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PUSH State of The Nation: A View on Personal Development

A global crisis such as Covid-19 can be very unsettling to people at a core level, rocking the confidence they have in themselves, their communities, and the government. The pandemic has shaken the normally stable ground that we stand on, taking our world from the safe and secure place we know to a constantly changing, unfamiliar and unpredictable one.

This loss of safety can cause a huge range of emotions to come up, such as worry, fear, and frustration, testing people’s resilience and pushing many to re-evaluate their life choices. 

We know from our conversations that many people are looking at the last few months and wishing they had done things differently. Kicking themselves for not picking up a new job, routine or money-saving scheme before lockdown started. And, since it started, so many people have had good intentions of learning a new skill or picking up a hobby during lockdown. However, the reality it seems, has been a bit different. When restrictions and lockdowns were first put in place, countries shut down quickly and our worlds changed overnight. Now, as the weeks progress and we’ve gotten used to this ‘new normal’, it’s becoming more difficult for people to stay motivated and productive.

But very rarely do we have the opportunity to properly reset, or take time to really consider what we want to be like now and in the future. As hard as lockdown has been, it has given us the unique opportunity to take a breath and think, without the noise and distractions of daily life. Taking that time to do a self audit is extremely valuable for growth and development. Helping pinpoint what matters most to you (your values) and where you want to go in your life (your purpose), in order to thrive.

PUSH Coach Shereen Hoban, personal development coach and facilitator, spoke about the importance of goal setting if we’re keen to create change in our lives.

“When goal setting, it’s helpful to think about your plans in a tangible way. What are you working for? What result is going to make you feel happy, fulfilled or exhilarated? Once you’ve identified your goal – one that’s personal to you, team it with some serious visualisation. Imagine yourself achieving this thing. 

[mkd_blockquote text=”Three in five (58%) people said they are finding it harder to stay positive about the future, and 56% are finding it harder to stay positive day-to-day. ” title_tag=”h2″ width=”75″]

This exercise, widely used by sports-people, can have a truly powerful effect on your mindset, enabling you to work in a more focused way so you can go forward to succeed. Knowing what you want and what you’re working towards means you’re one massive step closer to getting it. If your goal is to simply rest, regroup and spend quality time with your family right now, then just be intentional with it. Enjoy this time and don’t feel guilty for doing what’s right for you.”

Our mindset has a huge impact on our motivation and is key in the success or failure of a task, project or goal. Research suggests that having a growth mindset can help us overcome challenges, due to the belief that skills and abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. However, as the lockdown continues, it’s becoming harder to stay positive about the future for many. In the UK, three in five (58%) people said they are finding it harder to stay positive about the future, and 56% are finding it harder to stay positive day-to-day. 

[mkd_blockquote text=”The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome.” title_tag=”h2″ width=”75″]

American Psychologist Carol Dweck is an expert on growth mindset. In her book ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Mindset’, she spoke on different mindsets, commenting “In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome. They’re tackling problems, charting new courses, working on important issues. Maybe they haven’t found the cure for cancer, but the search was deeply meaningful.” In challenging times it is especially important to try and have a growth mindset, which will help foster creativity and build resilience.

But let’s be honest, most people aren’t going to get up every morning at 5am to do a home workout, before cooking a healthy breakfast and starting work at 9am – and that’s without kids in the mix. And it’s ok to spend time watching TV or scrolling on your phone, allowing yourself to just do nothing. However, it is also important to use this time to try new activities and self-care strategies. 

Starting to build a habit or process around these new activities is almost as important, if not more so, than the actual outcome of the activity. Focusing on small things that we can control, while building healthy habits, can have a transformative effect on mental health. This learning gives individuals something that is fully in their control, unlike the current socio-economic climate. 

Brad Stulberg, author of the book ‘Peak Performance’  and expert on personal and professional development, has developed an equation for achieving growth in any area of your life. Over his years of working as a consultant and business coach, he realised that the key drivers for growth are Stress and Rest. 

We know that stress is most commonly talked about in a negative light. However, Professor Kelly McGonigal explained in her book ‘The Upside of Stress’, that stress can actually be good for us to a certain extent. It is only when that stress becomes too much for too long, that it starts to have a negative impact on our health and wellbeing. 

As humans, we need to feel a certain amount of stress in order to challenge ourselves to do better or learn new things. But we also need to take the time to rest our bodies or minds to allow ourselves to recharge. Brad’s equation for growth is simple, highlighting the importance of both being challenged and resting in order to do our best. 

So, maybe now is the time to use this ‘stress’ as the opportunity to grow, allowing ourselves the time and space to try new things, or focus on areas you may have neglected. This could also be a time to create new routines and structures around your work, school or personal life. To figure out the best way of working for you, and how to top up that resilience bank so you don’t end up overstretched or burnt out. 

