How to survive and live in high pressure work situations…can we have it all?

-Written by Laura, Anna & Sally, DevelopHer Board Members-

In January, DevelopHer board members Sally, Laura and Anna spoke at a fireside chat as part of GetaHead Wellness Week. The topic was on how to survive and live in high pressure work situations…and can we really have it all?
Although we’re not medical experts, we shared tips and advice on how we personally manage stress.

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Below are the highlights of what we spoke about it:

What is pressure and stress?

It’s all about how you respond under the constraint of certain circumstances. It might be how you respond and manage yourself in either a work context or personal context. Sometime the urgency of this situation can create strong attention or distress on yourself.

Stress can be an emotional, mental, physical strain or tension based on how you react to a demanding situation.

What does it mean to have it all?

  • Understand and identify what ‘having it all’ means to you. Having it all can depend on your where you are in your life and what is important to you at the time:
    • Based on the Bravest Path Brene Brown coaching programme that Laura and Anna joined, we learnt that’ having it all’ refers to achieving what our values in life are. A value is a way of being or believing what’s most most important to you. Knowing what your 5 values are, can help you live your life focusing on achieving your values. By achieving your values, you can live a more meaningful live. So if ‘having it all’ connects back to achieving your 5 values in life – then yes you can have it all.

What does stress feel like to you?

When noticing stress, the three of us get the following symptoms:

  • Weight and strain on my shoulders (Laura)
  • Stress-eating on sugary snacks or caffeine related (Laura & Sally)
  • Lack of clarity – can’t think straight (Laura)
  • Over-working and lack of attention to other people or activities (Laura)
  • Short fused – things get to me quickly (Laura)
  • Inability to sleep (Anna & Sally)
  • Inability to settle down – feeling weird when you have a few hours of quiet (Anna)
  • Loss of appetite (Anna)
  • Need for lots of sensory stimulation such as music (Anna)
  • Back pain (Sally and Laura)
  • Feeling like I have FOMO (Sally)
  • Rumination when I cannot resolve something – think of it over and over again

Laura mentioned that it’s important to notice these elements before you get burnout as she often notices different symptoms when facing burnout such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Unable to sleep
  • Change in mood, typically lack sense of energy/happiness
  • Losing confidence in my capabilities

DevelopHer Wellness event

How do you manage stress?

    • Identify which situations create the most stress to you, and how you respond to them. Think about tracking what causes you to be stressed or what makes you feel the tension when you’re under pressure. Knowing your own symptoms and when it happens, can help you think about the small changes you can look to implement to help manage it.
    • Establish boundaries on what you take on, how you respond to
      people/friends and saying ‘no’.

