What’s wellbeing exactly?

Coaching

Wellbeing is a topic that has become very close to my heart, and is something that I work on for myself every day, and with ALL of my clients.

Until I started studying positive psychology, I didn’t really have a clear idea of what it meant… it sounded so… ‘soft’ and like it didn’t have a place in the world of work.

Now I see it VERY differently…. For us to function effectively, be happy, and healthy in all parts of our lives, including at work, it is CRITICAL that we take care of our wellbeing! And there is plenty of research that supports this.

The way I explain what wellbeing is very simple:

it’s your capacity to feel good, be healthy and live a life of purpose.

Within my coaching, I utilise the PERMAH framework and assessment of wellbeing, which is based on Martin Seligman’s theory of wellbeing:

PERMAH
Positive emotions: feeling good
Engagement: finding enjoyment and flow in activities
Relationships: cultivating meaningful connections
Meaning: our why or purpose
Accomplishment: achieving and moving towards our goals
Health: taking care of ourselves – physically and mentally

There are many easy ways to improve each of these elements and increase your levels of wellbeing. BUT making sustainable changes can be challenging, this is where working with a coach is super effective to make effective and lasting improvements to your wellbeing

(AND back to my point of wellbeing sounding ‘soft’, MANY studies have proven that good levels of wellbeing lead to greater levels of satisfaction, physical health and happiness, etc, etc. And at work… better performance, job satisfaction, increased engagement, less sick days, etc, etc, which of course leads to better company $$$ results!).

Here’s an overview of how high levels of wellbeing in each of the pillars can benefit us, with a focus on the work context!

PERMAH pillarEvidence-based outcomes
Positive emotions•Development of personal resources including resilience
•Dealing better with stress and challenges
•Starting a contagion effect of positivity
Engagement•Increased job enjoyment
Relationships•Better relationships throughout the organisation
•Improved coping and reduced conflict
•Better problem solving and job performance
•Improved morale and increased enjoyment
Meaning•Increased happiness and engagement
•Improved performance
Accomplishment•Reduced turnover
Health•Reduced stress and depression symptoms
•Increases in positive emotions, feelings of achievement and engagement

Over to you:

How do you define wellbeing?
What do you do for your wellbeing?
And do you feel it’s in balance?

Using your character strengths to be more satisfied at work

Coaching

I wanted to share with you a relatively easy way of feeling better at work. It’s simply by intelligently applying your character strengths – more effectively using what you naturally have within you! Let me explain a little more….

A quick look at character strengths
Character strengths are “positive traits reflected in thoughts, feelings and behaviours” (Park et al., 2004) and are regarded as essential ingredients of a fulfilling and happy life (Peterson, 2006). The VIA Classification consists of 24 different character strengths, which we all have within us and can draw on to support us in all aspects of life. 
 
By implementing a character strengths approach, our main focus is on what’s right and what we do well, instead of spending time and energy ‘fixing’ our weaknesses, as studies have shown that this where we can experience the greatest positive impact. 
 
I work with the VIA Classification of character strengths as they are flexible, effective and impactful when professionally applied, and have been proven through many studies to contribute to flourishing. 

What are the benefits of applying character strengths at work?
When we consistently and intelligently apply our strengths at work, there’s evidence to show that we can experience improvements in:

  • job performance
  • productivity 
  • work satisfaction and meaningful work
  • employee engagement
  • job dedication 
  • interpersonal facilitation
  • performance ratings 

When I say intelligently, I mean that to really get the most benefit of applying your strengths, it’s important to know the best way in which to use them! For example to understand when to dial up a strength, such as bravery before a speech; or dial down a strength, for example creativity when you are required to closely follow processes. Or by seeking an evidence-based positive psychology intervention to develop your strengths in new and novel ways. 

So, which strengths are most impactful at work?

Numerous studies have found that when the character strengths of…

  • curiosity: “interest, novelty-seeking, exploration, openness to experience”
  • zest: “vitality, enthusiasm for life, vigour, energy, not doing things half-heartedly”
  • hope: “optimism, positive future-mindedness, expecting the best and working to achieve it”
  • gratitude: “thankful for the good, expressing thanks, feeling blessed”

… are consistently applied at work, then we can experience higher levels of satisfaction.
 
Here are some ideas of how you could apply each in the work setting:
 
Curiosity

  • ask ‘why’ questions more often, especially when making assumptions
  • be curious about a work task that you don’t like – find a new way to view it positively
  • challenge yourself to learn a new thing a day for a week

Zest

  • when you feel your energy lagging, instead of reaching for a sugary snack, get out and go for a short walk
  • express your energy and individuality by wearing colourful clothes
  • prepare yourself for new tasks at work by considering the positive aspects 

Hope

  • observe how hopeful colleagues overcome challenges
  • support someone who may be struggling by offering hopeful ideas and concrete actions they could take
  • set daily goals for what you’d like to achieve and identify 2-3 different ways you could reach these goals

Gratitude

  • explain why you are grateful to a colleague, either by what they have done or for a positive aspect of themselves and leave it on their desk in a note to surprise them
  • each evening, recall 3 good things that happened at work each day
  • start meetings by sharing successes

(Reference: Niemiec & McGrath, 2019; Niemiec, 2018: McQuaid & Lawn, 2014)
 
So, which of these 4 strengths will you be focusing on first?!

