We will reimagine, reinvent, and redefine organizational wellness. We take nothing at face value, go below the surface, and get to the heart.
After 18 months living and working abroad in London and Auckland, I get the same question from all of my friends and family members at every bottomless mimosa brunch: “What brought you back to the USA and why are you starting your own company?”
As an inquisitive person, I prefer to reply with my own question first to start a conversation. “Have you ever accidentally discovered something about yourself that you were confused, curious, or excited about?"
Whether this was a positive or negative discovery, I am always curious about how people respond to what they are thinking or feeling. They may judge the feeling and try to push it away. They may pretend it doesn’t exist because it was confusing or made them feel like they are wrong. If they embrace it, they may feel stifled, judged or treated as an outsider. Or, they may face it with an open mind and wonder why they don’t follow their other curiosities more often.
When I had these experiences over the course of my career, I felt like I was rocking the boat, but I carried on with my creative ideas and suggestions for improvement. In other instances, the problem just felt too big. Instead of facing it, I would continue with my work and follow the norms as set by the company culture. If I felt justified, I would try different strategies until I moved to a new role or new company, accepting that I was unable to create change other than within myself.
Unfortunately, the cultural norms I have tried to leave behind are more prevalent and seemingly acceptable even though they are creating measurable damages and institutional dysfunction. Bad habits have become the status quo, abuse and exploitation have become accepted, and the damage it does when workers bring their problems home with them exacerbate the problem. In early 2020, I realized that I wasn’t alone in my perception that things could be exponentially better for everyone at work. As I reflected back on my professional career, I recognized a pattern and the root cause. For individuals, it is a lack of purpose. We go through life trying to survive, not realizing why we do what we do. We are afraid to follow our gut and seek more of what we need. When we don’t have a strong “why,” making a change and finding the “how” becomes ever more elusive. We drift into autopilot, leaning on the programming we received as children that manifest further into adulthood, and we surround ourselves with likeminded people who are doing the same.
Those who have read about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in “A Theory of Human Motivation” know that all humans require the core physiological requirements of safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Other experts on this topic suggest that human needs are universal, innate, and can be narrowed down to three basic psychological needs: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. I often question whether my readers think this is accurate as they consider their own needs in their professional lives. In order to engage at work, we want to feel like we are capable, self-sufficient, and understood. When any aspect of our identity and sense of self appears to be at risk, does our authenticity disappear in our attempt to maintain a sense of safety? It’s understandable, but this tactic isn’t healthy for me or anyone else.
During the height of the COVID lockdown, I decided to stop hiding. I acknowledged that feeling safe by fitting in and pretending things were ok was no longer an option. I did this because I knew so many other people felt completely unfulfilled at work, but did not know what to do about it. In exploring this feeling, I was able to finally start discovering my true purpose. It was an affirming moment of Mark Twain’s famous saying, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
Through this journey of deep self-discovery, I recalled taking a class with Tim Kight at Focus 3 where he taught a great lesson about being our best in life by focusing on our response to an event to drive the outcome, not a focus on the event itself. Event plus the Response equals the Outcome (E+R=O). This reset removed the feeling that negative events have power over me. The world doesn’t happen to me, I make things happen in this world. Instead of hiding, I decided to help others stop hiding. I chose to move away from thoughts, feelings, and fears to take action on a major scale. I realized it was my calling to help companies around the world create an environment where people find their voice, truly engage, and have their basic needs provided and supported.
My response was the catalyst for creating Five to Flow. I owe my friends, family, colleagues, community, and myself a solution to many of the issues I have encountered throughout my career in business. I want to be the person that drives change everywhere I see people who feel incompetent, dependent, and misunderstood. Having a picture on my wall that says “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” is not enough. I want to apply those words of wisdom and be the change the business world needs in this very moment.
As I began sharing this concept with my closest friends, the mission, vision, and values became clear. My next milestone was addressing the "how." How exactly does one woman living in New Zealand start a crusade to become the world leader in driving integrative organizational wellness? Organizations who see this need often position themselves to solve one of multiple obstacles. They aspire to find a resolution, but fail to achieve their inspiring missions. They often look for a magic solution like the newest technology, a change in leadership, or a dramatic change in their products and services. In this search for a magic solution, organizations often fail to realize that people have to use that new technology, follow that new leader, and engage positively with customers to deliver the services they require. All of these components need to be in sync.
At Five to Flow, the answer is simple. We start with our people and those who are equally inspired by this mission. The first two people with whom I shared my vision, Jason and Sam, are experts in physical and mental health that complement my expertise in business strategy and organizational change. We began talking about my point of view that organizations need holistic solutions that consider five core elements of organizational wellness in order for them to flow together. This led us to explore individual flow further, and supported our assumption that critical issues in the workplace are fundamentally driven by employees having a lack of passion, curiosity, purpose, autonomy, and mastery. As we continued to examine many root causes to individual and organizational dysfunction, our identity strengthened and our support team grew. We have found ways to reimagine, reinvent, and redefine organizational wellness.
Five to Flow has emerged as a collective intelligence of experts who are driven to increase competence, autonomy, and performance for employees, leaders, teams, and companies. Instead of accepting the status quo, we are reimagining, reinventing, and redefining what organizational wellness means today and moving forward. We visualize a world where people bring their whole selves to work. They are balanced, fulfilled, productive, and mindful. Our goal is to make that vision a reality and help organizations like yours find their flow.
To get started working with Five to Flow, please take the Wellness Wave™ and contact us for more information on how we can help. It’s time we all go below the surface™.
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