tried before. From weekly zoom wine hour to a virtual book club, I jumped on the COVID-19 bandwagon in creating a virtual community to keep in touch and reconnect with friends and co-workers.
The Book Club
One of the first ways I did this was through a weekly leadership book club that I organized with one of my sales managers at the Omni hotel. This club included individuals from work, former college classmates, and new friends. Every week, we read a couple of chapters of a particular book and shared our thoughts with the group. Our virtual book club became a place where we learned from each other and briefly escaped the new “normal” in our world today.
Even when I was not actively looking to try something new or different, I always learned more about the world and myself – especially through my book club. The first book we read was Simon Sinek’s “Infinite Game,” an informative and interesting book not unlike what I usually read. The second book was “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One,” written by renowned researcher and chiropractor, Dr. Joe Dispenza. A thematic combination of quantum physics, neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology, and genetics, this was a very new kind of reading for me. At first, I felt as if I were reading something as challenging as a college science textbook, but I was determined to continue. The book was full of wisdom, insights, and studies about how so much of what happens in our lives is a result of our own thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs. I learned how we truly have the power to alter our own perceptions in order to change how we would typically react based on our personality. This is when I was introduced to two more activities I never imagined myself thinking about: meditation and mindfulness.
I do not believe I have ever truly meditated in my life until these past few months. As I expand my knowledge in various ways to meditate, I truly believe that we all need to incorporate this habit in our lives. Similar to how we need to physical exercise, meditation is an integral part of one’s “sharpening the saw.”
The Mindful Process
To start off, I turned to my phone’s app store to find ways to meditate. I downloaded the #Mindful and Headspace apps, pleased to discover how easily accessible they were, especially when I needed a quick escape or when I just needed to relax. In the evenings, I began to listen to Agapi Stassinopolous’ “Center Yourself,” available free in Amazon’s Audible. This meditation is about anchoring ourselves with a sense of gratitude to welcome a night of deep, restorative sleep. At the beginning of the pandemic, I found myself having oddly vivid dreams and nightmares – just from taking the time to meditate and reflect, I noticed that I began to have a much more peaceful sleep every night.
An epiphany I had was that 30 out of 1,440 minutes every single day is all that you need to connect with what truly matters in life: having a sense of gratitude and heightening our awareness of ourselves and the people that we interact with.
Although there are so many tragic and terrible things we cannot control in these times, what we can and should do to help ourselves is be mindful of what we are doing at a present moment and not ruminate on what goes on beyond our “circle of influence.” This way of thinking reminded me to focus on what I can control in my life.
One of my mentors, founder and former CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality and Modern Elder Academy, Chip Conley wrote a blog that stuck with me.
“What’s nutritious in life is our ‘to-be’ list. While not urgent, this list is important. To paraphrase David Brooks, it defines your eulogy, not your resume.”
A few questions I asked myself when thinking about a “to-be” list:
What are the three qualities that will define me more this year?
What are the habits or practices that will allow these qualities to improve?
What roles or identities do I want to enhance or adopt in the next year?
What roles or identities am I ready to let go of?
In July, it hit me: I no longer felt like I knew myself. I was not unhappy, but I realized that I had to let go of my old and familiar role in order to find myself again. I needed to once again pursue who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do.
And so I left. I left my 25+ year hotel industry career and the city I had called home for 35+ years to do something new: outdoor hospitality. Nervous but filled with excitement and inspiration, I joined Sunland RV Resorts.
As we continue to swim in uncharted waters and find ourselves ruminating and overthinking at home, I encourage you to practice meditation, take time for mindfulness, and learn from a mentor. These 3 Ms may just help you find yourself.