Most of all though, it’s important to not become your own worst critic. Beating yourself up over not learning a new language, or doing that workout isn’t helpful and can even be detrimental to your mental health. During this time we should be celebrating even the small wins we have, building that positive growth mindset bit by bit. Because, afterall, the most important outcome is our individual happiness and that should be the focus of every single one of us.

 

Helpful Resources

Up to date Info on Corona

PUSH State of the Nation: A View on Financial Health

With widespread lockdowns still in place, the economy is getting hit hard around the world. We know that money can be a huge point of worry on a good day for many people. But with the rising uncertainty around jobs and money, more and more people are finding themselves anxious about the future of their finances. 

If you’re finding yourself anxious or worried right now, know that you’re not alone. According to the Money and Pensions Service, an estimated 11.5 million people in the UK have less than £100 in cash savings. That is a huge number of people in the same situation, scrambling to arrange their budgets to prepare for what the future might hold. However, those hit the hardest financially are those who are self-employed or can’t work due to illness, industries that are reducing hours and laying off staff, and those who are close to retirement. Individuals in these areas will continue to feel the pinch as we continue to social distance, and may face even more challenges as the weeks/months progress. 

[mkd_blockquote text=”In the UK one in five—21%—of people have been furloughed.” title_tag=”h2″ width=”75″]

Research company Ipsos Mori have been polling people around the world since early March, allowing us a longitudinal look at our changing financial behaviours throughout quarantine. They found that in the UK one in five (21%) of people have been furloughed, and 17% have had their take-home pay reduced. In an effort to keep costs low and save for the future, almost two-thirds of Britons have been spending less money overall, and 46% have already accessed their savings. Leaving many of those who have had pay reductions or have been furloughed finding themselves increasingly more worried that their jobs will not be there after all this is over.

Research shows that money can often be a real trigger for people, with financial struggles especially having a huge impact on mental health. When someone is struggling with poor mental health it can make it even harder to manage money, causing worry and having a knock-on effect on their mental health. It’s a vicious cycle that can be incredibly difficult to get out of. However, understanding your patterns around money can be incredibly beneficial in helping you manage your finances, and any anxieties around it better.

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found in 2019 that people with money problems have slower recovery rates for common mental health conditions. Those suffering from depression and financial problems are 4.2 times more likely to still have depression 18 months later, compared with those without financial issues. On top of that, people with financial challenges were 3 times more likely to think about suicide over the past year. Even during regular economic times, more than 100,000 people in England attempt suicide while financially struggling. 

Many employees who have not been directly impacted by furloughs or pay cuts are also questioning whether their income is safe and if the company is going to survive.  So it is up to our managers to take these worries seriously, carving out time to discuss financial wellbeing with their teams. Managers and leaders should initiate honest conversations with their employees, giving them the time and space to bring up any concerns or challenges they may be facing. 

These conversations allow for an open conversation, where management can answer any questions that are coming up and provide clear accurate information. However, it is important to be clear beforehand on what is and isn’t open to share. This is also an opportunity to direct team members to further information or resources they can use if they are worried about financial protection, budgeting options, or just want some peace of mind and security during an incredibly uncertain time.

Lorraine McFall, our PUSH money expert shared some insights with us around money mindsets and financial worry. 

[mkd_blockquote text=”Culturally as a nation we have not been good at talking about money.” title_tag=”h2″ width=”75″]

“Culturally as a nation we have not been good at talking about money.  Hopefully, one of the positives to come out of this dreadful situation is that so many of us have had the financial rug pulled from under our feet, by something which is completely outside our control, we won’t have the same feelings of shame or fear of judgement about reaching out for help or talking about our money worries. That has got to be a good thing for employers and employees as before COVID-19, 77% of employees admitted that money worries have affected their performance at work leading to sickness, absence and poor performance.

Despite so many people worrying about money or, at the very least, being aware that they need to do something, very few actually take action.  As long as the bills are being paid and the bailiffs are not at the door, it’s often easier to leave things as they are and accept the disempowering notion that money is something that happens to us, rather than be the driver of our financial choices. “

In the PUSH Money Matters workshops, Lorraine encourages participants to work not only on their day to day management skills but also on setting their financial goals and becoming aware of their money mindset.  If people can consistently take action in all 3 of these areas then they will achieve financial wellbeing which essentially means “Giving people a greater sense of confidence and control over their money through good times and bad.”

