#1: Why health is our top priority

How (and why) we prioritize our mental, physical and spiritual health above all else

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At Civilla, health is our top priority.

Why? Well, like you, we want to make meaningful, enduring change in the world.

Three years into our journey as an organization, we’ve learned that creating lasting impact can take a long time — perhaps even a lifetime.

Rather than be discouraged by this lesson, we feel empowered by it — empowered to prioritize our health above all else. We’ve come to realize that if we don’t, we (quite literally) might not survive the journey.

Too often we see leaders and changemakers forgo their mental, physical, and spiritual health in pursuit of ambitious goals. In the process, they fail — not for lack of dedication or effort, but from burnout.

With the long view in mind, we’ve put principles, practices, and policies in place that give each team member the agency to take care of themselves.

Here are a few of the ways we work to ensure health remains our #1 :

  • 10 am start: Since its founding, the Civilla work day has started at 10am. An extra hour in the morning helps us carve out time every day to tend to our health. Mike spends this time walking with his wife. Adam and Rachael like to swim laps. Others have used this time to read, meditate, or meet with mentors and coaches.

  • Team lunch: Every day, our team steps away from our computers and our work to share a meal together. This rhythm creates time for us to connect as individuals, share stories, and laugh together.

  • Built-in reflection time: We create space for daily, weekly, and seasonal reflection.These rhythms allow us to take a breath, appreciate where we’ve been, and evolve our approach for the future.

  • Top notch health insurance: In our benefits package, we provide the highest quality health, dental, and vision insurance available. Access to quality care ensures everyone on the team has the professional support they need to care for their bodies and minds.

  • Recurring, mandatory vacations: Every twelve weeks, our team takes at least one week off. When we are “in session” everyone is expected to show up. When we are “on break” everyone is required to take time off. Mandatory vacations are complemented by a set of flexible personal days that people can use as they see fit. This policy has transformed our relationship with time off in important ways.

  • Organizational principles: Our eleven principles guide every decision we make as a team and as individuals. Alongside principles that describe our point of view on relationships, finances, and operations, we also have a principle that defines our perspective on health: “This is a marathon. We honor the daily practice of mental, spiritual, and physical health as our top priority.”

  • Checking in with one another: “Are you getting enough sleep?” “How is your marathon training going?” “How might you find more time to decompress?” These questions send a simple, yet clear message: We care.

Now it’s your turn. How will you make health a priority this year?

— Rachel + the team



Adam Selzer