Performance wellbeing event: A gear shift to high-level performance
Optimising leadership, building resilience and harnessing the power of elite human performance were the themes of our recent performance wellbeing event on Thursday 6th June 2019 at St Martin’s Lane Hotel, London.
Delegates from the world of accounting and finance were treated to a highly motivating and highly engaging presentation by guest speaker Natalie Pennicotte-Collier, aka The Mind Coach. Introduced by Andy Young, Investigo Associate Director for Qualified Finance, Commerce and Industry, Natalie opened her presentation with a question: “Why are you really here?”
A potentially complex inquiry for a Thursday morning, but rather than an invitation for philosophical musings about our existence, this question was posed to emphasise the importance of identifying your personal why. What motivates you? What do you want to achieve? Why do you do what you do?
“I suspect you are here because you are curious about productivity hacks, resilience insight and stress management techniques,” suggested Natalie. “The World Health Organisation states that the ‘Stress Epidemic’ costs business billions each year. When I run these workshops with high performance individuals and organisations, there are recurring themes of talent struggling with stress, sleep issues, burnout, mental health challenges and a lack of energy”.
Engaging with employee vision
By valuing and understanding the personal why of your employees an organisation can frame a high-performance coaching programme and wellbeing strategy that delivers. “A mentally wealthy organisation needs to be adopted from the top down to grass roots level,” explained Natalie. “It doesn’t matter what your role, we are all human beings, human athletes. We are all receptive to the benefits of mental skills training, resilience training and performance training, particularly at times requiring high delivery and, subsequently, of high pressure at work”.
Finding neutral gear
Drawing upon her experience of working with elite athletes, Natalie offered insight for taking a “deep-dive beyond mindfulness space into an embodied skillset to manage emotional state”. She illuminated that performance is a product of our emotional ‘state’ with mind and body fully connected.
“Access to high performance shouldn’t just be for the elite athletes, it should be available for everyone,” explained Natalie. “But what separates these elite athletes is their high levels of motivation”. And it is their awareness, attention and commitment to their personal why that fuels this high-level motivation.
You need to identify your personal why in order to stay motivated. “When you find your personal why, it is like a lightbulb moment,” explained Natalie. “it’s transformative!” Plus, it’s empowering.
So, we’ve identified our personal why, but how do we achieve high-level performance? Awareness of your neutral gear – your mental equilibrium – is integral to identifying how to shift to optimum performance gear. Natalie explained that this starts by empowering people to become their own expert: “we are better than any app in understanding and maintaining our own circadian rhythm and the signals from our mind and body. Start by being a curious observer of yourself”.
To find your neutral gear, you need to allow the mind to wander and settle on a moment of calm. Everyone can call upon a memory of an experience where they have felt uncomfortable or fearful, but how many can access that feeling of comfort and happiness? Mindfulness and finding this equilibrium take time, but the more time given to inner reflection the better. And the deeper the insight, the more choice we ultimately have.
Accessing performance gear and developing ultra resilience
“From neutral gear you can determine what high performance looks like and, crucially, from a neutral gear you have choice,” explained Natalie. “Choice in how you respond emotionally and behaviourally in any context. Choice what action to take, choice to overcome fears, choice to be present and choice to shift gears”.
This ability to choose highly resourceful states underpins Natalie’s work with FrontLineMind.com and is the skillset utilised by elite athletes or progressive CEOs – and happily, it can be learnt and developed across any organisation.
Natalie continued to explain that the shift to high performance gear requires an embodied approach, bringing body and mind together – after all, this is exactly what high performance athletes do. Again, this approach is not exclusive to elite athletes and can be applied to the workplace through trained awareness of “greeting” or acknowledging and listening to signals of pain, stress and anxiety, and then if the contact is right, acting on them or choosing to move beyond them.
Whether fear of public speaking, anxiety in asking for a promotion or a crisis of confidence in leading a project, a gear shift is required to access and achieve that high-level performance. In doing so, we are developing “ultra-resilience”; that is, harnessing discipline and motivation to exist in an uncomfortable space and then move beyond limitations, stepping up and out of the fear, and propelling yourself forward.
Natalie concluded her presentation by inviting attendees to practice a mindset skill from her FrontLineMind consultancy; spending three minutes down regulating and hyper-focusing, providing a moment to re-centre and re-engage.
A lively Q&A followed by an opportunity for networking closed the morning event, with attendees leaving with a key, take-home message: prioritising wellbeing and developing the tools to shift gear not only have the opportunity to access higher-level performance, but also to outperform those who don’t.
To read Natalie Pennicotte-Collier’s article in Investigo INsight on why we should care about the wellbeing of our employees, click here.
If you are interested in attending future accountancy and finance events, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Natalie Pennicotte-Collier is a Performance Wellbeing Specialist and Consultant. UK lead for the global training organisation, FrontLineMind.com. She is also a Clinical Mental Health and Sleep Therapist and Accredited UK Network Mindfulness Practitioner. For one-to-one consulting and performance wellbeing training and advice email email@example.com.