She also shared three immediate steps you can do today to start you on that process of taking ownership of your financial future are:

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  1. Open up a new bank account and keep all direct debits and regular payments coming from one account and transfer your spending money into a separate account.  Use the new bank account for all your day to day spending and you will have visibility over how much money you actually have that is available for spending.  Consequently you will be able to avoid that  constant mental calculation of “is there enough”, every time you hand your card over and avoid those feelings of scarcity.  Yes, there might not be as much as you would like in your account each month but the fear can often be worse than the reality and actually knowing your numbers and taking away the fear will give you the confidence to take the next step on your financial journey.
  2. Write down 2 or 3 immediate short term financial goals and a very specific plan about all the steps you need to take to achieve the goals.  This will be the first step of your financial plan.  The very act of implementing this will help you see the benefit of setting specific goals and give you the confidence to think bigger and for the longer term.
  3. Watch the language that you use about money.  If every time you think about your finances, you constantly think “I’m rubbish with money”, you are setting yourself up for failure. The first time things get tough, you already have your get out of jail card ready, “Well I knew that happened, ’cause I’m rubbish with money…..”.  The first step to working on your money mindset is becoming aware of the language you use and stop using it.  If it’s hard to break the habit then put the expression in the past tense, “ I USED to be rubbish with money, I am now learning to take control.”

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During this time, it is incredibly important to pay attention to the financial wellbeing of our friends, family and colleagues. We know things are going to be tough for a while, and money can be such a personal subject for many people. But in a time when your typical reaction would be to pull back, we need to be brave. We need to be open to having these conversations, and provide a non-judgemental and safe space to share how we’re feeling. 

 

Helpful Resources

Up to date Info on Corona

PUSH State of The Nation: A View On Mental Health

As we approach our sixth week in lockdown, we wanted to take the opportunity to better understand the impact of Covid-19 on our industry and the minds of our people. 

The pandemic is clearly having a major social and psychological impact on the whole population. We’re seeing Increasing unemployment, families separated and various other changes in the way that we live and work. All of these changes are major psychological risk factors for anxiety, depression and self-harm, with even the most enlightened of fellows hard-pressed to have the full armoury of tools to deal with these current circumstances. 

Social distancing is impacting how we connect, pushing us instead to come together via zoom, facetime and other digital platforms. But the internet is becoming noisy, and the pressure to show up and connect can cause further stress and anxiety for some people. 

[mkd_blockquote text=”Half of people surveyed said that they felt more anxious or depressed than usual as a result of the virus.” title_tag=”h2″ width=”60″]

King’s College and Ipsos Mori surveyed 2,250 people in the UK between 18-75 to see how life in lockdown is affecting individuals. Half of people surveyed said that they felt more anxious or depressed than usual as a result of the virus. They also found that 15% of people are already finding it extremely difficult to cope, and another 14% expect that it will be even more difficult over the next four weeks. 

Kelly Beaver, Managing Director of Public Affairs at Ipsos Mori commented on the survey, saying “It’s becoming clear that people are beginning to suffer due to the restrictions stemming from the Covid-19 outbreak … Very worryingly, a fifth of people already have financial difficulties or think they are very likely to during the crisis, combined with the fact that half of people believe that it’s likely to be a year or more until life returns to normal.” However, we can see a silver lining running throughout the survey, with 60% of people saying that they have volunteered to help people in need during this time. 

So, the question is, what can be done to manage this? Or, can we just assume that as soon as we head ‘back to school’ after all of this is over, that everything will just return to normal and we’ll all be okay?

It became clear from our conversations with clients that they have different strategies when it came to planning for the future. For many, survival is paramount and the impact on individuals is a byproduct – to be left to resolve itself or reviewed at another time.

Others are putting their people and their performance front and centre; creating programmes of support either from the masses of free content available online or curating tailored activity to help manage their needs, circumstances and concerns. In particular, shaping different content for those who were still working versus those who were furloughed.

[mkd_blockquote text=”Whose responsibility is it to support employees?” title_tag=”h2″ width=”60″]

So, this does raise the question, whose responsibility is it to support employees – the companies or individuals themselves? However, the more pertinent question is do we want to have a bright future or one that is impacted by Covid-19 for months, if not years, to come?

How we feel radically impacts our performance and, our on-going conversations with clients and their teams, have already shown that the current context is leaving our people with huge knocks to their confidence. Along with fears that they are not good enough and, worryingly, that they won’t be able to do their jobs properly in the future. 

So, how can we support individuals to have a better armoury to deal with the circumstances being presented to them – supporting not only them but the world of business alike? Most crucially, with teams being systematically restructured and organisations radically reshaped, we need to ensure that the people left in our businesses have both the tools and capacity to not only sustain but grow our organisations.

We believe that self-awareness and self-development are at the heart of the solution. Understanding what is happening in our minds and then having the tools to manage them better. 

Putting a focus on positive wellbeing within your organisation to upskill managers and employees alike is more crucial than ever. Providing programmes of activity which can help your team communicate and collaborate better; become more creative and productive or for your managers to lead more effectively, will make a radical difference to your business in the coming months. 

