Mental Fitness - The Hidden Edge - Podcast with Jodie Rogers

Mental Fitness – The Hidden Edge – Podcast with Jodie Rogers

Organisational Success Podcast

Metal fitness – what is it and how do you develop it? One of the most common themes to come out of the Covid pandemic is that of mental well-being. In this podcast David talks with Jodie Rogers, author of The Hidden Edge: Why mental fitness the only advantage that matters in business about mental fitness.



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Jodie Rogers

Jodie Rogers

Jodie is one of our long-time members, and is an evidence-based human behaviour consultant, coach and facilitator. She has worked with teams at Unilever, L’Oreal, Coca-Cola, Jacobs, Douwe Egberts and many more organisations over the last 20 years or so. Jodie is also the founder and runs Symbia, a leadership and professional development company.

The Hidden Edge

Transcript – Mental fitness

[00:00:00] David: Hi, I’m David Wilkinson the editor of the Oxford review. And today I’m talking with the author of the just published book, the hidden edge, why mental fitness is the only advantage that matters in business. Jody Rogers. Jody is one of our long-term members and as is an evidence-based human resource consult our human behavior consultants.

Sorry, a coach and facilitator. She’s worked with many teams at organizations like Unilever Loreal Coca-Cola Jacob’s Dowie Egberts and many more organizations over the last 20 years or so. And Jody’s also the founder and she runs Cynthia which is a leadership professional development company.

Welcome Jodie.

[00:00:43] Jodie: Hi David. Thanks for having me. It’s

[00:00:46] David: an absolute pleasure. Do you just want to start off by introducing yourself? Give us a little bit of your background and tell us what led up to writing the hidden nature.

[00:00:56] Jodie: Yeah, sure. So my background’s [00:01:00] in psychology and interpersonal communications. I am then went into your research actually, but a consumer research, qualitative and quantitative research, and worked around the world and London and Australia.

And I’d worked agency side working with lots of different clients, mainly corporate clients, often FMCG and I moved client side for a while, and actually worked for Unilever for a number of years. And in my early thirties had a midlife awakening where I thought, what am I doing? I’m using my understanding of human behavior.

To help sell stuff that people who don’t really need it, that I bought myself a one way ticket to Mexico. I brought one book called Stephen Covey’s seven habits of effective people and [00:02:00] went with the question, what am I going to do with my life? And I spent seven months traveling Overland from Mexico, back down to Brazil, where I had been living at the time.

And I, I didn’t get the answer. Okay. You’re not going to start Cynthia, which is blah, blah, blah. But the answer for me was you’re going to use your expertise to help people make the most of their lives, really. And I did come back. I retrained spent a couple of years training to be a coach realized actually don’t love one-on-one and I get high.

You get lost in people’s stories sometimes. And I had I put the, I shut the door on the corporate worlds and said, I’m not about that anymore. No. I’m over here. I’m all about personal development, but actually I realized that there’s this sweet spot where my past and experience met my future and my desire word [00:03:00] work, and that was in professional development.

So I actually ended up coming back into the companies that I used to work for in, in market research and strategy. And instead came back to work with their leadership team. And with their wider teams on team effectiveness on, on helping them diagnose problems and really unlock potential and performance.

And that’s what Cynthia is. We’ve been operating for the last eight years. Wow.

[00:03:31] David: Okay. And so what led up to your writing the book, the hidden edge then?

[00:03:35] Jodie: Yeah. My passion is really about recognizing that most of us are holding ourselves back in life because of whatever beliefs we have in our head about our capabilities.

And it’s deeply frustrating for me. And it’s, it was always personally very frustrating, but the [00:04:00] more work that we did in companies and with leaders, I saw that this isn’t something that just, teenagers are afflicted with. We’re all afflicted with this constant imposter syndrome and I’m not good enough and it’s not my time.

And I really want to shake that out of people and wake people up and. And so actually I’ve been talking about this topic since 2013. I started with just a talk that I used to run called how to think differently, which then turned into a workshop, which the internet, their course, et cetera. And so the book is the culmination of this narrative that I’ve been fighting and trying to create some energy around for the last eight years.

No nine yeah, eight years. And then with the pandemic that along with my father’s death, which was a year ago, [00:05:00] It just put a fire in my belly and created this new sense of urgency around the topic. And, Anthony too, with our inner game with mental, emotional, and infant is to be suddenly the world was listening.

Doesn’t mean that they were hearing what we were saying, but they were paying a little bit more attention than usual. I thought this is it. It has to happen them.

[00:05:22] David: So the basis of the book, or I suppose the basic premise is around this idea of mental fitness. What is mental fitness and how do we know when we’re actually mentally fit or not?

[00:05:35] Jodie: Thank you for asking the question because. What I’ve come across is this assumption that it is just mental health or mental ill health. And because the word mental is used, but, it’s catchall there. And so people default to thinking they know what it is. And I think it’s really important to be clear by the distinction.

And so the way I like to talk about it [00:06:00] is if we think of of a spectrum where on the left-hand side, we have mental ill health, and that might be, that’s below zero. It might be minus five, minus 10, depending on the challenge in that bucket, there’s all sorts of things. But in a workplace context, it might be the depression, stress, anxiety, burnout, et cetera.

