Shaun Doherty & Silke Ahrens
How do the current job market and companies' "dinosaur-like" attitudes make it harder for companies to keep and hire top-notch workers?
Companies that are stuck in the old way of working in an office from 9 to 5 and measuring performance in a certain way are finding it hard to keep and hire top talent because they don't offer the flexibility or benefits that top talent wants.
What is the main idea behind 555? How is it different from traditional wellness training?
555 is a concept of bite-sized wellness that focuses on short, daily practices like five minutes of breath work, meditation, and gratitude instead of traditional, infrequent, and long wellness training that is often forgotten or not reinforced.
Why does the 555 concept include breathing exercises, meditation, and gratitude, and what is the idea behind each?
555 includes breath work, meditation, and gratitude because they are simple practices that help you focus on the present moment, get out of your head, and find joy in the present rather than worrying about the future or comparing yourself to the past. This reduces stress and improves your overall well-being.
What does practicing 555 do to the body in terms of endorphins and biochemistry, and how does it help you see things in a different light?
Even though the science behind how practicing 555 affects the body in terms of endorphins and biochemistry is not well understood, focusing on breathing, meditation, and gratitude can help to change a person's feelings, thoughts, and overall sense of well-being. Practicing gratitude can also help people gain perspective and see the good things in their lives and jobs.
Marcus Cauchi: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome back once again to the Inquisitor podcast. Today, I'm delighted to have as my guest Silke Ahrens, who is VP of channel sales within EMEA and APAC for Thycotic Centrify. Silke and I go back many years. When I was working with her company and she's done a sterling job of growing channel sales for Thycotic, they've gone from 10 million to over a billion in about five and a half, six years.
And all of their sales outside of the us are through the channel. She is the founder of the Mental Manager podcast. Where they talk about mental health within sales. And this then led to an introduction that I made with Shaun Doherty, who is founder of the555club.co.uk and owner of 555, where he offers bite sized wellness for companies that actually care about the wellbeing of their staff.[00:01:00]
Today, we are gonna be talking about why taking care of the wellness of your staff drives high performance. We're gonna give concrete examples of where Silke's been able to build this into her team and the impact it's had. And we're gonna look at Shaun's experience of working with companies so that you can get a sense of why this isn't about bunny hugging and, uh, tree hugging.
This is actually a practical commercial decision and doing the right thing is the right thing for the business as well. So Silke, Shaun. Welcome.
Silke Ahrens: Thank you so much for having us.
Shaun Doherty: Thank you, Marcus. Good to be here.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. So, Shaun, let, let me start with you. I'm a gnarly hairy ass CRO said to head of sales and you are now coming to me and telling me that I should, uh, do a bit, this come by our staff.
Why is it a dinosaur like attitude? How is that hurting me and on my P and L?
Marcus Cauchi: Why is that? First of all, uh, a dinosaur like attitude. And secondly, how is that hurting [00:02:00] me and on my P and L?
Shaun Doherty: Why is it a dinosaur like attitude? I I'll address first for anyone who's been in any way, shape or form active on LinkedIn over the last six months, you'll have seen just how bad the recruitment market is at the minute for companies looking for high level staff.
I'm fortunate to not be in that position where I'm looking for someone, but retaining top level talent seems to be a really difficult thing and not only retaining, but getting people in the door, people are it's, it's moved beyond. Looking for a six figure salary. It's moved beyond looking for yeah. The nine to five in the office from conversations with the sales guys.
I know at the, you know, pretty much at the top of their game, what's pushing them away is companies that are set in the old standard of, we work in this office, nine to five you're here for this time. Performance is measured in this way and anything outside of that, uh, doesn't work. These guys have been for want of a better word using my services, uh, for downtime, for meditation to [00:03:00] recharge for clarity from their own pocket, when asked what they do by their colleagues to attain top level status, you know, how are they hitting their target?
How are they doing different things? Obviously, there is the background outreach, all the client interfacing stuff. But to be able to switch off, to be able to sleep soundly at night, to be able to bring 100% of yourself to 100% of your task and not be split four different ways. When you sit down to do something is a very effective tool and a very powerful proposition to bring somewhere.
Initial reservations to working with Shaun's team
Marcus Cauchi: This is really, really very interesting. So what I'd like to do, uh, is bring Silke in at this. Because you chose to bring Shaun to work with your team. And I'm curious about what your initial reservations were. If you could answer that first and then, um, I've got a se series of questions that I'd like to, uh, take you through.
Silke Ahrens: Honestly, I had zero reservations, but that's because I'm a massive fan of tree hugging and kum ba [00:04:00] yah and the challenge , but, you know, joking aside, that the challenge that I did see and, um, that I guess I felt like I was taking just taking chance on was how people that are not quite as receptive as, as I am to anything related to hippies of the sixties would react to that.
