If you don’t have stress and pressure — will you still perform?


Part of the series:

Ian Watson and Elizabeth Lovius riff­ing on life as a lead­er


- I think the oth­er inter­est­ing thing that I think there’s a mis­un­der­stand­ing about that I think is endem­ic in busi­ness and lead­ers as well, is the idea that we have to go some­where to get well-being. That we have to do some­thing, you know, med­it­a­tion, mind­ful­ness, it’s a great tool for cre­at­ing that state, but I can’t feel relaxed without doing my mind­ful­ness, or my yoga, or I need to go and talk to a ther­ap­ist to feel bet­ter. There’s some­thing almost like the idea that there’s some­thing out­side of you, that if you were to do that thing, that magic thing, that bul­let, then you would become. What do you make of that?

- You’re right, and it’s not just people in busi­ness, of course, every­body to some degree seems to be labour­ing under the illu­sion that we need some­thing out­side of ourselves to feel okay. And it is a trap and what people often don’t real­ise is that they can feel okay any­where, you know, it’s a rev­el­a­tion to people when they dis­cov­er that. And in a way, it cuts both ways, because just as people asso­ci­ate their well-being with being on the golf course or doing their yoga or whatever it hap­pens to be, people also asso­ci­ate their stress­ful feel­ing, let’s say, with being on the tube, or with being at work, or with hav­ing an inter­view, or mak­ing a present­a­tion or whatever it is they feel required to do and it’s the same mis­un­der­stand­ing play­ing out both ways, it’s two sides of the same coin and what you and I both find through our work is that we can help a per­son to see that it really isn’t com­ing at them from the out­side. That their well-being is not cir­cum­stance determ­ined for either good or ill, that really is a game changer, because what people find is they can go into that same envir­on­ment that used to be stress­ful and feel dif­fer­ent about it and when we feel dif­fer­ent, as you see it, and we see it dif­fer­ent and we per­form dif­fer­ent, but not only that, if the per­son needs to settle down, they need to clear their mind, they don’t need to put their life on hold in order to do that and they start to find that actu­ally that’s avail­able to them 24/7. There isn’t actu­ally any time when it isn’t. And that, again, is a game changer, because people find a lot of the kind of things that they used to think were neces­sary, they start to see that actu­ally it’s like a ritu­al, that I used to per­form, it’s like the golfer who plays a per­fect round and he’s wear­ing his yel­low socks. It’s like, oh my God, I can only do it when I’m wear­ing my yel­low socks.

- My lucky yel­low socks.

- Yeah. And you know, when you hear that we think, well, that’s silly, that’s a super­sti­tion, but actu­ally we’re doing the same thing in lots of, you know, if we think we can only feel a cer­tain way in a cer­tain con­di­tion of life, a cer­tain cir­cum­stance, it’s the equi­val­ent of the yel­low socks, really. Until we see through it, and then we see that actu­ally we get to take it with us wherever we go.


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