Inspiration is all around us – where do you find yours?

Inspiration is all around us – where do you find yours?

There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and feeling inspired. Sometimes there’s clarity, and sometimes there are so many inspiring ideas buzzing around in my head I don’t know where to start – either way, I always welcome ideas and inspiration that influence my decisions and help me make better choices. 

Sources of inspiration are all around us – from reading news in the media, attending conferences and industry events where you’re presented with new technology and platforms that are pitched to automate and solve today’s marketing challenges, to listening to music and reading a good book… Personally I always find it beneficial to speak with my network, take a wider look at the challenge at hand and let inspiration arrive through participating in a mixture of activities.

For me being outside and connecting with nature, taking a walk in the woods or by the beach is particularly good for clearing my head and mulling over challenges faced in my working life; moreover I find exercising, mostly cycling, yoga or swimming, a great way to let ideas roll in and out. Being on the bike also provides a great networking opportunity as lots of people in my network have a passion for technology and all things digital, as well as a passion for this beautiful sport. 

That’s one of the most incredible things about working with entrepreneurs – they see the world differently, they’re passionate about what they do, they’re open to new ideas, they’re innovative and they’re always looking for creative ways to solve a problem.

Pearls of wisdom

Here are some of my favourite inspirational quotes that I refer to when I feel like I’ve hit a bit of a brick wall – they help to get me in the right mindset for creativity, curiosity and conscious creating.

Impossible is nothing…

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. 

Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion.

Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare.

Impossible is potential. 

Impossible is temporary.

Impossible is nothing.”

Muhammad Ali

Creativity…

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them for a while.” 

Steve Jobs

Follow your heart…

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Steve Jobs

Failure…

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Henry Ford

Change…

“It’s not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.”

Charles Darwin

“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”`ins

Socrates

Knowledge…

“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive.”

“It’s our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

K J Rowling

Respect…

“Brands that respect you as a person and make you feel like you are you, and that you, rather than they, have control over you, will be the ones who are successful.”

Martha Lane Fox

Take a risk…

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

Mark Zuckerberg

Imagination…

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

Albert Einstein

A Hattrick of Happiness – Investing in mental fitness, sport and technology… say Hello to MyArkeo

A Hattrick of Happiness – Investing in mental fitness, sport and technology… say Hello to MyArkeo

Nationwide, throughout the month of May, Mental Health remained topical in many publications. The Telegraph explored whether working in the City is bad for your health?, BBC One showed a programme called A Royal Team Talk, which bought together five current or former professional footballers, and amateurs, to talk openly with the Duke of Cambridge about the effects of mental health in sport, demonstrating that mental health is no longer a secret folded away in sport’s dressing rooms, and BBC Two showed the mini-series called ‘Depression and me’ where Alistair Campbell candidly talked about his experiences. 

Moreover, Stephen Moon, Group CEO, Science in Sport Ltd recently shared his thoughts on the challenge’s executives face in dealing with the subject of mental health – his key question being ‘Is mental health the last taboo in business’? – a really insightful read. 

Continuing the theme, locally in Richmond I attended a panel discussion about mental health in sport, hosted by Bella Velo, a south west London cycling club dedicated to women who cycle. The event invited a panel of male and female speakers to talk about their own personal mental health stories following challenging life experiences that have been thrown in their path.

And in central London, The Happiness Index hosted an event at Google called Happiness and Humans – it was truly insightful sharing a day with so many inspirational people and speakers who champion freedom to be human. On a personal and professional level, it’s great to be part of a growing wave of momentum, where businesses and organisations are recognising the importance of investing in employee wellbeing. 

Introducing My Arkeo – Fitness for your brain 

In December 2018 I was fortunate enough to connect with Jana Dowling. A friend, Matt Phelan, had mentioned her and her business idea in a LinkedIn post and I was keen to hear more, so dropped Jana a note to connect directly. 

