Welcome to the first ever blog from Zest Psychology. I started this company back in April 2020 when the UK was in full lockdown. Lockdown substantially changed my personal and professional life as I knew it. Nothing new for anyone reading this blog. I can’t think of a single person whose life wasn’t substantially impacted by lockdown. The impact for me was that all my work went quiet. Silent in fact. To be honest I was somewhat relieved. It was something of a golden silence. I’d been working really hard for what seemed like a long time, and was grateful for the mini retreat I found myself in. Plus, it was free – the shared experience of more time allowed me to set up regular mindfulness practices with my partner, my mindfulness buddies and I instigated online focusing sessions with people I usually met face-to-face. Even better, I didn’t have to sleep in a single bed staring at a pine wardrobe and desk to stay at this retreat. It gave me the space for lots of reflection without feeling guilty that I should be working. My time spent reflecting on my professional circumstances led to me resigning from my then business partnership and creating something new. I’m still creating, I think I always will be. What do they say? Life is about the journey right? It’s not about the destination.
One of the things that was so important to me when I resigned from Work Psychology Hub and set up Zest Psychology, was to continue being a part of the community and keeping it alive – let’s use this perfect opportunity for the word zesty. A zesty community! Work Psychology Hub and Zest are great friends and we are connected to a community of bright, talented, educated, experienced and compassionate associate psychologists. For me, community is at the heart of what I do. It’s a term not so often used in the business world, but often people feel a sense of belonging to their work community.
I want to cultivate this zesty community of people who have similar values and want to work towards achieving those. At the core of what Zest does is my research on Authentic Confidence. You’ll hear me talking about it quite a lot. The people I am actively encouraging are clients, psychologists, researchers, academics and other people who have something to contribute and gain. Surely that’s what community is about… a wider perspective where we are sometimes giving and at other times receiving or benefiting. A sprinkling of phrases come to mind “it takes a village to raise a child”, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”, “one person’s rags are another person’s riches” (I made that last one up, it’s my favourite). I remember sowing a lawn in my back garden. I have cats – they’re very cute but entirely annoying when it comes to digging up my garden and any beautiful looking plants. So, to give the lawn its best chance, I dutifully went out and bought oranges (kryptonite towards cats’ superior ability to dismantle a garden) and then went on the hunt for ground coffee beans. Cats don’t like the texture of ground coffee beans on their paws. At least that’s what I imagine – a bit like the coir matting outside my backdoor. They leap over it because they don’t like that texture. Anyway… I’m digressing to quite some degree. Coffee shops were throwing away their used ground coffee beans, and I was delighted to take it off their hands -even minimising their waste at the same time.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that I formed a community with these coffee shops, but our joined contribution made for a luscious lawn. In the same way, I aspire to the idea where different people bring their skills, experience and perspectives to the pot and together we create better stuff than if it were just done alone. It’s more than a team, it’s more than a group of people, it’s a community where businesses, universities, public and third sector organisations come together to make a difference to the shape of leading and being led. At the moment I’m cultivating a collaboration between Zest, the University of Herts and FCDO. I can’t divulge the interesting details, but the important bit is that each party has something to give, and something to take away. What’s driving this collaboration? A desire to achieve a more diverse, inclusive and sustainable way of working.
If you want to engage lightly in the Zest Community, you can join my free online mindfulness sessions. It’s an informal thing, no commitment, no sign-up, no experience necessary. Just click on the button below to join the call on Wednesdays, 12.30 – 13.00