We spent some time with Simone hearing her growth story and the impact that Mygrow has had on her life. The following is what she had to say, shared with her permission.
My Mygrow journey began in 2021, following an exceptionally difficult 2020. My father had recently passed away and I would say that Mygrow came at just the right time for me. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was nominated by our business unit HR lead to do the programme, and it turned out to be exactly what I needed. Looking back, it was the start of a character building year and the year that I grew stronger as a person.
I had a bit of a slow start but after my manager checked in and encouraged me to embrace the journey I committed by setting aside time first thing every morning, green tea in hand.
The journey has truly given me the tools to combat the negative thinking traps that I was stuck in and that I didn’t even know needed to change. I have come to realize through my time on Mygrow that EQ development isn’t only for specific situations but has a holistic impact, affecting the way that you see both yourself and others. It really has the potential to change everything.
Before Mygrow I was someone that lacked confidence. My manager would always tell me that I have all the capabilities but somehow I just couldn’t see it. I would often feel like an imposter and was unable to recognise or value anything that I had to bring to the table.
Comparing my EQ self and 360 peer assessment results was really eye-opening. It confirmed that I was undervaluing my strengths and had a very low, inaccurate view of myself. I could clearly see the differences between what I believed was true about myself and how others saw me.
My lack of confidence was debilitating and affected me in many ways. If you think of me before, I want you to imagine me with my shoulders hunched over, carrying the weight of the world. I was incredibly self-conscious and overly aware of my flaws. I would envy other people’s strengths and constantly feel incompetent and stuck.
Over the past year I have come to learn that some of these beliefs and mindsets came from my childhood. For example, I had been teased and ridiculed for my appearance and this caused issues with regards to my weight and body confidence. I have also come to understand that a lot of my thinking was learnt from my mother and that there is something called ‘learnt helplessness’. This meant that over time I had come to believe that there was nothing that I could do to change myself or my situation.
I am completely different since I have been developing myself using Mygrow.
Now I want you to imagine me standing tall. I’m not hunched over anymore. I’m comfortable in my own skin. I can see the difference that my values as a person make to the world and those around me. I can see that even though I may have a little ‘cream cheese’ on my face (inside joke for fellow Mygrow users) or growth areas, everyone else has those too.
I am now able to celebrate the strengths of others without feeling like I am worthless. I am no longer stuck, and I won’t get stuck again, because I am going to keep living according to my values – a wonderful skill I have learnt on Mygrow.
I can still see the areas that I need to improve, like at times I can be impatient. But this no longer defines me. I have learnt to take a step back in situations, assess them and think through how I was to respond.
I no longer get stuck in negative emotion cycles, ruminating about things in the past. I have spring cleaned my mind and I plan on doing this often so that it stays clean and fresh!
“I am now able to celebrate the strengths of others without feeling like I am worthless. I am no longer stuck, and I won’t get stuck again, because I am going to keep living according to my values – a wonderful skill I have learnt on Mygrow.”
Many people in my life have recognised the change in me, for example, my brother recently said to me: “You have changed SO much, what are you doing?”.
With the confidence that I have been building I have also started exercising again. At first it was with a tracksuit top tied around my waist in order to hide my body. But the other day my friend asked me where my track top has gone. This was because I no longer felt the shame that led to me feeling so insecure and wanting to cover myself up.
I have now learnt to recognise ‘learned helplessness’ in other people and because I understand what it’s like, I want to empower others to overcome it. The challenge with this mindset is that you tend to see yourself as the victim in every situation and don’t see your part to play in it all. You believe that life just happens to you and around you. I am now starting to point this out to those around me and empower them to see things differently.
I am also so aware now of how many people do get stuck in that space of negative emotion – this just leads to being bitter and miserable. I wish everyone could go on this same journey and I’m recommending it to everyone that I know, whether it’s friends that are battling with anxiety, or my family who tend to get stuck in learnt helplessness. The ABCDE technique can change those negative cycles of thinking and give you a new lens on yourself and the world.
Another Mygrow relational skill I’ve found very valuable, has been recognising the power of giving praise to those I work with. I would always say thank you to my two assistants ( who often take the load off of me in a big way when I am very busy) but I wouldn’t go further than that. I now try to express what I appreciate more specifically and how that makes me feel. This has impacted the value that they see they make and has improved our relationship.
I am currently on the Interpersonal Skills module and I’m looking forward to what is next. I feel that in every module I have grown and become more self aware and ultimately been given the tools that I need for life. The change happens little by little but as Mr Smollan always says, “If you’re green you grow, if you’re ripe you rot!”.
My hope is that each person that has this opportunity to be on Mygrow would stand tall and grow in all the areas and ‘cream cheeses’ that they battle with.
Growth is for everyone!