I’m a firm believer that mental fitness and physical fitness go hand in hand. Yet, at seemingly opposite ends of the scale, whilst mental fitness is less talked about, physical fitness represents a booming global industry of personal trainers, gyms, apps and other wearable technology – all in favour of actively talking about, participating in, and building communities (virtual and in person) to support our physical fitness and to help us achieve our goals.

Which begs the question – What are we doing to support our mental fitness?

From seeding a thought – to seed investment 

Pardon the pun, but a seed was sown when Jana and I first met in person in January 2019. Over recent months it’s been extremely exciting to see MyArkeo preparing to step out of the shadows, and into the limelight. Yes, there are competitors out there, and that’s healthy, but MyArkeo is slowly but surely carving its own path, gaining traction and recognition at every turn. The overall objective of MyArkeo is simple – to empower individuals and organisations to take control of their mental fitness. 

Built from the ground up, on real-life experience of monitoring and measuring her road to recovery post burnout, Jana built a tracking system to give her insight into how her own actions, food consumption, sleep pattern, level of activity – and a whole lot more – influenced and accelerated her road to recovery. Recognising that her tracking system was the KEY component in her own recovery, she wanted to share her system with others – millions in fact – starting in the UK, with a vision to launch in other territories when the time is right. 

In the past six months I’ve downloaded the beta version of the MyArkeo app, used it daily, talked about it to friends and family, fed back on my user experience – as have hundreds of others – delivered a brand and messaging workshop to establish the foundations to build the brand both internally and externally from a marketing and communications perspective, and latterly discussed and agreed seed investment. 

This is a completely new path for me, personally investing in a business. But MyAkreo brings together many things I’m passionate about, namely, sport, fitness (mental and physical) and technology – a hattrick of happiness. I feel extremely privileged to be in a position to invest, to contribute my ideas, and to see the business go from strength to strength. 

So why did I choose to invest in MyArkeo?

  • 9 in 10 UK workers affected by mental health challenges 
  • 48% of employees in the UK have experienced a mental health problem 
  • 300,000 people lose jobs over mental health every year 
  • Poor mental health in the workplace is costing the UK economy about £99bn a year 

MyArkeo – the mental fitness management app, facilitates users to ‘TRACK’ lifestyle habits and symptoms, ‘ANALYSE’ and highlight user pattern and trends, ‘SET TARGETS’ to change behaviour and alleviate symptoms, and to ‘TAKE ACTION’. 

In addition, Jana is an incredibly inspiring individual. Her personal knowledge and experience put her firmly in the driving seat to speak authentically, and her passion and energy for building a global brand and business are unbound. 

Go to market strategy 

There are multiple benefits for businesses and organisations who choose to invest in MyArkeo, namely improved mental fitness, less absenteeism, and higher productivity – so in fact a win-win situation all round – for both employees and employers. 

In addition to those benefits, the MyArkeo app will help reduce the 300,000 people losing their jobs due to ill mental health in the UK, and increase the number of people actively taking care of their mental fitness.

For individuals (B2C) the app presents a simple four-step process:

  1. App – self tracking and analysis 
  2. Data analysis – of your stats over time 
  3. Set targets – around what’s important for you 
  4. Take actions – empowered to make choices that serve you 

For businesses and organisations (B2B) the app presents a three-stage process:

  1. Employee tracking on the MyArkeo app – empowers staff to take control, and facilitates self-tracking and improvement 
  2. Data feedback – view aggregated anonymous employee trends and patterns via a company dashboard 
  3. Training – MyArkeo bring in experts and qualified trainers focused on hotspots highlighted in data feedback 

Jana and her team of experts have developed an ambitious go-to-market strategy, targeting businesses and organisations, cross sector, public and private, with 250+ employees; that are prioritising employee wellbeing, diversity and inclusion; and are looking to invest to further develop their wellbeing strategy.  

What will seed investment be spent on?

Whilst funding rounds continue to secure the £250,000 Jana is seeking to raise, the initial funds will be utilised for app development to build out tech to version 1, to develop UX, and to drive adoption of paid pilots with hero clients and early adopters.

