Transcript | PPP084: A quick catch up - The latest news from Potential Psychology HQ


Hello and welcome back to the Potential Psychology Podcast. It’s been two months since our last episode - Finding Antifragility in a World of Failure with Dr Paige Williams - went to air. Two months. That’s the longest we’ve been off the air since the podcast launched in March 2018. Not the plan, not the intention but this is not the year, not the life that we were expecting is it? 2020 has been the year of the unexpected, the year of adaptability. I wonder if anyone had ‘adapt’ as their word for the year this year? If so, points for prescience.


I did not have ‘adapt’ as my word for 2020. To be honest I can’t remember what word I had - or if I even had a word this year. All my plans for 2020 planning vanished in a whoosh off bushfire smoke back in early January - and doesn’t that feel like several years ago now. To  be honest, after the high drama of January and bushfire evacuation and watching our corner of Australia burn I think it took me until March to find my feet again and then boom, Covid.


But I’m not here to wade back through the challenges of 2020 and life in the midst of a global pandemic. You know how that goes. We’re all living it together. What I am here to do is give you a little behind the scenes here at PP HQ as we rise and adapt to those challenges. If ‘adapt’ wasn’t our word of the year at the outset of 2020, it sure is now.


So, let’s start with the podcast which has sat just out of view for the past few months, patiently biding its time until there was more space, more clarity, more energy and passion to meet its demands - because that’s what it takes - and bring it back into the spotlight. 


It’s interesting actually, to take a step back and to observe your own energy, your attention, your ability to focus when the world has been shaken up around you. It calls forth your values and priorities, brings you back to basics. For me, as life became mixed up and muddled up in March and April as we faced our initial lockdown, self care emerged as a priority, as did supporting my kids through remote school and keeping things as calm as possible on the home front. Client needs were high as many of them sought support and assistance for work teams so there were plenty of webinars on resilience and adapting to change and keeping well in stressful times. And the combination of all of those things dominated my attention and energy.


Then after that first rush of chaos and responding to rapid change I, like most people I think, began to look ahead and to wonder what the future held. I asked myself what I thought I could handle in terms of workload and uncertainty and the stressors that would come from all of that. And it was in that period of what I’m referring to as COVID reflection, that an opportunity crossed my path that has changed our direction a little here at Potential Psychology and opened up a whole new world of possibility for me personally and professionally - that I know will lead to great things that we can bring you, the PP Community.


So the opportunity for me was to take on the Program Lead role for the Leadership Ballarat & Western Region Community Leadership program. If you’ve never heard of a Regional Community Leadership Program (and I hadn’t) there are nine of them here in Victoria, covering all regions of the State. There are also metro-based community leadership programs and I believe similar programs exist in other parts of Australia.

The goal of Regional Community Leadership Programs is to deliver a year long personal and professional development program that facilitates the emergence of local leaders, strengthens community leadership capabilities and connects our community leaders with regional development initiatives. They’re busy, quite complex programs to deliver that combine self development activities with community-based applied projects, on site visits (usually but COVID has put paid to that) to community organisations and businesses, institutions such as schools and correctional facilities, local, state and federal government interaction, exposure to thought leaders across a range of domains and of course some education in leadership skills and capabilities. It’s quite a big job and I’m very fortunate to be developing and delivering the program with the support of the small but powerful team at Committee for Ballarat, the not-for-profit that employs me. 


I started the job on 1st of July. It’s a three day per week gig and it’s a joy because it really does encompass everything that Potential Psychology stands for - helping individuals to become their best selves for the betterment of their workplaces, teams and the wider community (and of course the flow on effects to families and the other systems within which we all operate). As the lovely Andrea Downie, past guest of the show, put it - it’s the perfect opportunity to create whole systems growth. 