We have to help our people sit more comfortably in discomfort. They will either have to make or be at the receiving end of tough decisions over the coming months. The way of managing this well is to know that, whilst you might not know what is coming, you will have the tools to deal with it, and survive it, either way. 

However, there is also a huge responsibility on our employees – in particular those who aren’t working and have been furloughed.

Whilst there is a huge temptation to reach for the remote control and spend the next three weeks, numbing, in a Netflix or Sauvignon-tinged vortex. Or, even worse, constantly comparing yourself to everyone else on Instagram and believing that you need to come out of this speaking fluent French or with a six-pack; please don’t. This will have a huge knock on effect on all of our mental health and will become cripplingly hard to return back from.

[mkd_blockquote text=”Let’s make sure that we all step up as humans – for ourselves and each other.” title_tag=”h2″ width=”60″]

Now is the time to develop our people’s resilience so that they can deal with whatever is thrown at them. Now is the time that we have to get really good at asking people how they are feeling and also being prepared to expect or provide an honest answer. Now is the time to dig deep and find our motivation and much maligned discipline and commit to deep personal development and self-care. This is all so that we can all not only get through this but come out of it stronger – understanding and managing ourselves that bit better.

What is happening to us all now is likely, and thankfully, one of the hardest challenges any of us will ever have to face in our lifetimes. Covid-19 has been a wake up call for us all to stop sleepwalking through life and to hit the reset button to ensure that we can propel our way out of this as expediently as possible. So, let’s make sure that we all step up as humans – for ourselves and each other. We need to be certain that we each have the energy, skills and ability to do what’s needed and ensure that we, as individuals, as well as our businesses, come out of this stronger and more powerful than ever before. 

Our survival, and that of our industry, is counting on it.

 

Helpful Resources

Up to date Info on Corona

Conversations with Cate

Continuing our commitment to supporting everyone over these coming weeks, we have a brilliant session planned every Friday lunchtime that we’re calling ‘Conversations with Cate’—oh the power of simple alliteration!

Each week our founder Cate Murden will be in conversation with one of our brilliant team of coaches sharing valuable insights that will help us all get through this – whether you’re a leader considering how to support your team and ensure that you all still achieve what’s necessary or if you’re working remotely for the first time and need to think how to work differently but still perform at your best.

Join us at 12 noon every Friday to hear some awesome knowledge. Click HERE to catch up on all of our previous sessions! Or join the webinar here!

CHEVY ROUGH: Unlocking Your Energy, Focus, & Critical Thinking

Do you feel stuck in first gear, trying to up your game but for some reason not able reach fifth?

After turning his life around from depression, drink and drugs, Chevy found a skill set supporting others to find their career paths. His purpose is focused on human performance and mindfulness, and how to approach training mindfully, while making holistic changes to keep moving, including life and career goals.

For our first Conversations with Cate we sat down with Chevy, wellbeing specialist. With so many different aspects within wellness, Chevy focuses on harnessing and understanding your energy to maximise critical thinking and focus. 

In short, Chevy helps people and organisations develop mindset, behaviours and tools required to improve mental, physical, and social health. 

Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Time is not the metric to success, energy and focus are. Which is why understanding the relationship between stress and rest is vital. 
  2. Learning to switch off is a constant experiment. A/B test what works for you depending on how you feel that day
  3. Understand all the ‘stress cycles’ that you run throughout the day and improve closing them down so that you can rest and repair inbetween – and come back with more focus
  4. Listen to yourself. Build a relationship with your inside view, knowing yourself is key to understanding your energy spent.
  5. Get better at ‘doing what you said you would’ – if you don’t, you will waste energy thinking about all the stuff that you should be doing!

Find the whole episode on youtube now to see how you can better harness your energy and take yourself to fifth gear!

KIRSTY HULSE: How to be Confident & Resilient in Times of Uncertainty. 

The power of positivity can feel a bit woo-woo, but the truth is it has a real and tangible effect on everything from mindset to confidence to planning. 

Kirsty Hulse is a confidence coach who understands that we all have the confidence to choose how we feel and what we focus on, it’s about learning how to unleash it that’s key. We had the chance to sit down with her and talk about what confidence means now, and how can we all create the best backdrop to make good plans, especially in times like these. 

Top Takeaways:

  1. Creating your state comes from a combination of physiology and mindset, consider how you are supporting your different energy sources – physical, mental, emotional and social. 
  2. In challenging times we must pivot and plan from a place of neutrality. Both negative and positive states would create delusional responses.
  3. Confidence is another way of saying trust—in your abilities, in your self— and comes from your personal experiences. Confidence is the key to building a more positive mindset.  
  4. By managing your expectations, you will have a huge impact on your perspective. Anxiety, disappointment and anger come from your expectations being too high. 
  5. It’s about radical acceptance of your actions, not looking at them with guilt. 
  6. Understanding your beliefs is key in getting in touch with your inner dialogue. Auditing your current beliefs can help you to make real changes, giving you insights into why you make certain decisions and reevaluate. 
  7. Planning from positivity technique: 
    1. Picture yourself in the future when this is a memory; where are you? What are you doing? Wearing? Feeling? 
    2. How did you get to this place? What milestones were necessary to reach this point?