So, you know, it it's all well and good bringing any sort of coaching mentality into a team that is, is different from what a team actually knows today. Particularly when it comes to mindfulness, you can't force people to take this on, right? You can't say, well, I guess I could say alright this is mandatory.
You have to show up three times a,
Marcus Cauchi: you will meditate
Silke Ahrens: and you will, you will be mindful though,
Shaun Doherty: will insist on gratitude from half nine to 10 every morning.
Silke Ahrens: That's that's right. So you can't can't really do that. So I did have a concern or, um, you know, saw, saw that initially as a challenge as to [00:05:00] how my team was going to react to this.
And, um, but taking a, a step back from that, the reason why I thought, uh, when, when Shaun, I first start talking about the 555 club, why I thought immediately, this is like, I didn't even have to think about. Why I think this is a really fantastic and valuable idea for any company to employ is because it does.
It's good. It doesn't just do one thing. It addresses a number of different factors, so addresses, um, the fact that particularly in a high performing environment, uh, and in channel as you'll both very well know, it's, it's not exactly just going to cocktail parties and, you know, playing golf with your partners.
But you are constantly in a conflict zone, cause everyone's got an opinion on how you can do better and what you should be doing. Everyone always feels like it's not enough. It's not doing the right things. Goal posts are constantly being moved. So it's, it's a very stressful environment and to sustain in that environment and deliver [00:06:00] very high value performance into, uh, not burn out, you need to recharge
your batteries. Now, I think we are, we are coming out of this thinking very slowly. Um, and the pandemic has certainly helped in terms of getting the conversation going around, uh, mental health. But I feel like in the last, I don't know, 10, 15 years ever since I've been part of this industry, there's been this, um, this thinking around the more hours you work, the better, the harder you, you can essentially sit at your desk and do
Marcus Cauchi: what (inaudible) by doubling down on the stuff that isn't working already.
That's essentially the (inaudible)
Silke Ahrens: that's a hundred percent, you know, that's, it's out work, everyone else. Well, but if you out me, you just sit at your desk and do the same things like you just said for more hours, but get less results because you're just so burned out. So I wanted to do something, um, that addresses burn out [00:07:00] proactively.
And I feel that the 555 club, and maybe Shaun, you can talk about what this 555 actually means. Um, so that it makes more sense to the listen. That really does that.
In terms of turnover within your team, I'm curious to see how you compare with like for like in other organizations?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So just one quick question, before we do delve into the 555. So in terms of turnover within your team, I'm curious to see how, uh, you compare with, uh, like for like in other organizations?
Silke Ahrens: I know that we are doing very well.
I, I don't have the exact figures, but, um, in the three and a half years, that I've been part of it, we've had, uh, you know, let's say about 20% turnover, you probably have more figures around that than, than I do.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm . And since you introduced 555?
Silke Ahrens: Nothing, but we've been working together for about a month and I was I don't think this
Shaun Doherty: 100%, 100
Silke Ahrens: hundred percent retention rates.
What is 555 as a concept?
Marcus Cauchi: excellent. We'll we'll leave that in, cuz it would be cheating to edit that bit out. So Shaun, [00:08:00] what is 555 as a concept?
Shaun Doherty: As a concept it's bite sized wellness, moving away from the wellness guru coming in once every three months and talking at your people for eight hours and then leaving with tips like sleep eight hours, walk 20 minutes a day, uh, meditate in the morning, read for 20 minutes, have a culture or do your yoga and do that by half eight in the morning, and then come into work and everything will be fine.
I am taking a lighthearted approach to that. But I, I think it was yourself Marcus that mentioned around sales training, uh, that a lot of training isn't training it's exposure. So you're actually, um, people come in and train for a day and then they're gone. And, and that, you know, as anyone who's in sales training,
Marcus Cauchi: it it's forgotten.
It's if, if it's not reinforced, if it's not practiced with intent, you know, real intention, um, then it goes away and we, we see this all the time. You know, 70% of learning happens in the field, on the job out of the classroom and [00:09:00] 90% of what's learned in the classroom is forgotten inside a couple of weeks. Um, and within three months virtually nothing sustains.
Shaun Doherty: And that was a big factor in when I was putting this together, is that it's well and good saying that I will take time for myself once every three months, but it doesn't happen. So the idea is, so the 5, 5, 5, it's just an abbreviation of five minutes. So it's five minutes of breath work, five minutes of meditation and five minutes of gratitude.
Uh, even those words.
Why do you do those three elements? Can you break them down in terms of the, the thinking behind the process?
Marcus Cauchi: Why do you do those three elements? Can you break them down in terms of the, the thinking behind the process?
Shaun Doherty: Yes, of course. First of all, there's nothing complicated there by design. A lot of people have triggers around meditation and things like that, that you have to be sitting in a blanket and a cave for six months.