      • Anna – when working with other time zones: edit your calendar so people can’t book in meetings past 5:30pm. Only join late meetings if it’s an absolute priority.
      • Anna/Laura – I never do work on the weekend or at home. I try to keep it to the office so that when I get home, I can focus on other things. This also helps condition me to not think about work at home too.
      • Laura – Set time for yourself, even if it means saying no to a couple of social events! Ensure you take time to re-charge your batteries without other people being around you.
    • Take time to recharge – and incorporate into a routine. Practice and find out what allows you re-charge yourself.
      • Exercising, releasing natural endorphins
        • Anna –  I’m goal-oriented so setting  goals so that I have to exercise – half marathons and triathlons to work towards – means you need to exercise every week to get there
        • Laura – I try to set 20 mins three-four times a week to at a home HIIT session. I also go to dance once a week even if its a busy period. Make sure you exercise in a way that makes you happy and that will motivate you to do it again! I’m not a gym person, so I don’t kid myself!
        • Sally – I love dancing, swimming & pilates. I also make morning walks on the weekend with my dad  into a consistent routine.
      • Meditate and learn to be calm – e.g. using headspace app is a great way to start practicing mindfulness.
      • Every morning I listen to a podcast whilst I get ready for work (Laura)
        • I also love Oprahs supersoul conversations  and masterclasses podcasts, and getting curious with JVN (Sally).
      • Try and create an ‘artist date’ for yourself once a month or week. An artist date is solo adventure that I fully dedicate myself into for 2–3 hours e.g. going for a walk, reading a book, attending a class (Laura)
        • Sally loves the quote “time spent without purpose” by Brene Brown, give yourself space.
      • Do something that makes you feel good and energises you – Sally loves singing in groups
  • Maintain a healthy diet
      • Laura  – When I’m stressed I normally reach for high sugared snacks and caffeine based products. However it makes me feel quite low in energy and I lose control of when to stop. I try and food prep on Sundays to avoid going down the slippery slope during the week.
      • Anna – I try to eat what I want but in smaller portions, try not to be too restrictive so that I don’t think about eating – e.g. big lunch, very small dinner
      • Sally – I’m a fish eating vegetarian. I have always eaten healthy. I don’t drink much and don’t do drugs.
  • Keeping organised
      • Sally – I use a table diary and make lists. I also plan my day, the day before so I don’t wake up in a panic! Give yourself time to process.
      • Anna – Give yourself realistic deadlines, then add a few working days to when you think you can actually deliver something – its gives you less pressure.
      • Laura – Alongside to-do lists, I block out time in my calendar on individual tasks that I want to focus on – whether it’s for high priority tasks or self development, try and block it as a meeting in your diary.
      • Laura – I also colour coordinate my calendar, anything work or meeting related I colour it red. Anything personal that is time for myself, colour it green (even if its spending time to go for lunch or seeing friends). I try and make sure if my calendar is red, that I’ve put some green in there too to balance it out.
  • Letting go of your perfectionism
      • Laura – Avoid putting on self pressure by being too much of a perfectionism. Take 1-2 small steps each week on making changes e.g. challenge yourself to give more liberty to people working on projects. Or try doing a project in a different way then your normal tactics, to challenge how you work on something.
      • Anna – be kind to your self
      • Anna – give realistic deadlines – add a few working days to when you think you can actually deliver something – gives you less pressure to be stressed out on tight deadlines.
      • Sally – be prepared to be uncool – cut loose
  • Practicing gratitude

    • Anna – Celebrate the small things in life too
    • Anna – Be glad about friends, and speak to them when needed
    • Laura – Make sure you spend time to celebrate your hard work without moving on to the next task too quickly. Find a way to do this, whether it be updating your CV, sending thank you notes or taking the time in your day to say ‘that was pretty good, well done’.
    • Laura – remember to be thankful to those who helped you and say it out loud. If you’re ever feeling burnout, I like to use positive cognitive therapy which was suggested to me by a friend. This involves writing the 10 things that I’m grateful on a piece of morning, and read through it every morning and every night.d3ea2a98-5c71-4f57-9a66-ff3dc76e8d89.JPG

Our Reading List

Here is also our suggested reading list which might also help you manage your own stress:

  1. Seven Habits of Highly effective people – Stephen R Covey
  2. The road less travelled by M Scott Peck
  3. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  4. Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
  5. Poems for Grown Women
  6. How to own the room by Viv Groskop
  7. Thrive by Arianna Huffington

 

Your Bravest Year Coaching 2018

-Written by Laura Chung, Founding Member of DevelopHer –

As we come towards the end of 2018, the DevelopHer team have been reflecting on some of the amazing work we’ve done this year. One highlight (out of many!) for us included launching our Coaching Programme.

In March, DevelopHer & The Bravest Path came together to provide our community a 6-month coaching programme to live their ‘bravest self’ in 2018. In total, 18 participants out of a hundred applicants were selected to take part, to receive a combination of group and one-to-one coaching sessions on the ground-breaking research of Dr Brené Brown.

The program was designed to enable women to take steps to realise their aspirations and feel brave. Over the 6 months each participant was coached on the following topics:

  1. Personal Values
  2. How to be authentic and create connected relationships
  3. Building a more resilient and joyful you
  4. Overcoming perfectionism & practising self comparison
  5. Daring Greatly and Living BIG.