So that has been keeping me busy for the past couple of months and will continue to do so but in parallel, Potential Psychology is also growing. We’ve added a new team member, Sharry, who is our tech, administration and process master. Jaie is now freed up to focus her full attention as our content producer - including the podcast, blog and social media, Andy of course continues as the genius behind our audio editing and engineering and we have partnered over the past few months with online business managers, Your Online Team, to get a whole lot of behind the scenes processes and systems set up, organised and running smoothly with the intention of not only allowing me the time and space to balance my two roles (well three, really when you include my role and mother and partner, which I guess you really should) but also to be the creative force behind what content and programs and guests and services we deliver to you, as our community, because that’s the bit that I love and, as you’d no doubt appreciate, there is a whole lot of ongoing learning that I need to do to stay at the forefront of the science of wellbeing, in order to bring all of that to you.


So that’s a whole lot of activity that has transpired behind the scenes during this global pandemic and it has led to two primary projects for Potential Psychology that you will see evolve and take shape over the next few months. The first is this podcast, back on the air with new guests and new interviews in a far more regular manner. New episodes will hit the airwaves - or digital waves I suppose - every two weeks from here on in, which is really exciting. In our next episode I am speaking to Dr Patricia Zurita Ona, a California based clinical psychologist about facing your fears and learning to grow. We’ll explore perfectionism and high expectations, why we get stuck sometimes and importantly how to get unstuck. My next conversation after that will be with Dr Sarah McKay, Oxford educated neuroscientist and past guest of the show. We’ll be busting some myths about lizard brains and exploring emotions and how they emerge in the mind rather than sitting in a specific spot. Some cutting edge neuroscience which is very exciting.


In later episodes I’ll be talking about Physical Intelligence: The Science of Thinking without Thinking with another neuroscientist - and neurologist and author, Dr Scott Grafton. In October I’m hoping to explore Mood and Food and what we know about walking and wellbeing.


Of course if you have topics that you’d really like us to cover please let us know. We’ve added a link in the show notes to this episode for exactly that purpose.


And finally the Potential Psychology Self Care Club - our membership-based program that I kicked off in March to help us explore and invest in the self care that we have all needed in 2020 continues. In fact it is doing more than continuing. It is evolving and transforming to become a fully integrated self care platform that allows our members to deep dive into every facet of wellbeing, thriving and flourishing, from how we manage our mind, to our strengths, values and purpose, to physical wellbeing, understanding your emotions, connection and relationships and achieving your goals and peak productivity - balance with good mental health. It’s really exciting to see it taking shape behind the scenes and we’ll be launching it in its new, fully evolved form later this year - pitched particularly at employers and workplaces because we know that when we are functioning as our best selves, we’re better leaders, better managers, better colleagues, better partners, better parents and better friends - and all of those pieces are wrapped up together to create better workplaces and better communities.  


So I think that’s it. I think we’re all caught up. I hope you’re doing okay? I’m conscious having gone through all of that stuff that it’s a lot and it sounds like I’ve been totally on top of things and that’s so far from the truth. There has been a lot of stress, a lot of self care, some very unproductive periods, some tears, a household of high emotion, probably too much technology and not enough physical activity and several of us existing largely on the contents of what we call the snack cupboard - crackers and two minute noodles and a lot of toast and breakfast cereal for every meal. So if you’re feeling like life is a bit chaotic and unstructured and out of whack and you don’t know what day it is or what comes next, or you’ve binged Lucifer and Community on Netflix instead of exercising and cooking nutritious meals - like me - know that you’re not alone. If ‘adapt’ is the word for 2020 that’s all part of the process. Adapting requires loss and letting go and trying new things and a lot patience and a lot of acceptance and self compassion. So why don’t we adapt together.


I will be back with our next episode of the show in two weeks time. In the meantime, if you missed them, you might like to catch up on some of our recent past episodes in which I discuss Self care with psychologist and yoga teacher Suzy Reading and Adapting to Change with educational psychologist Professor Andrew Martin. Both episodes explore how we can best cope with some of the challenges of this year. You can also find out more about Community Leadership programs and the Potential Psychology Self Care Club in the show notes for this episode and over on social media - Facebook, Instagram and Linked In we’re running a series of Lockdown Life tips to help you to come to grips with some of the bigger and more complex psychological aspects of living through a global pandemic. Topics like ambiguous loss, surge capacity and adjusting to a ‘new normal’ that involves indefinite uncertainty. To find out more you’ll have to pop over and take a look. The links are in the show notes.


So until next time, go well, be safe and take small steps to fulfil your potential.