Then in the middle of the spectrum, we have wellness wellbeing, and. And there’s work happening in this area, but if we’re truthful, most of that work is really about keeping people out of the mental ill health space. That is fundamentally important. It’s very under-invested area. Both areas need more energy and focus.

However, it’s half the story. If we look to the right-hand side of that spectrum, that’s where mental fitness lives, which is not a boat, getting people from minus five to zero or one or two, but it’s the idea [00:07:00] of actually, can we get people to plus 10? Can we get people to plus 15, if we strengthen and enhance people’s understanding and knowledge about their minds, how they manage emotions, how they deal with stress, et cetera, what does that make possible for people?

And I’ll just add to that, that what. What kind of partly helped me articulate. Was also drawn a parallel between the, excuse me, the medical world in that largely a big focus has been put on prevention of disease and illness. And it wasn’t until the seventies where there were some groundbreaking reports where they finally made the causal link between smoking and cancer.

Of course they knew about this, but they finally had the data that they could not argue against is really the point. That it opened up a whole new to V to be at their own prevention versus cure. And shouldn’t, we [00:08:00] start to think about educating people about nutrition, about exercise, about maladaptive behaviors and how and why not to smoke.

It’d be a B success, et cetera. Wouldn’t that be good? It turned out it was good because it took millions of people out of the system saved billions and enhanced the lives of millions of people. And up sprung the fitness industry. Now, why are we not doing applying that same thinking to mental and emotional wellbeing?

I believe we absolutely should be. And this book is part of my attempt to beat that drum.

[00:08:37] David: Okay. So how would you know who is, it’s a, actually, it’s a good question, but a horrible question in a funny kind of way, how would somebody know whether they are mentally fit or.

[00:08:50] Jodie: Yeah, it’s a good question are really around self-awareness.

First of all, are you even aware of what goes on [00:09:00] internally in your mind? Do you have an idea of how you typically respond to, crisis events, situations around you? Have you ever made an attempt to regulate your typical responses and emotions? And, for me, it really is about understanding yourself much more and then understanding that you have a choice as to how to respond to the world and life and events around you, and then exercising that choice or not, by the way, with doing it consciously or not doing it consciously.

And. Then that I think it’s personally, I find it very liberating. It’s very hard to also accept that you have much more of a choice and much more controlled than when you realize that’s hard, [00:10:00] conceptually for us to get our heads around. But once we do and we begin the exercises and I think it can change our lives.

[00:10:09] David: Yes, I completely agree. And certainly I find that with a lot of the work that I’ve done in odd emotion regulation, particularly running emotional regulation courses with students and clients is moving over that first hump of that realization that actually we’ve got a lot more control than we think we do.

And it’s not just of our emotions, but it’s also understanding, and you’ve covered this in the book which is what’s drawn me to it, I think is that you also look at Getting people to look at their values because that underpins our emotions and our thinking, but also being able to change or being aware of how we think and having the options or the awareness to be able to say, okay, there are other ways of looking at this.

There are other ways not just to perceiving things, but of of [00:11:00] cognition, of thinking about things, and then having that ability to cognitive flexibility, to move into different systems of thinking. And very few people actually do that. We get caught in that kind of a paradigm of thinking. And it’s one of the things that you cover in the book.

And we’ll come to a little bit later on. And I think, as I say, that’s one of the things that drew me to the book was that depth, rather than it just being a series of kind of sticking plasters. Just th that just a bit of a challenge really on the title and a question here. So you know, that the book is about the mental fitness and your tagline is the only advantage that matters in business.

That was quite a big claim. Can you explain why you believe that’s the case?

[00:11:48] Jodie: Yeah. And thank you for the challenge. And do you know, it’s deliberately provoked. Deliberately because I want to have the conversation with people. And I remember [00:12:00] sharing this was always the type, the title that I wanted.

And the pub, the publicist that had the publishers were unsure. We’re thinking about going down another rich for the title, and I remember sharing it on LinkedIn and while what did the bit it created, and that’s what I love it so much. And because it’s a debate we’re not having, and it’s a debate that we need to have.

So here’s my thinking behind it. Look, what happens in, on social media was, but business models and investment and revenue and hiking, you say that this blah, blah, blah, blah. And my argument is all of those are worthless. If you do not have people who are actually. To make the right decisions at the right time, in the right way, apply mental agility deal with setbacks, deal with challenges.

It doesn’t matter how much investment do you have cause you’re going to lose it. It doesn’t matter how perfect the market is or how great [00:13:00] your business plan is because business is it’s another ideology, your business doesn’t exist. Your business is a collection of people doing stuff. Now those people have the right mindsets.

Do they understand how to manage stress? Do they understand how to deal with conflict amongst the team and to deal with competition in the market, et cetera, et cetera, if they don’t have that baseline knowledge, then all of the other tangible things that we put way too much weird on our, I think distract.

And now it doesn’t mean. And this is a caveat that’s worth making because right from the beginning of the work that I would do on this topic on limiting beliefs, et cetera, people would say, are you telling me that if I believe in myself, I can have an, a thing that I want. Absolutely not. And I do not buy into that [00:14:00] sensationalism, but.

