Thursday, 13 June 2019

The Currencies of Wellbeing, Pt. 2: Celebrate Success

“Teamwork makes the dream work”, is a cliched adage, albeit, an accurate one. Though many interpretations and lessons can be drawn from this short statement, the underlying message, for me, is that people matter. This sentiment is even easier to see given the recent focus of ‘wellbeing’ in many workplaces “ecosystems”, as well as the growing body of research exploring this space; an attempt to, among other things, remind people that they matter. To pinpoint a definition that encompasses the breadth of wellbeing is challenging at best, though many able-minded individuals are attempting to.  Dodge, Daly, Huyton and Sanders (2012) propose a new definition of wellbeing as “the balance point between an individual’s resource pool and the challenges faced.''

Dodge, Daly, Huyton and Sanders (2012) explains that whenever an individual encounters a circumstance that they perceive as challenging, a course of action is pursued to rebalance their wellbeing by drawing from their pool of psychological, social and physical resources; ideally the most appropriate resource for the challenge. This idea is captured through an analogy of a seesaw where resources are balanced against challenges. When there’s a surplus of  challenges with inadequate resources to draw upon, an individual’s wellbeing is tipped. The opposite is also true, and with this in mind, we can begin to address the question: how can we ensure that individuals are adequately equipped to address the professional challenges they face?

Beyond this definition, the phrasing of ‘resource pool’ evokes imagery which offers a more expressive understanding of this concept, in that a pool is multifaceted in its uses and its upkeep. “It allows for the notion that each individual has a unique resource pool which ‘determines whether or not a task an individual encounters turns out to be a routine chore, a challenge or a risk”. It also implies that attempting to create or return to a state of balance in one’s wellbeing means that it is not static but rather a “condition that must be prepared for, cultivated and defended privately by each person, putting the pursuit of wellbeing in the hands of an individual”. However, it is important to note that while responsibility for wellbeing sits primarily in the hands of the individual, experts suggest that optimum teacher wellbeing is better achieved cooperatively.

One of the many ways the community around an individual can support and develop their wellbeing is by celebrating their successes.  Celebrating successes creates an opportunity for an individual to identify their strengths; their resource pool. Experiencing an outside perspective reinforces the efficacy of an individual and presents them with evidence which in turn equips them to address new challenges as they arise. Though the potential benefits of celebrating with an individual would empower them in the future, it could be argued that the real value lies in something much simpler: gratitude.

In part one of ‘the currencies of wellbeing’ series, we explored how personality frameworks are used to help individuals identify (and communicate) their strengths, inner-workings, motivations, and their needs in order to flourish. Considering this and the unique nature of wellbeing highlighted above, it’s important that a thoughtful approach is taken to celebrate those around you. As our week draws to a close, we are offered an opportunity to reflect and adjust. At this time, consider those around you and the work they have invested in, as well as, the successes they’ve experienced recently. Take a moment to acknowledge them, to provide evidence of what it is they bring to the table because gratitude and celebration are two simple tools which can turn an inch into a mile.

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