Find the whole episode on youtube here to see how you can change your mindset and start planning from a place of positivity. 

COVID-19 The World’s Largest Remote Work Experiment

Last week, everything seemed to step up a gear surrounding Covid-19 in the UK. Whether it was down to Boris finally stepping off Cloud 9 post his baby news or if a number of additional recorded cases suddenly put us all into fear mode and increased panic-buying of flageolet beans and extra quilted toilet rolls. Everywhere you turned, everyone (and I do mean everyone) was talking about coronavirus. 

I have to be honest; I am seriously worried about the hysteria around this bloody virus and its impact on our economy, psychology, relationships and business than I am the illness itself.

Of course I appreciate the real risk to the elderly, those with compromised immunity or the disenfranchised who stand to suffer most from this. However, what is also terrifying me is the unmitigated frenzy the media has whipped us all up into that has sent us into a spellbinding spiral of panic!

At PUSH, we were really keen to understand why this action has happened as well as hopefully, what learnings we can take from it – to not only get through it but hopefully, gain, from this current situation.

Creating New Habits – an Opportunity for Innovation and Change.

We are bring presented with an opportunity to create a new habit – including everything from washing your hands more frequently to getting brilliant at working remotely.

There are a few key ingredients in creating new habits:

  1. Leverage context or be clear on the reason why the change is happening – the Corona hysteria has quickly short-cut this for most of us!
  2. The basic components must be readily available – everything from soap and water or suitable tech and environment
  3. Make sure the new behaviour is easy to perform – or have the energy and resilience to overcome challenges until the behaviour becomes easier
  4. Encourage practice – until it becomes the new norm
  5. Recognise and reward effort – so our brain develops neural pathways that associate the new behaviour with positive feelings

We face a risk from our brains as well as our bodies

In addition to the virus itself, we are also at threat from the human perception that is biased and influenced by the many mental shortcuts that we all make. Perception is reality and reality is perception and, right now, put simply, our limbic system is being hijacked!

Human assessment of risks and threats is far from perfect. The abundance of news referring to fatalities caused by the coronavirus increases an individual’s perception of personal risk to the disease. This is called the availability heuristic. The more people hear about the risk, the more the risk gets overestimated, even in countries not affected by the virus!

Another bias — herding or bandwagon effect — makes people wear face masks even though it is not actually an effective prevention measure! The same bias is responsible for ‘pandemic shopping’ with everyone I speak to mentioning that the entire country has run out of toilet roll. Frankly, if that’s not a reason to go to the pub, in order to use their facilities, then I don’t know what is.

New threats are also perceived by us as more dangerous (novelty bias) though new strains pop up of common viruses all the time. So yes, this is a new “novelty” strain, but it is nothing we haven’t weathered before.

More than anything, we know that this virus is causing everyone stress and it is this stress that I am even more fearful of. And, here’s the irony, the higher your stress levels, the more compromised your immunity is!

Overcoming all these biases might be hard. We may read and understand all the available data and try not to blindly follow the others. But we can also use the knowledge about human behaviour to see what is happening now as an opportunity for change!

COVID-19 has won The World’s Largest Remote Work Experiment award! 

With nothing short of incredible aplomb, this virus has legitimised and provided bona fide booster rockets to the remote working phenomenon that’s been underway for the past several years. A shift that previously has been done either occasionally, but only if it’s been approved by everyone from the HRD to Gladdis who makes the sandwiches, or where a policy has been changed but actually everyone secretly hates it because it means that you actually have to trust people.

It really is incredible what this crisis has expedited. 

By most accounts, the remote work experiment is going well: not without its hiccups and limitations, of course, but by and large, organisations and teams are figuring out how to make do. We’re hearing mutterings from many of our clients along the lines of ‘I never realised how many unnecessary meetings we had’ or ‘I’m just so much more productive working from home!’

However, we realise that Corona could be kicking around for quite some time and we are super conscious that many people have not worked remotely for sustained periods. I have to be honest, this is one of the things that I am most worried about. As humans we need connectivity and I fear that enforced isolation may have a huge impact on many individual’s mental and psychological health.  That’s why, at PUSH, we have focussed on two things over the last week:

  1. We have worked hard with all of our coaches to ensure that all of our sessions can work remotely – using a combination of digital learning and webinars
  2.  We have created some short videos tips about how to make the most of remote working and make it work for all of your teams – no matter how much they have to do it

So, in summary, I think the take-out is that if we can use what is happening now as an opportunity to come together with compassion, patience and kindness we might get through this challenge having learnt something about ourselves as well as developing new and improved ways of working. As ever, we’d love to hear what you think and, if there is any way that we can help support your people through a time that might be more slightly more challenging than normal then, you know where we are.