You have a damn sight, better chance of getting what you want. If you’re not standing in your own way, the amount of dreams and ambitions that have died in people’s heads and on their lips before anything has ever happened. And this is why I believe it’s so important. If we can remove the mental obstacles that exist in most of our lives, it’s not doesn’t mean you’re going to have everything you ever wished, but you’ve got a damn sight, better chance of making some of those things happen.

Then if you continue to live by those unseen rules and limitations,

[00:14:41] David: Yes. And certainly a lot of what you talk about in the book underpins fundamentally underpins the way that we make decisions. And obviously we can make a decision and it can be a good enough decision, but there’s a difference between that.

And it being a fundamentally different [00:15:00] decision that takes you in a completely different place takes you a business in a different place in your organization, into a business, into a different place. Particularly at times when there’s a lot of market churn. There’s a lot of change like now with COVID right now, as we’re recording this exactly where I am in Oxford, where we’re right on the edge of the UK first extreme heat event as it’s been called and that starting to have an impact.

On people were having this, what’s being referred to a pig endemic with lots of people having to, because of COVID having to isolate and businesses are having problems functioning with this w we’re starting to see shell 17 and things

[00:15:46] Jodie: it’s

[00:15:47] David: called ping, ping DEMEC. So we’ve got, so in the UK, there was a test and trace app, so that if you’ve been close to somebody who’s then positive, you’ve then [00:16:00] got to isolate for seven, 10 or 14 days. That kind of depends on how close you were in far along. And then the last figures that I was looking at there’s something.

There was, I, it was a ridiculous amount. It was over a million people. Like last week, for example, there was over a million school, children were isolating and that’s just the schoolchildren, w we’ve got a situation at the moment where bins aren’t being collected, where deliveries are being made.

The whole series of things are occurring that aren’t straight away, aren’t directly to do with COVID, although they are in a indirect way, but we’ve also got like extreme weather events occurring in lots of countries. This, these levels of disruption and are not going to end. And they’re certainly not going to end any time soon.

We’ve been through certainly in my living memory, the sixties, seventies, eighties, [00:17:00] a period of relative stability for business. There’s been shocks, obviously, we’ve had the 2008. We’ve had the war on terror and various other bits and pieces, but we seem to be moving into, and there’s a lot of evidence for this.

We seem to be moving into an area of hyper disruption and continual change. W we were no longer are we talking about episodes of T change that, that narrative changed years ago into a continual change thing. And so the ability to be able to make decisions and remake them becomes an important part of all of this.

And that’s why, from my perspective, I think it’s important that people are able to. Understand the connection between say, we will talk about this, the connection between their values, their emotional responses to things, because we know that the emotions drive a lot of decision-making what’s going on.

And in fact, from a psychological point of view, I would say every decision we make is an [00:18:00] emotional decision first. And then also the cognitive side of all of that as well. Which is why I’ve apart from the fact that we know each other and, one of our mentors for a long time was one of the reasons why I’ve picked up on this book.

So heavily, I think.

Sorry, where are you going to respond to? The case

[00:18:15] Jodie: is going to say, I completely agree with this. I’m moving into it. It sounds really odd to say this and, I’ve always raised an eyebrow when the media talked about the unprecedented uncertainty and, the future has always been uncertain.

Nobody has a crystal ball, but it’s just become much harder to predict. And with all of these disruptions, as you mentioned, I think our ability to navigate that unpredictability. You’re an expert in uncertainty and ambiguity. Eh, it’s not part of our comfort zones, but by, by definition, really.

But for most of us most people. I think we’ll go a long way if [00:19:00] we can learn how to recalibrate in the moment, rather than having to rely on habits and old ways and all the information, because none of that is going to be of any use to us. So we need some critical thinking skills, but we also need our own internal tools to help us navigate that continued the continued curve balls.

We’re going to get that’s in life.

[00:19:25] David: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. So can I just move on to do the part of the book title? It sounds like we haven’t quite golf the title yet, but we have you’ve called it the hidden edge hidden from what are you talking about in terms of the

[00:19:38] Jodie: edge? Yeah, thanks for these questions are really good questions actually, because nobody’s asked me that before, but my thinking, and that is really, again, this comes back to the we’re on the frontline in terms of doing work directly with executives and leaders in business people within business, and when it comes to, [00:20:00] when we get briefs from leaders or from HR or learning and development people, and the briefs are typically, this is what’s happening.

They need clarity in roles of responsibilities. They need a better strategy. They need them, all of these kind of external, tangible things that they’re hanging their hats on. They believe that’s the solution. And we used to always have to Trojan horse. In this idea of mental fitness, we had a Trojan horse in, and actually we didn’t call it mental fitness at the time, but everything to do with mindset inner game and nothing to do with our inside of us instead of outside of us and was very to be.

So we had to secretly blended into our leadership sessions because it was seen as a little bit left field, a little bit, even happy, even though it’s not happy in any [00:21:00] way. Like we do bring in a lot of neuroscience and behavioral economics. But and so I w I really call it the hidden edge because people aren’t looking to the resources that are inside of us as an answer, they’re looking outside of us, the answer to the market, to the business model, to competitors.

Yeah, all of these other things. And so that’s why for me, it’s the hidden edge because. It’s so bloody obvious to me. And it’s so bloody obvious to you. I’m sure. But to have the exacts and the CEOs and the leaders that we talk to you. Okay. Admittedly, they’re a bit more open to it, but they’re open to this topic more.

