Understanding The MEPS Differential

By Kate Pigeon-Owen, Wellbeing International.
Self-awareness is key to being a good leader. It is a skill set we should all develop so that we can better look after ourselves and others.
Published in UK Director Magazines Summer 2024

Business Psychology: Kate Pigeon-Owen, Wellbeing International

Allow me to introduce Wellbeing’s ‘The MEPS Differential’.

MEPS is broken down into the key facets of Mental, Emotional, Physical and Self, and it can help you know yourself better, build on your strengths, and work on your weaknesses to become the best leader that you can be.

If I had been taught The MEPS Differential at school, I would have been a better person, partner, and leader for it, and would not have burned out at the age of 26! I invite you to take an hour out of your week with no distractions, enjoy a cuppa, and discover how The MEPS Differential can work for you. You’ll thank yourself for it.

Wellbeing and The MEPS Differential

Managing their own wellbeing, and that of others, is one of the biggest challenges faced by business leaders today.  

Navigating issues such as pandemics, escalating overhead costs, recessions, de-stabilising ‘churn’, and the impact of global humanitarian crises, has stretched leadership and left many colleagues exhausted as they carve their way through an ever-evolving business climate.

Psychologists often refer to ‘VUCA times’ (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) when setting a context for our lives right now. Consider this quote from Deloittes*: “70% of leaders considered resigning in 2022 due to feeling overwhelmed and stressed.” These insights can help inform and drive the new skills we need to adopt as leaders.

We can all learn a thing or two from in-flight safety demonstrations; an excellent leader should always put on their own oxygen mask before helping others. Prioritising our own wellbeing helps us to understand and engage with the many facets and influences of wellbeing playing out in the workforce.

When crises arise, The MEPS Differential will highlight how we can remain healthy and find productive ways to cope and thrive. The technique will strengthen you in all that you do.  

Breaking down MEPS

The idea is to go through each of the four MEPS categories and grade yourself out of ten. Try this first when you are not under pressure and life feels generally OK, then redo it when life is not as easy and compare the results to learn about your wellbeing patterns.

Which one of these four aspects is your greatest strength? For example, mine is mental fortitude. 

Mental  1-10

1 = Fuzzy thinking with little clarity in my life.

10 = Complete clarity of thought: I am a genius.

Emotional 1-10

1 = Drowning in feelings and overwhelmed by everything.

10 = In touch with my emotions – I fully embrace them, and they don’t control me.

Physical 1-10

1 = Can barely get out of bed in the morning and am exhausted.

10 = Super fit – my body is my temple and I am better now that I have ever been.

Self 1-10

1 = What self? I am at odds with myself and unhappy in my own skin.

10 = In sync with the world and who I am, and have achieved mastery of self.

For example

Allow me to unpack the technique, using myself as an example.

Mental: Mentally I am quite strong. In fact, it is probably one of my super strengths. Even when things are tough, I can reframe life and always see the plus side. I can, and do, rely on this skillset a lot.

Emotional: Here I have learned to observe my feelings, nurture them, and check in with myself throughout the day.

Physical: This is something I used to take for granted. In my youth, although I went to the gym, skied, and walked regularly, I pushed through my workload and worked a six-day week until I burnt out. I did not listen to what my body was telling me!

Self: This is my sense of who I am and my belief system. It also includes the relationship between myself and the world. I am not bad at this.

Understanding The MEPS Differential 1 

So, my total for the 1st diagram (life OK) is 31/40.

For the 2nd (under pressure) it is 25/40.

The gap between the two is my challenge, enabling me to build my personalised wellbeing strategy, staying strong, healthy, and happy.

Using the results

  • The MEPS Differential will give you a ‘heads up’ as to where you are now and where you are in danger of falling behind in your own wellbeing.
  • The greater the differential between the two graphs, the more time and energy is needed to bridge the gap. It is likely that entrenched thinking has developed over the years and a plan of action is needed to shake things up.
  • This technique puts you back in charge.
  • A pre-emptive strategic plan is key – for your sense of joie de vivre and possible life expectancy.

Real life application

What about one of the categories where you are less strong? For me, the physical one is usually neglected, when life gets either too busy or too stressful – I used to get debilitating migraines. So how can I apply this to the MEPS Differential?

I used to get migraines which would incapacitate me for several days. Things changed when I started looking at what I was eating and listened to what my body was communicating. I realised that, in the lead up to getting migraines, there were always several warning signs. I was pushing through when I was tired and using too much coffee to keep going. At times like this, I would feel a twinging pain in my liver, my neck would feel stiff, and I would start to see flashing lights. If I had listened and rested – ideally at the early stages – I could have avoided the migraines altogether. I have since started listening and it has been years since I have had a migraine, proving to me just what a difference it can make, being attuned to my body’s cues.

A wellbeing coach is always useful when we’re going through moments like this. If you have one, ask them to help you address the four areas of The MEPS Differential. It could do you the world of good.


Understanding The MEPS Differential 5


Kate Pigeon-Owen is CEO at Wellbeing International. If you don’t have a wellbeing coach, please feel free to reach out. I’m happy to offer a free 15-minute consultation to kickstart your wellness journey. 

T: 01379 677335
E: enquiries@wellbeinginternational.co.uk
Or visit www.wellbeinginternational.co.uk

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