image of heart & brain riding a bike

Perform at Your Best with Heart, Mind AND Soul

Last week my husband Michael and I went to the Van Gogh immersive experience in Boston (along with everyone else it seems!). In addition to the paintings and history, the experience was littered with Van Gogh quotes.

Some struck me more than others. Like this one:

“I poured my heart and soul into my work and have lost my mind in the process.”

I leaned closer to my husband and whispered, “I suppose the opposite could true.”

Pour your MIND into your work and you risk losing your heart and soul

What might it look like to pour your MIND into your work and lose your heart & soul? Below are a few examples:

  • Over-thinking/worrying about what others think
  • Focusing too much on numbers, data or expertise
  • Holding back thoughts & emotions for any number of reasons (fear of judgment, rejections, looking foolish, it’s not accepted)

Too much mind weighs heavy

Man & Women Van Gogh ExhibitI love thinking. But too much thinking and my head feels like a pressure-filled ball waiting to explode.

My husband spent the last 20+ years of his career training and developing people. When his role became more about data and technology, he lost his mojo for work that had once jazzed him.

And want to know why (I think) Zoom & in person meetings drain people? Because most leaders rely on data and surface level conversation that lack any kind of depth, heart and dare I say emotion. (Please don’t ask about the weather)


Have you ever experienced any of the above?

How to avoid losing your heart and soul

People require a combination of heart, mind AND soul to perform at their best and feel lighter, more confident and more connected to others. Below are a few considerations the next time you (or someone you know) might feel the pressure of “too much mind”.

  • When speaking or advocating for yourself, use stories and metaphors (in addition to data) to bring a little soul into your message (it’s more fun and engaging for others)
  • Feeling mentally exhausted after a long day of thinking or problem solving? Move the body for a natural energy boost.
  • Looking for connection or inspiration? Reach out to a friend or colleague to say hello

I posted a version of the above on LinkedIn earlier this week and that generated a few more insights from some of my connections including…

  • Read something fun and unrelated to the work
  • Awareness and intentionality matter to avoid losing yourself in unhealthy ways

Bottom Line

We live in a digital, data driven world, where it’s easy to focus solely on the mind and lose our heart and soul in the process. (FWIW: if you’re someone who leads entirely with heart & soul, remember to sprinkle in a little mind for grounding.)

The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way.

Sometimes we have to shed the weight of what’s expected (i.e., more data! More knowledge! More technology!, etc) to feel less pressure (and less robotic) when it’s time to perform.

Would love to know what you think…

Have you been to the Van Gogh experience in your city?

How do you keep from losing yourself in your work?

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About the blog

Humor, stories, and insights, delivered 2x per month, to perform without the pressure.

Topics include mental health, work, human connection, creativity and more.


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