We need this. We need to stop people going on sick leave rather than actually hold on. If we go the extra mile here, maybe that will lead to some extra benefits for them, for the team, for the business, for the brand, for the company, then they’re not even there yet. I’m dragging [00:22:00] them there slowly with their feet kicking.

And they’d rather invest in products and brands and advertising in an agile working without realizing that RJ working needs agile minds. You can’t have one without the other. That’s where the hidden edge comes from. That I’m still trying to convince people that this is the edge by edge. The advantage, really, this is the thing that will make the difference if you’re brave enough to invest in it.

[00:22:33] David: Yeah. That’s very true. I’d actually thought of it like that and that they are. People are that their first port of call is technology or tools or something outside rather than looking inside and saying, am I actually fit enough mentally fit enough? Cognitively fit enough. Can I think in the right ways in order to leverage all of this stuff rather than just relying on it.

And I think that’s a very important [00:23:00] point for lots of people and lots of organizations as well. Okay. Let’s start to delve into the book a little bit more in the early part of the book, you do a chapter on the business case for mental fitness, and you look at the ROI or return on investment.

So what is the business case for organizations and an Eden? You can look at mental health and fitness of its people.

[00:23:27] Jodie: Yeah. It’s a very big question. What I’ll go back one step and say this. Why is there even the business case for this in the first place? And the reason why there’s a business case for it is because this topic I think is very extremely important for everybody in anybody.

I’m speaking specifically to businesses for a very clear reason. And that reason is the, the NHS and the health departments around the world are all ready. Tapped out [00:24:00] and I’m overwhelmed by general health. And by the way, there’s a pandemic going on. So expecting them to have the energy, bandwidth or investment to ever be able to go further in, in mental wellness and mental fitness, I think is daydreaming.

We’ve already got a massive challenge. And I fundamentally believe that business has the money and absolutely should be investing in the minds and hearts of their people because. It’s good for the bottom line. No, that’s not why they should be doing it, but you’ve got to speak to business people in business terms.

And we will always get asked this question. What w what is the return of investment in this? And I’ll be honest with you. It’s not an easy thing to calculate. And then I know you’ve condoned this path before with lots of things. It’s not easy. What we’ve done is, [00:25:00] and we did an analysis of all of the different calculations out there that existed curated the different data points.

And what we realized was that most of the arguments focus on the cost of doing nothing. So what happens if you have absenteeism and present, what is the cost of absenteeism, which is billions, but ironically presenteeism is five times the cost presenteeism. For those who haven’t heard of the term is people turning up and being ineffective, not really doing their jobs, sitting on Facebook.

And so w we, we broke down. I say we, because my colleague, Susie Hague helped with it analysis and she’s she’s an extra and fantastic data geek. And we looked at it in three different ways. One was what’s the cost of allowing people to slip into depression and burnout, et [00:26:00] cetera, et cetera.

And then Really what’s there, what’s the benefit of doing the basics and then what’s the benefit of going the extra mile? We try to find, because a lot of this is hypothetical. So we tried to find actual, real world examples as well when it came to the numbers. And, just looking at the wellness space, which isn’t arguably the mental fitness space, but is worried that theater exists because mental fitness is a fairly new term court terminology.

And we know that for every. Dollar. And we just use dollars to try and make this be more glue spent in the wellness phase that the return of investment is between two and $14. If even if it’s $2, that’s already like an excellent return, but that’s the minimum of three. And two can be up to 14, up to $14, which is, that’s if you had those odds on shares, you would absolutely be in investing in it.

So [00:27:00] it’s really important to think in this way. However, a lot of the, a lot of, eh money in business, but outside of business is actually invested in cure, not invested in prevention. And that’s where the whole mental fitness topic comes in because it’s very much in the fitness spectrum.

So if you think about the spectrum, the Mo the money, the spectrum, as I talked about earlier, the money is being invested in the left hand side instead of the right hand side. When I’ve been in conversation with leaders about this topic the thing that tends to be most interesting to them is what becomes possible if we actually invest in this area and What you’ll see historically through most companies, every three to five years restructure, and they restructure for cost saving to see if ultimately millions, billions for the shareholders also to be nimble, et cetera, et cetera.

But the generally tend to, because they have an [00:28:00] exercises. Hi everyone. The majority of them are ineffective in actually doing the job that needs to be done. And that is through further analysis. I don’t really want to, so I’ll talk mentioned them. McKinsey talks about 70% of restructures are ineffective.

I’ve not been able to find the I’m talking to you, I’ve not been able to find the actual source of that that data. So it’s not really to be trusted. Yeah. But I think it’s fair to say that we knew that restructures generally don’t do the jobs that they’re supposed to do. And there has been analysis done on the restructures that have worked for versus the restructures that haven’t worked.

And we do know that those who have invested in mindsets are significantly more likely to work than those who haven’t done any work on mindset. And it goes back to the, it goes back to what we were talking about earlier, but this whole idea of. How we as humans respond to [00:29:00] change, we’re naturally resist change because change breeds uncertainty breeds, hesitation, hesitation.