And that's something that other people do. I'm terrible at meditating. Uh, if, if that, if you can say such a thing, you know, it's, I find it so difficult. Uh, I have to wrestle my thoughts, beat [00:10:00] them to the ground, but I always take something out of it. When I take the time, sit there. So the five minutes, it's five minutes of breath work.
We're thus designed to get you out of your head. Whenever you breathe in a continuous loop for five minutes with no pause at the top. No pause at the bottom. You're moving out of that part of your brain. That's sitting going, why am I here listening to this bald Irish guy talking over here? So once that switches off, you then drop into your body.
The five minutes of meditation. It's purely designed to get people to realize that all we have is this moment, you know, and, and we're not trying to attain enlightenment. We're not trying to move towards a higher state of being. Just to come back that all we have is this moment where that came from me was that around the time I first met you, Marcus, I wasn't happy in my career at the time. I spent,
so 10 years previous diagnosed with cancer two years after that was told, there's nothing we can do for you. And then eventually ended up as a financial advisor. And find myself quite unhappy. yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: that's stunning when you've hit rock bottom (inaudible) financial [00:11:00] advisor.
Shaun Doherty: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: there are, there are other types of finance advisor. You can become a wealth manager and you can elevate your status.
Shaun Doherty: Yes. Um, so, so over, uh, find myself selling in a career, not a job, which is what I was obtaining for when I couldn't work and not happy. And one of the things I, you know, I sat, it was October 2019. Sat journaling, and realized that I was, you know, why was I, why did I have more joy in 2012 going through radiotherapy, going through chemo than I had in my current life?
You know, I wouldn't, I wouldn't say I had happiness in 2012. I wouldn't say I was happy, but there was joy . Um, so one of the things that I really reflected on was that in 2012, I wasn't living six weeks ahead of myself. I wasn't living six months ahead of myself. Today was good. Uh, you know, I felt good today and I will deal with tomorrow when it comes.
Marcus Cauchi: How interesting.
Shaun Doherty: And that was how I spent my life at the time, because yeah, you just didn't put yourself six months ahead whenever you're going through that stuff. [00:12:00] Whereas I find myself now it's like, okay. I was comparing salaried friends who were working for the 10 years. I wasn't working. I was comparing my body to people who were training for 10 years.
When I wasn't training. I was, you know, com comparison as the thief of joy. So I realized that I wasn't, uh, grounding myself in this moment. And that was the point where I consciously decided I'm, you know, I'm gonna start making changes shortly after that. I think I was speaking with you, Marcus. We started working together.
Yeah. And, and a very long-winded approach to that. It was realizing that my own happiness came from living beyond where I was in this moment. Um, so putting myself in the future or comparing myself to the past. So the five minutes of meditation, it's gonna sound like, how the hell can we get there in five minutes?
But that's why it is a re continuous thing. It's just the realizing of. Shit. I'm find myself stressing about the deadline. I've messed up October. Uh, October's gone. You don't have October. December's gone. You don't have December. The only point we have right now is, you know, it's currently Friday, the 5th of November 23 minutes, [00:13:00] past eight in the morning.
This is the only minute I have. It's the only breath I have. So if I want to change something in my life and my career and my business, this is the only point I can do it in. And the more we can drop back into this. Realize that, you know, wherever we are today, this is all we have. That's the idea behind the five minutes of meditation reinforced.
So the five minutes of gratitude is designed really to bring appreciation to the things in our lives that we don't, that we don't often look at. One of the first times I did this exercise live, uh, a lady jokingly said to me, I got out of bed this morning and then, and then she caught herself. It's like, I got out of bed this morning.
It's like, yup, you got outta bed and, and then went a layer deeper. It's like, I could get out of bed. I have a bed to sleep in. I had blankets, I slept last night and it was like a group of 10 people. And this whole conversation spiraled out from a joke remark of, I got out of, you know, I got out of bed this morning, but we don't realize those things.
We don't appreciate those [00:14:00] things. We don't. Yeah. We don't take the time to actually realize, you know what? Yes, it's pretty good. If you're ever struggling with gratitude in your day to day life, just start removing things you use. You know, if you're not happy with your car, visualize it gone. You don't have a car anymore.
You have to walk and take the bus. (inaudible) comes pretty attractive, pretty fast.
Marcus Cauchi: I remember Julia- Julia Donaldson book about that. So this woman didn't like the size of her house. So she spoke to the rabbi, said, bring in a chicken, bring in a chicken. Anyway, so it spirals to the point where she has a cow, a pig, a horse, um, a goat, a sheep, and the chicken.
And eventually she's there. So there's no room at my house. So she, eventually the rabbi gets rid of the cow, the horse and so on. Then there's plenty of room and it's really interesting. Okay. So Silke, what I'm curious about is the effect, uh, on not having a way [00:15:00] to de-stress that is habituated in terms of the performance of individuals.
The effect on not having a way to de-stress that is habituated in terms of the performance of individuals.
