In episode two of Mind.Set I sat down with Abigail Hirshman, mental health and wellbeing expert, business consultant and keynote speaker to discuss both her personal and professional journey. 

Our conversation emphasised the immense power that comes from making difficult decisions, and how taking steps towards making real change can lead to incredibly positive outcomes.

An honest, candid and inspiring conversation – this episode uncovers Abigail’s wellbeing secrets, with practical tools to help you manage the trials life throws at us all. 

Here are my top 5 takeaways from our conversation, as well as some of my favourite quotes from the episode:

  1. Embracing adversity is a paradox

“What people tend not to do not so much once they've gone through adversity, is to reflect on what's happened to them"

When we experience adversity our minds and bodies are so conditioned to deal with it, meaning we rarely have the capacity to extract the positives from the situation, until the immediate challenge has actually passed. Therefore one has to look back, with balance, in order to then learn and grow. Why spend all that time weathering the storm to not then enjoy some sunshine? Extracting key learnings after the challenge is the sunshine. There is no such thing as bouncing back, it’s about reflecting, and then moving on to a wiser space.

     2. We can’t enjoy anything without struggling to get there

“Satisfaction only happens from dissatisfaction"

Anything worthwhile will involve some element of discomfort, or work that we would rather not do, in order to attain the reward. Without the contrast it is less enjoyable – it can’t be Saturday night every day of the week! That large work project that has really stretched us, is only so satisfying now it’s been completed, because it pushed our boundaries. Pushing boundaries leads to optimal growth. Therefore, learning to reflect on what can be taken away from that period of discomfort can better serve us for next time, and it is an invaluable truth, that there will be a next time. So embrace the struggle. 

      3. Psychological safety matters

 “Psychological safety is being able to say you know what, I messed up, that didn’t work quite well, it could've worked better if we did it like this…"

We grow better as individuals, as teams, as organisations, when we create a reflective environment that is safe for people to look back, cogitate and learn. In organisations, this starts from the top and permeates down – with us as individuals, it starts with the people we surround ourselves with. This doesn’t mean becoming completely open about everything in our lives, but by being open to discussing what has happened with authenticity, it legitimises conversations further down the line for others, which will prove fruitful to future outcomes. 

     4. No journey to success is a straight line 

“It’s how you manage the challenge, and how you come through the challenge on the other side that’s actually the key part to it”

Every end goal or success has a dramatically variable line to it, with every step forward there is usually one or two backward, and then we go forward again. In the context of recognising this inevitability, it makes perfect sense to better understand prior journeys, to better equip us for the next one. The more we fall short, the more we learn, the more we grow. 

     5. Most of our satisfaction actually comes from helping others

“Everybody's got a story and everybody needs and wants to share their story and if you give somebody the space for an hour, it can help people feel heard and listened to"

If you want self-esteem, do esteem-able things. Reflecting on our own experiences and they way in which we’ve grown and developed from them, can help us to effectively help others through the insight we’ve gained. Offering support to others helps to create trust, and enables you to make a positive difference in their lives. 

Paying forward what we have learnt is one sure way to keep ourselves, our teams and our organisations healthy.