It’s this lead to death in basic survival terminology. Our brain hasn’t been updated, the hard drive hasn’t been updated. And so we still react and respond in those typical ways. Therefore we need to help people be prepared for the change. And that really is change happens externally. What happens internally is transition.

Transition is much lower than change. So helping people navigate that transition rather than resist that transition is welcome. Make a difference when it comes to accompany landing a multi-billion dollar restructure or not landing, the multi-billion dollar restart. And so when we talk to businesses in those terms, not just of the cost of doing nothing, but [00:30:00] listen, do you want to restructure in the next 10 years?

Absolutely. Everybody does everybody should, would you like that to be a success? The best way for that to be a success is for you to actually work on mindset and helping people navigate those changes. And there’s a ton more numbers and we bring people through the story really simply of gone.

Imagine you have a team of 30 people, all already in that team of 30 people, there’s a big percentage of those that are already suffering from some sort of mental health challenge. And then we take the story. We take people on that story to help people more easily digest the numbers.

And what I know from talking to others dependent on your propensity of where your area of interest is in how hi what generally resonates with you. And that story of the 30 people is resonated with some people. And there, the cost savings on restructure is resonating with other people. But also this idea of[00:31:00] everybody wants an adaptable and agile business.

The only way to have that is to have adaptable and knowledgeable people. The only way to do that is to work on the mindset level.

[00:31:14] David: Yeah. I was just taking some notes while you were talking there and it’s, I don’t think a lot of people. Understand the connection between things like so extensively.

What you’ve been talking about is the importance of culture change for organizational change and quite a lot of organizations get that, and they embark in these things called culture change projects, but what underpins the culture change project is actually a shift in mindset, a shift in thinking and a shift in perspective.

And usually that requires what we call a learning orientation. The higher, the level of learning orientation within an [00:32:00] organization. So people are cued in for learning as opposed to defending, for example, But there’s a higher chance that we’re going to get a changing culture and that, that becomes important.

But the key point here is that we’re actually talking about a change, fundamental change in thinking and mindset or attitudes, the attitudes towards things and perceptions of things. And when you think about what then underpins that there’s a set of values, there’s a set of emotional responses that need to be reshift shifted, or reconfigured into something that is more promotes where we’re going with this in terms of the kind of culture we want.

And usually I think that’s the kind of missing link, I hear a lot about culture change projects and they stick at that cultural change, that level, just trying to do that. W. Yeah. Okay. But [00:33:00] if you really get to have a culture change, people have got to change. Fundamentally, they’ve got to change the way that they’re seeing things, the way they’re thinking about things and the way they’re reacting to things.

And I think that’s why this, the concept of mental fitness is really important for organizations

[00:33:21] Jodie: because the. What have we see when it comes to change management? Just as you’ve described is again, it’s the focus on all the external things. We’re going to change the process. We’re going to change the system.

We’re going to change how we name things. We’re going to change. Who’s in charge of things. We’re going to change all of these things and isn’t that great. All that’s happening is internally. People are going well, how does this impact me? Am I going to lose my job? Does this mean I’m not good enough?

Okay. I need to defend what little slice of thing that I have, and that means letting go, not letting go. And it means not changing. So if we can speak to those insecurities and [00:34:00] help people I, what just came to mind is a quilt and a knock on it. I don’t recall the who said it, but if you want to, if you want to explore There, if you want to explore the world, don’t get your people to gather wood.

Drum up orders and give them nails. You need to teach them to yearn for the vast and expansive ocean. And it’s this idea of what’s the bigger vision here. What’s the person’s role in that? How can they be part of this change? And instead of we’re doing this and this, and need to do this and this, and inside, they’re just freaking out when we need to speak to that kind of inner child and the inner reptile that said don’t change and don’t do what they say, cause you’re going die and and give them the security they need in order to change.

[00:34:56] David: Let’s move on to, I’m going to skip a little bit here [00:35:00] to chapter eight. You’re referring to thinking traps. What are these. Why are they traps? And can you give us some examples?

[00:35:10] Jodie: Yeah, so I find, oh, it’s not just me, but labeling things felt very powerful. And language is powerful.

That’s how things exists. Once something has a name, it’s easy to see it. It’s easy to point that at. And it’s also easy to separate it from yourself. So this associate in some way and thinking traps I have, I know, I have to say, I don’t know of other people use this language. I don’t know if I came up with this language, when you’re too immersed in a topic, you don’t know where it’s coming from, but I certainly call them thinking traps because they are ways of thinking that we fall into that.

We haven’t even noticed that we’ve fallen into them. [00:36:00] And So typical ones are catastrophizing. Everybody knows someone who catastrophizes and my mother is one of the best catastrophizers. She could win an Olympic medal for it. And so that’s obviously something happens. It’s not a big deal, but it becomes this monumental massive tragedy emergency the demands all attention immediately and Mindtree.

The moment you say, and by the way you’ve said it, and everybody has said at the moment you say the words, I think that they think that I don’t like them, or they, I think that they think that I’m not good enough. You have got your crystal ball out and you’re making stuff up. You barely know what you think.

Nevermind what somebody else thinks that power does not exist. So let’s stop pretending that we have it and other ones, which is everything’s about me. So the good and the bad, but particularly the bad, [00:37:00] right? Oh my boss. Looked strains this morning and that’s because they’re disappointed me. You’ve asked because I didn’t do that thing.

