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9 Superpowers for achieving more success for less stress


Nigel Wright Group welcomed Claire Walton to our latest HR Leaders’ Webinar.

Claire is an author and performance coach who has recently published her book, Super Neuro Me. Her presentation focused on 9 Superpower responses to the challenging world we live and work in. She also revealed some of the ways we can develop these Superpowers in our personal and professional lives.

A former HR Director, Claire has previously held senior leadership roles at Royal Mail, DSG International, Carlsberg and Quorn.

The Superpowers of your highest potential self

Claire developed her Superpower framework based on experiences throughout her 30-year career. The 9 Superpowers are qualities that represent our highest potential selves. They are:

1. Calm

2. Choice

3. Clarity

4. Connected

5. Confidence

6. Curiosity

7. Compassion

8. Creativity

9. Courage

Our highest potential self, according to Claire, is a “state of being” that makes you a “mighty force to be reckoned with – someone capable of really making a difference in the world.”

Channelling your Superpowers helps reduce negative physical and emotional states such as being anxious, angry and ashamed. The Superpowers are all interlinked and can be accessed simultaneously by following certain techniques.

During our webinar, Claire discussed 5 of the 9 Superpowers, leaving people to read her book to discover the others.

1. Calm

Calm is defined as being “without strong emotions – a Neutral state.” You know when you are Calm because your body will tell you.

Breathing exercises can help you achieve a state of Calm. Your Calm state will be apparent in your voice and intonation when you talk. When you’re stressed or anxious there are often thoughts running around your head. You need to master techniques that disable this process. Counting backwards will do this, as well as thinking of countries that have your initials in their name. These are great ways to access the Calm Superpower. And in doing so, you will have access to the rational, thinking parts of your brain.

If we are Calm, then our ability to access the other Superpowers increases.

2. Choice

The Choice Superpower is accepting that you have Choice in any situation. “The Superpower of Choice is what makes us human.”

Even though we have a conscious awareness of Choice we often don’t use it. And those that suffer from extreme stress and anxiety tend to dismiss Choice altogether. “In most situations, you have more Choices than you realise.”

Achieving a ‘Calm state of being’ helps reveal Choices that you weren’t previously aware of. Another technique that helps access the Choice Superpower is to ask others to explore your Choices with you.

Working from home during COVID-19 has enabled people to reflect on their Choices and make better decisions. It is important to take time out to assess your Choices before making big decisions. 

“In a meeting, there’s nothing wrong with asking for some time out to collect your thoughts and give yourself a few minutes breathing space. Generally, moving around can help. When we move, we tell our bodies that we’re OK. A freeze response will tell your brain you’re panicking and then you can’t access a Calm state.”

3. Clarity

Clarity is the ability to think clearly and “make the invisible visible.” It’s the moment when you see in your mind’s eye something that wasn’t clear to you before.

We all need strong cognitive performance and emotional intelligence to perform in our jobs. If you’re too busy and working too fast, then these attributes decline and you will lose Clarity.

Noticing the pace of our speech is a helpful exercise to help you access the Clarity Superpower. Talking quickly causes the brain to think rapidly. While talking slowly will allow the brain to also slow down. “Consequently, your thoughts will become clearer. You will achieve Clarity.”

When you’re thinking clearly we should learn to listen carefully to those thoughts, as it helps you to better listen to others too. “It’s about listening with your ears and your heart.” You’re listening empathetically – tuning into the words and the tone of voice of the speaker. And you’re listening with your gut – allowing intuition to guide your thoughts and actions.

4. Connected

During the uncertainty of the last 12 months, it is important to take time to “Connect to what is known, what is real, what is here and now, and what really matters to you.”

We often become absorbed in, and worried about, things that aren’t important. If you’re ever feeling disconnected or down connecting with other people and demonstrating Compassion will help you better connect with the things that matter to you.

Interestingly, HR leaders mostly agreed that they felt more connected with their colleagues and more informed about their organisation now than before the pandemic. This is due to increased opportunities to connect with people across the business and more frequent communication from Senior Leaders.

Tools such as Zoom and Teams have provided workers with more opportunities to be Connected. Furthermore, communication that would ordinarily have occurred by phone, is now more personalised via video-based interactions.

Teams and Zoom events can, however, make you feel disconnected from others. This is especially the case when people try to multi-task while participating in video-based meetings. It is important to sometimes “disconnect technology and connect with what is going on inside you and around you.”

5. Confidence

Senior professionals usually have Confidence in their abilities. Yet even those at the top of their profession experience moments of self-doubt or imposter syndrome. The Confidence Superpower is important during these moments.

Recording your successes and achievements in a journal is a great way of accessing Confidence. It helps you to think about your achievements and the things you did to make those achievements possible. Asking for feedback is another way to “turn your Confidence Superpower on.”

There is also value of “playing to your strengths.” If you’re part of a diverse team always delegate tasks which allow people to play to their strengths, while enabling you to focus on yours.

“Outsource what you were never meant to be good at. If you mostly focus on tasks that play to your strengths, then your Confidence and abilities will improve.”

Leadership starts with you

Sometimes those in senior leadership roles criticise other leaders and people in their organisations. This sets a bad example. Rather, “Leadership should always start with you.”

Leaders are urged to stop and consider which of the 9 Superpowers they can apply to difficult situations. “Think about what impact it would have – how can I influence others to behave in the ways I want them to?”

To find out more about Claire and the 9 Superpowers, please visit www.leadersaremad.co.uk

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