Silke Ahrens: I think it's a very real effect and I can start with myself as an, as, as an example, you know, when
Marcus Cauchi: okay.
Silke Ahrens: Or, or, you know, anyone on my team, um, that is, uh, is building these habits with Shaun. I think what we can really see if we compared it is that to have, alright, let me start by, what would the situation be if we didn't continue with this, um, 555 club habit?
You know, I think it's so, so easy to get extremely overwhelmed, to have real bouts of anxiety catching you at any point during the day, just because of the amount of workload. And I think I actually saw a comment that I quite liked on, on. I can't remember. I think what's LinkedIn, um, where it basically says that burnout is not,
I don't even remember what it, what it isn't, but it, it kind of said [00:16:00] something along the lines of burnout is the anxiety that comes with just too much workload, not enough bandwidth. And I think particularly in, in our field, and I'm sure in, in many other fields as well, that you just have so much in terms of workload and if you don't have, and it starts with that, a good way to prioritize that.
It is so easy to just get washed over and overwhelmed with all of that. So to have, um, the opportunity to reset for 15 minutes, that gives you, all of a sudden, a point of clarity again, as to okay. Shit. What, what is actually really important here? What should I be focusing on? What can I change in this moment?
I, I always find it so powerful when, when Shaun mentions, you know, all we have is this moment. It's like, yeah. Okay. That's. That's actually true. We have this moment. So what can I affect in this moment? Once we finish with the 555 club, what am I going to be doing then? And to reinforce that on a [00:17:00] continuous basis has a really powerful effect.
And I find on both the mental health and mental wellbeing of everyone, which of course lends itself to retention, but also on the productivity, cuz all of a sudden you get much better results, much quicker.
Marcus Cauchi: So, this is really interesting. Let me ask you this. It sounds to me actually, what we are talking about at a psychological level.
Some of you will have heard me talk about operating from the drama triangle or the winner's triangle. In the drama triangle, the triangle is on its point and that's the voice of the victim. You have the persecutor one corner and the rescuer in the other, and it's called the drama triangle and it's driven by ego, uh, ego thrives on drama.
And in that states, there is a very high level of attachment to the outcome, which is not being present. It's worrying about the future [00:18:00] or dragging, uh, negative history into the present moment and suffering the torment of it all over again. And the victim voice is why me? It's so unfair. You know, the universe is dumping on me.
This always happens. The persecutor comes with a jab index finger and the pronoun use it stabs you in the face or chest, and it diminishes you at an identity level and who you are. The rescuer is actually, I see that as the most divisive position in management, because you diminish the other person by taking away their power.
Uh, it's about micromanaging. It's helping without boundaries or permission. And if you think about the kind of environment that manage bad managers create. They tend to operate from there with a command and control, um, which is again, projecting into the future. Looking at things like forecasts over which you have zero control, you have the only control of the behavior and the input.
You [00:19:00] don't have control of the output. And so this is all about attachment. Whereas what you are describing is moving into the winner's triangle, where instead of being a victim, you are vulnerable. Instead of being a persecutor, you're assertive. And instead of being a rescuer, you're nurturing, you're empath empathetic and you pay attention, got compassion.
And this is where you can be your authentic self, because you are fully present your fully in the moment. Your focus is on the here and now whether that's, whether you're meditating, doing breath work, being grateful, or in fact whether you're working with other people in a management capacity or a sales capacity, So, what I've seen is where people operate from that winner's triangle.
Their performance is 15, 20 times higher than average. I see this all the time with top performers, both in management and in sales. So Silke let's bring you in on this, um, in terms [00:20:00] of the psychology at a management level, uh, in order to enable your managers of channel. How are you combining the two?
In terms of the psychology at a management level in order to enable your managers of channel. How are you combining the two?
Silke Ahrens: So do you mean how, how am I combining the, um, the, the winners triangle and the 555 club or
Marcus Cauchi: yes.
Silke Ahrens: Yeah. The 555 club kind of automatically lends itself to then turning the, the drama triangle, if you will, on its head and creating the winner triangle without me necessarily needing to do anything. So, no, of course, what I do is to encourage the team to attempt this and to utilize the, the service and what I always make sure is
I ensure that we continuously go through, why is this a good thing? Why does it make sense? And what's in it for you? Because as, um, I think you've, you've taught me many years ago, Marcus, people do things for their reasons, not for yours. And that is something that, you know, I, I, I keep driving. Um, and then the output or the result of that is [00:21:00] automatically a move into the winner's triangle without, you know, any additional action necessary.
If you will.
Marcus Cauchi: What's really interesting is to get control, you have to give it up. To get trust, you have to give it and to create the conditions of safety, you have to put the orientation towards others before orientation towards yourself. And I suspect Shaun, this is where gratitude really plays an important part.