And that’s because they don’t think that I’m good enough. And eh, minimizing and maximizing. So when you minimizing, when you underplay something that really deserves a bit more attention or maximizing is a bit like catastrophizing when you put way too much effort. Energy on something and you blow it out of proportions.

So there’s lots and lots of different types of funds. And we gather them in our workshops rather than give people these, we get them into small breakout groups and go, Kay, want to talk to you about the concept of thinking chops? Here’s what it is. Basically. You think a certain way it’s unhealthy and it’s difficult for you to see that you’re thinking that way.

Okay. I want you to go off and come up with as many as possible. And they come up with ingenious ones and some brilliant names for ones as well. And so we’ve been gathering, we probably [00:38:00] have a by 20 or 30 off them that have been gathered and over time, all around the world and in lots of different languages and they all exist across the world as well.

But like I said, at the beginning, the reason why I find them powerful is because if you it’s back to self-aware. And then self-regulation, if you have the language for something and we bring it, I bring this into my team as well. So as a team, we hold each other accountable where they’ll go. Jodi.

Do you think you might be tasked to in a little bit? Oh yeah. Yes, maybe, but let me for five minutes and then let go of, it brings conscious this to what you’re doing and what it is that you’re doing and you knew actually how not to do it. But if you don’t have that language, you can’t point that out and you can’t look at it objectively or as objectively as you can anyway, and go, that’s not really helpful right now. Maybe I’ll put that [00:39:00] away and I’ll just manage my thinking a little bit about. Cool.

[00:39:04] David: I think thinking traps came from Daniel Conaman

[00:39:08] Jodie: psychologist.

[00:39:10] David: Yes. Yeah. In fact, that’s our next book of the month, which is noise, whose latest book. So I’m hoping to get him in, to talk to the members, but anyway, that’s by the, by,

[00:39:20] Jodie: Ooh, that’d be at that.

I have to I’m very privileged to be in such a lineup.

[00:39:30] David: Yes. Yes. Cool. Anyway, one of my favorite parts of the book is the section the rules we should be breaking. I was like breaking rules. Anyway, can you just explain what some of these are and why we should be breaking them?

[00:39:44] Jodie: Yeah. Nine reads that people use for this are can be limiting beliefs. Not everybody knows what they are.

I, I talk about limiting beliefs and I used to talk about rules that we should be brick. And it, because it’s these [00:40:00] things that we have decided about ourselves and about other people but let’s start with ourselves. So it tends to be around our capabilities. What can or can’t happen in the future and to give really simple one for myself, I had I had this kind of deeper belief that I was a bad driver.

And and this had come from another thought, which was extremely unhelpful when I was 13, which was your driving test is the hardest test you will ever do, because if you get it wrong, you could kill someone. So I have this belief, I’m a bad driver propped up by this really massive fear actually, and which became self perpetuate.

And because of course, when you have created a rule for yourself, it’s so plausible. It doesn’t, you don’t think you created it. It’s just a fact, I’m a bad driver. And here’s why I’m a bad driver because every time I go on, I almost hit a bus in a [00:41:00] narrative, went through a red light and, oh, I didn’t know how to get off the road.

And two, it just kept going round and round. And I used to tell these stories in London, when I was learning to drive, I would come back to my flat. And they would sit there and oh no, that’s awful, Judy, don’t worry. It’d be fine. And you’re sitting there, sweat dripping down your back, just haven’t had a traumatic experience.

The reality is I would have 90 minute drive a nights lessons. And that example that I just recounted where all of your friends go, oh my goodness, you are good. Have fun. Try or just keep doing, just keep practicing. The truth is that acquainted 4 87 of those in three minutes and 87 minutes, I was bloody good driver.

And I, by the way, it didn’t hit. I nearly did, but it didn’t. And I didn’t go through the red light and water Rhonda bites for then go and write until they’re comfortable enough to get off. And so it’d be really easy. It’s really easy to [00:42:00] perpetuate these myths that exist in our heads and because they signed into plausible and because your friends agree with you because they’re so convinced and then a plausible implausible, but these are the things that are fundamentally holding us back from living the lives that we want to live.

And so the worst thing about these rules, I think is most of us don’t even know that they’re there. They just pop up in, obviously in conversation. Oh no, I’m terrible at math. You divide the bill. I’m just not good with mental arithmetic or, oh, I’m a better get Google maps because I’m terrible at reading maps or I’m not a natural at languages.

They pop up in conversation all the time on a ness. You know what they look like. You don’t see them and you go along with it and all. Yeah, no, I’m terrible at reading maps as well. And we’re caught, we’re all complicit in these myths that are holding us back in our lives. And again, it’s the power of [00:43:00] language.

If you know that limiting beliefs exist or there’s rules that we’ve created for ourselves, that aren’t necessarily true, but remain on challenged. If they exist, you can go looking for them. And then when you find them, you can be in to challenge them. And that opens up new possibilities. These scenarios.

[00:43:21] David: I think this is really important for a lot of people, but also organizations, because we don’t just create a set of internal rules about the world, how the world works in a way about the things that we are and the things we do, but cultures do the same about the ways of doing things. This is the way to do things.

