Jo Owen is the founder of 8 NGOs with a combined turnover of £100 million, and include Teach First which is the UK’s largest graduate recruiter. He has also started a bank, built a business in Japan, been sued for $12 billion and he put the blue speckle in Daz.His books have been published in over 100 editions around the world. He is the only person to win the CMI Gold Medal four times for his books, which include How to Lead, Global Teams and Resilience.
1. What problem were you trying to solve with the book?
There is a quiet epidemic of stress, mental ill health, alienation and demotivation at work. The pandemic made this even worse.
2. What surprised you most about writing the book?
As a recovering pessimist, I was astonished to find that you can choose how you feel. Don’t be a victim of circumstance. You can choose to be optimistic or pessimistic, nice or nasty, happy or miserable, motivated or demotivated. Choose well.To choose well you need to cultivate some simple, effective but elusive habits of mind. Resilience shows you how you can acquire healthy habits of mind.
3. What will the reader learn?
You will learn 10 simple habits of mind which will help you live better and work better. You will learn:
- How to live on the bright side: the power of optimism
- Acquire the courage to chase your dreams
- Tame your internal chatter so it is your best friend, not your worst critic
- Cook your own secret sauce of success which works for you in your context
- Manage your energy levels through the highs and lows of life and work
- Control your destiny by building your self belief
- Build your networks of support and influence
- Make good choices about how you feel in good times and bad
- Develop a sense of purpose and meaning, whatever your job may be
- Acquire the resilience you need to stay the course
4. What does this look like in practice?
In practice, the book focuses on tried and tested techniques which anyone can learn to build their resilience and to live and work better. Like learning the piano, even a little practice makes a big difference, and you could spend an entire lifetime perfecting your technique. Many people never get the chance to build their technique.
5. How did you come to the view you describe in the book?
Resilience is the product of working with leaders around the world over 25 years. The best leaders were rarely the best and brightest graduates, but they all had the ability to keep going while others slowly fell by the wayside. And they all seemed to really enjoy what they do, so the big question was how did they succeed and enjoy it so much?
To find the answer I started a three year research project with leaders around the world. I supplemented this by studying neuroscience at Harvard and Positive Psychology at UPenn. The result is based on original research supported by leading edge theory iin neuroscience and psychology.
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