Uh, becoming more aware. And self-aware of your part within your community, within your team, within your family. I I'd be curious to hear stories around that.
Stories about self-awareness within the community, teams, and family.
Shaun Doherty: How long have you got?
Marcus Cauchi: About seven minutes.
Shaun Doherty: Yeah. One of the things I would say quite frequently on a call. Uh, and you know, it sounds like a pass away remark, but it's, if any one person takes, you know, 1/10th, what I'm getting from every session they're leaving with a whole lot, [00:22:00] because each time I sit with a pen and paper, just to read through like Monday's list, and it's only, it's only seven or eight points because you only have five minutes.
Grateful for, uh, I won't name the name, a sales leader, and his team, uh, grateful for every person that turned up today to be able to move my bodies on there. The dynamics to be able to sit two Sundays days ago, I met my sister and my mom and my dad for a cup of coffee. And on the day it was nice. And then on the Monday, as I was sitting during my 555, I got to reflect, I actually spent time with my family for an hour.
And talked and sat and, you know, and physically touched them because you couldn't do that for flipping 18 months. And it's just bringing that realization and slowing down to speed up, slowing down. Oh, okay. Yeah. Wow. Versus shit, I have to go meet mom and dad for a coffee for an hour and less, a half an hour drive and ah, flip (inaudible) on the car.
And it's that old cheesy line of move you're have tos to get tos. [00:23:00] And, you know, and, and there's something in that, but again, Another thing I try and drive home. Is that like gra- like gratitude is every worth the minute, any really top influencers talking about gratitude, try and drive in that it's not a writing exercise.
Like, you know, a writing exercise is what you had to do for, you know, whenever I used to mess up at school, I had to do a hundred lines of, I will not pull Nolan's hair. Gratitude is a feeling exercise. Can you bring that feeling into your body of I'm getting to experience this right now.
Can you explain the impact on the body in terms of endorphins and the biochemistry of it?
Marcus Cauchi: Out of curiosity. Can you explain the, the impact on the body in terms of endorphins and the biochemistry of it?
Shaun Doherty: From a science point of view,
no, I can't.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay.
Shaun Doherty: But I invite, but I invite anyone to sit with their breath for a minute and think about something they're grateful for and notice how their body changes, notice how their feeling changes and notice how their thought changes. And if you need a study after that, to validate it, then.[00:24:00]
There's probably no further conversation for us to have.
Silke Ahrens: And, you know, I, I, I would add to that, um, you know, for me, uh, gratitude and bringing it back to the business side is really bad gaining perspective. So very often when you're joining a session and, uh, you may have negative negative feelings towards
I don't know an email that you've just received or just feeling very stressed and overwhelmed or, um, or stressing out about the future or whatnot. And then you start with this exercise. And what I encourage people to do is to, as Shaun just said, the have to, is I have to write this email to, I get to, and then one of the, the things that Shaun, um, has mentioned before, was that, you know, if you start writing, I am grateful and then dig a little bit deeper and say, I'm grateful because, so you could say, I'm grateful that I get to write this email because, because it's, uh, you know, it means I've got a job and, uh, what [00:25:00] does that mean?
You know, and it means that I can pay my mortgage. I can put food on the table and, you know, I, I get to grow. So I think that's, uh, that brings it, uh, very, uh, very much back to the business side as well.
Marcus Cauchi: I understand that you actually paid for this out of your own pocket?
Silke Ahrens: Yes, I did.
In the month that you've been doing this work with Shaun, what are the personal changes that you've been able to experience?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay. So that demonstrates a very high level of commitment. In the month that you've been doing, uh, this work with Shaun, what are the personal changes that you've been able to experience?
Silke Ahrens: So I've definitely been able to experience it. Not just me. That's also the feedback from, um, some of the people that have attended
Marcus Cauchi: I'm I'm coming to that one. Cause I definitely
Silke Ahrens: okay. I'll take that one separate. So for me personally, I've uh, whenever I attend a session, I can feel a real shift, a physical shift in the signs of tension, stress being removed.
And I can feel that I have a lot more clarity and I get [00:26:00] things done quicker, cuz I'm able to focus much better. So those are just some of the things.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So one of my big themes this year is management enablement. So I'm pulling together a load of really clever technologies, uh, approaches. I've just, uh, taken on a new client that drives management enablement and operational coaching across hundreds of managers all at once.
And being able to coach in moments instead of having to sit down for an hour and coach them and the net result for performance. So they're getting up to 74 times ROI. So for 300 pounds, 22,200 pounds ROI per person, which is pretty damn impressive. Um, but I see this as part of that management enablement, because managers are the most under pressure.
Most managers are under pressure, the most undervalued, undertrained, and undersupported, and under [00:27:00] coached people within almost any business. And therefore they are in the most precarious position, both in terms of security, but also in terms of mental wellbeing and burnout. So I'd love to hear the effect that you have, uh, been given feedback on from your team within this month.