This is how to do it. And I remember very early on in my career. So I started in the army straight out of school. And I remember we’d been on this exercise and we had motorbikes. I was in the military place and we had these motorbikes that we had to put in the back of this lorry. And the lorry bed was at about six [00:44:00] foot.

So lifting. A 500 CC motorbike up to six foot is no, and we’re young and fit and everybody’s trying to lift this thing up. And so we got some planks that was stage one of change of the rules. We’ll drive them up the planks, you think that’s obvious.

And then as I looked across the staging area that we were in, I noticed that the paratroopers that we were working with, that the lorry with a tail lift, I don’t where I got a bit, why don’t we just back this up to the tail lift, and then they can lift the things up and the whole place stopped and went.

What, so we create these kinds of rules about doing things about ways of being and about how to solve problems. Quite often, those kinds of things hold us back. And as you say, quite rightly is quite often, we don’t even realize that we’ve got these sets of rules that kind of hold us back. And I do think it’s important a to out them as it were, and then also to [00:45:00] then be able to change those

[00:45:01] Jodie: rules.

And they exist some culture just as you said, in company culture and in our working lives. And I wish I could think of an example now, but it’s this idea of. This is the way we do it because this is the way it’s always been done. And typically there’s actually a really bloody good reason for why it was done that way, but the reason why it was done that way has now evaporated, but we still do it that way because there’s some deep seated belief that’s just the way it has to be done.

[00:45:29] David: Yeah. I was involved in some research a few years back with the national health service. So they had a thing going on about decision-making pipelines. So the I’ve mentioned this in other, as a context as well. So if you go to a doctor for example, and. You’re diagnosed with something. Once you enter the health system with that diagnosis, you’re in this decision-making pipeline and everybody looks at you as a diabetes patient or a [00:46:00] heart patient, or I, and what they’re not seeing is the full picture.

They’re just looking at that thing. And what we discovered is it can, you can be an awful long way down the pipeline before somebody goes out on a minute, maybe the initial diagnosis was wrong, or we see this in organizations. So a manager or leader will kick something off and say, Hey, we’re going to do this project.

And everybody just assumes that they’re the parameters and nobody’s questioning it. Which is the same kind of thing.

[00:46:32] Jodie: Two, three things I’ll say about that very quickly. This is why do you know Dr. Hall? Yeah. For both Dr. House. Yeah. And I should say I use my Dr. House cause he’s he’s always looking at the bigger picture.

But, and this is this is like having a lens on your camera. Isn’t it? Because now you’ve got this lens on, you can only see it, this range because you’ve got that filter on.

[00:46:56] David: And an area I’m particularly interested in is around the values and how [00:47:00] they impact our thinking and emotional reactions.

And this is a two-stage question. So what’s your thinking about this and why given that you have a chapter on those are our values and important part of the story about our mental fitness and can actually people do about their values. Anyway,

[00:47:19] Jodie: our values are influenced in our decision is whether we are aware of.

Wouldn’t life be easier if we already knew what they were really is what it comes down to. And it’s a topic that people don’t really talk about, it’s not a conversation in normal life. It happens. And that’s why they remain a little bit of a mystery to people on this. You’ve got extremes where maybe you’ve picked up some values from a religion or one value that you’ve picked up because of something quite big and traumatic in your life, then you’re more likely to know about those.

But generally people aren’t [00:48:00] that clued into their values. No, if we do the work to understand our values, it can save us years in. Curly made decisions really. And there’s two places where I see this show up. The most one is in relationships and the other is in careers. Let’s take careers because it’s easier and it’s easier for people to make the connection.

Really, eh, if a core, it, you, let’s say you find yourself every 12 months wanting to change your job and it’s your boss and it’s, the company and you don’t think you get paid enough, but actually if you knew you had a core drive and value of variety and that if you don’t get that bad, you missed.

You’re going to want to quit. Then you can know that upfront. And when you’re faced with two job options, one is a bit more consistent, but there’s a lot of ambition and growth there, but the other is varied [00:49:00] and flexible and fill a variety and change. You already know that the other one, the one full of variety and change is the one that’s going to meet your value.

And therefore you’re less likely to want to quit in 12 months to. It’s when there’s patterns showing up in your life, it tends to be a clue that there’s values at play. There it’s the same with them. I’ve worked with someone who had tried to quit their corporate job. Number of times, set up a business, always wants to be an entrepreneur, but kept ending up back in the workforce for all of these different reasons or economic situation per business plan, et cetera.

And I’d come to me for coaching to understand what, ho how am I going to have a better business plan so that this can be a success system. We didn’t do that. We did values because when there’s a pattern, there’s a good chance that there’s value a play. And through, through a values, elicitation exercise, we uncovered that [00:50:00] her core, one of her core drive and values was security where security is ambiguous.

So what is it to you? Is it being married for 30 years? Is it’s, a job for 20 years? Is it money for her? It was money. Okay. How much money do you need in your bank account? So that whenever you set up this business and you hit the inevitable bumps in the road, you’re not going to run back to. Oh, 40 grand.

Okay. That’s your goal. Your goal is not to set up your business. Your goal is to get your values mats. So that way, when they get talent, you’re in a safe place and you don’t have to go back to the pattern that you keep falling into. And that’s why I think values can just see if yours, if your knife and brilliant for navigate and conflict as well.