If you have any concerns regarding Coronavirus please head over to the NHS—or Public Health England—to find the most up to date news & precautions. And remember, dispelling this panic is as easy as washing your hands.

 

Are You Geared Up For Working In The 21st Century?

Would a 4-day working week make you more productive? Is tech speeding us up or slowing us down? Are you using the right language around mental health and inclusivity in the workplace? How do we actually work better?

 

These are the questions we are answering at the world’s first 24-hour festival of the mind, Getahead, on Friday 14 June! Keep reading to find out more and use our code for £5 tickets.

 

People are burning out sooner, and younger. Getahead’s co-founder Dan Kirby, knows this all too well which is why he teamed up with Jenni Cochrane in 2018 to found Getahead: a not-for-profit initiative with a 25 year mission to help a billion people ‘get ahead without burning out’. This year, PUSH is the official Getahead Festival WORK BETTER partner, hosting inspiring talks and a thought provoking panel discussion, asking: How Do We Work Better?

 

When and where will Getahead take place?

 

On Friday 14 June from 6am to 6am (it’s up to you how long you stay!), two incredible venues, Omeara and The Ministry near London Bridge are host to world-class speakers, workshops, panels, fitness sessions, complimentary massages and delicious food against a backdrop of incredible music and like minded people.

 

What will our WORK BETTER panel discuss?

 

The panel will discuss some of the fundamental topics facing businesses today, including whether a 4-day week is the answer to our modern world of work, as well as the impact of AI, and how we support workplace mental health and inclusion. Most importantly we want to find out how we can create people-first cultures.

 

Undoubtedly, the way we work plays an insurmountable role in the way we live, our stress levels and risk of mental health issues. For this reason, PUSH have curated a panel of experts focused on solutions.

 

Who will be on our WORK BETTER panel?

 

We have brought together some of the most brilliant minds across tech, mental health, people-first cultures and inclusion & diversity to have an open and honest discussion about people, teams and companies improving the way we work.

 

Our panelists include; Tom Head, the Co-owner and Sales & Marketing Director of one of the Top 100 Digital Agencies in the UK, Lab. Lab is also one of the first London agencies to break convention and cut a day from the working week, taking their staff down to 4 days. Tom will be discussing whether a 4-day week is the answer to our modern world of work.

 

Adah Parris is a TED 2019 Emerging Innovator, Futurist, Cultural Innovator, Board Advisor, Keynote Speaker and Coach, and in 2018 was recognised as one of the Top 100 BAME Leaders in Tech. Adah will be discussing how we can be more human in a world of AI and improve how we work.

 

Anita Caras is the Insight Director at Verizon Media and is now using her industry voice to advocate for inclusion and diversity in the workplace. She is Verizon Media’s EMEA lead for the Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN); a voluntary organisation that champions women’s leadership and advancement. Anita will be discussing how inclusive cultures help us thrive at work.

 

Paul McGregor is a mental health speaker and author who’s looking to normalise the conversation around mental health. He shares his personal experiences with mental health, and his work has been featured on Sky News, BBC, The Huffington Post and more. A serial entrepreneur, at 19 he started an online fashion business and also has guest lectured at The London College of Fashion since the age of 21. Paul will be discussing whether vulnerability around mental health affects productivity in the workplace.

 

The panel will be hosted by our Founder, Cate Murden, who herself had been signed off with stress after a 15 year long career in Media and having started PUSH, understands the fundamental challenges that companies and people face in avoiding burnout and working better.

 

When do the PUSH sessions take place?

 

07.00am: On Friday 14 June, our day begins at Omeara with a Breakfast Networking complete with orange juice and pastries before the first talk of the day.

 

09.45am: Our Founder Cate Murden’s talk on ‘Building Resilience in the 21st Century’ in which we’ll face stress head on and will explore how we can build resilience, motivation and happiness, put ourselves first and be empowered to live a better life!

 

10.30am: The PUSH ‘How Do We Work Better?’ panel with Tom Head, Adah Parris, Anita Caras and Paul McGregor, hosted by Cate Murden.

 

13.00pm: We then head over to The Ministry where PUSH are proud to present three incredibly inspiring talks. Chevy Rough’s talk at 13:00pm on ‘’Whole Body Living’, will help you understand how to reduce stress and increase motivation, utilising 20 years of experience combining fitness, running, life and career coaching.

