It’s almost 12 months to the day that Matt Hancock advised that people should avoid social contact and any unnecessary travel. The day that everything changed, and we temporarily lost control over how we live our lives and run our businesses.
I look back now and recall a conversation I had with my sister at the time. She was adamant that it would have long term implications and I, (ever the optimist,) was still planning my daughter’s 5th Birthday for April, thinking that it would have blown over by then. There was no way any of us could have prepared ourselves for what came next…
Self-Investment has always been important to me. So, when I found myself right in the centre of a global pandemic along with the rest of the world, faced with a number of challenges and a bucket load of unanswered questions as a business owner, I found myself at a crossroads. One direction would have seen me hide under a duvet for a few weeks and get angry with the world outside my 4 walls, the other would see me step up, lead with my heart and continue to be solutions focused through a time of such uncertainty.
Believe it or not, I don’t own a crystal ball, so whilst I couldn’t forecast ahead and had zero control over the virus, what I did have, that no one could take from me, was my mindset. I made a choice. I chose to invest in myself and support my people – I am so thankful I did. I listened to endless podcasts, attended webinars, read books, delivered courses on EQ – Emotional intelligence and networked with others in the industry.
Of all of these learning platforms, there was one stand out investment that I made early on in the pandemic that I believe “changed my life”. I embarked on the journey of self-discovery, that is positive intelligence (created by Shirzad Chamine and delivered by executive coach Sally Powell)
I know that stating something to have literally “changed my life” sounds extremely dramatic and a little bit cheesy, but believe me when I say that both the personal and professional benefits I received then and continue to receive now have literally blown my mind! Without giving you the chapter and verse of Charmaine’s life history (I will save that for another blog, or perhaps a book one day…), the short story is, the PQ course I completed contributed to:
- Saving my marriage
- Making me a better leader
- Making me a better Parent
- Helping my business grow
- Winning multiple industry awards
Now, I don’t say these things lightly. I’ve spent 11 years speaking with therapists, life coaches, executive coaches and regularly upskilling myself. So, the question is, what was the difference?
For me, I finally understand why my own mental fitness is so very important. I invested the time to get to know “the real me”; to see the gift in everything and everyone and had that lightbulb moment of understanding how my strengths could also be my saboteurs and negatively impact all aspects of my life.
Here’s the thing. Most of us (I include myself in this,) may already prioritise our physical fitness on a weekly/monthly basis by going to the gym, running, attending exercise classes etc. The question is, how many of us actually invest in our own mental fitness and well-being on a regular basis?
For example: If you’re not physically fit, or have a physical injury, you’d feel physical stress as you attempted to climb a steep hill. The solution might be, you see a doctor, you have some physio, and this would help reduce the pain and make you feel better.
If you’re not mentally fit, you’d feel mental stress, such as anxiety, frustration, or unhappiness, as you handle work and relationship challenges. What’s next though?
The reality is, most people will acknowledge their stress levels, maybe even identify those feelings of anxiety but sadly not always know how to fix it. In a lot of cases, this results in us doing absolutely nothing about it.
Our mental fitness will impact our peak performance and overall happiness, so understanding the part we play, the lies our internal saboteurs will tell us and most importantly the small positive changes we can make to our everyday life, that will make all the difference.
Small Changes Can Make A Real Difference
There is no magic cure, and I can openly say that I still have days, like most of us, that sometimes feel a little overwhelming. Investing in me has meant I now have more coping mechanisms in my toolbox so that I can confidently bounce back a lot quicker.
We’re 95 days away from achieving “freedom” (as per the PM’s roadmap), that’s 95 days away from hugging our loved ones again, from creating new memories, without the mask.
Now’s the time to make yourself a priority – It’s all about self-investment!
Core Happiness and Professional Success awaits, you just need to reach out and grab it, without judgement or guilt.