What is ACT?

Developing Psychological Flexibility To Drive Exceptional Careers

ACT has been described as the future of coaching and training interventions because of its ability to help people simultaneously improve performance and health.

 

ACT stands for Acceptance and Commitment Training – an evidence-based intervention which seeks to develop the skill of psychological flexibility as a means of enhancing both performance and long-term health.

Psychological flexibility is the ability to 1) identify the key goals and values that underpin meaningful success and 2) to focus on the main actions and behaviours that drive towards these goals, even 3) whilst feeling negative emotions.

Psychological flexibility is effective at offsetting some of the main traps in building exceptional careers, for example:

  1. Being driven by goals and values that are not important or meaningful
  2. Being distracted by actions that do not drive exceptional results
  3. Becoming exhausted by the pace of change or by the need to constantly react to an overwhelming workload
  4. Being too easily hooked away from what matters

Here’s a 3 minute summary of the approach:

ACT has been shown to be effective in hundreds of randomised control trials in a range of outcomes, from better health, to reduced risk of burnout, and better workplace performance – from leadership effectiveness, creativity, learning or sales.

Our own research shows that a single half-day training intervention can be enough to improve psychological flexibility and in turn, to drive better workplace health and performance.

  • Career Change, Career Development, Career Management

    How to Deal with Anxiety (day 4) – Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong

    My latest blog post on anxiety was partly based on a book called Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong by Kelly Wilson and Troy Dufrene.

    The title alone does it for me, but it’s a fantastic resource for learning to handle anxiety more skilfully.

    I tend to give this book away a lot, so true to form I will send someone a free copy of this book at the end of next week.

    Please just comment below if you’d like to enter the ‘competition’ and I’ll choose someone at random either here, or on Linkedin or Twitter.

     

  • Career Change, Career Development, Career Management

    How to Deal with Anxiety (Day 3) – The Daily Checklist

    (5 minute read + a downloadable checklist)

    I’d originally anticipated lockdown to be a slower pace, a reconnection with what matters and a welcome realignment of my values.

    Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but the reality for me is the pace has been higher than ever before.  I’m one of the lucky ones, but so far this luck has translated into very long hours sat at my desk, worrying about my family, childcare, clients and the world.

    One thing I have noticed is how hard I can work without feeling that I’ve achieved anything.

    This is related to the ‘Zeigarnik effect‘ – the tendency to focus on all the things we still need to do rather than the things we have done.

    Apparently waiters can recall diners’ orders only before they have been served – afterwards the brain just lets go.

    This is pernicious, because a story can easily grow that we are busy but not being effective.  My mind easily slips into stories like ‘I am a busy fool’ or ‘I’m panicking’ which then leads to feeling overwhelmed – like my body is primed for action but I can’t actually think what the next right action is.

    This is where checklists can help, by dampening anxiety, giving us a structure and crucially, helping us notice what is working and what we have achieved.

    Atul Gawandee’s The Checklist Manifesto shows how checklists improve outcomes in a whole field of outcomes, but checklists can be useful in this current situation too.

    If you want to know how to create one, this article gives a step by step outline.  But if you want something specifically created for this lockdown period, I have created a Daily-resilience-working-from-home-checklist-27th-March.pdf (191 downloads) with specific questions to answer in the morning, and then some further questions to reflect on at shutdown time.

    The objective is to help people to:

    • Mindfully check in with themselves each morning;
    • Monitor their own self-care;
    • Spot what’s working and what isn’t;
    • Embed effective habits into consciousness and then hopefully, into their routines.

    I am already using this on myself and some clients and the response has been great.

    I will be revising and improving this over time and may turn it into an Excel doc or an online tool (developers please get in touch!)

    Please let me know comments and suggestions for improvement in the comments below!