The communication industry has been under enormous pressure during the past 18 months with COVID-19, and it continues to be as the pandemic surges yet again.
IABC UK & Ireland has made an effort to focus on supporting our members during this time with webinars, digital meet-ups and online content to help build resilience, connect with others in our community and ensure we are aware of the skills that can help us during this time.
As part of this initiative, we recently held a webinar with Tony Underwood, English rugby great, pilot and resilience speaker. His experience from his past lives — sport and aviation — has given him a unique perspective about performing in high-pressure environments. During the session, Underwood shared his care model, or “C-ARE model,” of resilience to adapt, move forward and inspire personal growth, even under difficult circumstances. "C-ARE" stands for "Control the Controllables," "Attitude," "Relationships" and "Environment."
Here are three takeaways from the session, which communication professionals can utilize to bounce back in challenging times and look after their mental well-being.
“It’s all about attitude and positive reframing. Are you going to be better or are you going to be bitter?”
Underwood shared how powerful choosing our response to situations can be. When an issue or crisis occurs, we often immediately jump to a negative mindset when we could instead choose a neutral or positive perception. Reframing our mindset helps us respond more quickly and effectively with our team and look after our mental well-being.
Underwood shared multiple strategies that can improve our mental framing, such as noting daily gratitudes, journaling and reinforcing that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Communicators should choose the strategy that suits them best.
PodCatalyst Episode 10: The Mind is a Muscle
Listen in to learn more about ways to practice self-care, how leadership behaviors impact employee well-being and more.
“Vulnerability is a strength and engaging with your team can turbo-charge things. It takes a team to face great challenges.”
The power of talking is extremely powerful. Sometimes, having conversations with your team can be difficult, but embracing the notion of talking about emotions and feelings is brave. It can encourage others to share as well. Some conversations may be tricky to start — like discussing mistakes made, current crises or an unsuccessful project. However, these conversations also show the positive and resilient aspects of a team: not giving up, being supportive and sticking together. These conversations can show the unity and vulnerability of the team, as well as the resilience of individuals.
Underwood shared the following strategy for improving relationships:
Make two lists of names — one list of three people who you can reach out to and help, and the other of three people who can help you. Try to connect with these people and share your stories to increase your resilience.
“Step away from toxic cultures and break dysfunctional ties.”
Your environment greatly impacts your mental well-being. However, communication professionals can choose to be proactive about building a positive environment to thrive in — and make decisions about changing this environment if found in a challenging or crisis situation.
Here, Underwood shared an aviation strategy: the ANC model of aviate, navigate and communicate.
- Aviate: What is the current situation? Am I flying the plane, or is my co-pilot in charge?
- Navigate: Where is my plane in space and time? Are others on my team aware of the situation?
- Communicate: Who can I talk to about this? Is my co-pilot available? Are there others I have access to through radio controls?
The attitude, relationships and environment model may seem simplistic, but it reminds us that we are not alone and can make a situation seem clearer and less confronting when facing it.
IABC UK & Ireland is the local chapter for communication professionals at all stages of their careers. Keep up with us on our website, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Georgia Eather is the treasurer and board member for IABC UK & Ireland. She has expertise across public relations and digital and marketing communications in B2C and B2B environments. She is based in London.