Effect that you have been given feedback on from your team
Silke Ahrens: Yeah, absolutely. And, and I mean, I would just agree with everything you've just said it's, uh, so important to really address that management support and essentially ensure that there is no burnout at that level, because if you're burned out, if you've got a burnout management layer and they still stick around, then, you know, just imagine what effect that is going to have the rest of the organization and the performance overall.
So , I'll just leave that there, but then, um, So from my team, the, the feedback that I've received has been starting from is it's just really nice to be able to reset and take a breather and to actually, uh, check in with myself rather than having to run a [00:28:00] hundred miles an hour at all times. And we all know, we all talk about self care a whole lot.
It's very trendy at the moment, but what does that actually mean? And how is it possible? Is it just a self-care Sunday and you know, you get your nails done or is it really something that you need to do and build a habit around. And, um, that's what some of the people have been saying that having it as a, as a truly bite sized opportunity, uh, pepper throughout the day at three different times, uh, three different days a week, four times during those days, that really gives them the easy opportunity and easy is really important here.
It's simple and it's easy to access. You don't need to go to the gym. You don't need to do anything. You just need to connect by your phone or via zoom on your laptop and, and you're there. And that makes such a big difference.
Marcus Cauchi: So you're doing this practice four times a day?
Silke Ahrens: Now you have the option to do this four times a day.
If you do it more frequently, do you find that there's a flywheel effect?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. Okay. So a again, once is enough, if you do it more frequently, do you find that there's a flywheel effect, Shaun? [00:29:00]
Shaun Doherty: In my experience of messing up and needing to do this, it's helpful when you need it and it's effective when you don't, it's much easier to maintain your car engine than it is to drive it into the ground and then repair it.
I find the same with, with my fitness, with my diet, with my health, with my walking. And this is exactly the same thing. It's nice to have it whenever you're stressed out and overwhelmed, but it's much easier to maintain peaceful state of being a focused state of being a grateful state of being whenever you're doing it.
When you feel pretty good about yourself, when you feel pretty happy with your work.
Marcus Cauchi: Interesting. Okay. If we think about questions that leadership should be asking, Silke, I'm very curious about the questions that remain unasked around mental health and wellness and the impact that has on turnover on, uh, and retention of top [00:30:00] talent and, uh, attraction, uh, you know, make making you a destination employer, making you a, a team that people within the team recommend to others that they care about to join.
Questions that remain unasked around mental health and wellness and the impact that has on turnover and retention of top talent, etc
Silke Ahrens: An interesting question, Marcus. So I think, uh, two, two questions come immediately to mind and one is really simple and it is how are you really? Because we start every conversation with how are you? Oh, I'm I'm good. Or I'm muddling through, or, you know, I'm okay. But no one I've ever asked the follow up question, because very often in that moment we don't care.
We just want to get through whatever the meeting is about. So I think, you know, for managers to make sure that they actually, you know, become this destination employer, uh, for the company, that's, that's a really important question that should be asked frequently so that you really understand what is going on with your employees.
And, and then as an extension of that, really understand how [00:31:00] you can provide support. And the second question that I would recommend for people to ask, and this is something that I asked during every interview, actually, what are the habits that you have that make you successful? And yes, Marcus, you're smiling.
I learned that one from you.
Marcus Cauchi: I love that. You've made my week.
Silke Ahrens: It's an excellent question because very often what I find is that people stop and say, what do you mean habits? And then they give me an answer that is really, it's got nothing to do with a habit. So it is, um, yeah, I find that a very powerful question.
And then, because I don't expect people to tell me, okay, these are my 15 habits. And I really thought through this very deeply, what I would then follow up with is okay, so do you understand why habits are important? Our habits can, or, I mean, make all the difference between being successful and in a sustainable way or being opportunistically successful.
It's all about habits. And, um, yeah, and, and then I [00:32:00] find it is, should really be down to the manager to provide a guide and best practice and suggestions, examples, what, as you will to help every employer build habits that make them successful because the habits that I have may not be fitting for, you know, for everyone else.
So I think that is, um, that should be part of every career development.
Marcus Cauchi: Couldn't agree more. And the fact that you're asking about habits that early in the process is really key because what you do repeatedly in the past, you're likely to do repeatedly in the future. The real, uh, skill I think of great managers is to identify those habits that serve the individual and gently nurture them into developing them so that the chains are so light.
They hardly notice at the beginning, and by the time the habits being properly formed, the chains are too [00:33:00] difficult to break to, uh, paraphrase, uh, Warren Buffet who stole the quote from someone else. Help me get to grips with this then, shaun, you said something earlier that, um, it's helpful when you need it and it's effective when you don't.
So talk to me about the awareness that happens when you practice the, this, uh, approach on a daily basis and the how it raises self awareness and awareness of the moment.
