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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