We spent some time with Steph 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.
Usually I don’t like surprises…. But when the surprise is something that changes your life for the better, that’s a completely different story.
That’s the kind of surprise that Mygrow has been for me.
To better understand how this growth journey has impacted me, let’s start with some context.
We all have things in life that are really important to us – for me two of those things are my family, and my career. So often health and flourishing in these two areas can be mutually exclusive. For many people, excelling in one comes at the detriment of the other. My story of growth through Mygrow has been the exact opposite – I have seen that it is possible to flourish in both personal and professional life, at the same time. Mygrow has helped me do that.
I have been married for 14 years and we have a 9 year old daughter. I have also been working in the tech industry for 20 years, and I absolutely love my job! Being good at it is something I value.
I work at Flash, an innovative point-of-sale fin-tech company with the largest informal retail network in Africa. I joined their fast-growing team in the middle of the hard lockdown, back in 2020. Starting at a new company is hard enough, but with the new remote reality it was an emotionally difficult time, and very taxing. I was also very aware that the team I was tasked to lead had been through a lot of change recently and they needed stability and leadership. The pressure was mounting.
Mygrow came at just the right time.
Shortly after I started at Flash, Chelsea (from HR) approached me to ask if I wanted to try Mygrow – which gave me the space to process and reflect on all that was happening.
The first EQ development technique I did, Three Good Things, was so appropriate for the season I was in. It helped me to develop my positive thinking and to learn to recognise all the goodness in my life when things around me were tough. We got into the habit of practicing the technique together at home, and now, 2 years later, it’s still a part of our nighttime routine as a family.
But the impact of Mygrow went further than just my personal life.
Being a woman in the tech industry has meant that I always needed to ‘show up’ in a particular way in my job. In a male-dominated industry I have needed to work hard to create a seat for myself at the table. I have fought all kinds of stereotypes relating to females in this industry, and I now see how these have shaped how I used to function – and how I related to others around me. (There is a general bias in the tech industry that women are, ‘less than’. And in an effort to not be ‘boxed’ or ‘pigeon holed’ I learnt to be very front-footed but also cautious and self-protective. I learnt not to be vulnerable or show my personal side at work.) This had an impact, not just on me, but sometimes on others too – and it has affected the way I dealt with people in the past. But that’s different now.
Since joining Flash, and starting on Mygrow, I have changed. I have recognised that there is always another person on the other end of the conversation and that at times a softer, gentler, more vulnerable approach may be needed.
I decided that I was going to test this new ‘soft approach’ with my 14 team members, and I was really encouraged by the results. I opened up with them (on a more personal level than I have before) and shared details about my life. I also asked intentional questions to try and get to know my team a bit better. The results have been amazing! Even though we still have professional working relationships, there is now a greater level of joy and motivation in the team.
“I have grown so much as a leader through all of this – working at Flash, and working on myself in my journey on Mygrow.”
Another benefit of this growth is how it has helped me to see other people more accurately, and be more empathetic in my interactions.
At work we have a program called Flash Club where you can nominate others in the team to earn points and rewards. By getting to know my team more personally, I have found creative ways in which to reward and support them. This has had a wonderful impact on our team culture and the way we work together and collaborate. A specific example of this is how my perspectives have shifted on things that used to frustrate me. Someone in my team was often late for work. Now, being from Australia, I never properly appreciated the challenges that many people face around issues with public transport. Before I started on Mygrow, when someone was late it would simply be a frustrating situation. But I started asking questions and soon began to understand some of the challenges, and how I could help. As a company, through our Flash Club program, we managed to help one of our colleagues with driving lessons to ensure they can gain their driver’s license.
On a more personal note I have found that by taking a more personal and vulnerable approach to work relationships I have benefitted too, and this is something that I have really needed.
Another EQ technique that has had a surprising outcome was the Giving Praise Technique. Through this technique you can build relationships and trust by being intentional about looking for opportunities to encourage people, and point out the areas where your colleagues are getting things RIGHT. Now I have always believed in giving credit where it is due, but as I did it on purpose in my team, actively looking for reasons to praise my colleagues, I didn’t expect that it would be reciprocated. Suddenly my team was also pointing out my strengths and I didnt know what to do with all of the positive feedback.
My team has truly become, like Mygrow promises, “The team I always wanted” – I just didn’t realise that this kind of team was what I wanted. Perhaps it was not something I could imagine before. I didn’t appreciate how empowering and amazing a group of work colleagues could actually be, before I saw it happen through doing Mygrow together.
Lastly, I have experienced a huge benefit in using the mindfulness technique. I have found that it gives me time to stop and think, to reflect on the good and the bad and to actually choose how I want to respond. This has become massively important to me. I used to just live out of a place of reaction because I felt there was never enough time to be truly present – everything needed to be instant. But the truth is that we don’t get the best out of ourselves, or each other and our relationships, when we don’t have time to think and reflect. Mygrow, and this technique, has given me that space. I have actually shared this technique with my daughter who at times has battled with sensory overload which leads to anxiety. As she is getting older, I love that I am able to meet her emotional needs and teach her the things that I am learning too.
I hope that you can see from my story that Mygrow (together with working for a wonderful healthy and growing company) has really impacted my life for the better, on so many levels – at work, and at home. This is not something you expect when you sign up for some training that your work provides. That’s why I say that this journey of growth and change has been both surprising and welcome. My personal life (and how I parent), as well as my work life (and how I lead) have grown massively through this wonderful journey.