Updated: Apr 5
Original post on Linkedin.
6 months ago, Work Well Warriors was an idea.
It felt like bubbling excitement, possibility, and a heavy dose of “this is really hard. What makes you think you can do this”. I spent a lot of time coaching myself through those feelings. Experienced the messiness & imperfection that comes with starting a business (shout-out to my fellow recovering perfectionists). I saw people uplevel their life and reconnect with a sense they are in control and can make changes. Geeked out on everything that I love: tools, tactics, habits, change, podcasts, books and peoples’ stories. We launched 4 programs, 2 workshops, and 12 webinars. All to make to make working from home healthier and more productive than ever.
Here is what I have learnt from coaching 50 people in #WFHLifestyleDesign:
#1 Managing time is a keystone habit for unlocking so many other practices and desired changes
This has been the #1 common thread between all WFH Lifestyle Designers. Trying out new tactics around their time has given them more space and intentionality to focus on what is important to them. Earlier mornings, time with family, connection time with team members have all been focus areas.
If you want to geek out with me: the term keystone habit comes from the work of Charles Duhigg in the book, The Power of Habit. They are “small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives”. I like to think about it as answering the question - if I could only focus on one thing, which would have the strongest knock-on effect to all areas of my life?
#2 While we focused on the work-from-home aspect of lifestyle design, tactics and visualisation build intentionality across life more broadly.
When I originally designed the program, my intention was to give people control over their experience WFH, hit reset, and leverage the best practical tactics I have been perfecting over 3 years as a fully remote worker.
What I didn’t realise is just how many of the practices that make WFH work, are applicable everywhere. Time management, prioritisation, understanding your own energy levels & how to manage them. Overarchingly being more conscious and intentional.
It was also through this process that our mission as a company became clearer.
Being a Work Well Warrior means:
Doing work & life on your terms.
(and figuring out what that is)
It feels like we are just at the beginning of bringing together a community of people who all share the same pull towards doing life on their own terms. If that resonates with you, I would love to connect & chat more.
#3 People have quite varied focus areas in where they would like to improve their WFH Lifestyle Design
With 6 core pillars we look at as part of WFH Lifestyle Design, I was expecting 1-2 to emerge on top. What has surprised me is how diverse the focus areas have been for people. Task & productivity, work relationships are two areas that were quite common. However, priming your physiological state (i.e. being in a centred, restful place instead of a heightened state), as well as physical environment cropped up in every session.
#4 Building in moments of intentionality, pause, and ritual allow us to reset during our work day. And we definitely don’t do this enough.
3 mindful breaths. Do it with me if you like.
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.
We start every Work Well Warriors workshop this way. Taking 3 breaths together to get centred, rebalance whatever is happening during the day, and take a moment to be grateful. When I first built this into the process, it just felt like the right thing to do. As I have focused on my own physiological state as part of work, I have found it easier to listen to my intuition and help it guide my day-to-day. Using a handful of mindful breaths is my go-to reset button.
What I noticed starting each workshop this way is that people visibly relax, centre, and focus in. They visibly gain energy, and I saw they were less likely to be checking other stimuli (I’m looking at you emails, Slack, and MS teams).
#5 Don’t underestimate the power of reinforcement - but not perhaps what we traditionally think. Seeing & learning from other people directly has a multiplier effect on our own ability to make change stick.
I have personally tried many ways to “reinforce” habits I am trying to build. Sticky notes which last about a week, reminders in my phone that my brain happily skips over within days.
What I observed was the power of showing up and being committed to making time, even if it is only once a week, to really reinforce momentum. It also helps bypass the part of our brain that can be prone to beating us up for not taking action in the way we hoped (and often not offering anything helpful to support us actually doing that thing).
Having an allocated time to show up and keep re-committing to our goals provides support and reinforcement. Connecting with others who are in a similar place also helps us believe it is possible for us, too. In recent workshop feedback, 2/11 respondents shared that their high point was “realizing that others are also having similar challenges working from home”.
#6 How to make sustained shifts came together as a formula.
Making changes stick is hard, there is no dancing around it. It works best when we recruit both our brain and our behaviour. During the course of 3 months of coaching, my own process became clearer and clearer as a formula. We teach in depth as part of WFH Lifestyle Design, but the high level is that you need 5 elements to be working in tandem to make change stick.
Desire a new reality: actually having a picture of what you want to be different.
Belief that it is possible: starting the process of providing your brain with evidence that you can have that change.
Mindset shifts needed: de-conditioning old stories or ways of thinking.
Tactics to try: practical actions or behaviours. This is where most of us start, but miss the whole first part about recruiting our brain.
Reinforcement to sustain momentum: finding ways to keep connecting with your desired change, people who already do this, and general inspo to keep going.
What I have learnt about myself
I could (and probably will) write an entirely separate blog post on the self journey of starting a business. For now, I want to focus on one specific aspect
Learning: teaching concepts is fun. But facilitating conversations, experiences, and connections… that is my ikigai
There is a lot I want to “teach” people about how they can work from home more effectively. I have run webinars, recorded videos, written an ebook with 82 of my top tactics. This can be fun & interesting, and give people ideas about how they might do things differently. Inspiration and ideas is a big part of how I have sustained change in my own life (that is why it is part of the warrior formula!)
But it feels completely different to “facilitate” an experience where people can truly interact. With each other, new concepts and ideas, and how they might apply to their own lives. Uplevelling in our lives doesn't happen by just hearing a good idea once. So I am doubling-down that the core of the WFH Lifestyle Design program is to do the work. That in the 4 weeks participants have really had a chance to wrestle with the changes they want to make, and get support from the tribe to make it real.
It is my goal now to teach a little less, and facilitate a little more.
A thank you to all of our warriors who have been part of this first chapter. I am excited to keep creating with you what it means to be a Work Well Warrior, to do work & life on our terms. WFH Lifestyle Design will continue to grow and evolve, and take on even more life as we collaborate together. For those ready to dive in & uplevel how they work from home, we have spots available in our next program. Send me a message if you'd like to chat about whether this is the right fit for you, or you can learn more & join us at www.workwellwarriors.com/wfhlifestyledesignprogram
Take care & work well