The reset mindset: superpowers for resilience, resourcefulness and results: XLVets festival

In November, XLVets ran an online festival, offering live sessions from speakers within and outside the veterinary profession, to provide additional support for teams during the Covid-19 pandemic. Talks ranged from clinical topics to sessions on wellbeing and even comedy. One talk in particular was relevant to today’s way of life – how to keep motivated and positive.

About the speaker

Throughout his career, Marcus Child has inspired many people from all walks of life. Through uplifting conversations promoting confidence and motivation, he is able to drive positivity in those that he meets; helping a wide range of people throughout his career – from CEOs to children – to realise and achieve their goals.

Marcus’s talk centres around five qualities we can harness to strengthen ourselves and our goals, and how this can help us to view a crisis as an opportunity, in order to learn and reset our ambitions – using the current coronavirus crisis as a pertinent example. These five areas can be used to find our strongest assets and help us answer the question: how do we create confidence in ourselves when the outcomes we face are uncertain?

SPACE: Five areas to strengthen our goals

Using the acronym SPACE, Marcus outlines five areas that we can use to strengthen our goals and ambitions.

State

This area relates to our ability to harness our fear and uncertainty, and instead drive it into productive action. Practising this can help not only yourself, but also others in challenging situations.

Positivity

Marcus reinforces that this area focuses on encouraging realistic optimism, instead of a false sense of idealistic optimism. The Stockdale paradox – named after a prisoner of the Vietnamese war – is used as an example of the power a positive mind can have. After prisoner James Stockdale was freed, he was asked how he had survived the torture that had been inflicted on him during his imprisonment, to which he provided an answer to the the paradox: you have to believe you will get through the difficulty faced, but prepare as if you won’t.

Ambition

When things go wrong and challenges present themselves, it’s about finding creative solutions to overcome them. Speaking of the aetiology of the word, Marcus explains, “In Mediaeval times when noblemen had territories, they would walk the perimeter of the area – their ambit – to meet the villagers and have stewardship over the area. If there was good leadership, then the ambit would grow and more people would come. We only grow by taking others with us.”

Confidence

The word confidence comes from the latin fidere, meaning “to trust”, highlighting that it is about having confidence in others, as well as in yourself. By trusting each other within a team it demonstrates the importance of establishing those relationships  in order to achieve goals collectively.

Energy

Marcus equates this strength with a dogged and determined attitude, possessed by so many within the veterinary profession. When asking a Benedictine monk what his antidote to exhaustion is, the monk replied that it was not necessarily rest; if you do something with passion, it shouldn’t feel like work.

XLVets online festival on positive reset mindset
The Kubler-Ross change curve

Marcus’s talk also centres around the Kubler-Ross change curve, created by and named after the American-Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. It functions as a model used to identify changes in life, and demonstrates how people face and deal with challenges. The progression of the curve is mapped against an individual’s performance across time, showing the various stages people go through after experiencing a challenging life event. 

The first stage of that process is shock, caused by the initial event. The stages that follow include denial, blaming others, and also blaming yourself. This is then followed by guilt, which Marcus describes as a place of immobilisation – the very bottom of the curve. In order to move away from the stage of guilt and of despair, acceptance is the next phase; this can then lead onto the process of moving on. 

In his talk, Marcus identifies that whatever you go through, and whatever challenges you face, the exit point is always higher than the entry point, as shown by the curve. The challenge is shown at the very bottom of the bell curve, at stage number five; if you stay in that phase for too long, it can lead to prolonged problems, such as depression.

Marcus explains, “the length of stage five is an individualised phase, and can last for different times for different people. It can also depend on the people around you, as the behaviour of those we surround ourselves with can help shape our thinking. The speed of recovery depends on the size and significance of the set back, personal resilience and the presence of others.”

Marcus also discusses the five fibres of resilience: emotional, mental, physical, social and spiritual. 

“If we set goals in just one of those areas, it can spill over and positively impact other areas as well. We move forward by understanding how we think and how it affects what we do. You have to consider your picture, and ask yourself what you want, and what your number seven is – what you need to be able to move on.”

How can  this be applied within a veterinary team in practice?

To incorporate these ideas into practice, start by asking each member of the team what they consider to be their achievements over the last year. Through communicating and asking each other what we have learned, we can ultimately learn from each other and reflect on the events of the last year,  in order to move forward and deal with future challenges with a positive mindset.

XLVets online festival

The online event ran from 2nd – 15th November, and was sponsored by Norbrook Laboratories, Boehringer Ingelheim, MSD, Zoetis and Pets App. Thanks to the popularity of the event, XLVets will be running an additional Winter Series of events starting in January.

Find out more information about XLVets here.

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