Awareness that happens when you practice the approach "it's helpful when you need it and it's effective when you don't" on a daily basis and the how it raises self awareness and awareness of the moment.
Shaun Doherty: That's a good question. I'll speak from, you know, I'll speak from my own experience, which is really the only experience I can speak from.
And I'll go right back to whenever. Yeah, when I wasn't, well, I was going through numerous different cancer treatments and at the time my mindset wasn't on that I was the captain of my ship that I was, you know, that I was driving the car. It, it was, there was a team of people who were [00:34:00] going to help me and whatever they told me to do, that's fine.
And I outsource that. And then everything else I do is over here for me. Uh, I didn't, you know, didn't look at anything I could do in terms of who I was hanging around with the conversations I was having, what I was putting into my brain, what I was putting into my body, and then slowly but surely it was actually, it was a conversation with a lady and she pretty much said to me that where you are today is a result of everything you've ever done in your life.
So, this is ultimately your fault. And I was like, how dare you? How dare you suggest this is my fault? And then about a week later, I realized, well, if it's my fault, if I cause this mess, then maybe I can help get myself out of it. Whereas if it's not my fault, I have no control and I'm powerless in this situation.
And so taking responsibility and blame for things, uh, help helps you a lot actually. And then to tie that into the awareness and how it's impact. This started coming to me more and more before I even, you know, before I started learning about this and practicing it actively, it would be [00:35:00] the best example I can give would be two years ago, walking my dogs in December in the driving rain and it was freezing and I just had a feeling of, this is incredible.
This is, this is amazing. I took off my hat and I opened my coach and I walked in the freezing calls of my t-shirt up the Melbourne road in Strabane. Uh, cuz I realized that like that this, this was the dream of Shaun from eight years previous. This is what I had, you know, I aimed to get, like I came in soaking called my wife, what the fuck are you doing?
And it, it was the most incredible cause I was just in the moment rather than complaining about the rain. And it seems like such an out there example. But it was a real turning point for me in yeah. In my whole awareness and appreciation of what is, and just enjoying this moment, each step, you know, each struggle, each rain drop.[00:36:00]
It really was a turning point. Um, and that awareness
Marcus Cauchi: You you've reminded me of two very useful nuggets that people can take away from today. One is a re resilience platform. That's also very good for discovering and diagnosing a situation in a sales, uh, conversation, uh, around pain and, uh, better outcomes.
And that's called core C O R E. Control, Ownership, Reach and Endurance. (inaudible) talks about it as a resilience tool. So what do you have control? What are you able to respond to? What are you responsible for in terms of owning, at least your part in the situation that got you there, where you are and what actions you can take?
The reach is the ripple effect of you choosing to make a change for the better. And endurance is how what's your tolerance? How long have you put up? And, you know, taking you through that, uh, journey of realizing [00:37:00] that for 10 years, you've been through treatment and instead of whining and moaning about the weather and the cold and the wet, you were fully present in the moment, because the realizations that, the gratitude for going through that journey.
This then takes us to the Buddhist mantra for happiness, which everybody should practice. And the trick is to take an index card on whatever day it is that you start this exercise. That's the first column. And it's much say it's Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. And the Buddhist mantra for happiness comes in three parts.
Never complain about anything even to myself. And that means even in thought so, no judging, no comparison, no blaming, no whining, no moaning, no grumbling, no bitching, nothing. And the moment you realize you are falling into that subroutine, you just tally on the day and you count up the number of tallies and the exercise is not about trying to force you to change [00:38:00] your behavior.
It's simply making you aware of the physiological and mental shift when you're starting to go into, in gratitude, into judgment, into not being fully present,
Shaun Doherty: To just jump on that, that that's something I would talk about as well is like, we're not trying to achieve anything with this process. We're not trying to accomplish anything.
You know, there's nothing to do. It's just to become aware. Am I anxious? Oh shit. I am. What am I anxious about? Oh yeah. It's it's the 50 phone calls I have to make this afternoon. I'm not there. And then to bring it back to what you said about, you know, present moment awareness, even go there's a guy talks about in this moment, there's rarely anything wrong.
And of course there's always gonna be that one example in 100 where there is something wrong. But if I'm gonna keep because of the nature of this podcast, go back to the cold calling the anxiety around cold calling. That's a future anxiety. It's like bring it to the microsecond, lift the phone. There's nothing wrong.
You're holding the phone. There's still nothing wrong in this moment. Press the first number. There is nothing wrong. You're just touching a number on the [00:39:00] screen. It's the anxiety about what's coming next. It's causing the fear of the cold call.
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely fantastic. I, I had a client years and years ago who was a cage fighter for a kick.
So he, he would always come in covered in bruises. However, he was only five foot six, and he was beating people who were six foot, because he was really very, very good at staying present in his run up and to the, the bout and in the bout, he was always focused on that moment. He wasn't thinking about his next move.
