How Personal Growth Leads to Professional Success

“What is well-being?”

This question was posed by researchers from the United States, Spain, Australia, and Ireland who recently studied what exactly well-being meant to residents of 20-plus countries.

The results? Well-being is more nuanced and complex than just being happy and satisfied with one’s life. In fact, it’s also “synonymous with positive mental health.” Per the research:

“Well-being has been linked to success at professional, personal, and interpersonal levels, with those individuals high in well-being exhibiting greater productivity in the workplace, more effective learning, increased creativity, more prosocial behaviors, and positive relationships.”

Though their respective Lever Ascend sessions covered making the most of one’s life and proactively finding happiness, the presentations from Alison Hadden, host of the No Time to Waste podcast, and Neil Pasricha, author of international bestseller The Happiness Equation, improving one’s personal well-being was a central theme that tied the two talks together.

And it was evident from these enlightening sessions ‘becoming a better you’ can lead to greater professional success for many individuals — including and especially those in talent acquisition.

With World Mental Health Day (Oct. 10) around the corner, it seems appropriate to revisit some of the top insights offered by Alison and Neil in their informative sessions.

Alison Hadden: Why living in the moment matters more than ever today

Alison’s inspirational story has been shared the world over. But in case you’re unfamiliar with this self-described “athlete, adventurer, and marketing executive”:

  • Alison was diagnosed with advanced triple negative breast cancer in 2018. Following 15 months of aggressive treatment, she was close to ‘NED’ (‘No Evidence of Disease’) and hoping cancer was behind her.
  • In April 2020, though, at the onset of the pandemic, Alison learned she had a brain tumor the size of a small lemon which required emergency surgery. Following respiratory issues that summer, Alison was told the cancer had spread to her chest and was now terminal.
  • She was told by doctors to make sure to “live for today,” because years were no longer guaranteed.

And that’s exactly the mindset Alison adopted since that life-altering diagnosis in August 2020.

After giving a popular TEDx Talk (“Confronting Death to Live a Fuller Life“), Alison began the No Time to Waste podcast. Per Alison, the podcast is “about confronting mortality, crafting a life without regret, and maximizing moments focused on gratitude, human connection and joy.”

Nearly fifty episodes in, Alison has interviewed the likes of Matthew McConnaughey, Sheryl Sandberg, Katie Couric — and even her dad. The episode topics vary, but the primary focus remains the same.

“By keeping our death top of mind — even just for 30 seconds a day — we will have the opportunity to live our lives differently, to live our lives with more intention and meaning.”

The main takeaway from her Ascend talk: Live in the now, be present in body and mind, ensure we take full advantage of the time we have, in order to live life without regrets.

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Neil Pasricha: ‘Accelerating your failure rate’ key to becoming happier

In addition to Alison’s eye-opening session, renowned author, podcaster, and speaker Neil Pasricha spoke on a similar subject during his illuminating closing keynote on day two of Lever Ascend:

How owning your happiness, so to speak, can help you become more resilient, especially in times of change and disruption (see: the COVID-19 pandemic).

As the aforementioned research noted, happiness is just one facet of well-being. As Neil discussed, however, it’s nonetheless an important component of well-being, to taking control of one’s life, and to realizing the personal and/or professional success one desires.

The first step to achieving success, according to Neil? Embrace learning — and fail fast.

Going the extra mile to learn new skills and consume new info (i.e., reading 20 minutes of fiction a day; citing George R.R. Martin: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. A man who never reads lives only one.”) can help you become happier personally and professionally.

“Your learning rate is the steepest when you know the least,” Neil relayed in his Ascend session. “When you accelerate your failure rate, you learn more. You will never have a faster learning curve than the first five times you hit a tennis ball.”

Regarding your professional life, specifically, Neil said this constant learning — which contributes to an improved, overall well-being — can lead to more satisfying and effective work.

“Your brain subconsciously makes incongruent connections back to your day-to-day job by doing something totally unrelated outside of work,” Neil noted. “You actually become better at your job too, because you’re making subconscious, incongruent connections.”

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How a focus on well-being can lead to greater professional success

As Alison alluded to during her Ascend session, the global pandemic has upended so many lives.

Personally, many people have struggled with loss. Professionally, they’ve dealt with layoffs and furloughs. Even those who maintained their jobs are “probably being asked this year to do more but with less resources, less time, and less people,” as Alison noted.

On top of all that, The Great Resignation was spurred, in part, by COVID-19. This, Alison indicated, simply added another reason to worry for workers — TA pros, in particular.

“This time of work is sort of shape-shifting and caused everyone to reevaluate their career, their trajectory, maybe decide, ‘Maybe I should try that new path,’” Alison noted.

Whether you want to continue on your current path in TA and/or recruiting or pursue some other career ambition, both Alison and Neil’s talks demonstrate one thing: Continually improving your personal well-being can help you accomplish much more professional success.

Watch our Lever Ascend sessions to discover even more insights from experts and influencers in talent acquisition and recruiting and use their advice to elevate your strategy.

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Further reading