This week marks five years (give or take a few days) since I started WorkLifePsych. Though the idea had been embryonic for some time, I started to work in earnest in September 2014 – which sometimes feels like yesterday! Other days, it’s hard to remember a time before I worked for myself.
In this time, the business has evolved and grown. We have a range of impactful training courses and a compelling coaching proposition. Work has moved from various coffee shops and client offices to an established office in the City of London. And we now have a fortnightly podcast, which I absolutely love recording with the excellent Pilar Orti.
I have clients whom I adore working with and coachees who’ve achieved remarkable changes in their professional and personal lives. I’ve worked with graduates in their first ever week of employment and senior executives as they prepare for their retirement. I’ve supported professionals navigating significant work-life ‘balance’ challenges, dealing with pressure and stress, adjusting to new levels of seniority and dealing with the various ways our minds can convince us that we’re just not good enough.
Speaking engagements have taken me to locations as varied as Belfast, Birmingham and Bucharest and I’ve loved introducing audiences to topics as varied as the impact of applying our values in a meaningful way and how best to deal with psychological discomfort. Projects have taken me to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Dublin, Barcelona, Stockholm and Amsterdam – cities I’ve enjoyed exploring in between work.
I suppose this is a rather long-winded way of explaining that I love what I do for a living and want to do more of the same.
Some lessons I’ve learned along the way
- Despite my love of all things digital, there are few things as satisfying as writing on my enormous office whiteboard.
- I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the sound of my own voice on a podcast.
- All good creative meetings begin with some coffee.
- You can’t please all the people all of the time. In fact, saying ‘no’ can be best for everyone involved.
- I thrive when working flexibly – yet I love my office too.
- Mindful focus is the best skill I can bring to any challenge
- Rejection is all part of running a business. It’s not personal (I hope!)
- I can write like a demon on flights between London and Dublin (I can also recite the British Airways safety announcement with my eyes closed).
- Time with colleagues – virtual or face to face – is priceless, especially when sharing experience and connecting as humans.
- Witnessing someone have a ‘lightbulb moment’ in a coaching session is one of the most rewarding experiences I have at work.
Remembering what we do
When I started the business, my focus was really on helping people develop. The mission – and mission statement – has evolved with experience and now when I’m asked what it is we do, I put it in terms of the following themes:
- Effectiveness – getting along in an interdependent world
- Productivity – getting ahead in a demanding world
- Wellbeing – doing what matters, sustainably
A big thank you
And finally, a massive thank you to the people who have supported me in various ways.
The clients, who have had faith in me and have recommended me to others businesses. The coachees, whose positivity and development has been such a motivator over the years. My fellow psychologists both within and outside of the team, who’ve kept me up to date and provided excellent food for thought. The various listeners and guests, without whom the podcast simply wouldn’t continue. And finally, my partner Frank, whose support and encouragement has been invaluable.
Here’s to another five years!