From a traction and growth perspective, with pilots booked with global organisations, NHS Trusts, Financial Services, and Media and Broadcast businesses, and interest from London Sport, the next 12 months are shaping up to be extremely interesting. 

My prediction for the future 

MyArkeo will become the measure of mental fitness and will become a global fitness brand, and the platform will help organisations measure and support staff in improving their mental fitness. 

MyArkeo is so simple to use – it’s informative, it empowers people to make more informed choices about how they support their mental fitness, there’s so much more in the pipeline, and some great features to be revealed in V1 of the app that will enhance the user experience, and provide more insightful data to individuals and organisations. 

I will leave you with a quote:

“Rule your mind or it will rule you”

Horace

You can discover more about MyArkeo here and connect with Jana here. 

Sources

Imagineering – find which way is up and follow your bliss

Imagineering – find which way is up and follow your bliss

Sometimes we just have to stop, look around us, and take stock. As we start a new year many people have asked me ‘What new years resolutions have you made?’ and the honest answer is ‘None’. Don’t get me wrong – I do have goals and aspirations – both personal and professional – but I don’t store them all up with a view to kick-start activity on the 1st Jan to achieve them. 

On the profession front, in 2019 I’d like to continue to work with businesses in the technology and wellness space, create new relationships, and build on those established over the past 18 years or so.  On the personal front, I would like to enjoy many more wild intrepid cycling adventures, bath in the wisdom and nourishment of nature, and embrace the fun, love and laughter of my tribe.  

Discover your Bliss 

Actually, as I write, I’m becoming aware that the Holy Grail is for my personal and professional ambitions to cross paths – that would be bliss, as I would be connecting with friends and colleagues on all levels. 

To reveal my bliss my starting point is ‘What’s important to me – what floats my boat – what am I passionate about?’ – And the short answer to that is to work with people who I find inspiring, who do what they love, and who take care of those around them. Yes that’s right, those who care about their staff and colleagues, both in and out of the work place, and empower people to shine and fulfill their ambitions.  

Wellness and Workplace Mental Health 

With 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year[i]; £6.5 billion being the cost of work related stress to the UK economy[ii]; and 92% of the British population wanting complementary therapies free on the NHS[iii] – there’s never been a better time for wellness and workplace mental health to be taken more seriously. 

2018 has been a big year for employee wellness thanks to events such as This Can Happen that gather companies to discuss their employees mental health. Founded by Jonny Benjamin MBE and Neil Laybourn, the premise of the event is to ‘look positively at the spectrum of workplace mental health and all it entails’ and to acknowledge that ‘mental health affects everyone, regardless of their job title, status, sex, colour, or nationality – we all face the same issues’.

In the last year alone I’ve read many stories about ‘burnout’ and spoken with friends in senior management positions (Founders, Directors) who have ‘hit a wall’ because their focus has not been on taking care of themselves first. So I feel very privileged and blessed to be in a position where all my clients take wellness in the workplace seriously.

If I were to make a nationwide suggestion, I would ask everyone to show compassion to those around them. Not only does it make for a better environment, I firmly believe it’s fundamental to the success of any organisation. It has to come from the heart and works best when the origins are rooted in a companies core values and encouraged in every employee.

Let’s face it, when people feel looked after and cared for, they will give far more than you ever ask of them. Why? Because the feel heard and appreciated for the skills and experience they bring to the table. 

Fire your Imagination

So as we launch into a new year, excited by the plethora of unknown opportunities that we are creating all around us, I would like to share a couple of quotes that made my heart sing…

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” 

Nelson Mandela

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new”

The Good Quote

Sources


[i] https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/#one

[ii] https://recruitmentbuzz.co.uk/work-related-stress-costs-uk-economy-nearly-6-5bn-each-year/

[iii] https://www.therapy-directory.org.uk/blog/2013/02/14/92-of-people-want-more-cam-available-on-nhs-reveals-therapy-directory/