Why do we do what we do…?

Last week I had the pleasure of giving my first wellbeing/coaching talk and host a panel to an audience of Events Professionals at the London Christmas Party Show in Spitalfields, London.

The topic: #Wellbeing4EventProfs.

The aim: to inspire busy events professionals to take better care of themselves during those busy periods.

The Harsh Reality: Recent stats have rated Event Management as one of the top 5 most stressful jobs in the UK.

That’s right, one of the most stressful jobs in the UK!  It is a shocking reality but not surprising when you consider that the stress and excitement of doing events is half the fun of being an Events Professional.  That said, we all know that sone of the things we enjoy aren’t always good for us – I’m a chocolate eclair fan, but eating them all the time isn’t going to do me any good!

The Risks are high:

  • Physical and mental health – weight issues, poor general health, anxiety, sleep deprivation, etc…
  • Relationships can be affected – personal and professional
  • and ultimately, the loss of great talent.

In the first session,  I discussed how unique we all are, neither of us behave or respond the same due to our different journeys and how different our filters work.  Our internal representations or views of the world are formed from these which have a massive influence over our states that generated by certain experiences — happiness, sadness, our thoughts, our internal monologue, what we consume, our values & beliefs, behaviour, and how you view and care for yourself, etc… the list can go on and I’m sure you get the picture. As you can imagine or maybe have already experienced, things can start to slip into the dark side and before you know it, you’re caught in a vicious cycle where several things are negatively affecting each other and finding somewhere to start can be difficult.

I’ve been there and in all honesty, I think some of these behaviours can remain with us and can show their ugly faces every now and again.  The trick I’ve learnt is once you identify these behaviours resurfacing, it is then how you manage them. With this in mind we learn how to deal with them better and better until they are phased out and new behaviours are formed.

Internal Representation

To share a personal note, when things weren’t going well for me, I was a massive escapism artist and would drink, socialise and stay out and generally not want to deal with my life…This was really counter-productive and destructive and I would develop anxiety and low self-esteem and I got very unhealthy – I look at photos and want to turn away but I then think that was then.

So now that we know the ‘why’, what can we do to reprogram ourselves…?

That’s right, we can reprogram out the things we don’t like and program in new behaviours and habits – just like driving a car or giving up smoking

The second part of my talk was about Reflection & Awareness and the process of change. Understanding, knowing and accepting yourself is a great first step. You can’t improve what you don’t know and creating a mindset that looks for opportunities to improve is where to begin.

  • Reflection & Awareness – Take time to look back at past performance and spot one thing that made you at all uncomfortable or unhappy.
  • Say Something – Once you’ve identified this one thing, accept that it happened and remember that you are not aloneif it troubles you, confide in someone and/or do some research online. I can’t tell you how many times this has helped me out.
  • Do Something – You know yourself better than anyone, so create a plan or develop strategies that you can run with to help you to stay on top of your game – when you know busy a period is on the horizon maybe a good before and after plan can work wonders. Get more sleep, eat well, relax, spend time with loved ones, up-skill, etc… whatever floats your boat.

This diagram shows the stages we go through for behavioural and/or habitual change – The Four Stages of Competency

Much like driving a car or giving up smoking, at first you have to really try to make any changes and the good news is that, as you practise and progress, you will eventually get to the point where it becomes automatic. You won’t have to think about it anymore – it just happens unconsciously.

Session 2: Panel discussion with Hannah Luffman (Unicorn Events) & Mark Maher (Boulevard Events)

In this session, Hannah talked about her experience with anxiety – how it impacted her, the cause and the journey she’s been through and the positive results that she’s achieved by creating a life around wellbeing and having strategies in place. For example, talking and sharing with someone for advice or just for them to listen – you are not alone, and her list of 5 activities that boost serotonin – calling her best friend, walking her dog, etc…

What would be on your list?

Mark also shared his journey with us along with his insightful knowledge on sleep and what we are fundamentally doing to ourselves when we deprive ourselves of that well-needed rest – the mind and body suffer. He stressed the importance of thinking about how and where you sleep even down to how the type of lighting can have a positive or negative effect on your quality of rest – dark and quiet is recommended.

The discussion rolled on to diet, of which each of my guest had different and all very valid views (this goes to show how unique we all are – you have to find what works for you).

This is just a smidgen of what they know and, looking back at the session, one trend does stand out – It appeared that all 3 of us had a turning point in our lives where the shit hit the fan and became the catalysts for (well) needed change and refocusing. We turned our mindsets and lives around and help others to do the same…

…If you’d like to talk about any of the above with Hannah, Mark or myself please get in touch with me directly, we’d love to help.

In summary:

  • Everyone is unique and has their own view of the world
  • Reflection & Awareness – look for ‘one thing’ you can improve – communication, sleep, preparation…
  • Say something – You’re not alone and people can help.
  • Do something – Research/Test/Plan/Strategise – You know you best. Find what works for you.
  • What we repeatedly do consciously eventually becomes automatic – 4 stages of competency
  • When you’re happy with this, work on the next ‘one thing’ to improve.

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