So a lot of times, conflict that we have is because people have different world views. Not because we’re bad people, but we just don’t understand each other. So if we understand people’s values, we’re much more likely to be able to navigate it in a bit more of a sensible.

[00:50:59] David: I think that’s, I [00:51:00] think that’s really important quite often, particularly when there is conflict.

What we don’t do is look at the underpinning values that are the, because it’s usually a conflict of values and understanding what somebody else’s values are, can really unstick a point of conflict. And it can be a very powerful way of doing that.

[00:51:20] Jodie: And that’s the theme running through this whole conversation.

David is if we can get in the helicopter and look at the bigger picture of what is influencing us, then we can get back into the grind and make some good decisions. And I remembered the point that it was going to say a boat there, the problem that everybody know runs off and start solving.

It’s the same thing. If you get in the helicopter and go, hold on a minute, is this the problem? And even if this is a problem, is it the right problem to be solving? Then you start get back down on the grind and start executing. The problem is we don’t do that enough. We don’t get in the helicopter. Look at the big [00:52:00] picture, look at the influences.

And that for me is where wisdom then.

[00:52:05] David: Yes. That’s one of the areas that I’ve looked at in some depth. W one of the things that we found quite a number of years ago is that quite often in organizations, people are trying to solve symptoms as opposed to the problem. And there needs to be some kind of process for either understanding what the pro the problem really is.

Yeah. But that’s usually in the past somewhere or working out what the problem is now that we can move on from, but that’s for a different podcast. Okay. Let’s just skip on here. So as we come to the end of this if there are three top things that somebody could do to improve their mental fitness, what would they

[00:52:48] Jodie: be?

Pay attention to what is going on internally. Whether it’s your thinking, whether it’s your emotions, [00:53:00] whether it’s your physiology, just tune in and pay attention to what’s going on and then ask yourself what’s driving that. I am very angry and frustrated and I, instead of responding with anger and frustration, and let’s not just assume the thing that’s happening in front of us is the thing that’s causing that the internal reaction, because I know I’m sure you’ve been just like me.

I’ve been very angry and frustrated, but at the person in front of me, but it turns out is because I’m hungry and I just need a burger. And if we just had a burger, I wouldn’t be angry and frustrated anymore. One plus one, like life is simple and clearly the way I think things are the way things are.

Let’s get rid of that assumption. Let’s assume that things aren’t always what they seem and give yourself three minutes. Every time you want to react, just give yourself three minutes, get in the [00:54:00] helicopter of your life. Ask yourself what is going on here. What else is going on? What can I not see right now?

And then go back down to the grind to go. What’s the best course of action based on my helicopter visits. Not based on the simplicity of the life that I think is unfolding in front of me. So yeah, self-awareness tune-in and give yourself a few minutes reprieve before real responding and reacting and try a different response from the one you typically do and see what results I get you.


[00:54:34] David: Great. Thank you so much, Jody. I seem to have something playing in the background here.

[00:54:41] Jodie: What’s going on?

[00:54:44] David: So thank you so much for your time and your generous with sharing your expertise. If someone wants to find or contact you, how can they do that?

[00:54:53] Jodie: Cynthia is our website. And. The hidden [00:55:00] edge of team performance is my podcast. They’re probably the best two places or LinkedIn.

[00:55:05] David: Brilliant. We’ll put links through to that on the web page.

So the book is here, the hidden edge why mental fitness is the only advantage that matters in business published by Wiley and he’s available now? It’s a really good book. As I say, I’ll put links through to the book, your contact details, website, show notes and also. JV has given me a spare copy of the book.

So if you write and review, this podcast are choose someone at random from them and I’ll send them a hard copy of the book free at the end of August. Oh, and there’s also a mental fitness test on Jovi’s website. I will also put a link through to that. Thank you so much, Jody. And what viewers listeners probably don’t know is Jeremy suffering from COVID at the moment.

Just my extra. Thanks for struggling through this interview.

[00:55:56] Jodie: Oh, it was a pleasure. Absolutely loved it. Thank you for your brilliant com [00:56:00] for the brilliant questions and the great conversation really appreciate it.

[00:56:04] David: It’s an absolute pleasure. Take care.

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David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson is the Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Review. He is also acknowledged to be one of the world's leading experts in dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty and developing emotional resilience. David teaches and conducts research at a number of universities including the University of Oxford, Medical Sciences Division, Cardiff University, Oxford Brookes University School of Business and many more. He has worked with many organisations as a consultant and executive coach including Schroders, where he coaches and runs their leadership and management programmes, Royal Mail, Aimia, Hyundai, The RAF, The Pentagon, the governments of the UK, US, Saudi, Oman and the Yemen for example. In 2010 he developed the world's first and only model and programme for developing emotional resilience across entire populations and organisations which has since become known as the Fear to Flow model which is the subject of his next book. In 2012 he drove a 1973 VW across six countries in Southern Africa whilst collecting money for charity and conducting on the ground charity work including developing emotional literature in children and orphans in Africa and a number of other activities. He is the author of The Ambiguity Advanatage: What great leaders are great at, published by Palgrave Macmillian. See more: About: About David Wikipedia: David's Wikipedia Page