In Pursuit of Happiness – how to find meaning and purpose in your work.
In our current pandemic work environments, separated from colleagues and routines, happiness and mental health in the workplace is more important than ever. What can we do to address our mindset? Are there practical techniques we can adopt to help with our wellbeing at work? What is the secret to finding happiness and purpose in your work? We spoke to The Flo Coach to find out:
Who is The Flo Coach?
Wellbeing expert, businesswoman and all-round powerhouse, Claire Paul is the brains and the passion behind The Flo Coach. Being no stranger to angst at work, Claire has dedicated her knowledge and experience to help others find meaning and purpose – and therefore happiness, in their work.
“In my thirties I thought I had what I wanted. I was working in the fitness industry, I was doing things I loved like teaching aerobics, dance movement therapy, personal training, yoga – but I was unhappy. I was living for the weekend where I would drink a lot and turn off my brain, just to find myself at Monday morning again with the same dread and unhappiness. I started a wellbeing centre where I offered yoga and Pilates, flotation tank therapy, meditation and coaching. But still, I wasn’t happy”
So, Claire set out on a journey to find happiness. This included organising stress management, smoking cessation and weight loss programmes at Hewlett Packard. Leading meditation and relaxation workshops for Age UK and yoga, mindfulness and relaxation classes for schools. She was getting nearer and nearer to her right path.
“Always ask yourself; what am I here for? How do I find meaning?”The Flo Coach
Finding Courage and Belief to pursue happiness
Businesses are always evolving, and The Flo Coach is no different. It actually began as a yoga, massage and wellbeing offering for companies. Claire developed this with a business partner but as time went on, they realised they both wanted different things from the business. Claire then decided to do something that she had always been fearful of, she took the reins, put faith in herself to transform The Flo Agency into The Flo Coach and go it alone.
“It was a long road. It took me months to figure out what it was I could offer people. It was time for me to show up for myself. I employed a business coach who helped me to focus on what I wanted and helped me with how to go about it – out of that “Go to Your Edges” was born.
Go to Your Edges is an 8-week coaching and training programme of self-enquiry, resilience, learning, and how to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
“It will take you out of your stuck-ness in your working life and move you closer and deeper to your edges where the funky, exciting stuff is waiting for you.”
The practices in this programme are based on happiness research and positive psychology. Participants work through the modules, journal through the activities and consistently add the practices into their daily routine, plus receive regular 1 to 1 coaching.
“It’s easy to stay in comfort areas but doing that means you can lose sight of who you are. Stretch that area – see what else is out there – challenge yourself. My emotionally based programme helps you to deal with being bold and stepping out of your comfort zone, to increase creativity and set realistic exciting goals.”
Claire talks a lot about flow, and the flow experience which are based around 8 characteristics defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:
- Complete concentration on the task
- Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback
- Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down of time)
- The experience is intrinsically rewarding
- Effortlessness and ease
- There is a balance between challenge and skills
- Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination
- There is a feeling of control over the task
It pays to have happy employees
The research speaks for itself – happiness pays! Happy people are more creative and less likely to be absent or suffer from stress related issues. Having employees that feel looked after, valued, looking after their mental health is vital to an engaged workforce.
“It pays to have happy employees and businesses are wising up to this” says Claire. “They are 3 times more creative, 31% more productive, less likely to be absent from work, less likely to leave their job and have 37% higher sales”. Research is very important to Claire. Looking beyond the obvious examples such as Google, Zoom and HubSpot who have a strong culture are well known for investing in their employee’s well-being, happiness and mental health, Claire wanted to find examples of smaller local businesses who are pushing the boundaries with their wellbeing offering. Businesses like digital marketing agency Propellernet in Brighton have made great strides in increasing their employee’s happiness. They offered their employees 3 coaching sessions within work time to talk about work and home life. A 6-month follow up showed it had a long-term positive impact. They also offer weekly Pilates classes and massage sessions during the working day, morning meditation,
Friday drinks and chill, 2 team trips a year that the company pays for. They perform an employee survey regarding the culture of the business, and they started Propel day – one day a month to do other activities that would enhance the business, increase creativity and spur new ideas.
These are the kinds of business practices that Claire would like to see on a wider scale.
Ride the Waves of Wellbeing
In response to our current pandemic Claire created the “Riding the Working Waves” programme for workplaces to help their employees to connect whether remote working or not. This is a 6- or 12-week programme with live online group workshops.
“Connection is really key, it’s one of the 6 pillars of happiness at work. If employees are feeling disconnected, it will affect their mental health.”
Riding The Working Waves is an online programme for groups or teams at work and is based around live workshops and personal take away activities. It is designed to help people feel more connected to their colleagues AND to themselves, whether they’re working remotely or actually in the workplace. Each week or fortnight the group engages in an online workshop teaching and coaching different aspects of how to feel more connected, how to increase feelings of happiness and wellbeing at work, how to increase a positive mindset and how to make powerful goals. The practices are based in happiness research and positive psychology, such as The Six Pillars of Happiness at Work, which are:
Claire wanted her programme to be based on research with practices that employees can action, rather than just theory. She implements Positive Psychology research such as the WOOP method by Dr Gabriele Oettingen.
Goal setting with the WOOP method
WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan. “Using the WOOP method helps to make your goals more emotionally alive, more likely to become real, and to confront how you might self-sabotage. It helps to visualise your wish happening – indulge in the vision of the goal. An obstacle can be environment, circumstance, other people or internal, we address these so we can plan. Write it all down, have an internal dialogue and a solution to the obstacle – if x happens, I will do y. Approaching tasks like this are digestible and achievable, and from there you can create momentum. It is a process not the destination, it’s about creating a mindset of happiness which might mean initiating some changes”
For Claire it’s really important that she can offer her clients practical tools to use every day and week to improve the mindset of happiness, as well as the theory.
“Challenge the blueprints of your life”The Flo Coach
Live for every day, not just the weekend
Claire wants us all to get to what she calls “the juicy stuff. Get away from living for the weekend and hiding behind your masks. Cultivate the best version of yourself, and you’ll find yourself sparkling with creativity, learning about yourself and how you deal with triggers to become more resilient.” Get in touch with The Flo Coach to find out more and bring happiness to your workplace.