“This is a fantastic coaching program. They’ve helped me find myself, my values in turn truly live to my capabilities. I’ve also met a fantastic group of amazing and inspiring women in the industry, who I’m lucky enough to call my friends now.”
Omi Ducat, Coachee

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The Results:

As the 6-month coaching program came to and end in July, DevelopHer hosted a ‘Be Brave’ speakeasy sponsored by TransferWise, where each participant gave a 2 minute overview on what they learnt and what this journey meant to them infront of family, friends and the DevelopHer community. We also had Flora Coleman, Head of Government Relations at Transfer wise share her experience on finding a mentor, and how it was valuable to her.

After the event, we heard back from our participants and found that the coaching programme was able to provide a valuable support mechanism and give the ladies the opportunity to progress their career goals, feel more confident and make braver decisions.

  • 100% of participants were either extremely satisfied (71%) or satisifed (29%) with the program
  • 100% of participants believed they have now made braver decisions on a regular basis since starting the program
  • 94% of participants feel significantly more confident since starting the program
  • 94% of women believed this program helped progress their career goals
  • 24% of participants had received a promotion since starting program
  • 35% of participants had received a job offer or changed jobs since starting the program

“This coaching programme has had a huge impact on my life, and everyone deserves to know and benefit from Brené Brown’s powerful research. If you are debating whether to sign up and the thought of living bravely makes you nervous – this programme is what you need! Take a leap of faith, believe in yourself and the rest will follow. 
Phoebe Ashworth, Coachee

We are hugely thank you to all the ladies who were brave enough to apply for the programme and made themselves accountable of taking risks throughout the journey. A big thank you to Bravest Path for partnering with us to give our ladies a great coaching experience. And finally thank you to Transferwise for sponsoring the celebration speakeasy, Syzygy and Sprinklr for sponsoring the coaching meet up events and Qubit for sponsoring our kick off event.

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Considering if coaching is for you?

We asked Bethan Davies, our Bravest Path Coach in the DevelopHer Coaching Programme to give a few tips on whether coaching is right for your personal or career development.

What is coaching and how does it differ to mentoring?

Firstly, be clear if it’s a coach or a mentor you need.

Coaching differs to mentoring in that coaches do not offer advice or opinion. They trust that you are the expert on you, and by having a supportive and challenging partner you can co-design the best solution that will be the most effective and sustainable.
Mentoring is a relationship where often someone shares the benefit of their learning, and ultimately may advise you on what you should or could do. Mentoring can be very useful depending on the timing of your career, but may not always affect behavioural change and can create dependency on others. Coaches help people to think for themselves, by giving them a safe space and time to explore an issue, where the quality of their questions help challenge, reframe and help them form and take tangible actions on the output of thought. It builds courage, as the coachee develops self-trust to listen to themselves

What is the top tip you would give to someone looking for a coach?

When looking for a coach its important to try a few out to make sure you get the best “fit” for you. Coaching is like dating – you need to make sure the chemistry is right!

Request testimonials, and examples of where your coach has helped someone achieve their targets – credible coaches should be able to provide these and contacts to speak with further.

To ensure your success, take some time to reflect on what you would like to be different at the end of the coaching process, where are you now and how will you know when you’ve reached your goal? What does success look, feel or sound like to you? Coaching is not a cosy tea and chat, its an action and outcome orientated process where progress can be measured against your goals, and a coach provides the accountability to maximise your chances of making it happen.

What qualities do you feel people should look for when identifying the right coach for them?

Trust is critical. You need to feel safe and supported by your coach. They should challenge and provoke you. A little discomfort can be useful, as a skilled coach should be pushing the limits of your comfort zone and encouraging you to step into a place where true growth happens.  Someone that listens beneath the surface, to not only what you are saying, but what you are not saying is important. Your coach doesn’t need to be an expert in your industry or area, in fact often the best coaches have little to no knowledge about the subject, as it enables them to be truly unbiased and curious.

