Developing the Skills to Thrive at Work
I love my job. I regularly get to work with sparky, interesting people who inspire me with their desire for growth and learning. Recently I had the joy of working with a women’s network; Space2B at MBDA with 80 ambitious, interesting, inspiring women wanting to know more about how to develop their mental toughness as they progress in their careers.
I’d been asked to run two sessions with an overarching theme recognising that there would be some people who would only be able to attend one session while others would attend both. The client specified that practical tools and techniques that could be taken away were important for the group. Mental toughness is such a great subject for this sort of event because there are so many practical tools that can easily be practiced on a daily basis and it all applies to life both inside and outside work.
The day was entitled ‘Optimum Me’ and our first session was ‘Managing your Energy not your Time’. Using research from Kelly McGonigal and Jim Loehr we explored the idea that stress is actually not the bad guy and that we can manage our energy levels and mind-sets differently to enable us to manage stress in a much more positive way. We also had some fun with Professor Steve Peter’s ideas from The Chimp Paradox and tried out a number of really practical tools and ideas for managing our emotions. We finished the session with an experience of mindful eating for everyone.
In the second session I introduced the group to the theory and practicality of mental toughness in a session entitled ‘Going Beyond Resilience’. Mental toughness of course involves resilience but takes it to a different level – while resilient people pick themselves up and carry on, mentally tough people learn and grow from adversity managing their brains, to enable them to stay upright when adversity hits them. Again the session was full of practical tips, tools and techniques that everyone could take away.
I sometimes joke that I’m changing the world one person at a time sharing these techniques but the feedback doesn’t lie:
“Really insightful day with useful tools and techniques I can easily fit into every day”
“I found your enthusiasm contagious. I learned a lot of things in ways I did not otherwise understand. I found the exercises helped to reinforce your points and will help me to remember. Great time. I don’t know where the time went I was so engrossed in what you had to say. Thanks”
“So timely. High stress & tension time for me. Not because of the magnitude but because of the relentlessness. Being here today has helped to re-focus and re-frame and I’m also looking forward to facing the challenges again. Thank you”
As an ambitious professional woman myself there was real joy in working with a group of likeminded women and while I unfortunately cannot share a lot of what we discussed, I will say that the conversation that 80 women had about why we tell people to ‘man up’ and ‘grow some balls’ was one of the funniest I’ve had in a long time.
I do of course also work with men…
Note: The above are just a couple of images from the day