 

14.00pm: Le’Nise Brothers’ is on stage next with her ‘Build Your Resilience With Your Diet’ talk and Nutrition Q&A, talking you through the role nutrition has on mental wellbeing and all the foods that can help boost your resilience as well as answering your nutrition questions.

 

15.00pm: Anthony Astbury and Scott McArthur will be talking about the Whole Man Academy initiative which offers an informal environment in which men from all walks of life can come together to share their experiences.

 

Visit the Getahead website for the full schedule and get in touch with us for more information on our WORK BETTER activities.

 

Why should you come?

 

Our mission as the official WORK BETTER partner for Getahead Festival is simple. To help you find ways of working better, avoiding burnout and living a genuinely better life by sharing invaluable information from our world class experts. So, bring your colleague, or your team and let’s #WorkBetter together.

 

Get your discounted ticket with PUSH:

Use code PUSH24 for your £5 ticket or book via the direct link for Getahead Festival on Friday 14 June!

How To Change Your Mind About Stress

Almost three-quarters of adults (74%) have at some point felt so stressed they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope, according to a UK-wide stress survey commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation in 2018. Now after a year of a global pandemic stress levels have skyrocketed for over 65% of adults.

For many people, work is the number one source of stress – juggling the multiple demands of the workplace; expectations, to-do lists, meetings and deadlines can make for a highly stressful proportion of our day. But what if, instead of an uncomfortable and debilitating sensation, stress was energising and maybe even enhancing?

PUSH Coach and Clinical Psychologist Dr Hazel Harrison talks to our clients about ‘Using Stress to Your Advantage’, helping teams develop new skills to manage the impact of stress on a day-to-day basis. We spoke to Hazel about the research behind stress and how we can change our mind about it.

The last time you felt really stressed, you probably sensed your heart racing (due to an increase of adrenaline in your bloodstream) and perhaps experienced shortness of breath and sweaty palms.

I had those sensations last week, as I stood in an empty lecture theatre before giving a presentation. The room was bigger than I’d expected and I imagined those seats occupied, with expectant faces turned towards me.

On similar occasions in the past, I would have tried to calm myself down by taking long slow breaths. I’d be worried that my stress response might hinder my ability to think. This time, I tried something different and welcomed the stress, smiled as my heart pounded and regarded my physical response as energy-giving rather than harmful. I hoped it would give me an edge and help keep the audience engaged.

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The good, the bad…

A whole host of research tells us how bad stress is for our physical and psychological health. Yet there are also plenty of studies demonstrating the exact opposite: that stress can be good.

Confusingly, both sets of conclusions are true.

Stress can be harmful when it feels out of our control, devoid of meaning, or happening against our will. So pretty much all the time, right?

Well yes… and no. While it’s true that most of us find it difficult to reduce the amount of stress in our lives, what we can do is change the way we think about it: make it good, not bad.

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Believe – and it will be so

Research is starting to show that our beliefs about stress influence our physiological, behavioural and psychological responses to it. In short, if your mindset says stress is harmful to you, it probably will be.

Mindsets are beliefs that influence how we behave and see the world, how we interact with others and also how our bodies respond. Many of us have a ‘stress is bad’ mindset that makes us believe we should avoid stress and that it’s harmful to our health, as well as our productivity and performance.

But researchers (like Alia Crum and Kelly McGonigal) have been testing out what happens when we teach people a ‘stress is enhancing’ mindset. Stress can make our bodies stronger, boost our immunity to illness, kick-start creativity, improve our relationships, help us see new perspectives and – in life’s riskier moments – improve our performance.

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Four new ways to think about stress

Here are several ways to develop a ‘stress is enhancing’ mindset, all supported by research:

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1. Use the energy and rise to the challenge

By believing we have the resources to overcome stressful events (or that we can connect with supportive people who can help us), we can move from a threat response to a challenge-response.

In this new scenario, the physical sensations we experience under stress can trigger a belief that our body is giving us the energy to rise to the challenge.

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2. Find meaning

Rather than seeing stress as something to avoid, we might look at it as a way of gauging how engaged we are with our lives. Interestingly, research has found that people who believe their life has meaning also report higher levels of stress. Sometimes we feel stressed because we care a great deal about the outcome of what we’re doing.

By finding meaning within the source of our stress, we may be able to see our anxiety in a more positive light.

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3. Change your relationship to everyday hassles

The hundreds of mini-stressors (like emails or chores) we experience every day can feel threatening or overwhelming – especially when clustered together. Often it’s because we see them as intrusions that get in the way of what we’re doing or want to be doing.

We can learn to see these things as uplifting or meaningful if we change our attitude. For example, I used to think ‘doing the washing’ was a hassle. Now, when working at home, I try to see hanging it on the line as a chance to take a break from my desk, and to get some fresh air.

