Wellbeing and the pursuit of personal development

By Becky Ames, Larking Gowen.
In the dynamic world of business, with all its stressors and challenges, one enduring theme emerges as a cornerstone of success: mental health & the pursuit of personal development.
Published in UK Director Magazines Summer 2024

Accountancy: Becky Ames, Larking Gowen

Setbacks do not necessarily mean obstacles, and failure can lead to opportunities for growth. So, what can we REALLY learn from looking back while still moving forwards, and what work do we need to do on ourselves to reach a point where our tenacity isn’t something getting us in trouble, and instead propels our success?

For four years, business advisors and accountants, Mark Curtis, James Lay and I, confronted what life ‘at the top’ really means, on the podcast Leadership & Life Chat. We spent a lot of time interviewing guests on what tenacity and personal growth means to them.

The thread through all their conversations was mental wellbeing: you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Consider all angles

Gin Lalli, a psychotherapist who works with business leaders, introduced the concept of the ‘stress bucket’, explaining that negative thoughts, rather than life events themselves, fill it up. She stressed the importance of managing negative thinking patterns to prevent stress overload, and a huge part of this is taking ownership of your physical health. The role of physical activity in reducing cortisol levels and increasing serotonin production can never be underestimated, alongside social interaction – modern lifestyles often lack face-to-face connections. Working from home is great for flexibility, but do you need to reconsider how much you do and whether it’s actually good for you?

Nick Jonsson works as a CEO and mental health campaigner. After losing his colleague to suicide, Nick has dedicated his life to campaigning, determined to change the perception of vulnerability, particularly at work. He wants business leaders to be the ones to take the lead in implementing honest conversations about mental health.

A supportive culture

Think about your workplace – do you have a company culture that supports and encourages employee wellbeing? Do you have support structures in place? If you are a manager or owner, do you think you would even recognise the signs of distress or bad habits in your team? You might want to consider doing a mental health audit on your culture and your internal training. And what about you? Jonsson discussed the dangers among high-ranking executives, and the impact of isolation that can be prevalent. You might need to check in on yourself; perhaps you would benefit from a peer support group. Don’t give up on yourself! A problem shared is, let’s not forget, a problem halved, and life in leadership brings its trials as well as its rewards.

You can listen to both these conversations in full, and so many others, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search Leadership & Life Chat, or visit larking-gowen.co.uk/LLC.

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Becky Ames is Partner at Larking Gowen. Whatever your financial needs, Larking Gowen is committed to securing your future and helping you reach your goals.

T: 01473 833411
E: becky.ames@larking-gowen.co.uk
Or visit www.larking-gowen.co.uk

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