 

Newsletters

Every couple of weeks, I share short and sweet tips and insights from my work as a leadership & career coach and a student of positive and coaching psychology, as well as exclusive special offers on my products.

If you’d like to subscribe to receive all future newsletters, please click here and you’ll receive a gift from me5 Simple Ways to Integrate Positivity into your Work Day. Otherwise here are previous newsletters for you to enjoy and benefit from!

 

 

March 2019

Productivity, focus and authentic happiness

February 2019

Spotlight on positive emotions

January 2019

Highlights, boosting strengths and positive futures

December 2018

My best self, more optimism and finishing 2018 on a very positive note

November 2018

Your best self, optimism and doing more of what you love at work

Successes, more strengths and a positive psychology exercise for you

October 2018

Innovation, engagement and gratitude

Kindness, excitement and a special offer

September 2018

More habits, more strengths, a celebration and a gift

R U OK, bad habits and 3 good things

August 2018

Positive Psychology, personal branding and nap pods

July 2018

Values, good deeds and celebrations

June 2018

Strengths, intuition and little brothers

Positively thriving at work

 

Applying your valuable skills, experience and knowledge to a new job or career

Which skills, knowledge and experience do you already have that can you apply to different jobs or careers?

If you’re considering a job move or career change, but are really doubting your abilities to move to another field, evaluating your transferable skills, knowledge & experience can help to boost your confidence and be a significant step towards your rewarding new career.

Many, many different skills and types of experience can be applicable across many different jobs or careers. Here’s an example from me: I worked in marketing and corporate communications for over 15 years, and studied both marketing and strategic communication. So I have a clear skill set, knowledge and experience in terms of communication and understanding of corporate strategy. What I do now as a career coach is totally different in terms of work environment, outcomes, skills and knowledge that I utilise. But, as I am a business owner, the knowledge, experience and skills that I’ve collected in my previous career support me in understanding how to market myself, what elements are needed for a business strategy, amongst others.

Your skills, knowledge and experience are so valuable! Whether you’ve spent over 15 years utilising, learning and improving your skills, or even just a couple of months, what you’ve gained has been a big investment in terms of time and energy. So, by understanding what they are, and what you can take with you to a new job or career, you ensure that your investments do not go to waste.

Here are some practical and easy steps you can take to get a clear picture of where you stand right now, and identify what you can, and would like to, take with you to future jobs or careers:

1. Conduct a skills, experience and knowledge audit

If you’re feeling a little stuck and are beating yourself up for not already being perfectly qualified to for your dream job or to start a new career, take a look through your CV and make a list of which skills you’ve gained and implemented in each position. Make other lists of experience and knowledge that you’ve acquired throughout your work life and education.

2. Reflect on what you enjoy and are good at

Once you’ve made your lists, it’s important to reflect on which skills, knowledge and experience that you enjoy. Who wants to move to a new career and not do what they like to do?! And what are you good at? How can you integrate your talents and strengths into a new career? The StrengthsFinder and VIA assessments are great tools to help you identify your strengths.

Make a wish list of what you’d really, really like to be doing in your new job or career. Highlight the ones that are your highest priority, and even update your CV to reflect this where you can.

This step can also be a big eye-opener if you’re currently not sure about what kind of work is right for you. You can used your highlighted list of preferred skills, knowledge and experience, to do some research into which kinds of careers or jobs you could utilise these on a daily basis.

3. Identify any gaps

This may come at a later stage when you are clear on which direction you’d like to go in, but working out which skills and experience that you don’t have (yet!) can help you to develop a training or work experience plan to get you the work you desire.

Useful resource

If you’re needing some support with your audit, the Strong Interest Inventory assessment, identifies careers that are suited to you, based on your interests and preferred skills. So it can really help you to efficiently pin down what you like. It also offers insights into what kinds of skills are required for different jobs, and can then help you to easily identify any gaps that you currently have.

Over to you….

  • Have you already done a skills, knowledge and experience audit?
  • Do you already know your preferred skills, knowledge and experience?
  • What are your talents at work?
  • Which of your skills, knowledge and experience have been most easily implemented across different jobs or careers that you’ve already had?
  • Which would you most like to implement more regularly?
  • Are there any obvious gaps that you know how to fill?
  • Do you need support to understand how to fill gaps?