This month, Best Self – Foley's firmwide wellness initiative – launched a three-part speaker series to explore the complicated ways that mental health drives performance and how it shows up in high-achieving work cultures. Led by Kara Hardin, founder and CEO of The Practice Lab, these sessions also impart skills to support healthy performance and achievement in the workplace.

The first program, titled "The Performance Paradox: The Complicated Relationship Between Mental Health and Performance," was held on September 14. In this session, Hardin explored how perfectionism and feelings of inadequacy show up as we achieve. She also shared strategies for relating to ourselves, others, and our work in more generative, kind, and productive ways.

Key Takeaways

Strivers are excellent at exceeding others' expectations and feel most safe when we're productive. But success gets slippery — we want to do it all, the to-do list never ends, and we dig deeper to meet expectations so we can hypothetically relax.

The very qualities that make strivers successful can also lead to mental health challenges such as anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, and disconnection from what really matters to us.

High performance demands you work with your body and have curiosity about what you know and what you need.

You're the expert on you. If you're feeling "off," check in with your body. Are you hungry ... thirsty ... on edge ... tired ... tense ...overwhelmed ... grumpy ... lonely? Identify how you're feeling and work to learn what best helps you to regulate.

There are numerous strategies to address the physiology of stress:

  • Immediately actionable tactics, small things you can do in the moment to help you feel safe, include deep breaths, movement, and sips of water.

  • Over-time practices, things you can do to connect to your body and feel more nourished, include exercise, rest, connection, meditation, sunshine, and idleness.

The second program in October, titled "The Achieving, Anxious Brain: Working With Drive and Dread Effectively," will examine the impact of our near constant focus on outcomes, advancement, promotion, development, progression, and improvement on how we perceive and experience the world.

In the third program in November, titled "Finding Choices: Working With Accountability and Agency," Hardin will delve into how to take accountability for what we want to do — and how to find agency and meaning as we do it.

About Foley Best Self

Foley Best Self recognizes that our people and their health, well-being, and professional satisfaction are at the center of our culture and core values. Best Self is built on the four pillars of Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Meaningful Connections, and Fulfilling Careers with the ambitious goal of making each person's humanity a welcome part of our collective enterprise and topic of open conversation.

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