And I've, uh, done, uh, a little bit work on the podcast, uh, with people who train MMA fighters. And it's really interesting how important it is that they are at their most excellent in that moment. And they're not thinking about the championship or the victory. Or even what their next kick is going to be.
They're simply in the moment and responding to the opponent and the moment they start to get ahead of themselves, their ego starts to [00:40:00] take over. That's where they get stuck in the future, they get a little bit sloppy, a little bit slow, they take a punch, then that starts their anxiety. And now they're back in that drama triangle.
So whether it's in, uh, full contact, blood sports, or it's in business or just in life, it's so important to stay present. Okay, Silke, we need to wrap up now. So I, if you were to give one bit, bit of advice to a senior sales leader, what would it be?
If you were to give advice to a senior sales leader, what would it be?
Silke Ahrens: If you want to create a burnout prevention habit, if that's not a thing, then I'm making it a thing
now. If you want to create that within your team, you should want to create that to retain your talent and to develop your talent. So if you want to do that, then you need to make it as easy as possible and as accessible as possible for your team to get engaged into doing that and to, to building that habit today so that it will serve them.
And you, and [00:41:00] as an extension of that, your company tomorrow.
W hat would your piece of advice be to someone who is in a stressful role and is starting to feel the symptoms? If not the effects of burnout?
Marcus Cauchi: That is fabulous advice. So, Shaun, what would your piece of advice be to someone who is in a stressful role and is starting to feel the symptoms? If not the effects of burnout?
Shaun Doherty: My first would be a question. Is, is this the right role for you? You know, are you chronically stressed everywhere you are? Is this role stressing you out? Is the first one. And it comes back to that awareness. I put a lot of my illness down to the stress I was under at the time I had 10 friends in the same stress and they weren't, they, they weren't, you know, they didn't follow, they managed it a lot better than I did.
So on reflection, it was probably the wrong role for me. It was probably higher than I should have been at the age and the experience I had. And I took it all through personally. And if you're looking for tools and a conversation, first of all is acknowledge your stress. That put you ahead of 98% of the pack straight away.
Yeah. I'm, I'm actually stressed [00:42:00] rather than running around in a heightened state and kicking the dog and blaming your wife or your husband or for everything else. Um, so when you slow down and actually say, you know what, I am pretty stressed and then it's okay. So what works for you? Is it walking? Is it reading?
Is it more sleep? Is it better food? Is it karaoke? And then it's finding things that you can do to relieve that stress. I think a lot of it is surface level and you need to go a couple of layers deeper as to what the stress is.
Marcus Cauchi: Very interesting. Sadly, we've run out of time. However, I think we should do more of these because I can see real value.
And for those of you in the audience, please get in touch. If you have questions around preventing stress, preventing burnout. If you have questions that are going through your mind, uh, around how you can create an environment where your buyers feel safe, your sellers feel safe, your [00:43:00] partners feel safe and you feel safe as well.
Then please get in touch because. I'm certainly working on these issues and I know Silke and Shaun are, uh, top of their game practitioners. So please do get in touch with your questions and your comments. Silke, how can people get hold of you?
Silke Ahrens: Uh, ideally add me on LinkedIn. Silke Ahrens., that's going to be the easiest.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. And Shaun.
Shaun Doherty: Yeah, same here, Shaun Doherty. That's S H A U N D O H E R T Y. I'm this smiling bald guy.
Marcus Cauchi: Your website?
Shaun Doherty: The website is the555club.co.uk
Marcus Cauchi: and five are numerals.
Shaun Doherty: Yes, numerals.
Marcus Cauchi: And, and how can people get onto your classes?
Shaun Doherty: They can shoot me a DM on LinkedIn or send an email through the contact form on the website.
I think my number's on the website too, so feel free to WhatsApp or give a call, um, and, and to be more than happy to get people on. [00:44:00] And I'm much more concerned with people using this than I am with squeezing every penny out of everyone. So if, uh, if people want to get on for a while, see if they can get something from it, uh, I'm, I'm more than open to that.
Marcus Cauchi: And just to be absolutely clear, it's really isn't expensive. You can pay for it yourself, even if you're on a very low, basic, and it's intended that way. So Shaun Doherty, Silke Ahrens, thank you.
Shaun Doherty: Marcus, pleasure.
Silke Ahrens: Thank you so much for having me.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. So this is Marcus Cauchi tuning out on the Inquisitor podcast. If you'd like to get hold of me, email@example.com or DM me on LinkedIn.
And if you're really interested in, uh, the whole topic of mental wellbeing, mental health, then Silke, how can people listen to your podcast?
Silke Ahrens: The podcast is called the Mental Manager and you can find us on Spotify, Apple podcast, and probably 90% of all of the other platforms.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. So this me signing off in the [00:45:00] meantime, stay safe and happy selling.