In order to get the most out of coaching;

  • Bring your most important topics and be clear on the outcomes you want
  • Be prepared to be fully open and honest with yourself and your coach
  • Allow time immediately before and after the coaching session to mentally prepare and reflect
  • Challenge yourself and be brave!
Coaching has the power to facilitate deep behavioural change, and if the motivation is there, can be a powerful and transformational experience to achieve the results you want.
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You can also read some of the personal journeys our coachees blogged during the 6 months for inspiration on whether coaching is for you:

 

6 Ways a Mentor Can Accelerate Your Coding Career

This guest blog is written by Designli

Learning to code is a lot of fun, but it can also be fraught with stress and confusion. Having the assistance of an experienced mentor to help you navigate your journey is invaluable. Mentors can provide a means of achieving your career goals.

Here are six ways in which a mentor can help you accelerate your career in technology.

1. Help in Avoiding Pitfalls

Mentors can provide valuable advice on ways to avoid common pitfalls. After all, your mentor was once a pupil, and there is a good chance that they have encountered some of the same issues that could hinder your progression. A mentor may be able to foresee problem areas and prevent you from making the same mistakes they made. When you are working with a mentor, not only will they be able to answer questions, but they will also be able to help further by showing you how to implement any changes that are needed.

2.  Motivation

Let’s be honest, a lack of motivation is something that plagues all of us from time to time. A mentor can provide the motivation you need to get back in front of the editor. Some mentors may put together study materials and test projects, to ensure that you are continuing to progress.

3. Customised Learning

One of the disadvantages of learning in a coding classroom setting is the lack of individual attention. When working with a mentor, you can discuss both your short-term and long-term goals, and together create a customised plan for achieving success. This can really help you identify and focus on the areas that will aid you in the future.
MENTORING@

4. Help with the Unknown

Coding languages can be mysterious, and at times, downright confusing. Even if you have only been coding for a short time, you have probably encountered issues that seem to have no cause. When you are unaware of the origin of the problem, you may be left wondering where to begin solving it. A mentor can help demystify unknown errors and explain them in a way that is easy to understand.

5. Career Advice and Connections

The best career advice comes from someone who is currently working in the field, and coding mentors are no exception. If you are looking for advice as to which career path is right for you, and more specifically, which languages and software you should focus on learning to achieve your goals, there is no one better to ask than your mentor. Not only can they offer career advice, but there is a chance that they will have connections in the industry that could help you land a job.

6. Real-World Experience

While studying can prepare you for many situations you may face in the real-world, there are times when unique obstacles arise that do not have a concrete solution. Coding mentors can provide you with real-world examples of challenges that you may be forced to overcome, so you will be confident in a similar situation.

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These were just a few reasons to consider using a mentor to help further your tech career.   If you are interesting in being mentored (whether you’re have a technical or non-technical background), read more on DevelopHer’s speed mentoring events.
You can also sign up to our mailing list to be the first to hear about future speed mentoring events during the year.

Welcome to DevelopHER

To our wonderful members,

We are extremely excited to announce that we’ll be launching under the new name DevelopHER, and will be partnering closely with StartHER in Paris as well as a number of other organisations supporting women in technology worldwide.

Thank you for bearing with us while we’ve taken the time to get our new community initiative right. We are as committed as we’ve ever been to elevating women in technology and will pursue our mission of giving women the same professional, personal and political opportunities as men.

We will be transparent about our plans for the future, finances, and team.

We are committed to you, and will always do what is best for you and our wider community.

We will welcome everyone – inclusive of all genders, experiences, and backgrounds. We are best when we work together.

DevelopHER events and programmes will start running in September and in the meantime please do reach out to us with any questions you might have.

Here’s to an incredibly bright future, we can’t wait to see you all again soon,

Team DevelopHER

 

Contact us:  Twitter , Facebook , Email

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