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4. Use stress as an opportunity to learn

We often want to get everything right and this can add to our feelings of stress. But if we take the pressure off ourselves and accept imperfections, we can open our minds to new experiences – and learn from the missteps.

For several hours after a strong physiological stress response, our brain is rewiring itself to imprint the experience. This means that when it happens again, we may have ways to help us cope with it better if we’re open to learning.

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It’s all in the mind

Stress can be positive or negative. If you can reduce the stress in your life, then do it – there may be some benefits. But for the things you can’t change, studies show there are physiological, behavioural and psychological upsides to viewing stress more positively.

Back in the lecture theatre, I watched as the seats filled up. It was time for me to take the stage. As my heart pounded, I reminded myself ‘this is your body giving you energy – use it’. And so I began addressing the audience; funnily enough, on the topic of anxiety. But something had shifted for me. I wasn’t stressing about my stress response. The anxious thoughts that might sometimes accompany these physical sensations just weren’t there. Which left me thinking clearly, connecting with the audience and enjoying the experience.

So, the next time you find yourself in a similar position, it might be worth changing your mind about stress too.

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You can follow Dr Hazel Harrison on twitter @thinkavellana

At PUSH, we believe that managing workplace stress is a shared responsibility between employers and employees. This is why, during Stress Awareness Month, we are asking the question: what are YOU doing to manage your own stress levels and those of your employees?

To help, we will be sharing advice from our expert PUSH Coaches across social media – follow us at the links below.

We are committed to helping people, teams and companies better cope with stress at work – find out more or get in touch, we’d love to work with you.

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International Women’s Day Event With Verizon Media

We’ve come a long way… but we’re still on the journey. International Women’s Day offers a chance for all of us to reflect on, and look towards, a gender-balanced world. This year, we partnered with Verizon Media to champion the success of women and to learn and be inspired by one another.

The International Women’s Day website states:
“Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive, and balance drives a better working world. Let’s all help create a #BalanceforBetter.”

 

Together with Verizon Media, PUSH selected panelists from different walks of life who have succeeded in their own way. Adah Parris is part of the Top 100 Most Influential BAME Tech Leaders in the UK, Charlie Craggs is an Award Winning Trans Activist and Author, Clemmie Telford is the curator of Mother of All Lists, and Cate Murden is the Founder of PUSH Mind and Body.

The panel was facilitated by Head of Research at Verizon Media, Anita Caras who recognises the importance of diversity in the organisation. “Let’s face it: 50% of the workforce should be women and so we have to think about equality throughout the workplace. For us it’s about recognising the talent within Verizon Media and making sure that we are there for each other, to rise up the ranks together.”

Our goal with Verizon Media was to inspire and encourage the team to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality. By listening to the stories told by our panelists and how, against the odds, they have overcome adversity on their road to success, the Verizon Media team were is inspired to pledge for a #BalanceforBetter in their own way. One example was to use privilege to call out discrimination in the workplace, as Trans Activist Charlie Craggs stated “bigotry only blossoms where it is allowed”.

From the pay gap to gender bias and work-life imbalance, women in the workplace undoubtedly face challenges. Our panelists offered advice to encourage equality in the workplace that we can all take on-board. Tech Philosopher Adah Parris believes that ‘diversity’ is a mindset and ‘inclusion’ is about behaviours, “There is a level of individual and collective power and responsibility to change. Recognise your own levels of power.”

We asked our panelists which stereotype related to women in the workplace they’d most like to break. Their answers unmistakably reflected the inequality they have faced – ageism, the feminine seen as ‘less than’, and Clemmie Telford’s battle with being a mother and having a career, “you can absolutely have both”. Our Founder Cate Murden would like to breakdown the perception that all men are ‘strong’ and that all women are ‘weak’, which brings into question, what is strength? Their answers gave great insight into the practical and real inequalities women face daily at work, but bigger than the stories of unfair treatments was the honesty, passion and positivity in the room.

It was clear to see that the theme of the International Women’s Day evening with Verizon Media, centred around identity and being our most authentic selves. “Take time to listen to one another’s stories. If we take time to listen to them, we can learn and empower one another” Clemmie Telford said when asked how we can support each other to be ourselves. As Charlie Craggs mentioned, we’ve all overcome adversity no matter who we are – this is what unites us as people.

Our inspiring panelists communicated to the Verizon Media team that learning about ourselves and knowing who we are is a step towards accepting others being unapologetically themselves. Once we adopt this mindset, injustices in the workplace become clear and when we begin to reject these, equality can flourish.

As our Founder Cate Murden puts it “You are as good at being You, as Beyoncé is at being Beyoncé”.

Here at PUSH we are passionate about the issues raised around International Women’s Day. We are also passionate about working with companies to support their initiatives to include and improve the experience of women in their workforce. Do you have an event coming up that we can help with? Get in touch with the team here.

 

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