In Spring 2023, Human Systems worked with Workāsanā® to introduce practical mindfulness via HS tools to a group of speech and language therapists (SLT; identifying details of this group are withheld to protect confidentiality) for the primary purpose of helping participants triumph in their professional lives.
Workāsanā® was invited to conduct the keynote session on mindfulness and achieving success at work at the International Dysphagia Conference 2023. This was the first workshop of its kind for the SLTs. In contrast, most of the other speakers and conference sessions centered around technical topics relevant to the SLTs. Approximately 300 individuals attended this 2-hour workshop.
In preparation for the session, Workāsanā® consultant Anit Singh spoke to a sample population of 15 SLTs across India, at various levels of experience, working in both private and government organizations. Mr. Singh asked questions about their specific role, what they liked about their work, their daily struggles and challenges, and what they wanted to learn about mindfulness.
In response to Mr. Singh’s question about challenges particular to their profession, the SLTs talked about feeling as though their role was undefined and that they experienced a lack of respect for the value of their work. They also reported struggling with work-life balance and the challenges in motivating patients to complete the tasks needed to improve their condition.
SLTs did report enjoying their work, especially when they could see the positive impact they had on their patients and when they had opportunities to teach students or assist their peers.
In response to Mr. Singh’s question about what they were interested in learning in the mindfulness session, SLTs said that they would like to learn how to better manage and express their emotions, especially in intensely stressful professional situations.
Workāsanā® consultants used the information from the interviews to tailor the session to the particular needs of the SLTs.
The purpose of the workshop was to share a practical approach to mindfulness with participants through teaching 1) emotion and need identification and validation using HS tools and 2) how to shift perspective using the HS Principles to find solutions within themselves, thus contributing to their professional triumph.
Kartik Shah, Workāsanā® Founder and Principal Consultant, started the session with a story, “The Two Wolves Inside Us”and an introduction to Workāsanā® and Human Systems. After setting the agenda for the workshop (“What is Mindfulness”, “Why Practice It”, and “How to Cultivate It”), the audience was asked about their expectations of the workshop with the help of Mentimeter, a software suite for interactive presentations. The reported needs of the audience (primarily stress reduction) were then connected to the overall theme of the workshop, using mindfulness to enable professional triumph.
To draw in the audience at a deeper level, Mr. Shah narrated a personal situation he experienced where he could have benefited from mindfulness. The audience was then asked to think of a difficult situation they were going through and how they could benefit by being more mindful in that situation. A few members of the audience were asked to share their situation with fellow participants as well.
At this point, the audience was introduced to 3 tools: a guided meditation to center their emotions, the HS Emotion Wheel II, and the HS Needs Wheel II. After being invited to find their emotions and needs on the wheels, audience members were again invited to share.
Mr. Shah then explained each one of the HS Healthy Systems Principles with the help of stories that demonstrated the principles in action.
The session was led to a conclusion with Jaiya John and Kabir quotes that each illustrate the importance of mindfulness, particularly self-awareness and self-acceptance.
The overall rating of the session was 4.14/5 (102 responses). When asked which HS Healthy Systems Principles they found to be the most useful for their current professional challenges, #1 (“Assume the best”) came in first, closely following by #2 (“Focus on the vision”). Several participants also reported that they liked the idea of focusing on changing their own perspective to improve their experience as well as learning to respond mindfully to a challenge instead of simply reacting. In one of his stories, Mr. Shah explained how to use the perspective of believing that challenges are happening “for me instead of to me”, and several participants noted that idea as being most helpful for them. Finally, participants mentioned the idea of mindful acceptance of challenges and acting with self-confidence as being helpful as well.
The workshop dealt with a large audience, most of whom were between 22 and 27 years and seemed inclined towards the technical aspects of the conference. Initially, getting to the “softer side” of the audience seemed like an uphill task. Ultimately, however, Workāsanā® accomplished two primary goals: 1) the audience members acquired a new vocabulary to talk about their problems while receiving validation of their needs and emotions and 2) the audience was able to understand the HS Healthy Systems Principles through stories and use the Principles to re-frame pressing problems.
One of the most powerful moments of the workshop came when the HS Emotion Wheel II and Needs Wheel II were introduced. The Wheels gave the audience members the vocabulary to express what they were feeling and needing with respect to their professional challenges and allowed Mr. Shah to have more meaningful conversations with the audience. When participants reflected on their stories with the help of the HS Emotion Wheel and Needs Wheel, they were able to both get in touch with their emotions and needs and have them validated. The safe space created by Mr. Shah led the audience to share some of their most painful problems.
Each of the HS Healthy Systems Principles served as important guides to empower SLTs to re-examine some of their most pressing issues. One audience member who had said that they felt powerless against the unfair system in their workplace explained how they were able to look at the situation with a different perspective when they applied Principle #2 (“Focus on the vision”). Another audience member who reported feeling frustrated when they couldn’t solve the problems of some of their most resistant patients found insight when they applied Principle #3 (“Enable autonomy”). A third audience member who shared their resentment against the system in which they worked, used Principle #1 (“Assume the best”) to adjust their perspective and see a path forward.
Based on the feedback from participants, the session was an empowering experience, particularly because the HS Principles enabled them to find ways out of their most difficult challenges by finding the answers inside of themselves.
Thanks Anit & Kartik once again for making the session a great success. It was a really nice session and well appreciated by all. -Atriman Das, Senior Brand Manager, Nestle Health Science
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